The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Category: Forum (Page 2 of 3)

When Hate Hits Home

Last Saturday morning, I got a wakeup call that I was not prepared for. I received a notification on my phone that there was a shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, just a few blocks away from my house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I had to call my mother to make sure that she was alright and that she avoided the area. When she picked up the phone, she told me that she was eating brunch with a family friend who happened to be a congregant at that same synagogue. My mother had to break the news to our friend. Later, we found out that 11 congregants had been killed.

That day, the tranquility of my neighborhood, Squirrel Hill, was shattered. Growing up, Squirrel Hill was always a peaceful, quiet, and cosmopolitan neighborhood. It was a well-off area within the city limits that had an idyllic quality to it. It was even home to children’s TV icon Mr. Rogers, making it literally Mr. Roger’s neighborhood. Squirrel Hill is the center of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. Anywhere from 30-40% of the neighborhood identifies as Jewish; my Catholic and Anglican family always felt welcomed and appreciated by our neighbors despite our differences in faith. But because of my neighborhood’s high Jewish population, it is not surprising that when the hate that had been brewing outside of its boundaries finally arrived in our community, it came in the form of anti-Semitism.

This hate had been festering for quite a while. There were early signs of its presence in our city, like Nazi flyers being distributed in our neighborhood this time last year, the shooting of unarmed black high-school student Antwon Rose Jr. in June, and the beating of a black man by a neo-Nazi group at a local bar. If we want this nationwide trend of hate to stop, we cannot only address the abstract concept of hate; we must understand the trend that is fueling its rise, and that trend is the resurgence of far right, fascist politics. This trend, manifesting due to increased economic stress as well as advancing social progress, seeks to endanger and terrorize oppressed peoples, and undo every reform won by them, no matter how small. We can see it nationwide, not only in the rise of Donald Trump and the “alt-right” (read: neo-Nazis), but also in the rise of armed and violent far-right groups like the Three Percenters and the Proud Boys. This is the trend that emboldened the shooter to come to Squirrel Hill and kill my Jewish neighbors.

My heart goes out to all affected by the latest massacre and by the rise of the far right. I know that many of us are concerned, scared, and/or angry; I am too. But it goes without saying that if we want an end to the hate that has been threatening our communities and gripping the entire world, we must stop the rise of far-right politics. We must realize that voting alone will not quash white nationalism. It is our collective duty to stop white nationalism in its tracks, no matter how it manifests itself or wherever it emerges. If we see homophobes spewing hateful rhetoric on campus, we must repudiate them. If we see anti-Semites spreading fear about a peaceful religion, we must silence them. If we see fascists marching in the streets against Somali refugees, we must confront them. Because as theologian Martin Niemöller wrote, if you don’t speak out for your oppressed neighbors, they will come for you next.

 

Who is Security Really For?

On Oct. 12, 2018, the Bates Community organized a panel with security personnel to address the toxic relationship between students of color and security. The crux of the issue is security approached the students in John Bertram Hall in an unruly manner by violating their personal space and shouting profanities such as “f*** you” when the students pleaded for some respect.

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Don’t Vote in Lewiston, Unless…

Full disclaimer for those wondering: yes, I am registered to vote in Lewiston, and yes, I will almost definitely be voting in this city come November 6, 2018.

For those of you who know me well, this article may come as a surprise. I’ve spent each year at Bates lunging towards people entering Commons to register them to vote in Lewiston on behalf of the Bates Democrats. For years, it has never even occurred to me to lend credence to the argument that we, as Bates students, should not vote in Lewiston.

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Our Referendum

While most people like to believe that a majority of students on this campus are doing their civic duty to participate in democracy, the reality is not so ideal. In the 2016 Presidential Election, according to the NSLV Campus Report, 755 Batesies voted, and 1,231 people registered out of the 1,734 people who were eligible to register.

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“Fempowering” the Midterms

As we head to the ever important 2018 midterm elections in a few weeks, we need to discuss the sensitive topic of gender equality. Gender equality is not just some topic that can be scoffed at and taken lightly. Gender equality is something to witness and be exposed to in everyday life in which people can create their own beliefs based on their own personal experiences.

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Women Will Win: Biting Back in the 2018 Midterms

With the American government composed of sex offenders, eyes are turned towards women as we approach the 2018 midterm elections. If Kavanaugh’s appointment validated anything for American women, it’s that there is still so much work to be done.

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Ranked-Choice Voting: A Dangerous Experiment

The 2018 midterms will be a time of many firsts for members of our community. For the freshly minted eighteen-year-olds, November 6 marks the inaugural day in their long, exciting journey as American voters. For the seasoned ballot-casters among us, this is the first opportunity to partake in a referendum on Trump’s presidency.

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It’s Too Soon for Civil War

I am willing to bet you haven’t heard of Josh Gottheimer or Clarke Tucker, Democratic nominees for the House who are labelled as moderates. I’m even more willing to bet that you have heard of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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Socialism: Back on the Ballot

It’s midterm election season, meaning state and federal offices all around the US are up for grabs. The races for these offices are prime territory for the conflict between the Trump administration and its myriad opponents. However, there is a variable that distinguishes this set of midterms from all others in recent memory: the sheer number of avowed socialists running, promising a viable alternative to the Trump agenda.

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Me Too? Not the Supreme Court

With the rise of the #MeToo movement, one would think it safe for a woman to share past trauma of sexual assault. It seems incongruous that, despite ever growing support for movements like the Women’s March, which has an Instagram page with upwards of one million followers, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has received death threats and violent backlash for testifying on behalf of her allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

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