The fallout over the “tequila” party is not going away any time soon with the article on both Barstool and Turtleboy being put out into the public sphere, and the subsequent reaction on Yik Yak afterwards. 

Everyone has the right to an opinion, including those people who have attacked Bowdoin students who have spoken out against this latest act of cultural insensitivity. You certainly have a First Amendment right to free speech. I applaud you for taking this right to heart. The right to one’s opinion that may differ from others is one of our most precious rights that we enjoy as American citizens. 

I will quickly address both Barstool and Turtleboy. Both of these blogs are home to xenophobic, sexist and racist articles. These websites are the breeding holes for those who feel emboldened by the New Yorker with the “huge” combover and orange glow tan who spews hyperbolic vitriol. Donald Trump stands for this bigotry which has become common in this current election cycle. To have to appeal to websites this far on the fringe discredits your argument. For the students who agree with the articles, this rest of this article is going to be tough for you to hear. 

On Yik Yak some of you crooned with pleasure about the articles from above. We all have the right to an opinion, and I cannot say yours is not valid. I can say this though. The arguments presented in these pieces are not even original. Conservatives have not had an original idea since Barry Goldwater ran for president in the 1960s. I know it’s hard to believe this, but this racist verbiage about “political correctness” was actually created by conservatives, and is quite frankly older than most of the bloggers using it to pour attacks on people who “just need to stop being so sensitive to people’s attempts to having fun.” 

Although the use of this term dates back to at least the 1700s, its current pejorative meaning, used by the right wing to attack liberal ideas and social trends such as racial differences, was first coined in the late 1980s to attack, ironically, institutions of higher learning who were, in the eyes of many conservatives, trying to force “liberal ideals” on all students. It was a reaction to nontraditional courses studies introduced in the 1960s and 70s, e.g., Chicano, Black and Women’s Studies, that were turning college and university campuses into anti-establishment hotbeds, according to many conservatives. The pendulum had swung too far to the left, and now it was time to turn things back to their proper place. 

This process is still taking place today. Haven’t you heard, it’s time to “make America great again?” Unfortunately, any attempts by university administrators to rein in acts of blatant bigotry here at Bowdoin and other institutions of higher learning have resulted in attacks by people who are tone deaf to the meaning of their deeds and words, and who defend themselves by attacking the “political correctness” of people “trying to infringe on their First Amendment rights.” It’s the same old tired argument, just a different day, month, year, decade, heck, century.

Political correctness would not be an issue if instead we focused on respect of one another. In simpler terms I am saying we should live by the golden rule, “Treat others how you wish to be treated.”

Others took to Yik Yak talking about how minority students are being “coddled” and are “overreacting” to incidents of this nature. I will give you points for creativity because you are shifting the focus away from the perpetrators of the event. By saying we are the issue, you are putting the blame on us minorities. There is just one problem with this sort of thinking: we are not the ones who perpetrated this incident. We are the recipients of acts of this nature, which, I would add, are unprovoked by us minority students. Instead, let’s put the blame where it really lies. It lies with the students who decide to appropriate and mock my culture. I’m not saying I’m blaming those who went to the party, I’m not. I’m blaming those who did not use the foresight before donning the attire they did, and laughing at people they don’t understand. They are the ones who rightly deserve such blame which seems to be put on us minorities when events such as this one occur. 

I know this will probably fall on deaf ears. It’s okay, I do not expect this article to solve the problem overnight. On a happier note, I leave you with this. Going to college is supposed to expand one’s horizons, not cement one’s bigotry.

Carlos Holguin is a member of the Class of 2019.