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Opinion: Honoring the legacy

You may not believe that in the year 2012 your peers, fellow educated young adults on Boston College’s campus, could be so ignorant and so misinformed as to believe anyone is, in any way, inferior. But, the sad truth is that racism still exists here.

I am fortunate to have one of the most diverse friend groups here at BC. And I take pride in saying that my friends are all the strongest people I know—in their own respective, individual ways. My friends who, like me, are AHANA students, and even those who are not, have all experienced some sort of social or racial discrimination in their time here at BC. And I admire them for their ability to move on with their lives, becoming bigger and better people along the way.

In the past, I have not been as involved in giving voice to these issues as I wish I had been. But, frankly, it is my senior year and if there is something I can do to open your eyes to the absurdity of the little community we call Boston College, I will.

Just the other night, I saw a seemingly intoxicated girl with a bunch of her guy friends coming back from a long night off-campus. I was having a good time with a friend, making the most of the crowded bus, when a lull came about in the conversation and I heard:

“WHITE SUPREMACY, baby! I am a mother-ducking elitist!”

                                                                                                                                                 

I actually purchased a Malcolm X poster the next day in response to that night. After being in shock for most of the ride, I had finally resolved to flip her off; yet, after mulling things over, I realized that I did not resolve anything.

That poster of Malcolm X hangs by the door in our apartment, with a quote warning those that come into our lives that, “[We] believe in treating people right, but [we’re] not going to waste [our] time trying to treat somebody right who doesn’t know how to return the treatment.” I believe we, the Boston College Eagles, both current students and alumni, can be more than two sects of people some of whom believe in racial supremacy and some who do not. We are ALL Eagles and we need to remember that.

The accumulation of these stories of racism only motivated me more quickly forward to start off this year. The advent of the academic year also brought to mind the 2,998 victims who died in the attacks on September 11, 2001. I remember how I felt, where I was, and the person I was 11 years ago on that day. Do you?

The attacks sent a ripple of emotion, disbelief, and grief across our nation early that Tuesday morning, disrupting thousands of lives and shaking the whole nation.

Now, I’m not asking you to think of the 19 men who brought terror to our country when you remember the victims and their families; but rather, I ask you to take a minute to recognize that those men COULD have been great men. Had they put their faith in a better system, had they been guided by individuals of greater moral character, maybe they would have had led very different lives.

You are going to think a lot about 9/11 over the next few days. Remember that those men made the mistake of following someone who told them to hate. They had lost sight of what was important. The seeds of their destruction were planted by hate and they expected we would respond with just that, hatred.

If you hate those men for what they did, I do not blame you at all, but remember that it is not the Muslim people who hurt us 11 years ago; it was the militant Islamist organization, Al-Qaeda.

Among the people who are racist there are those  whose minds cannot be changed; however, some people's minds can be changed and they will listen. I hope you know that the few are not worthy of your own hatred. Hatred breeds negative energy, which, in turn, disables you to fully see why this world is so beautiful. Happiness is a pure thing and acceptance of others is a key element. Every single person on this Earth has the ability to be beautiful if you let him or her be so. And no one ever is who you judge him or her to be initially. Our bodies and beliefs are one layer of many that make up a unique person meant to do great things.

I beg you to think for yourself.  If you have any inkling at all that every man, or woman is created equally, then hold on to that! If you hear somebody on campus saying unnecessary comments, I hope you call them out. Say something!

I should have done more the other night on the bus. If that is what other people are experiencing too, that is unbelievably ridiculous. December 21, 2012 IS coming up, do we really want the world we have been living in for the last four years to end as a place where our fellow Eagles feel uncomfortable in the home we all share? In all seriousness though, do we as a class, really want to continue to encourage the few by letting them get away with it? Random acts of hatred? Hell no, I say. It's our last year,we should do it right. Let us all cross the finish line together and go our separate ways, to come back as alumni and only remember good times. Let us set an example of how we want our younger peers to honor the legacy of 2013, and preserve a real community here at BC.

In the words of Malcolm X, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for everything.” I have already asked and begged, so now I'm going to plead that we as Eagles, as seniors, as juniors, as sophomores, as freshmen, as human beings--from here on out, stand for equality. Stand for what is right. Stand up, get out of your seats and do the right thing. Keep on keeping the peace.

If you, or anyone you know has experienced something that you feel should be known, I encourage you to get your story out there, or go to someone and tell! Please tell! Inform the campus, so that we can really set this world aflame.

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