More protests, less political correctness


Lily Katz

A student holds a sign protesting rape at the Rally Against Rape event.

By Minju Park, Columnist

parkminjuI recently attended the Rally Against Rape Culture hosted by the Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) organization.

It was clear that the SASA co-presidents did not want the event to play out as a sit-down informational meeting to gently warn students about the issue. Rather, it was meant to be a loud protest, demanding that people take notice, instead of just hoping that they would.

While watching the rally, I realized that change only occurs with discomfort — the discomfort that comes with openly advocating different ideas. Our generation has a closed-off and timid mindset toward expressing ideas that others may find off-putting. By tip-toeing around important issues instead of addressing them head-on, we are creating a barrier against change, leaving us in a world of political correctness.

Rachel Christie, one of the co-presidents of SASA, explained that the goal of the rally was to create an end to rape culture through student awareness and further administrative action.

“We wanted to have our voices be heard, because we’re tired of rape culture and tired of sexual assault on college campuses,” Christie said.

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    While many organizations tend to set up their booths or stands on the Main Quad and hand out information for their causes, SASA aimed to act bigger.

    SASA’s other co-president, Sarah Graves, emphasized the rally’s mission to be more than just a gentle reminder to students. She wants it to be a committed push for change.

    “With a rally, we’re being loud. We’re making people notice. We’re making people listen,” Graves said. “And also a rally is about getting spirits up, getting emotions up, making people feel energized and feel passionate about what’s going on and what we hope to achieve.”

    While SASA is working hard to change attitudes through constant activism, many other Americans have different attitudes toward voicing controversial opinions.

    In a 2013 study by the Newseum Institute, about 34% of Americans believed that the First Amendment goes too far in protecting the rights of citizens.

    The fact that roughly a third of Americans believe that their liberties, including their freedom of speech, should be further constricted is a disturbing statistic. Americans in this generation would rather sacrifice their rights in order to prevent offended feelings or disagreements.

    We are more concerned with being politically correct than actually getting across what we’re trying to say.

    With this type of mindset, there is no way that imminent change will happen. Instead, we become stuck in a cycle of nonchalant shrugs and hesitant nods of confirmation.

    Without change, our society fails to learn from its mistakes and accept new ideas in order to advance to greater stages of maturity.

    Great changes in our society’s history — the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Suffrage Movement and protests against several wars — would’ve never had an impact and created society as we know it today without the discomfort caused by the unpopular opinion of the few.

    “We want our voices to be heard,” Christie said. “It’s going to be loud and we want to get attention.”

    Our generation needs to be bolder and more confident in our opinions — whether that be chanting in rallies or declaring our ideas clearly on paper — in order to spark change.

    Minju is a sophomore in Media.

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