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Andrew R. Seal '07
November 29, 2006
Throughout its history, Dartmouth has seen itself as a "small college," and has always taken pride in that fact.
It is because Dartmouth is a small school that racism, sexism, and classism are so important to speak out against, for they are not confined in their effects just to their intended targets-although that alone should be enough to require action of all of us-they prevent a real sense of community from forming-a sense of community which, if created and maintained, would truly be doing Dartmouth and its ideals proud.
Yesterday a new Facebook group was formed. Called Friends Don't Let Friends Work for The Dartmouth Review, it was clearly a joke, but it highlighted an interesting fact-we all have friends who, while they may not work for The Review, don't find a problem with racist jokes or attitudes. We all have friends whose sense of entitlement is so outrageous that it never occurs to them that they owe some modicum of self-restraint to the many people at this school who are not permitted to develop even a nascent sense of entitlement, who are in fact consistently told that they are not entitled even to our respect as peers.
Dartmouth is a small campus, yet you might not know it. We walk past the same people day in and day out with the expectation that neither of us should ever act like we belong to the same community. We unthinkingly accept the idea that deep divisions at our school along various lines, and the power dynamics that create those lines, are natural facts of our school. It is this ready acceptance that leads to incidents like those we have seen this term, and it is that unthinking acquiescence that has allowed these incidents to go unaddressed-and unredressed-for this long.
It is as I have said, a small College, and there are those who love it and who are not willing to see it further divided by distrust, bigotry, and arrogance. When we take action, it should be actions that seek to cut across the lines that have bitten into our community, that seek to find friends and allies in places we never thought we might. We are a small College, and we should act like it.