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ISSUE 119 VOL 6 PUBLISHED 10/28/2005

Letter to the editor

By Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 28, 2005

I understand that people can easily get rubbed the wrong way when tensions and words get stretched – but the second letter from a Carleton student which recently appeared in the Manitou Messenger regarding student behavior at the Cereal Bowl went over the top. The unfortunate comments made by St. Olaf students at the recent event were hardly out of the ordinary for a major sporting event: These St. Olaf students called someone a “retard” and someone else a “fat pig.” Obnoxious? Yes, of course, but are such comments unexpected at the season's most competitive sporting event? No.

Anyone attending sporting events should expect a little trash talk. Just remember that this small but loud contingent of trash talkers trying to get a rise out of everyone else does not represent the opinion of the majority. Also writing letters to the editor and being vocally hurt by such inflammatory remarks only feeds those who made the remarks by satisfying their need to publicly humiliate others.

The author of the letter also engages in inexcusable stereotyping: "A girl from St. Olaf sat behind me in the stands and said, 'Carleton seems to have a lot of Asian students – what is with that?' I truly felt like I was in the midst of some sort of Nazi youth rally."

That's a low blow. Identifying the commendably diverse racial composition of Carleton’s student body hardly makes the girl racist. The way she did so was perhaps insensitive, but the accusation which the author subsequently levied against her seems wholly unjustified. The author of the article not only notices the high number of Caucasians in the St. Olaf student body but also accuses them of the worst possible stereotype one could possibly levy against a Caucasian: that of being a Nazi. I honestly find it difficult to understand how the author justifies associating the entire St. Olaf student body with a movement responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent human beings due to one misdirected but lighthearted comment.

In the future, I hope that both Carleton and St. Olaf students work to move past the actions of those few irresponsible members of both our communities. Perhaps when confronting bullies in the future, both St. Olaf and Carleton students would do well to remember the age-old mantra which our mothers taught us when we were little children: “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.”

-Andrew Hvatum ‘08

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