I am not a white bitch, either

Maria Nann

It seems to me that there are deep-rooted issues on this campus that have not been addressed – and continue to go unaddressed – not because of a lack of communication, but because of a lack of understanding.

During the controversy regarding Beth Rankin’s column in the Stater, I watched and listened intently as events began to unfold. I read the comments online, the follow-ups. I attended the forum hosted by Black United Students and sat silently in the back of the room. I listened. And I began to form my own opinion as I listened to both sides of the story.

Do I agree with everything in Rankin’s column? No. Do I understand why she wrote it? Yes.

Then, before the dust had settled from the BUS-Rankin controversy, it seems new tensions were sparked by the anti-abortion protests in Risman Plaza. Words such as “racism,” “genocide,” “Nazis” and “zealous bigots” have been tossed around like clothes in a dryer. It has sparked new discussions of race, murder, religion, gender roles and so much more.

I read all the articles printed in the Stater, as well as all the comments posted online. I stood by and watched the protesters and the interaction between the two groups. It brought me back to Rankin’s column. And I realized something.

The racist and hateful feelings among the Kent State constituency are not caused by a refusal to discuss any questions or underlying issues, but rather a refusal of each side to understand the other.

To categorize abortion with genocide is akin to aligning religion and Christianity with bigotry and zealousness, as one commenter did in response to Tuesday’s coverage of the abortion protests. It is a radical and dangerous thing to do.

As a society, we cannot allow ourselves to make generalizations regarding others’ beliefs. The girl sitting next to you in church is not guaranteed to be pro-life. The boy in front of you at the College Republicans meeting is not necessarily in support of the war in Iraq. You can’t be sure that the girl in your dorm who is a member of BUS hates you because you’re white. And not every person protesting abortion is a zealous bigot who is anti-abortion but pro-death penalty.

These are dangerous assumptions to make, and if we are not careful, they may gain enough power to solidify the walls that are separating us from understanding each other and solving the real issues.

I am not a white bitch. But I am not a zealous bigot either. And I refuse to be categorized as such.

Maria Nann is a freshman newspaper journalism major and a features reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].