November 29, 2006

A Day to Remember




16 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:31 PM

    This is what, the 3rd rally against hate in about 5 years? I know there was one after the Luau party, and another at some point in 2003 or 2004. I know when I look back at my four years at school, this'll be right up there in my memories. Or not.

    You gave the Review exactly what it wanted. Good job.

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  2. Anonymous7:27 PM

    true
    theyre offensive. they meant to be. i dont think theyre racist.

    they were like puppetmasters.

    whatever, theyre were nice sentiments expressed.

    Mr. NAD thanking the Abernathey tribe for giving us the land was weird

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  3. It seems to me that you, anonymous number 1, are suggesting one of three things. You think we should not do anything, you think the rally is an overreaction/reaction to a problem that does not exist, or you think the rally was a poor choice of tactic to fight an otherwise valid battle.

    1) Sitting on our asses: So what we should do is not react at all? Damned if we do, damned if we don't kind of thing? [Check out Stanley Cohen's research on individual justifications for inaction. Interestingly, his experimental subjects were college students.] If you agree that this is a legitimate issue (see below), and if you have ever studied history, you know that a steadfast maintenance of the status quo hasn't always produced very much.

    2) And really, if you believe in inaction, then you probably believe that, to some extent, people are overreacting. This isn't just about NAD or even just about race. Apparently when you look back at school, you don't remember the constant feeling of being "allowed" to be at Dartmouth. Either that, or you never felt it in the first place, which makes you immune or just in a good enough socioeconomic position not to care. Have you ever been raped? Have you ever heard anyone whispering about how you got in because of affirmative action? Do you know anyone who has been raped? Have you ever heard a racist joke told in a basement? Does any of this bother you? I really just feel no need whatsoever to convince you here of the fact that intolerance exists at Dartmouth, because I can't fathom not noticing. All I can do is remind you of ways in which individuals are affected. It is not enough to say that the issue doesn't bother you. It is not enough to say that the issue should not bother other people. The fact is, it does, and categorical hatred or intolerance is wrong.

    3) Regardless of the overwhelming temptation to answer in kind, to call the Review and its supporters names (totally accurate names in my opinion, but moving right along), the NAD community and its supporters chose a peaceful, powerful way of communicating their sentiments to the internal community at Dartmouth and the external community via the media. This was a way to answer the Review without justifying their question in the first place. We wouldn't have to keep having rallies against hate if hate had stopped. I, for one, am proud that the community reacted in the way that it did and that so many students participated. I'm proud that hopefully people outside Dartmouth will understand that we're not all hate-mongering idealogues.

    Hatred and, at the very least, intolerance run rampant at Dartmouth, and it's all interconnected. How? By people who insist on cynical endorsements of the status quo. Dartmouth has problems that aren't going away, and it seems inaction hasn't worked.

    And second anonymous person- sweet lord, I hope you don't go to Dartmouth. Blogs aren't text messages. Check out www.literacyonline.org.

    Related thought: As I sat in International Criminal Law this morning and discussed the systematic use of sex crimes in armed conflict, I thought about the social context. Rape in war doesn't come out of nowhere. That much is recognized by scholars. Everyone (well, not everyone, but I would hope everyone) is outraged when a woman is raped, but totally satisfied to do nothing in the face of the blatant social subordination of women. Connect the dots, please.

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  4. We're not idiots. We know this is what The Review wanted. But this is also an opportunity for change that we can use—they gave us an opportunity to galvanize and activate, so this exchange definitely isn't one-sided. This little stunt makes people stand up on one side or the other, and it's a great thing to know who your friends are.

    Mr. NAD? Do you mean Mr. Hanitchak, you ignorant ass? And perhaps the Abenaki nation? It's people like you that make this campus less than hospitable for Native Americans and many other people.

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  5. Anonymous10:56 AM

    Please tell me that everyone sang Kumbaya, because I love that song.

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  6. Anonymous1:04 PM

    Wow Katie, how long have you had that rant pent up in your head, waiting to unload on someone?

    Let me take a wildass guess based on your lengthy disseration, you're a women's studies major.

    Here's the difference, when you call me a cold-hearted woman-hating racist (or whatever your point was), I roll my eyes and go back to whatever I was doing. I don't organize a rally against hatred, somehow morphing the issue of you insulting me into some systematic scarring of my identity. I've been called far worse while refereeing. "Sticks and stones..."

    The only thing that bothers me is that you're trying to hijack the issue with issues that are completely irrelevant. How the mascot issue suddenly morphed into one of rape inside that head of yours just boggles the mind.

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  7. Anonymous2:03 PM

    What does it mean to "believe in inaction"?

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  8. It doesn't boggle the mind at all, actually, and sweet ad hominem action there- I was a government major, political theory/public law track, not that your comment deserved a response.

    I think the part where you say "whatever your point was" is probably the most representative of what there is to take away from your comment. If you have anything you'd like to say regarding my argument, cool. I really don't understand how anything else you said has to do with what I said.

