This is disgraceful. But what makes it all the worse is that it is another disgraceful moment in a series of disgraceful moments. We are racking them up and bolstering the stereotypes that are ingrained within the national consciousness. And we, The Daily Mississippian, continue to write editorials about them. The campus continues to hold candlelight vigils. The administration continues to create committees, send apologetic emails and preach to us about our Creed. The Alumni Association offers rewards.
But still nothing has changed. These events continue to happen semester after semester, and year after year. All of our actions seem fruitless and impotent, leaving us broken, scared, humiliated and with burning, difficult questions: What do we do about it? How do we stop these events from transpiring? How do we fight an idea?
First we burned signs and threw around racial epithets, then we catcalled a play that aims to combat homophobia, and now we attached a noose to the neck of the James Meredith statue and tied a flag featuring the “stars and bars” to him. We say “we” here purposefully because we are all a part of this community and share in its pride, responsibilities and burdens.
We, the editorial staff of The Daily Mississippian, cannot offer answers to the aforementioned questions, but what we can offer is reassurance, encouragement and hope.
We offer reassurance to the African-American, LGBTQ and all other communities that this event and all other events have hurt and scarred. We pledge that these events are not truly representative of The University of Mississippi and its students, faculty and staff. We are aware that a series of similar, intolerant events makes it seem as though they are no longer isolated but instead institutionalized. Yet we cannot place blame in generalities, we must attack racism and discrimination person to person. And so we reassure and pledge that these events do not capture the mindset of this community and that we will continue to battle to create an egalitarian and peaceful society.
We offer encouragement to the entirety of the student body and all people who make up The University of Mississippi. We encourage them to combat racism, intolerance and to speak up. Because if we do not speak, we share in the blame. Seize this moment to speak to your friends, family and peers about what this event means and how we can move towards true and effectual reconciliation. This is an opportunity to use a terrible experience to inform our consciousness and create change within our community and ourselves.
We offer hope to this university community and to the world. Hope that if we come together, we can achieve new heights. Heights where when we hear hatred, when we see prejudice, when we encounter judgment, we are compelled to love. It is time for us to reach these heights and create a welcoming environment for all.
We, as a community, must take the power from this event and show our rejection of it. It is our turn to show our own power and not be swayed by the fear perpetuated by a few.
The editorial staff of The Daily Mississippian listed on the left side of page two.