Someone among us has broken the law, so let us spend time attacking those who released the news, talking about the individual and never doing anything about it. It’s low maintenance involvement, and to a certain degree, condemning the Graphic feels like passive activism. Many of you condemn the Graphic for not showing any empathy in light of this situation. Although I applaud you for your sense of camaraderie, I argue that this empathy is misplaced.
For instance, when newspapers released the news on senator Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal, we never considered it inappropriate of the news reporters to do so. “It’s their job,” we justified. “They are just reporting facts.” Plus, the fact that his last name is Weiner is just plain funny. But when Anthony Weiner is someone we love in our community, we realize the cost of living in a nation that exercises free press.
So take your empathy elsewhere. Realize that the world is not made up of binary oppositions of “good people” and “convicts,” or “screw-ups” and “good people.” Reinvent your world of classification, because the legal system does not take into account who is kind or who is victimized — and for a campus that preaches freely giving, we are rather quick to give judgment and our opinions, but not constructive action, because that takes time and effort.
If you want to be a part of this conversation, it does not matter who committed the act of deviance. The only questions that should be asked are ones of prevention and construction. Take that burning sense of agency and turn to creative solutions. Mandate breathalyzers at the door when leaving a party. Organize late night shuttle services. Be there for individuals who are facing trials, especially if/when they are incriminated.
Let us shake off the notion that “stupid decisions” happen in isolated minds. As a community, we need to dig deeper and realize that we are combined sums of everyone we have ever met. This should be a serious evaluation of a culture that equates masculinity with amount of alcohol consumed. This should let us evaluate an institution that distances itself from bad publicity, often at the cost of agents that enrich education. This should be a conversation on the fact that news entities depend on readership that can sometimes spike in numbers due to controversy. This should be many conversations, and looking for a scapegoat in light of this situation, be it the actors involved or the Graphic, is seriously limiting our growth as a community.
Follow Justina Huang on Twitter: @huanderwoman