This past summer, Nylea Bivins '12 planned a week of programming dedicated to discussing identity, bias, privilege, and inequality. The fruits of her work were seen during the first week of this semester, in a series of events thoughtfully entitled "Beyond the Bowdoin Hello: Ask, Listen, Engage."

I am writing this piece because I am frustrated with self-proclaimed "liberals" who continue to perpetuate ignorance on this campus and beyond.

In some ways, this is a reply to Judah Isseroff's "Republicans and the 'Bowdoin Hello' face distortions of original meanings" (February 3), but in other ways it is also a much broader critique of our moment in history.

After reading Isseroff's column, I found myself speechless. Here was a self-proclaimed "elitist" writing about "common institutional ideals and goals."

Tell me, elitist, what do you know about the "common goals" of students on this campus who do not look like you or who do not come from where you do? How much do you value their ideals and goals? From your article, it seems the answer is evident: very little.

The author is trapped in his own experience. He is unwilling to step outside his ideological boundaries, perhaps for fear of what he might learn about himself or his world.

Aside from these limitations, the author is also grossly misinformed about the history of bias at Bowdoin, the ways in which bias manifests, and institutional and student responses to it.

To limit the discourse around bias to the now infamous "dry-erase board in the tower" incident, or even the past year, is to completely ignore a long history of bias at Bowdoin that has gone both reported and unreported.

The narrative presented by Isseroff does not encompass incidents during the summer of 2010 when students of color were called "n----r!" by passing cars, or the fall of 2010, when some students of color were targeted when crossing the street, or when a student received a threat on her cell phone with racist language in it.

It also ignores the everyday interactions that take place on this "liberal, progressive" campus that socially reproduce cultural and racial pathologies and the generations of Bowdoin graduates of color who never seem to make it back for reunion.

Why not re-live fond memories? Perhaps because it is much harder to exist at Bowdoin than Isseroff and many others can fully appreciate or are capable of admitting.

It was right after the incident of personal cell phone harassment that Dean Foster sent out a campus-wide email about a bias incident.

At the subsequent meeting of the African American Society, Dean Foster's email was read and discussed. Many students expressed frustration because they thought the email's vague language was an attempt to sweep racism under the rug.

During that same meeting, many students shared other incidents with the group, but felt that they could not go to the unresponsive administration with this information.

At the end of this meeting, a group of five students came together to take the lead in creating a collective that eventually became "I Am Bowdoin."

These students had countless meetings with each other, members of the administration and faculty, and spent hours doing research and listening to concerned students.

When the incident in the tower happened the following semester (spring 2011), it was not an accident that Dean Foster's email was clear about what had happened and even included a photograph.

It was not an accident that there was a community meeting that Sunday night in Thorne where students, faculty and staff came together to express their frustrations and experiences with bias at Bowdoin.

The response that made "absolute sense" according to Mr. Isseroff was the result of hard work by students who were not feeling the "substantive bonds" of "this community."

Isseroff needs to be careful not to assume or imply that these administrative responses happened on their own accord.

It is also irresponsible of him to say that this so-called student "army" is using one incident in the tower, or even the few chronicled in this brief article, as motivation for its community organizing work (in his words, its "crusade").

It is here that I return to my original frustration: ignorance. Inaccurately recounting facts only furthers the spread of the disease around campus and in society.

Be careful, Isseroff. Be careful, reader.

Do not take this one article as the full story of how bias manifests and is expressed at Bowdoin—try listening to people. This article cannot encompass all of the frustrations people have concerning this issue at Bowdoin, but I hope it's a start.

However, at the end of the day, I do not know how to feel about people who just "don't get it." I'm frustrated because they do not listen to things other than the sound of their own experience.

They can go to conversations about identity, bias, privilege, and inequality, but if it is for the wrong reasons or without the ability to admit that they need to learn something that might completely alter their worldview, what's the point?

How do you talk to someone who has gone to events or lectures designed to educate and still declares, "creating an accepting community should not be the work of Bowdoin"? How can you change someone who feels nothing different, even after hearing people talk about how they feel attacked, threatened, and/or otherwise discriminated against?

From my experience at Bowdoin, I've gained knowledge that has finally led me to accept a very depressing reality: you can't.

This article does not encompass the enormity of this issue on this campus, in our past, present, or future. All it is meant to do is to finally articulate the feelings of so many—myself included—who have grown weary of attempted dialogue and have become somewhat depressed by the knowledge that those who refuse to listen will most likely never have to in our current world.

Reilly Lorastein is a member of the Class of 2013.