NYU student group crosses the line

The “Find the Illegal Immigrant” game is entirely inappropriate.

In an attempt to get students involved in the debate over undocumented immigration, a student Republican club at New York University concocted a controversial game that many students on campus and around the nation are calling racist. The game, called “Find the Illegal Immigrant,” has members of the club becoming immigration agents looking for an undocumented immigrant in the crowd. The agent who successfully identifies the undocumented immigrant wins a gift certificate. Amid the outcry that has ensued, the club should rethink their approach and create an awareness event that fosters civility around such controversial topics, not hostility.

Even as many students around the NYU campus registered passionate objections, others viewed the game as a reasonable way to highlight concern about the nation’s borders. The president of the group has vehemently denied the racist nature of the game, claiming that when establishing dialogue over such important issues, creativity and innovativeness is necessary. After all, on college campuses one person’s campaign against intolerance is another person’s bow to political correctness.

However, the continuing outrage is understandable and students are not wrong to call the event “racist” and “disgusting.” Students can properly address provocative topics while still promoting diversity and social intelligence. Inviting people to “catch” group members wearing orange shirts symbolizing undocumented immigrants is inappropriate and completely unnecessary. Furthermore, the game is needlessly offensive, to the point of making it unproductive. Due to the controversy, the true debate about undocumented immigration has been replaced by a battle over political correctness.

Undocumented immigration is a completely appropriate topic for debate on college campuses where the exchange of ideas, even controversial and unpopular ideas, is essential. This event seems to be driven by an impulse to anger and produce outraged reaction, rather than creating meaningful thought and dialogue. Instead of partaking in such a tactless event, students can plan a much more responsible undocumented immigration awareness day.