    And let's return to boggling the mind- I can refer you to academic articles, if you like, regarding the interdependence of levels of intolerance, discrimination, etc. But something tells me you're not interested. If you'd like something more palatable, Google my D letter to the editor from a couple years back regarding students who resented Dorothy Allison speaking on MLK Jr. Day. And since you're so intent on talking about me, I'm currently getting my MSc in Human Rights at the London School of Economics, so these issues are something I think about quite a bit. So does that fact contribute to your theory about who I am as a person? I'm sure you have more to say about what you think of me rather than my argument, so why don't you just let it all out. That's really why everyone is here.

    Keep posting as anonymous. That makes me respect you so much.

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  9. not any of the prior commenters9:17 AM

    Ms. Gilbert, you seem to be talking to yourself rather than responding to anything anyone's said.

    The first anonymous commenter's point, I believe, was that the rally is unlikely to have any significant positive impact, but highly likely to give the Review more attention than it deserves. It's an arguable point, to which you chose to respond with a less than coherent rant about how racism, misogyny, intolerance and indifference to others' suffering are all related. You may be right, but so what?

    Maybe examining your points one at a time will help.

    1. On your "sitting on our asses" point, you assume that the only options that people have for responding to the Review are to hold a rally or to do nothing, and say that "a steadfast maintenance of the status quo hasn't always produced very much." This begs the question of what it is you'd like to "produce." If you want to minimize the impact of the sentiments expressed in the Review, you could either (1) debate them on their own terms--i.e. write something in reponse, (2) ignore them so as to minimize their impact, or (3) have a content-free emoting session attended by national press. I submit that, of these options #3 is the worst.

    2. On your "if you believe in inaction" point, I don't think this responds to anything anyone has said. The first point is not that the NAD folks were overreacting, but that their reaction isn't likely to help. You make a valid point about how people shouldn't turn a blind eye to others' suffering, but so what? The question here is how to answer the NAD folks' complaints (and, admittedly, other people's complaints of being marginalized). How serious are they, what should be done, what are our expectations of how students should relate to each other, and how does free speech factor into that? To his credit, Jim Wright has taken a crack at these questions. You haven't, but thanks for the bibliography and the resume.

    3. I'm not even sure what your point is in #3. No one at Dartmouth thinks that "hate" is a good thing. The disagreement is about what expressions should be interpreted as "hate" and what to do about that.


    Hopefully the folks in London will teach you something about how to argue with people. Sticking your fingers in your ears and changing the subject is one way to do it, but it's not terribly effective.

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  10. Or, this event could energize people to think of new ways to hold people accountable for their actions here.

    Believe me, many of my friends and I have no intention of letting this die. If you think we've had a good cry and now we'll get back to letting the assholes on campus do what they want, you're wrong.

    We don't have the illusion of ridding Dartmouth of racism, sexism, homophobia or classism, much less of the sense of entitlement that underlies all these issues, but we are not by any means done working on this problem. We realize that the problem is not going to go away, but that means we won't either.

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  11. n.a.o.t.p.c.11:07 AM

    [In response to Seal's latest comment]

    I hope you're right. I think that was the point of the first anonymous comment--that every year and a half or so, everyone has a good cry in a way that unwittingly benefits the Review, and then time marches on.

    On finding "new ways to hold people accountable," I'd hope that people would concentrate more on winning the war of ideas and less on punishing people. I read Carlos Meija's article about having the College "enforce" the principle of community, and I'm not sure whether it's absurd or frightening.

    If Mr. Meija's version of the facts of the crew formal is correct (as opposed to the Review's version, as recounted in Ms Ghods-Esfahani's article in the latest issue), then it might be a good idea for the college to suspend the crew team for a meet or two. The crew team represents the college, is funded by the college, etc., competition is a privilege and not a right, and anything the crew team does as the crew team is open to an appropriate response from the college.

    On the other hand, the Review is making arguments that offend people, and the appropriate way to respond is in kind. If you think they're racist, call them racist. If you disagree with their arguments, respond with your own. They're not threatening people, harassing people, or even advocating for racial superiority. They're disagreeing with NAD's claims of offense. Basically, prove them wrong, don't run them out of town.

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  12. Re: your first point: In fact, choosing to respond with an argument is not necessarily an appropriate response in that it implies that the Review's choice of words and tactics and the editorial's arguments would be comparable. Responding with logical argument would serve to legitimize their actions. Responding in-kind would be inappropriate for self-evident reasons.

    I also fail to see how the rally was what they wanted. Yes, they desperately want to remain relevant, and they did get attention. But the rally was what ultimately garnered the national media, not the Review's actions in the first place. The rally was able to show that the Review does not represent the campus as a whole. I think that was the point, and I think they succeeded.

    Could you expand on how the rally was content-free? I wasn't there, but I understood the point just from seeing the pictures of people who support an inclusive, tolerant community. What would you propose as an alternative or additional tactic?

    It really irritates me when you use my name, because I don't know yours. If you choose to post anonymously, for reasons I can only imagine, then please don't address me as though we've met.

