Jewish Student Association: GW’s culture of ignorance

In “Swastika drawn on door,” (Oct. 25, p. A3) The Hatchet reported that a freshman student was the victim of hate when she returned to her dorm to find that someone had chosen her door to be the megaphone for anti-Semitic beliefs. She has now been the target of not one, but four such attacks this week.

These expressions of hate are just the latest in a series of incidents that make one thing clear: tolerance on our campus is overshadowed by a culture of apathy and ignorance. Students using images of Hitler lightly, in hopes of winning a dorm election, Islamo-Facism Awareness Week and the undereducated response that surrounded it and now swastikas – a symbol which represents unimaginable intolerance – appearing on our own campus, all bring to light our underlying naiveté towards the issues that should be at the forefront of our collective campus consciousness. We are failing ourselves.

This is unacceptable. We must refuse to live in a community where extremist and zealots are just another story folded into page three; where intolerance is tolerated, and the only ones speaking loud enough to be heard are the ones not worth hearing.

The fact that a member of our own community, a Colonial, could read The Hatchet’s article about what he did last week and decide to do it again is incomprehensible. What does that say about us? What does that say about our campus culture?

This campus should be a sanctuary of freedom and a monument to the respect we hold for one another. We should be proud of what we feel and people should want to hear it. We are who we are, and our differences are something to be celebrated, something to be cherished and, most importantly, something to learn from.

We call on the community to take action. This is a college campus – an academic forum in which ideas should be discussed and respected, not summed into a symbol and scribbled on a door or postered around classrooms.

We need to do more to address issues of racism, bigotry and intolerance on our campus. We call on our fellow Colonials to show that this is not going to be tolerated, that we respect one another too much to sit idly by and let it happen and that such prejudice is not who we are.

In the past several weeks there have been an increased number of incidents that should concern us all. We are a community that embraces diversity. The Jewish Student Association is taking a stand in the face of intolerance and as Colonials, the GW community should settle for no less.

The writers, both juniors, are the president and executive vice president of the Jewish Student Association, respectively.

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