Volume 92, Issue 99

Wednesday, April 7, 1999


OPINIONS

Council has fought for professionals

Questioning the Wave's policies

Take a dip in the publicity pool

Time to bring in the ground troops

Looking beyond their own views

But to wear a dress?

Atheist preaches about his own religion

Looking beyond their own views



Re: Campus hate crimes raise issue of racial tolerance, March 31

To the Editor:

As I approach the end of my term and look back on my year as University Students' Council VP-campus issues, I am reminded of one of the most disturbing trends I have noticed on this campus.

As The Gazette reported on March 31, a student drew a swastika on a Jewish student's door at Westminster College. The response by the college to this incident has been admirable, as was the assistance the Jewish Students' Union provided to the student affected by this disgusting and arrogantly ignorant act. But people would be foolish to think this was the only incident this year involving discriminatory behaviour on this campus.

During the summer, someone scrawled graffiti at various locations around campus advocating violence against women. Heterosexist and homophobic letters which spout dislike of gays, lesbians and bisexuals regularly appear in The Gazette from "moral activists." Distrust and even prejudice against cultural groups has cropped up in various incidents, both implicitly and explicitly, publicly and privately. The trend I am illustrating should be quite obvious.

Even though we live in an "enlightened" university community, people continue to victimize each other on the basis of gender, race, culture, religion, sexual orientation and disability. People have various justifications for their negative treatment of historically discriminated against groups, but none of their arguments seem logical – just ignorant. In a way, I feel sorry for these people because they have closed their minds to the limitless world of insight and knowledge that all individuals can share with each other.

Through all of this, one thing did inspire me to keep fighting, speaking out and learning about the individuals who make this campus such a rewarding place. This was the courage of the students who spoke out against these discriminatory behaviours; those who refused to be intimidated and stood up for what they believed in on behalf of the other individuals they share this campus with.

These are the people who chose to look beyond their own world view, to ask questions and learn about the various individuals on this campus who may have a different culture, faith, sexual orientation or gender. These are the truly enlightened people – the students who have chosen to enhance their educational experience and quality of life by learning about others, thereby breaking down the ingrained stereotypes they have always thought to be truth, moving from tolerance to acceptance. I would be lying if I said I didn't have to break down my own stereotypes, I have. That's why I find it so inspiring to see others do the same.

Thank you for the experiences you have all given me. And thank you to all the people who decided to expand and enrich their horizons beyond their own view of the world by learning, asking questions and re-evaluating all they have been taught. That's what I did this year and I will never stop learning about the people I encounter. After all, that's the responsible and enlightened thing to do.

Peter J. Hill
VP-Campus Issues


To Contact The Opinions Department:
gazette.opinions@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1999