This past Sunday, I received an email from the President of my college, addressing some stickers that were posted around campus. Students post random stickers all the time, on light posts and telephone poles, of the different organizations they're in, or of a funny phrase.
But, I couldn't believe-- or perhaps I didn't want to believe-- that I would find stickers posted by a white supremacist Neo-Nazi group, and our campus was not the only one affected. Apparently, over the weekend, over 200 campuses found these stickers.
It is 2019. We live in a society where mass shootings are shocking and gruesome, but part of our lives now. Where hate-filled graffiti and vandalism is reported about on the nightly news and washed away the next day, not spoken about again. Where it is necessary to have armed security officers stationed out front of houses of worship.
When will enough be enough?
As Americans, we have the right to free speech, but what separates free speech and hate speech, where words call out for the extermination of a people?
I did not come to college to live my life in fear, I came to learn. But how can I learn when there is still that looming fear that somebody who wishes I was dead will do something horrific?
Fellow students post racist and hateful content online, only to get a slap on the wrist from school officials. How will they ever learn that what they do is completely unacceptable if they know they'll just have to write an apology letter as a consequence? And what does that say to the students who were attacked or affected by the content?
We shouldn't have to live our lives in fear of retaliation or discrimination based on religion, race, or identity. Every day, we see history repeating itself and nobody doing anything to stop it.