I would like to share my observations from the DukeEnrage protest in front of the Delta Sigma Phi section. I will not address my opinion on the issue of the purportedly "offensive" party theme. I came to learn and figure out why it caused such a stir among certain members of the Duke community. I left very disappointed with some of the actions of the DukeEnrage protestors.
First, their comparison of the United States prison system with the Holocaust was absolutely appalling. I was shocked when a Jewish student challenged the protestors on this point and was met with, in a horribly mocking tone, "Oh, are you offended?" To me, this comment was hypocritical. These protestors claim to fight against racism yet mock a Jewish student expressing his concern over the Holocaust comparison.
Second, the protestors claimed they were there to "educate" the crowd on their views. Even though they let some students respond to their claims, the protestors interrupted the crowd several times and even prevented a crowd member from speaking again because his views were apparently offensive. They even shouted down many crowd members who asked the protestors what in particular was offensive about the party theme and refused to provide a direct answer. These protestors were not willing to learn from or engage with the opposing viewpoints of the crowd.
I also heard speech about racism, homophobia and sexism as (legitimate) concerns in our society. In fact, the protestors violated their own tenets. One held a sign that read "KKKG," in reference to Kappa Kappa Gamma, comparing the sorority to the white supremacist hate group. Another claimed, without evidence, that Delta Sigma Phi had a Confederate flag in section. The protestors then played a song ("Run This Town" by Jay Z) that contains racist, sexist and homophobic slurs.
If they claim to fight injustice, why were they contributing to it? Tolerance and empathy are necessary for a just society. So practice what you preach, DukeEnrage. As Duke students, we're better than this.
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