a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications
by Wahid Ahmed ‘12.5
I think a big part of this backlash against Midd students demonstrating against CM is because people are uncomfortable with people of color and marginalized communities setting the tone for how white people address them.
I’ve noticed some people voice their frustration with CM while feeling compelled to defend his presence and platform to spew misinformation at Midd.
The arguments from the people, who I actually think are well intentioned, all revolve around taking the higher ground, shutting his bullshit down point by point with a better argument and sound logic.
*We’ve tried this before y’all*
Not just at Middlebury either, marginalized peoples have spent centuries disproving lies about us and our communities. We’ve tried showing our moral superiority, we’ve out written them, embarrassed them in debates, and learned time and time again the RESPECTABILITY POLITICS DON’T WORK.
The Midd students that protested used sound logic and understand history well enough to know that you can’t appeal to people (and institutions) that don’t see you as fully human. The fact that people expect them to is beyond insulting.
Racism isn’t rational y’all. They’ve made their minds up about us, and well constructed argument and peer reviewed sources won’t change how they think.
For people thinking that protesters should have chosen the more respectable route, I think y’all should consider whose gaze you’re worried about and why you’d try to appeal to it.
Racists like CM don’t fully recognize our humanity. They didn’t last week, they don’t today, and they won’t tomorrow. If they did, police officers wouldn’t walk free when their misconduct is recorded, children and families wouldn’t be indefinitely detained along our border, and South Asians regardless of their religion wouldn’t be persecuted by Islamophobes, and there wouldn’t be a travel ban right now. And there’s not too much we can do to change their minds.
What we can do is make sure that people like CM don’t have a platform to spread and legitimize their lies. For everyone worried about what conservatives (i.e. white people) think about us after the demonstration, I think you should think about what students of color on other campuses feel. I wonder if after hearing about Midd students’ work, that maybe they’ll feel empowered to shape their campus and take platforms away from white supremacists where they are.
We should prioritize empowering our communities instead of making sure white people are comfortable. Historically, white comfort has an inverse relationship with social progress (fight me). That is to say, if they’re too comfortable, we’re not doing our activism right.
I’m proud of the protesters at Midd, I think they did a service to themselves and the campus.
For everyone worried about the backlash against this protest, I hear your concern, but I’m pretty confident every academic department and program will consider the power of these students before trying it again.
For those of you who think a backlash is inevitable, I challenge you to think about how you’ll protect the student protesters, especially those of color. Critique is one thing, but if your critique comes out of genuine concern then let’s show up for the next generation of Midd activists. President Patton has already said that both the Middlebury Police Department and an independent investigator are involved, what can we do to make sure students of color aren’t unfairly attacked? And what concrete resources can you offer students of color to lessen their burden going forward?