I want to be real from the get go, so no small talk. Let’s get right to the point.
“This is my commandment: that you LOVE one another…”
As I was settling in last night from an awesome day, I noticed a friend of mine on Twitter talking about how his friends are asking him about the Sigma Alpha Epsilon scandal on campus. I didn’t know what was happening, but my interest was spiked. I fell asleep a little worried. When I woke up this morning, I was running late to a meeting for work, but had my phone out to check the news. And that’s when I saw it.
“…just as I have LOVED you…”
I watched the video. Tears sprang to my eyes as I heard the racial slurs escape the lips of young adult men on a bus surrounded by peers and guests. No one sprang up to put an end to it. No one made a move to shut down the chanting. No one. The second video I saw showed 2 guys: the chant leader and his obvious cohort behind him who tried to get out of the camera’s shot. But again, no one put an end to the chant.
“No one has greater love…”
I had to sit in my car and gather my breath before walking into Crimson and Whipped Cream. As I drove by the North Oval of campus, I couldn’t look past the various media outlets filling the usual spots that staff members claim. I sat and listened in my meeting but all the while, my heart was somewhere else. My heart was with my fellow students who were standing in the rain, peacefully protesting the SAE behavior. I may be a graduate student, but the shameful behavior of one has now attached itself to a university known for its diversity and acceptance of all races and nationalities; a university I have always had in my heart that I now have the privilege of attending. No person should fear walking on campus that they will be hurt or violated because they look or sound different. No young man should have fear that they will be hazed or not even accepted into a certain fraternity because they have a different skin color. This behavior is disturbing and absolutely shameful. What I think happens when students get into their university of choice is they forget that education is in fact a privilege. The one thing I’ve always been thankful for is my freedom of religion and my education. I am a Christian and I make no apologies for that. My education, I’ve had to work for. I’ve had to work very hard to receive my Bachelors degree and now that I am pursuing a Masters degree, I’ve never been so grateful to be chosen to one of the best schools in the nation. As much as I want to think it was because I chose OU, I know OU had to choose me. This proves: education is a privilege. No one can take away your education…after you earned it.
“…than to lay down his own life…”
What these students failed to recognize is 10 seconds is all it takes to demolish the education you’ve worked possible years for. 10 seconds is all it takes to let the words you can’t get back out for all to hear. 10 seconds of chanting, full of racial disregard for HUMAN BEINGS, is all it takes to brand not only yourself and your fellow “brothers”, but your ENTIRE SCHOOL racists and bigots. I am angered by this behavior…but if I really think about it, I’m sad for my fellow students who are now worried about their safety. I almost cried looking through the pictures of the most beautiful students wearing their hearts on their sleeves filling the North Oval with duck tape across their mouths with the word “unheard” etched across it. If there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s that every person, no matter if they are different from myself or not, matters. I am extremely annoyed by these ridiculous idiots from SAE. I am saddened for the guys in the Fraternity who weren’t involved are now paying the price, but the lesson is: if you want to be different, that means you HAVE GOT to start STANDING UP for what’s right.
“…for his friends”–John 15:12-13
What I am incredibly thankful for is my parents. My parents would be the first to say they weren’t the perfect parents, but in my eyes, they were pretty dang close. I was talking to a friend in my class last week and we had just finished a discussion on discrimination. The issue of race came up. I quickly realized, I was raised in a unique family. My parents never told me or my sisters that we couldn’t be friends with kids of other races. My parents taught us the heart and character of a person is what matters more than what they look like. As I was talking to my friend she made a point to let me know my family is rare. “Linds, as a white family, you guys are rare. I experienced white families that judged me because of my skin color and didn’t want me around their kids. And I came from a great family. Where were you when I was in High School? I would’ve loved having a friend like you…” I am so appreciative that my parents didn’t point out skin color to me. It caused me to really get to know a person and talk to them, rather than judge solely based on what I saw. What I’m also so grateful for is a Savior who said we are to love. Jesus demonstrated that we are to love one another. He didn’t say “love one another…as long as they look like you”. There was no condition attached to it. It’s just LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Love isn’t demonstrated when you allow a chant to continue; it’s demonstrated when you know you’ll be the odd man out for your beliefs and putting an end to racist behavior. It’s demonstrated when you take the time to listen to someone who is different than you so you can better understand their heart. Love is a strong word, but it’s the only word I think of during this racially heated situation. Yes, let’s peacefully protest this behavior, but let us always come back to loving one another. They may not be your friends, but love knows no bounds.
So in light of the current state of SAE and the campus of OU, let’s rally for something that deserves our attention: unity. Let’s be united together and not let the idiocy of 2 frat boys ruin what otherwise could’ve been a great Monday. Let’s show those 2 very narrow-minded individuals what real community looks like. Let’s show them what love can do to a united body of OU students who don’t tolerate racism.
Let love win.