Anti-Semitism Uptown

More nastiness coming out of Columbia University. Earlier this week, the noose, and now this reported in the New York Sun today:

Anti-Semitic vandalism was found in a bathroom at a Columbia University building yesterday, two days after a noose was found hanging on a black professor’s office, university and police officials said.

Peter Awn, a comparative religion scholar and Dean of General Studies at Columbia “distressing” in an e-mail to students yesterday.

“These kinds of hateful crimes directed against the Jewish community or any other individuals or groups will not be tolerated.”

I couldn’t agree more with Professor Awn’s statement. And, yet, can’t resist the opportunity to point out what a problematic word “tolerated” is. If we follow the semantic path set out here, we end up arguing for “no tolerance for intolerance.” We need new ways of talking about what it means to be “against” racism and anti-Semitism.

“Free the Jena Six” Shirts Banned From Schools

<P>After the recent highly racialized events in Jena, Louisiana, high school and college students around the United States have shown their support for the black students in Jena by wearing various “Free the Jena Six” t-shirts. Although this is seen as innocent by some, school officials at several schools around the country have viewed the shirts as “disruptive” and as potentially causing conflict on their campuses. Thus, in late August a group of Jena High School students were banned by Jena High School from wearing to school shirts that voice support for the six accused students. According to an MSNBC Report, Roy Breithaupt, the local school superintendent, banned the shirts, stating that the slogan on the shirts might cause school problems.

Other schools around the country are following a similar path in not allowing students to wear the Jena-support shirts to school. Recently, a student in Tennessee was not allowed to enter the school while wearing her “Free the Jena Six” shirt. According to a school administrator, the shirt could “cause a problem.” It is important to mention in both of these cases, there are no standard uniforms to be worn to these schools. The Tennessee student is currently in the process of appealing this decision.