In his column in the Tufts Daily yesterday, Will Ehrenfeld wonders what exactly makes last week’s bias incident involving the KSA and a drunk freshman in Lewis a “bias incident.” He asks:
Was it a bias incident because of what the kid said? He allegedly employed racial slurs to verbally abuse the dancers after the physical altercation had ended, calling them names and telling them to “go back to China.” I suppose this makes what up until then would have been considered merely a fight or, depending on which side you fall, assault, into an incident of racial bias. I know what you’re thinking: Well, duh. But think — what do the kid’s words after a fight have to do with the apparent motivations for the fight?
Well, Will, a bias incident is of harassment (abusive conduct that is persistent, severe, or pervasive and threatens or limits an individual’s ability to go participate in his/her activities) that is motivated by prejudice against people based on their race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Tufts defines a bias incident as:
any act directed against a person or property that includes the use of slurs or epithets expressing bias on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression.
In this case it was clearly motivated by racism (remember, racism = power/privilege + prejudice). I find it insulting that Will belittles the bias incident and writes it off as “merely a fight or, depending on which side you fall, assault, into an incident of racial bias.” It is a very ignorant comment that demonstrates that because he has never had any experiences with neither covert nor overt racism that he cannot even fathom what it’s like for those who experience racism on a daily basis.
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