The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Where do we go from here?

By Amy Ledig

As I was walking to Whole Foods with two friends on Wednesday afternoon, an angry, slightly crazed-looking man stopped us.

“Which one of you was dressed up like the KKK?” he demanded to know, blocking our path.

When we told him it wasn’t us, he wanted to know if we knew who it was, which we informed him we didn’t. He responded with something about “kicking someone’s ass” as we headed quickly towards the relative safety of the Whole Foods.

It was yet another incident in a week that has continued to leave me feeling shaken.

If you were at the forum in the chapel on Tuesday night, which far too few people were, odds are you left feeling as troubled as I did. The more I find out about what happened at the Politically Incorrect party, and who was involved, the more disturbed I am. These are people who I have class with, who participate in extracurricular activities with me. That shook me to my core; these were people I knew, either directly or by reputation. I would never have expected such behavior from anyone I knew. Clearly, I was wrong.

I hate to sound like a broken record. Others have already chimed in on this issue, most more eloquently than me, but judging by the sparse attendance of the forum on Tuesday, clearly not enough people are taking this seriously.

On Sunday, news of the party was picked up by the Associated Press and spread to newspapers across the country and, eventually, across the world. That afternoon, my friends began to receive calls from friends and family scattered across the country, all wondering what type of school Macalester was for allowing something like this party to happen here. I guarantee you that for at least the next admissions cycle, if not longer, it won’t be Macalester’s steady climb up the ranks of top liberal arts schools, nor its diversity and environment of tolerance and intellectual curiosity that people will be thinking about. Building up a reputation takes time, and this party has done a lot to set the college back.

The worst part of this is that now people don’t feel that Macalester is the welcoming environment that it once was. Multiple people have said that they don’t feel that this is a safe space anymore and that the outside world, and the racism that pervades it, is encroaching on the college. No student here should have to feel that way. If the people at the party and those wearing the horrendously offensive costumes didn’t realize they were going to hurt people, I’ve got to wonder about how smart they are, and whether they really belong here. And if the people at the party who said that they didn’t hear anyone who was offended or hurt until the forum were telling the truth, I’ve really got to wonder how there are that many ignorant, insensitive people wandering around campus.

There seems to be a lot of concerns over not condemning people at the party. Statements have been made about not making value judgments about the participants. I think that is one of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever heard. I’m not calling for a stoning or anything like that, but when a wrong has been done, those responsible need to be held accountable. This is not a walk a mile in the other person’s shoes situation; if ever there was a time to make a values judgment, I’d imagine this was it.

The last point I’d like to bring up is that this incident has had a serious negative impact on race relations on campus. In the discussions surrounding the party, there has been much said disparaging white, upper-middle class, private school-attending kids. While I can understand how people are feeling hurt and angry right now, holding all white members of the college responsible for what happened is not the answer. Most people weren’t even on campus when this happened. I am white, I have gone to private school, and my family is middle class; despite all these supposed marks against me, I would never dream of behaving like or participating in the activities of the students at this party. I have friends who also fit these criteria, but would likewise never behave this way. I would urge people to keep in mind that it was a small group of people involved in this incident. It’s terrible that people have been hurt and that Macalester’s reputation has been soiled in the community and the outside world; let’s not tear the college apart even more.

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