Dear Kenyon, Push Yourselves Beyond Anger Into Action
I was pleasantly surprised to see Kenyon splashed across Fox News’s online “Controversy” page yesterday afternoon. I have been following the The Good Samaritan controversy from my home in Nairobi, Kenya, and have been heartened to Kenyon students actively advocating for a fair and equitable representation of a minority group. As usual, Kenyon students are self-aware and compassionate.
The palpable anger coming from the Kenyon community is healthy and real. It is an anger that stems from centuries of mistreatment of the most vulnerable groups in the United States. It is an anger directed towards the myriad of dangerous and demeaning challenges that most of us have never had to face because of the color of our skin. It is the anger that is necessary for true social change. It is the anger that has the power to change your campus, and the world. Today, I challenge you to push yourselves beyond anger and into action.
Anger coupled with action is the best way to change the world. Your rage today should be felt tomorrow, not through Facebook posts or Desserts and Discussions, but college policy changes, scholarship funds, volunteer hours and advocacy groups. It should be felt through action-oriented goals that build a more inclusive campus and world: lobbying Kenyon to recruit more first generation Americans to enroll and teach, building more volunteer groups reaching immigrant students in the greater Knox County and building careers in government and law, where you have the ability to impact policies and public perceptions.
Though you may not be able to change the mind of one professor, you have the power to change the hearts and minds of countless others, to prevent this from happening again. Though you cannot erase The Good Samaritan, you have the power to ensure that there is equity, fairness and representation for all groups becomes the norm. You have the power to carve out a fair, equal and loving spaces, not just at Kenyon, but throughout the United States.
Kenyon, please take your anger and turn it into action. Kenyon needs it, Knox County needs it, and the world needs it. Anger without action is almost meaningless, anger coupled with action is unstoppable.
I am excited to see what this fury will build.
Class of 2017
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Florence L. Short
Concerning Prof. MacLeod's play The Good Samaritan, some readers who completed the play realize that the ending is a call to act for the just treatment of those marginalized by society. Some hearing about the play in draft form found it necessary to prohibit its future production because it was deemed unethical to use a (perceived) stereotypical character no matter the plot nor the actual setting which informed the plot. Beyond disagreement about this particular play is a broader question: Is it necessary to create a new injustice in order to eradicate an old injustice? The above writer, Gianna Biaggi, urges students to act in order to change injustices. Indeed, do so. But you needn't incur more or worse injustices by your actions. Censorship with its accompanying bullying tactics either face to face or through social media is an abomination.. It is unequivocally unjust.
Reply to Florence L. Short