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SMU Daily Campus

SMU Daily Campus

SMU Daily Campus

SMU lost to TCU in Saturdays Iron Skillet game 34-17. Next years matchup is the last scheduled game in the longstanding rivalry.
SMU falls short at TCU
September 26, 2023

Discrimination, hate linger at SMU

I first saw the movie “The Help” in the fall of my freshman year, and as soon as I did I thought, “Wow, SMU is just like ‘The Help.’”

Last week, The Daily Campus confirmed my suspicions when a story by Yusra Jabeen about hate-motivated incidents was published. In it, she reports only a handful of racist and homophobic slurs that float around campus like autumn leaves.

Some of these incidents happened to people I know and respect, not to mention the countless incidents that go unreported. These incidents shock me every time I hear about them.

I remember last year when the Boulevard sign for Multicultural Student Affairs was vandalized and Student Senate said it would take action to combat such bullying.

I also remember two years ago when a gay student was beaten up outside of Hughes-Trigg and the university found its way onto the top-ten most homophobic schools list.

I also remember last year when there was a sexual assault alert issued almost every week and the university responded by creating a task force to address the problem.

All of these and many other incidents in SMU’s recent history have made campus seem like an unsafe place for a minority student. And let’s not kid ourselves, we should all know by now that hateful words invariably lead to hateful actions. To put it simply, every Mustang is not truly valued.

We have to ask ourselves why, in 2013, is SMU subject to such prejudices and hatred?

Maybe we as a society haven’t come as far as we think we have. It pains me to say that as long as there are differences which separate us there will be repugnance to those differences.

As a white, cisgender, male student, I recognize that I have certain social privileges that protect me from having to face such discrimination. Indeed, sociologists call this phenomenon “white privilege,” and there are other privileges reflected in any culture’s “dominant” or “preferred” gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and national origin.

These privileges have deep roots that dig into a society’s history of hating anyone who doesn’t fit the proper mold. Privileges inherently benefit some and disadvantage others. I think the university should actively educate its students about what privilege is and what it means for certain people.

I think that teaching people our age how to care about their fellow students does a better service to the SMU community than any task force ever can.

Hatred and discrimination are not problems of the underprivileged.

They’re everyone’s problems. Love and respect are invaluable gifts that work both ways.

Maya Angelou once said that reading teaches people how to be human. I wholeheartedly agree; I think that the way to combat bigotry is to educate us on our common human dignity.

The university is certainly trying, but it needs to try harder. And we all need to try, too. Making the university a safe place for everyone is not just the job of administration or the faculty or the dedicated students who spend all their free time doing what they can. It’s everyone’s responsibility to foster an environment home to intellectual, emotional and moral growth.

Let’s all be like Skeeter Phelan in “The Help” and write a better story.

Welch is a junior majoring in political science.

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