Ben Moeller | Monday, April 23, 2012
This Sunday morning, I walked into the library and was greeted by a neon-colored cardboard cutout in the shape of a person. My curiosity was immediately intrigued, but as I approached, I noticed that the cutout’s bright color did not reflect its somber purpose.
These cutouts, as I read, are intended to be a chance for Notre Dame students, faculty and staff to share their personal experiences and words of support in regards to the subject of racism on campus.
As a white, male student, I often take for granted the culture and community at Notre Dame. I do not think about the problems of racism as much as I should, and although I thought that it might be interesting, distractions got in the way and I did attend this semester’s “Race Monologues.” After all, we are all nice people at Notre Dame and racism is non-existent here, right?
Unfortunately, the cutouts tell a much different story. As I continued through the library, I noticed that while many people used the cutouts for their intended purpose, seemingly more people had abused the cutouts and written inappropriate messages and vulgar drawings.
Much like “trolls” on internet message boards, these cowards took advantage of the anonymity of the cutouts to spread their poor humor and, in some cases, veiled racist attacks. There is nothing that speaks to the existence of racism on campus more than the disrespect of these cutouts.
I have taken an interest in these cutouts because I believe that society needs to have discussion about serious issues such as racism. The fact that there are others on campus who see this as another opportunity for a joke is disheartening and completely contradictory to everything this University stands for.
This spring, many minority students will visit Notre Dame as they eagerly look for a place to put their talents to work. Unfortunately, their visit to Our Lady’s University may end with the vision of a crudely drawn male body part on a neon cutout.