Over the summer, screenshots of a private group conversation between several members of the class of 2018 surfaced on Facebook. These messages included references to lynching and genocide of blacks, Mexicans, and other minority groups.
Genocide is something that shouldn’t be alluded to in a laughing manner, and the events over the summer that spoke about the murder of black people were certainly racist.
However, as a society we need to be more conservative with the term racist. Although the actions taken by several students this summer were undoubtedly racist, these students do not deserve to be labeled as racists for the rest of their lives. One of the students at the center of the incident, Bobo Musikavanhu ’18, emphasizes the importance of forgiveness, which can not be done if these students are labeled as racists for the rest of their lives. In the hypersensitive times that we live in, it seems like people are labeled as racists for no apparent reason. If everyone is labeled as a racist, the word loses its potency. The term “racist” needs to be reserved for the worst members of society, so when someone gets labeled as a racist it actually means something and makes them reconsider their actions in a more meaningful way.