Apathy towards injustice is unjust

Biolans must stop denying the issue of racism at hand and help one another grow as a community.

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Trevor Lunde/THE CHIMES

Tim Seeberger, Writer

On Tuesday April 19, thousands of Biolans received an email breaking the news that a swastika was drawn above the door of a African-American and Caucasian student’s dorm in Blackstone Hall. I was appalled at the email and the thought of the situation’s effect on the university and its image in the media. I was even more appalled at certain students’ reactions on campus through online discussion groups like [email protected]. The off-hand apathy and comments need to stop. The jokes need to stop. I am saddened as a Biolan to hear such horrific reactions from within our community to such a grave event that have helped hinder the situation.

Racial Tension

Even though I have been only a student at Biola for a little under two semesters I have felt racial tension the moment I stepped on campus in August through watching the interactions of students from different races. I am tired of having to explain to fellow students that this situation, whether fueled by hate or ignorance, is wrong. Immaturity in the form of semi-racist and blatantly racist comments and jokes as a result of this incident makes it increasingly harder to defend racial equality on our campus.

Biola’s community needs to understand the gravity of this situation. First, the action of drawing a swastika above a black and Caucasian student’s door is wrong. The modern-day swastika symbolizes hate. It connects to a movement that killed up to 20 million people. The New York State population in July 2015 was 19,795,791. The holocaust killed the entire state of New York — and more.

This hate-driven symbol does not solely represent anti-semitism. The Anti-Defamation League deemed the swastika as a universal hate symbol. Interpreting this act as an ignorant “joke” takes a symbol universally accepted as racial prejudice as a joke, and therefore twists the meaning of the swastika. Whether directed toward the students or not, the symbol represents hatred to all people. You cannot joke about a swastika, nor can you joke about an event like this. Being apathetic normalizes acts like these. Acting this way normalizes the swastika and what it stands for in the world.

Simple act of listening

Even if you are apathetic towards the incident, please do not express that in the form of offensive jokes and distasteful comments. Even well-intended jokes have the potential to offend and to hurt a student who, like you, deserves to be valued and welcomed on Biola’s campus. Listen to those expressing their problems over the incident rather than shutting out their opinions. President Corey solidified this idea in an email sent to students on April 25. He stated, “Loving those whose stories are different than ours is what the Gospel calls us to do. We’re called to serve together, to have long and meaningful conversations with each other, to listen to each other, to sit on pews beside each other.” Many members in our community are encountering difficulties in processing this incident. As Christians, we should not bring down our fellow Biolans through offensive jokes that cause discontent, but rather uplift them through the simple act of listening.

We are called to love and support one another through times of grief and suffering. Listen more and speak less. Letting those who are hurt express their feelings is the best way to bring healing. Help create on-campus solutions for racial reconciliation. Now is the time to act upon the convictions this university was built upon over 100 years ago.  

I implore you, Biolans, to change the tide of off-hand apathy. Stand in solidarity with those affected. Participate in the prayer session on Metzger Lawn on May 4. Lean into the deep, unending love ultimately at the center of what Biola strives after. This is Biola’s Augustinian moment — and we have the potential to rectify Rome to even greater heights instead of burning it to the ground.

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