The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Reexamining our commitment to an ‘inclusive and diverse community’

To the Editor:

We members of the Department of History wish to express solidarity with the students who have been made to feel marginalized by actions taken by their peers and the university, as reported by The Hawk. Such experiences require us to reexamine our commitment to the “inclusive and diverse community” defined in the Saint Joseph’s University Mission Statement.

As historians, we document and assess the costs of racial bigotry. In The Hawk article, “Racial Slur,” photographs reveal that on the vandalized felt board, most words are nonsense except for “Coons,” which the perpetrator carefully arranged. The word is a slur meant to dehumanize African-Americans. We betray the basic principles of our institution when we turn a blind eye to such language, or dismiss it as a joke of misunderstanding.

Historically, words of prejudice have been used to motivate destructive and despicable actions. Colonized peoples were framed as “savages” to justify their exploitation, religious others depicted as “demonic” to justify their murder, people were labeled “asocial” to justify their extermination. In American history, this specific slur has been intended to instill fear in black minorities from the time of slavery to segregationists’ use of “Martin Luther Coon.” Use of this slur is a hostile act.

The Ignatian value cura personalis “affirms the goodness, the worth and the dignity of every human being.” All St. Joe’s students must know that the community standards that govern our behavior are real and meaningful; they must define a safe and inviting environment for all our members

           It is furthermore jarring to learn that we allow those who commit racist acts to live next to those they victimize while we isolate innocent transgender students. All our students deserve to feel welcome and safe here. May the awareness of these issues lead us to stand together as a community against all racial and social injustices.


The History Department

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