To the Editor:
Several HLS students contacted the Administration to express their concerns about the racial stereotypes and derogatory portrayals of minorities in this year’s Parody. Students informed the Administration that these portrayals (which may have been unintentional), along with students’ responses, implicated the state of racial awareness and racial tension on our campus. The Administration has remained silent and failed to make any public response addressing the serious concerns of several HLS students.
Many people have cried “free speech” and written in depth about how free speech must be protected. When will people acknowledge that this is not about free speech? If it were not for free speech, racial issues on campus would not have been brought into such sharp focus. Many of us are grateful for free speech and glad that it allows us to respond to the speech that is indicative of racial stereotyping. Not one of the fierce advocates of free speech has appreciated one of its main purposes – having truth emerge by allowing for a diversity of perspectives. One can spend all day discussing why free speech is necessary, but if one never grapples with what is actually being said then what is the point? Like the Administration, these advocates of free speech have remained silent about the racial issues that emerged from the free speech protected by our Constitution.
You all are the future leaders of America. What will you do when faced with difficult and controversial issues? Will you remain silent by saying nothing at all? Or will you remain silent by focusing on peripheral issues while avoiding the real problems in need of attention? You decide. But just remember…
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Concerned HLS Students