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The last thing Clemson needs is Milo

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This month, Milo Yiannopoulos is coming to campus. His visits to other universities have caused outrage, and some schools have even prohibited him from speaking on their campuses due to his misogynistic and racist rhetoric. He has taken his abusive speech and online harassment to such an extreme that he was banned from Twitter. He represents portions of the “alt-right” which has deep ties to white nationalism and mock movements towards racial equality and justice. 

Unlike some of the universities who have banned Yiannopoulos, I agree with Clemson’s decision to let him speak. I think the bar of prohibiting individuals, even hateful and offensive individuals like Milo, should be very high for public institutions such as Clemson. If the university feels that it needs to ban someone on the far right, then it may not be too long until they carry out similar treatment to others with non-conventional political positions as well. 

However, though Milo may have the “right” to come speak on campus, he is the last thing that Clemson University needs. If we were an extremely, leftist university then I could understand the desire to possibly bring in some right-wing ideologue to balance out the environment. However, we are not the bastion of liberalism. We are a primarily white, conservative university. We need speakers that will actually challenge student’s assumptions about race, class, and privilege– not merely parrot back to them their own societal views.

On a campus, where we still have a building named after one of the most notorious and violent racists in U.S. History, have bananas placed on African-American history banners and have racially offensive “Cripmas” parties, we don’t need someone coming to tell the students that white males are the ones being oppressed. In a state where many immigrant students cannot even attend higher education due to xenophobic policies, it is hard to feel too much sympathy for the followers of Milo who want to feign that they are the ones being discriminated against. 

As a nation, we have seen the rise of the most racist and misogynistic presidential campaign in recent history. We have a candidate for president who has been openly praised by white supremacists and made attacks on immigrants and Muslims. Our nation is breaking apart at the seams. We need to come together and put the intolerance behind us. In this tense environment, people like Milo only serve to make the situation worse. What we need is for people of all backgrounds, but especially the often blinded white community, to open their eyes to the injustices all around them. Just like Trump will not make America great, Milo’s visit will not make Clemson a better place. He will simply allow for a portion of the student population to ignore their own privilege and grow in their misogynistic and racist views. I have met so many people of goodwill here at Clemson who are striving to create a more inclusive and compassionate campus environment. Let’s follow their lead and allow the calls for a more just society to drown out the hatred and bigotry of spoiled and bigoted children like Milo and his hero, Donald Trump.

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