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Challenging a taboo

Clara Ritger | Monday, October 3, 2011

When I read Dr. G. David Moss’s article “Hip-hop night education” (Sept. 30), I felt myself agreeing with a lot of what he said.

While I do enjoy my fair share of parties, I do feel that what has become a social norm party-like behavior is not always in our best interest. It can be fun to go out on the dance floor and have a good time, but what we do in the process can also endorse behavior we might not expect, or even want.

Throughout the article, he mentioned that we need to find ways to open up a dialogue about sexuality on campus. Though I agree, this won’t be easy to do. At our school, sexuality is a taboo table topic; if we didn’t instill it into our minds as grade schoolers that it doesn’t exist until marriage, we certainly took it to heart in the way we silently and secretively deal with it in our daily interactions.

Speaking up also isn’t easy on any college campus. We all have such strong opinions and beliefs that guide how we take sides on different campus issues, especially those of gender relations and sexuality.

The hard part to remember is that every opinion is valid; every opinion is a valuable contribution to our discussion.

When we take strong stances, it is easy to bring others down who don’t feel the same way. Bullying doesn’t go away once we leave middle school. It just becomes more elusive.

I myself recently expressed an unpopular opinion and was not only the victim of personal insults and attacks, but lost friends over it. It is unfortunate that we approach some things with such closed minds. We attend a university whose mission it is to provide a forum for open discussion.

We are fortunate enough to live in a country that actually protects our beliefs in its constitution. But as peers and friends we need to recognize each other’s rights and hear them out. Disagreement isn’t worth losing a friendship.

So how do we reassure our fellow students that we won’t hate them for their opinions? I offer our community this challenge.

I challenge you to take a risk and say what’s on your mind. Remember that you have a right to your opinion. More importantly, remember that the person sitting next to you has a right to their opinion. We have to feel comfortable speaking up, especially about hot button issues like sexuality.

If we can start to at least hear what each other has to say, then we have a better way of looking at the issue.

We can’t come up with the solution to campus sexuality unless we’ve got all the facts on the table.

Clara Ritger


McGlinn Hall

Oct. 2