Column: Promoting campus conversation that’s louder than bias

Organized conversation is the greatest route from casual discrimination.

by Taylor Sharp

Talk surrounding bias and discrimination has been prominent this semester. Clarifying how the campus should handle matters like this is beneficial for anyone.

Of course that pro comes with a con. What is most important to bring up in these discussions is incidents that are characterized by harm. A recent on-campus panel discussing how the University of Minnesota should handle anti-Semitism is one example.

Discussion will no doubt spur changes — like people realizing their discriminatory views. But it may not reverse the fact that people still possess those ideologies and view it as acceptable to physically shame others.

Recent talk makes it clear that anybody with a past marred by bias is encouraged to be vocal in participating in conversation and policy creation. But in the floodgates of discourse, all on campus are involved. This involvement can encourage honesty and understanding, which are ripe to coax anybody with an inkling of misinformation away from being misinformed.

Hopefully, I’m rightfully sensing a crackdown on casualness. Somebody is less likely to scrawl an epithet if they understand where the other person is coming from.

Conversation informed by opinions can eventually counter normalized discrimination and hopefully will lead to empathy.

The administration is proving its assent to reform. I hope that will entail the unsheathing of authentic rebuttals to anti-Semitism, racism and other reprehensible beliefs. We can no longer be causal about our response to hate, and there is nothing casual about hate crimes which wreak havoc on many, peoples’ day to day lives.