Much to do in fight against racism

I am writing in response to the article titled, “University of Lynchburg students protest ‘hurtful’ fiesta-themed party.” I would make the argument that the party thrown was a classic example of the various stereotypes many people have regarding minority populations in our country that have persisted over hundreds of years.

Minority groups in the United States are merely seeking to exist as Americans; it is difficult for them to achieve this when negative stereotypes regarding a culture that they may or may not have ties to continue to be flaunted by certain individuals.

I would also like to address the response made by the University of Lynchburg. Although it is positive that the university chose to comment on the issue — unlike Liberty University in a similar situation — I would argue that their stance could have been much firmer in denouncing these actions. If enough action is not taken against groups responsible for this party, the unacceptable status quo of racist behavior that exists in Central Virginia will persist boundlessly. I would encourage the university to thoroughly investigate this incident and reprimand those who are responsible in order to prove that the response offered was not merely an obligatory one.

Lastly, I would argue unity can’t be inferred after one protest regardless of size.

GARRISON RATLIFF

Lynchburg

Free expression under threat

While working in the Soviet Union, I observed the following among the friends I had made. At work or school or shopping or merely strolling, they said and did what was expected; but in their flats and dachas, they said and did as they truly believed and felt. The contrast was stark — two completely separate existences.

In my opinion, we are headed in that direction here. And not under communism, but democracy.

Shutting down social discourse moves conversations from out in the open to behind closed doors. It rarely changes hearts and minds. Everybody knows, or should know, this.

Accusing and shaming a group because of the beliefs or actions of a few of its members can often turn the entire group against the accusers. And doesn’t this make matters worse?

If, for instance, I am required to undergo “sensitivity training” at work or school because of the words or actions of a few numbskulls, I become indignant with the accuser and the accused. And if I speak out about either, I take the chance of becoming a target, too. So, I may remain quiet out in the open but not so behind my door.

So, my point is this: Accusing and shaming is the easy thing to do; reasoning through civil discourse is hard. The latter requires critical thinking; the former thoughtless, capricious expression.

PATRICK LYNSKEY

Lynchburg

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