College is for ideas, not censorship

by Daniel Takata

Is it too much to ask that we all be honest with one another? Article after article of well-educated, intelligent students and faculty expressing “concern” over the supposed “racism” and “xenophobia” the College Republicans endorsed on their mural — why don’t we call it for what it is?

It is patently absurd to suggest that the words “Build the Wall” are racist or xenophobic in any measure. We are all good enough readers to know this. Let’s drop the pretense.

The reason anyone wants to restrict the CRs’ speech is because they disagree, politically.

Protesters of the mural are loathe to admit it, however. In an official statement, the La Raza Student Cultural Center hid behind the ridiculous claim that “a long history of colonization and white supremacy” motivates statements like “Build the Wall.” Putting aside the fact that Latin American countries like Venezuela and Colombia guard their borders more heavily than the United States, is it at all possible that what the CRs meant to say by “build the wall” was “build the wall?” There is no evidence to suggest that the CRs meant anything racist by the mural. Asserting that the statement is inherently white supremacist is not only false and dishonest, it’s libelous.

Every anti-mural argument also contains some reference to the hurt feelings of students who went through the harrowing ordeal of looking at the mural. Numerous columns in the Minnesota Daily lament that a few minority students felt “unsafe” on campus after such an experience. I haven’t read one that mentioned the feelings of College Republicans, who have been under fire incalculably more than anyone else. If anyone ought to feel unsafe, it is them. But again, all of this is a red herring from campus leftists who want only to shut up opinions they disagree with.

The purpose of going to university is to hear and learn from other people’s ideas, and by learning them to create and share our own. This is only possible when we are uninhibited from doing so. Furthermore, it is only possible when we are willing to do so.

Chemistry professor Lee Penn noted in the Daily that a student who spoke at the rally said she no longer feels like she belongs at the University of Minnesota. Well, I am inclined to agree. As much as I love — love dearly — my left-wing friends on campus, the truth has to be said:

If ideas upset you, you don’t belong at a university.

If words upset you, you don’t belong at a university.

Let’s hear each other without censorship, and express our opinions honestly. If we can’t do this, we have failed as an academy.

Daniel Takata

UMN ‘17