Editorial: Fight hate and indifference with love

Editorial Board

Iowa State has seen a recent influx of white nationalist propaganda. Anti-immigration posters that simultaneously mock sexual consent were found in several locations around campus near the end of January.

Sadly, this is not a phenomenon unique to our campus. The Anti-Defamation League has documented “346 incidents of white supremacist propaganda” across 216 college campuses in 44 states and the District of Colombia. The report details a 258 percent increase in white supremacist propaganda on college campuses from fall 2016 to fall 2017.

To help combat this organized form of hate, the Southern Poverty Law Center has released a report outlining what hate groups are active on college campuses, what tactics the groups may use and tips on how to react and support those who are targeted.

It’s obvious posters at Iowa State are a local symptom of a national problem. Whatever name they go by, alt-right, neo-Nazi, white supremacist or white nationalist, the vile bigotry and hatred these groups attempt to spread have no place on our campus or in our communities.

However, to fight hate with hate is illogical and counterproductive. Rather, students, faculty and community members need to take this as a charge to show more outward love and support for others in their daily lives. These simple actions can mean a lot, especially for underrepresented groups who are at higher risks of being targeted by these hate groups.

In showing this love and support, don’t be afraid to callout subtle and not-so-subtle instances of discrimination and hate. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel noted the atrocities he witnessed were, in part, the result of indifference: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

Let those around you know through your actions that you will not sit idly by as racist comments are made in class, as unwanted sexual advances are made in a bar and as anti-immigration posters are hung in residential halls.