I do not typically jump on the bandwagon of any collegiate social statements or protests, much less at a smaller, generally harmonious campuses like John Carroll’s. While some movements are commendable (such as those that have helped been social levelers in racial matters), some, like Oxford’s “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign, I find hackneyed— just a bunch of college kids that are protesting to protest things.
I do not mean to defend Cecil Rhode’s imperialism; I just think that the world has about a thousand unsolved problems that should take precedence to tearing down a statue of a man who’s malevolent actions are irreversibly finished. With the migrant crisis sweeping through Europe, crippling hunger throughout the developing world and with illiteracy still persistent in certain regions, to name a few, I can’t really take seriously a bunch of kids trying to rewrite history.
My point, here, is that I am pretty critical of the stereotypical, collegiate “rebel without a cause.” I get very irritated when students exert a lot of energy trying to solve a menial problem when our society is faced with a myriad of bigger issues that could actually benefit from a college kid’s contributions.
That established, I really liked the display that barricaded the D.J. Lombardo Student Center this week.
I don’t know how you could have missed it, but if you did, you should know that the display consisted of a fence that blocked off the stairs of the Student Center and that was blanketed by a set of informational posters about American immigration policy.
The demonstration was clearly geared towards making people take a harder look at some of the immigration rhetoric that is circulating in American politics, specifically that surrounding the proposed plan by Republican frontrunners to erect a wall between the United States and Mexico.
I think that the display provided a very clever, called-for conduit for making a fact-based protest against xenophobic political candidates. The signs gave some great facts that show just how many people are trying to make a living for themselves as illegal immigrants in the U.S., as well as unmasking the horrid conditions that have forced them to abandon their countries of origin in the first place. The corporeal aspect of it—the physical fence that made people take the side ramps and steps up into the student center—helped make the proposition of a wall seem more foreboding, more real, and more serious.
I like this display because Americans’ (hypocritical) aversion to immigration has been a hot-button topic for quite a long time, especially at present. When the frontrunner from the Republican Party garners support with a populist-esque rally against undocumented immigrants from southern nations, it is clear that all voting sectors need to be reminded that his rhetoric and his misguided values can have very serious consequences on not only our society, but also on the entire continent. Our votes and our immigration policy have a strong effect on the entire western hemisphere—not just the United States.
The American electorate has a pretty important decision to make come November. It is easy to forget that the millions of people that sneak into the Southwestern states do not do so in order to malevolently “steal our jobs,” replace the English language with Spanish or, as Donald Trump believes, rape and murder us hardworking Americans—they come because they have to, because the United States has an economic situation that can help them escape from crippling poverty and instability. It is laudable that there are organizations that are trying to remind voters of their side of the story.
This, without a doubt, is a worthy collegiate social statement—it is undeniably a deserving topic and each one of us can do our part to ameliorate it.