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Ignorance vs. hate

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Recently I’ve been caught up in a re-hash marathon of the TV series “The Office” during my spare time — extremely appropriate during finals season, I know. After reliving every moment of season three in the past couple of days, there seems to be one episode that really stands out. Season three, episode six: “Diwali.” In it, Dunder Mifflin – Scranton regional manager Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) offers his best attempt at maintaining an open mind and open arms in embracing foreign culture when his employee Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) introduces the episode-title Hindu festival to the office: “Indians do not eat monkey brains. And if they do … sign me up. Because I am sure that they are very tasty and nutritional.”

Scott is unaware of how ignorant he really is — not necessarily malicious, but simply ignorant of others’ cultures, ideals and customs. But, you can’t really blame the guy for trying. After all, Scott’s heart is golden as he has proven time and again throughout the series. All he truly wants is to understand and love everyone.

Whenever people have encountered uncomfortable political, gender or lifestyle differences on campus, it has been comforting to see that the stance has always been that our University should be a forum that allows for constructive discussion and enlightening debate, that so long as we show a desire to understand and love one another we may be able to share their thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a comfortable setting. So when you’re met with someone who does understand how ignorant he really is, and embraces this misunderstanding and misplaces it into hate, the tolerance for their views and beliefs quickly dwindles. The intention is not to understand and love as Scott does — as we do — but the intention becomes to hurt.

This is unfortunately what we have with the recent leak of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. In the tape released by TMZ, the alleged voice of Sterling may be heard to reprimand his half-African-American, then girlfriend V. Stiviano for taking a picture with Los Angeles Lakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and even going further to tell her he cannot tolerate people of African-American descent at his Clippers games. This ignorance and hate has been met with cries of injustice by representatives of the NBA across the board, from Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Johnson himself. It is popular belief that as of today, with the Golden State Warriors leading the Clippers in the NBA playoff series 2-1, Sterling has jeopardized his team’s chances for a championship run. In an association like the NBA where Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban runs onto the court to hug his player Vince Carter for a game-winning shot, it is baffling that this kind of determined and unapologetic racism and ignorance still persists today.

Ignorance is okay, so long as it is coupled with a desire to understand, love and embrace each other’s differences. Unabashed ignorance and hate, however, have no place in a society that seeks to grow together.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Miko Malabute

Senior student at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in Biochemistry. From Tujunga, CA.

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