Join the marketplace

No problem ever reached resolution by ignoring it. Things rarely just blow over. Silenced voices tend to find other less friendly means of being heard.

The concept of the marketplace of ideas gives everyone a chance to speak. Some of the ideas that come out are great; others, not so much. But the point is, everyone can say what is on his or her mind in a productive manner. Everyone can hear what others think and make up their own minds on whether something is right.

The discussion last night held by Black United Students did just that.

Beth Rankin wrote her column because she saw a problem. She raised the issue that, based on her experiences and the experiences of others, one could perceive BUS to be closed to non-black students. As of 11:30 last night, there were 61 comments on her column. Readers voiced their opinions and stories. Some shared Beth’s feelings. Others completely disagreed. Some, unfortunately, fell into the categories of ignorance and borderline racism.

BUS wisely chose to make this issue the topic of their regular meeting. It appears many were in agreement that there is a general misperception of BUS because people packed themselves into the Multicultural Center for the meeting. We couldn’t be happier. This has turned into more than a back-and-forth on a Web site. This was public discussion about an important issue on campus.

Though the discussion got off track for a little while, the public participation went very well. People had the chance to share their own stories and listen as well. Some ideas and thoughts are out there. If you were there last night, think about what you saw and heard. Did everything make sense? Did you agree with any of it? What made you angry? What stopped you in your tracks and made you really think?

We all have a choice ahead of us. We can forget about what happened last night and allow the status quo to continue. Nothing would change. No one would be the better for it. Whatever happened before would likely happen again. At least we’d know what to expect.

Or, we could go the other route, the more difficult road. We can stop being afraid. We can stop avoiding the issue. We can actually take the time and devote our patience and effort to talk to each other honestly and maturely to figure out what exactly is causing the problem.

The editorial board is not going to sit idly by and hope you all do this on your own. We want to do our part. We are going to set up more of these discussions with BUS. We’re going to do the same with KSU-NAACP, Pan African Studies professors and anyone else who gives a damn about it.

Help us do this. If something has happened to you, let us know. We’ll put it in the paper. We’ll create a section for it if we get enough responses. It’s not going to look good for the university if we have racial injustices running in the paper each day. It will force them into action.

We’ve taken the first step in getting to the root of this problem. If you attended last night, spread the word. Spread the mindset. If you weren’t there last night, and you knew about it, we have one question for you.

Do you think you’re part of the solution?

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.