Daily Egyptian

Letter to the editor: Everyone should be equal

By SIU student Kirk Powell

Dear all people,

I’ve read the editorials from Mr. Alex Summers and Mr. Brandon Woudenberg, and I’ve heard from various voices about the problems facing students at SIU.

Racism is an expression of hatred. And hatred in any form is uncivilized. However, the hallmark of a truly free society respects the individual’s right to make bad choices; like racism.

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At the heart of racism is our individual right to discriminate perpetually contrasted with our responsibility to be peaceful. (i.e. not to burn our neighbors house down). The university must handle the conflict of racial tension in a way that promotes a safe and peaceful society, whilst protecting the individual’s rights to freedom of thought, conscience … and unfortunately, their stupidity as well.

As an institution, how does SIU best handle this?

The solution so far has been the university attempting to rectify past grievances by perpetuating the very root of these problems.

While individuals may pose certain rights to promote and exercise these egregious behaviors, an institution does not. Institutions, as required by law, must alleviate themselves of preferential treatment that foster inequalities.

Instead, SIU has sought to punish new groups — classes of people — in lieu of pursuing policies that would establish a benchmark of inclusion and demonstrate that we are all truly equal before the law.

In my particular academic program, women are routinely given preferential treatment in aid to their degree. What makes a woman more entitled to the opportunities of a college degree? Why would the university sanction preferential treatment when it should be so keenly aware of the consequences of spreading indoctrinated hatred?

Routinely, we see that only women can apply for: this job, this apartment, this scholarship, this entrepreneurial small business loan, etc. A gentleman’s club is prohibited from excluding women, but Curves is given a wide berth to alienate men. We have come to accept the methodology of hatred, using the tools of preferential treatment in the same way as our oppressors of the past.

We must address the difficulties of our society in a way that promotes social justice. Preferential treatment for anyone, under the rule of law, is not social and it is not just. As a matter of policy, the university must recognize that all lives matter, not ones that fill diversity quotas to make the Board of Trustees sleep better at night.

There are real problems in our society from the consequences of long-term institutionalized preferential treatment. The solution is not to continue the indefensible actions of discrimination, racism, sexism, gender-bias, ethnic cleansing, etc. Hatred for hatred, achieves nothing.

Preferential treatments for a group or class must end.

In the end, I hope the university’s love of all mankind trumps their love of just one particular class.

Kirk Powell is a senior from Murphysboro studying computer science

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