I am responding to your story titled "Troublemaker: Student's Opinion Plunges College Diversity Class into Chaos," about the young lady at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst whose opinion caused such turmoil on their campus last week. I totally agree with the university’s handling of the affair, and wish to see the young lady, Ms. Dawson, academically disciplined, if not more.
I am also an instructor of Diversity Studies at a local community college in Boston, the name of which a care not to mention for the purposeful reasonable insights of this letter. And I, too, am incensed by the hostile expression of Ms. Dawson’s opinion.
The Associate Dean of Students massively understated the point when she said “Opinions can be a tricky business.” What she failed to say was that human opinions have been the foundation of every act of racism, imperialism, war, genocide, militarism, and slavery the world has ever known. And I think Ms. Dawson needs to take particular note of this sad fact before she thinks of forming another opinion again.
I doubt Ms. Dawson is a seething racist imperialist fascististicalist. More probabilistically, she is a naïve young girl who is trying to make her intellectual way through a world wrought with opinions of all sorts, and simply has fallen into the trap of opinion possession. What she and many young, hapless opinion-possessors need to realize that what can seem like an innocent perception of another people and culture is actually the first step on a slippery slope of intolerance and nihilism.
Ultimately the opinions grow and grow more severe and broad, and can only lead to the destruction of other peoples. So what at first seems like a harmless game of opinion-making can soon devolve into that actual act of judgment-making, and that can easily lead to beliefs of “inferior” and “superior,” and we all know where that can only lead.
The naïve Dawson apparently didn’t like the act of eating tarantulas. Well, well, well, Miss Dawson, guess who else didn’t look benignly on tarantula eating? –Hitler! Indeed, Adolf Hitler despised eating tarantulas, and look what he accomplished –six million Jews slaughtered; 20 million Russians dead; 50 million people in all killed in World War II.
Hitler had opinions, too. He hated tarantulas eating and Jews. If you don’t want to end up like Hitler, then stop with the damned opinion making. If we do not stop with opinions, no matter how seemingly innocent, then the Miss Dawsons of the world will become our next Hitlers.