By Kelly Allen’11
As a recent graduate and someone who cares very deeply about issues of inclusivity, I am happy to hear that Beloit is continuing the discussion of its own issues with chauvinism and ignorance. These are harsh and off-putting words, but if we have any true desire to deal with an issue, we must not be afraid to call it what it is. Having spent four years on Beloit’s campus and having been heavily involved with its politics at many levels, I am well aware of our tendencies when it comes to addressing policy change and even attitude change. Through my experience I believe that many student and staff/faculty responses to hard issues and pushes for change lie somewhere within several extremes.
There are the passionate oblivious, who grab hold of an issue and immediately form their stance to an extreme. Too often their passion is misdirected toward blame and dissatisfaction rather than finding and accepting solutions. The “pro-passionate,” shall we call those on the affirmative side, become unwilling to work with the channels that are there to help. Many times they also overlook those people and entities who have been quietly championing these issues for years.
The “anti-passionate” who occupy the other extreme refuse to engage in dialogue and believe that the issue itself is fallacious concoction of the pro-passionate. These anti-passionate may acknowledge a few incidents of “biased speech,” but they fail to see the how that constitutes a larger issue.
There are the bureaucratic “pragmatists,” who attempt to discover every hole in whatever possible solutions are set forth. They whittle policies down until they become vague and hollow statements that require no real action. They prioritize the obscure possibilities over the very real situation that is our school’s lacking infrastructure when it comes with addressing real diversity and addressing real bigotry. They pick apart proposed institutional change, hiding bits of it in the far recesses of degree requirements or departmental mandates so that all the pieces are there, yet never given enough cohesion to become anything meaningful.
Finally there is the apathetic majority. Those who are do not see how this is of any concern to them. They are those who only read the Hats off Fuck off section of the RoundTable IF they read it at all, and those who most certainly have not reached the 5th paragraph of this article. If they have reached this paragraph, they have spent the majority of the time picking apart poorly-worded sentences rather than thinking about where they fit into this picture. They are most likely the number one perpetrators of “Biased related” incidents, not out of acknowledged hate but out of sheer ignorance of their own biases and the impact those have on others and the institution. They are the ones with the most to learn from such lecturers as Tim Wise, but they are also the ones who will never go. If Beloit is interested in making itself more inclusive towards all people, it is this final category that must be moved to acknowledge the issue. And it is the other categories, that must see their own limitations and recognize that the main issue is something everyone can get behind: how to create an institution where no one is made to feel uncomfortable because of how they were born or what they believe.