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Tis the season to be offended

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, November 2, 2005

The days of “The Shirt” debates seem to be over. So it’s time to move on to bigger and better things to be mad about.

‘Tis the season to be offended. My theory is that many of us are still grieving over the loss to USC and need suitable punching bags to take our aggression out on.

One campus issue right now is the seemingly troubled relations between South Bend residents and Notre Dame students. Two students were quoted saying some less-than-nice things about South Bend residents, and the city itself, that have created somewhat of a stir. OK, so two students don’t think highly of South Bend residents, in particular those of economic standing less than that of the average Notre Dame student; does that mean that the majority of the student body feels the same way?

We’re talking about the same student body that spends huge amounts of time working in not only the South Bend community, but also with the people of Appalachia and urban Chicago, among other places of dire need. The perception of snobbish, elitist students is one that doesn’t seem to mesh with reality. I’m not saying everyone is fantastically unprejudiced and perfectly moral, but I hardly think that it is fair to say a large fraction of students are just downright awful bigots.

Also in the campus scandal mill is a joke/insight about race relations made at a student stand-up comedy event last Thursday. Several students walked away from the event with a sour taste in their mouth, feeling that the joke was intolerant and that those who laughed at the joke were just as bad. Some feel this is telling of the campus climate – that it proves a good portion of our student body is insensitive and intolerant.

Alright, someone made social commentary about race relations at Notre Dame in the context of the recent passing of Rosa Parks – does that make the student body intolerant and racist? I certainly think not. This isn’t even considering whether or not the joke, and by extension its author, was racist.

I’d bet my life that if you surveyed every single student, not one would say that they disagreed with Rosa Parks’ actions. So apparently we have another clash between perception and reality.

It’s going to be alright, people. People will say things you don’t agree with or just flat out don’t like. Heck, this is college. Cool down a little and you’ll see that not everyone is out to offend you. Once the smoke settles, you’ll see that you were making a big deal out of something that never should have been an issue.

Besides, there are bigger debates to be had, like on Supreme Court nominations and foreign conflicts.