The Daily Illini

An open letter to Nick Sandmann

Back to Article
Back to Article

An open letter to Nick Sandmann

Brian Nguyen

Brian Nguyen

Brian Nguyen

By Agastya Bhatia, Columnist

Dear Nick Sandmann,

I write to you not from the political left or from another side at all. In fact, I wish to speak to you from the same side of the court. We’re both young people living in America, with upbringings, goals and convictions perhaps not as dissimilar as you might think.

A few weeks ago, you found yourself at the receiving end of a delirious media campaign, which is often reserved for the more despicable members of society — neo-Nazis and the like. You were sent death threats, your private life exposed and many people found it easy to hate you in that moment.

Like many agree, you did not deserve this. No one does.

As more details regarding your confrontation came forth, even the most liberal commentators and writers began to admit that the situation was blatantly hyperbolized, and apologized for contributing to the extreme vilification of a mere boy. This media frenzy was now turning another way: People were laying down their pens in front of you, begging forgiveness, wanting nothing more than parley with a misconstrued young man.

Some of this is warranted, but as you grow into your own, as your ideologies and self theories become concrete, do not make the mistake of thinking you are being redeemed because “the other side” is wrong. Or worse, that you are correct. The reason for apologies flowing your way en masse is not because you stand on the morally righteous side of history, because no one does. It is simply because the cries of white, male America are heard the loudest.

I understand words like that are enough to stir conservatives into rhetorical hysteria, but they are still important to hear.

The apologies and sympathy that were afforded to you, or someone like Brett Kavanaugh, were not given to the families of Tamir Rice or Michael Brown. They were not given to the dead children at the southern border, and they were not given to Nathan Phillips’ ancestors as they were purged from their own land.

I, like many teenagers stumbling into adulthood, have learned there is less right from wrong, or good and bad, as there is nuance in our world.

So, as one young man to another, I ask you to examine the nuance of the situation you’re in. Question why you were attacked and then apologized to, and why many others are not given the privilege of the latter. Question why members of your march party felt the need to ridicule Mr. Phillips, or why members of the Hebrew Israelites ridiculed you. Think not of you and I but of us.

If you reach the same conclusion as you do right now about where you stand, then I know your beliefs are thought through and as respectable as any other. If you change your stance, even slightly, then I have hope that our generation can do better than the one which divided us so unjustly.

I wish you the best of luck with everything you do,

And Regards,

Agastya Bhatia

Agastya is a sophomore in Engineering.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment