“A book [or a protest movement] must be an axe for the frozen sea within us.” — Franz Kafka
Recently, a Harvard Law student going by the pseudonym “Winston Syme” submitted a Letter to the Editor labeling Belinda Hall protesters “bullies.” This article is a response from the editor-in-chief.
“Oh wow, I got into Harvard Law,” I said. “It’ll be such an exciting place—full of dynamic discussion and politically active students, the Ralph Naders and Barack Obamas of the world.” (At least, I’m sure I said something like that….)
I was naïve.
Upon starting law school, I found a place brimming with interesting people—yet they were largely repressing their interestingness. Why? Because, they were too scared to speak. To engage. To be real. The sentiment runs like this: “How will I ever be a judge unless I’m a legal automaton who keeps opinions to himself?!” Or, in the Reclaim Harvard Law context, like this: “Oh my God, what if someone calls me a name—worse, implies I’m a racist?!”
Oftentimes, these are the same people who complain of censorship. The students (like “Winston Syme” or the asses behind Royall Asses) who object to some or all of Reclaim’s demands, yet never openly voice their convictions. The ones who refuse to enter Belinda Hall because they feel frightened someone will disagree with them in a way that’s uncomfortable, demeaning, or that paints them as a “white oppressor” abstraction instead of a human being.
If you’re one of those students, cowering within yourself in disagreement, you’re doing yourself a disservice—not because you’re wrong, but because you’re depriving yourself of an opportunity to learn and grow.
This article is for you—the students who, alongside Winston Syme, sit in quiet or anonymous dissent. I’ll attempt to convince you that while you’re admittedly right about a small minority of activists when you fear stigmatization and shaming, you’re wrong about the vast majority—who have generally become extremely accommodating of dissent. I’ll attempt to convince you that what’s happening in Belinda Hall right now is a good thing, especially if you disagree with some of it or all of it.
Why? Because Reclaim Harvard Law is bringing life to this habitually-stuffy campus.
A flower’s penetrating the ice.
Continue reading “In Response to Dissenters Like “Winston Syme”: You’re Censoring Yourself”