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Opinion: Why the apology feels shallow

Excalibur issued an online edition Sunday

By Halie Owens | Contributor

Despite the many offenses around the distribution and publication of Excalibur, the thing that most troubled me was the apparent failure of the writers to admit their culpability.

In their apology letter, they neither took credit for the pain and suffering they caused nor owned the discord they have sown. Because we’re a Christian collective, we’re expected to extend grace to them, yet grace is given by too many of us on a daily basis. Grace is continuing to reside in a community that refers to you as “n—–” and tells you to “go home.” We’re expected to give grace when the same grace would never be given to a liberal underground publication.

Likewise, I have a hard time balancing your claim that it was not your intention to maliciously attack with the way you used the Bible to condemn those whose views differ from your own. Phrases like “false prophets,” “dumb sheep” and “atheist” seem to say otherwise. If your intention was to stir positive, open dialogue around these issues, you know who to talk to. Those of us who may think differently than you make our stances and our identities very clear. I hope everyone understands that no matter how radical my views may seem, I want to engage with those who may not agree.

What makes you, a group of men in the most privileged category on earth, think that you know the best way to go about race relations? I am perplexed, as well, about your claims regarding the origin of social justice. Doesn’t Isaiah 1:17 say, “Stand up for the oppressed?” Did you forget that our Lord and Savior was a minority from the Middle East — not the west — who was so radical that they (and by extension, all of us) crucified Him?

Students shouldn’t have to educate grown men with doctorates on the origin of our shared faith. Christianity existed before whiteness reigned supreme, and this western traditionalist Christianity is not the only way to practice our faith. We can all learn from each other. Why pride yourselves when scripture was quoted while whipping the backs of slaves?

Students attended a small talkback session with faculty following Excalibur’s second post. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

Students attended a small talkback session with faculty following Excalibur’s second post. (Photograph by Riley Hochstetler)

Dr. Jim Spiegel and Gary Ross wrote about oppression in quotation marks, which implies that it is perceived. Is it perceived that discrimination and prejudice exist on this campus? Is it perceived that black bodies are not safe in this country? Was it perceived that someone literally wrote, “Go home, n—–” in a community stall in Olson Hall? Do you assume that because we have a few amendments in favor of equality under a system that is already broken, that we are just complaining? I can assure you that oppression is real.

You have evoked fear and bigotry into the atmosphere — and in residence halls that already don’t feel safe.

“It’s unfortunate that this happened at a place that prides itself on community and collegiality,” said Higher Education Adjunct Faculty and Director of Intercultural Programs Felicia Case. “Going ‘underground’ shouldn’t be necessary at a place where the Imago Dei is esteemed and respected. The damage done wasn’t worth the little publicity stunt.”
Regardless of what the true intent was, it caused a rupture in the community that we pride ourselves on so much. Students of color and our white students feel hurt, misled and unsafe, and it’s going to take more than an ‘apology’ to reconcile that.

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