“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”-Desmond Tutu
If you have read the open letter penned by Scripps students to President Lori Bettison-Varga and The Scripps Board of Trustees, either by email or in this issue, you will see both of our names signed at the bottom. This is because we stand in solidarity with marginalized communities on this campus who are fighting for their voices to be heard — we refuse to be a part of the various mechanisms on the Scripps College campus that silence them. If these communities speak out, we must sit down and listen. Neutrality and objectivity are neoliberal fantasies. By insisting that people and entities on this campus and beyond remain “neutral,” one insists that they do nothing to challenge systems of domination and subordination, and therefore participate in the subordination of marginalized groups. We refuse to commit violence against these communities.
We call on the students at Scripps to utilize their Core education to its fullest extent; understand and recognize the ways in which groups have been and continue to be exploited, subordinated, and have violence committed against them. Understand that it is important to conceptualize what domination and subordination looks like, and recognize that the mainstream liberal community at Scripps is not “beyond” or “above” being oppressive. We do not learn about historic forms of oppression because they no longer exist – we learn about them to understand how they are rearticulated into a contemporary context.
We call on Scripps students to step back and recognize the ways in which they are complicit in the perpetuation of domination, because these communities tell us we are. Get out of your comfort zone. Educate yourself. Passivity and neutrality are not options.
-Aidan Harley and Megan Petersen, Editors-in-Chief