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  13. Anonymous12:48 PM

    This is the internet, darling. No one forced you to use your real name.

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  14. n.a.o.t.p.c.1:15 PM

    If I knew you, I'd call you Katie. I thought "Ms. Gilbert" was appropriate to clarify whose comment I was responding to, but I'm sorry if it offends. We've never met and I have no claim to your respect if I don't identify myself.

    I choose to be anonymous because I often say stupid things on the internet that seemed right at the time, and I can have my misconceptions corrected without being embarrassed. It's dishonorable and cowardly in some sense, but since I don't leave my name, I don't demand anyone's respect for what I have to say. It also shields me from a lot of the ad hominems like the garbage directed at you in one of the earlier comments. People who know nothing about me are more inclined to either focus on my arguments or say nothing.

    To respond to the substance, though:

    1. The Review desires attention. The rally gave them attention. As a result of the national media coverage and as a result of the rally, more people will probably read their stuff, if only out of curiosity, which is what they want. More exposure for their point of view. This, of course, comes at the cost of the fact that more people will look at their distasteful cover and judge them accordingly, but I don't think they would have printed it if they were too concerned about that. The Review does not purport to represent the majority of students at the college, even to outsiders, and prefers (as many campus conservatives do) to cast itself in the role of a minority that is oppressed and persecuted by a majority that prefers to reject their ideas out of hand rather than debating them.

    On the content-free comment, I read the speeches. Not all of them, but many. I found them mostly to be either airy expressions of solidarity and inclusiveness or calls to stamp out debate.
    * Sam Kohn wants to "enforce" the principle of community
    * Michelle Davis notes that hate is bad. "Enough is enough" is a decent slogan, but rather content-free, I'd say
    * Seal, to his credit, makes a point that people should be more upset than they are when their friends make racist jokes. The last paragraph is more along the content-free line...
    * Andreadis's speech looks like he downloaded it from somewhere. Tired rhetoric. I hope he delivered it well.
    * Carlos Meija: "I'm from Southern Cal. This is New England. I'm good. Hate is bad. Let's all be good and good will win." Content-free
    * Jim Wright: same vacuous stuff he says in any other context. Refer to history, quote someone famous (though he left that out this time), and say "Dartmouth" as many times as you can in 5 minutes.
    *Carol Folt: I looked up all of the synonyms I could for "community" and then put connector words between to make it look like a speech. Also, isn't Dartmouth awesome?

    et cetera. The whole thing has the air of catharsis and little else.

    As Seal says, the rally is a good thing if it's the launching pad to something else. Maybe more serious dialogue about this stuff. Maybe more thought about the line between respecting free speech and protecting people from group-level harassment. If the "let's do something constructive" sentiment takes hold, then you and Seal and the rally organizers and everyone else are probably right. If it doesn't (I think the first anonymous commenter's point was that there's no reason to think it will), then it's just another emote-a-thon in response to another Review article with the only consequence being that the Review gets more free publicity.

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  15. Anonymous12:50 AM

    This whole idiotic controversy put me in a mood to go watch the Last of the Mohicans on DVD again. Still a very under appreciated movie, and one of the best soundtracks out there.

    I suppose it's somehow offensive, though...

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  16. Regarding your first point, what I'm saying is that while the Review did garner attention, it was only through the rally itself, not through its original piece. That means that the national news media and others will see the Review through the lens of the rally. You may think that's splitting hairs, but I think it's important. Granted, the Review undoubtedly found a wider audience for their viewpoint, and as you say, they don't care if the wider audience rejects that viewpoint. I do. If learning about Nazism in schools means the occasional student becomes sympathetic to white supremacists, it still has value in that most students learn about a dark chapter of history (and current events) and hatred of that chapter becomes part of their values. (I'm not comparing the Review to Nazis per se, I'm just making a point about exceptions and the rule).

    Regarding the issue of the content of the rally, you say the only thing that really went on at the rally was catharsis. But do you not think that is content in and of itself? For members of the community who feel marginalized, believe me, it is crucial to have a show of solidarity when their marginalization seems to go unheeded and even mocked. That also goes for minority communities around the country that were able to see in the news that students at a leading American university don't let this shit go without comment. Perhaps the speeches could have been better; as I said, I wasn't there. There were also time constraints. I think the important thing was the existence of the rally- that is the content.

    I also hope that the rally will lead to further action, but if it doesn't, I maintain it was a good thing. This has to do in part with my own feelings towards Dartmouth, which would be severely undermined by a lack of response, and what I believe to be the feelings of some members of typically underrepresented groups at Dartmouth. Beyond that, I think the rally has already initiated further action in the minds of students. Students who otherwise might not have noticed or cared were forced to pay attention and, whether or not they agree, they now must consider the issues at hand seriously. That might not have happened otherwise. The NADs and their supporters at the rally believe they have reason on their side, and if they get students to begin thinking through the issues, they are confident they will prevail. I hope they will too.

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