Hey students! You’re the reason the homophobes keep coming back!

(Why are you giving a hate group publicity?)

If+the+students%E2%80%99+goal+is+to+remove+the+hate+group+from+campus%2C+why+do+they+keep+playing+into+the+hate+group%E2%80%99s+hands%3F+%28graphic+by%3A+Jessica+Tapia%29++

If the students’ goal is to remove the hate group from campus, why do they keep playing into the hate group’s hands? (graphic by: Jessica Tapia)

Joey Weslo, General Assignment Reporter

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Have you ever had a rash in your undercarriage, and no matter how hard you try not to scratch, your mischievous fingers go to town? You know you’re spreading the rash, but you just can’t help yourself.

Recently, a socially-conservative, Christian hate group (and yes, some of those terms are redundant) opposed to homosexuality returned to the College of DuPage campus because our students aren’t mature enough to stop scratching at their festering sores.

While the members of the hate group may wish to pray away the gay, they pray even more for publicity. Students, while well-intentioned in protesting the hate group, are complicit in granting the hate group publicity.

The hate group’s name and detailed beliefs will not be reported here. I share no part in garnering them publicity.

All over the nation, far-right speakers and hate groups visit college campuses because they know it will maximize publicity. With their lack of maturity, students make for easy targets to profit from. Nobody writes headlines about poorly attended demonstrations or an elderly bigot mumbling to himself.

COD is a public institution, and while the hate group’s presence may make most students furious or uncomfortable, the hate group has every right to express their opinions under the First Amendment. As long as they refrain from using slurs, they are as welcome as our very diverse student body. College is not supposed to be a comfort bubble protecting snowflakes from the hatreds in the world. It’s a place to mature into someone who can intelligently fight back.

It’s not easy walking past someone who outlandishly denies your very existence to live. For many people, the abuse can be a dangerous, traumatizing trigger. It’s not easy to stay silent while someone attempts to dehumanize you. Passive resistance requires maturity.

Bringing over a camera crew, arguing with the hate group members and displaying signs of LGBTQ support is the easy thing to do. It’s why the hate group keeps returning. Publicity is how they receive funding. Protesting students are perpetuating the hate group’s existence. Their members are all old. Their reactionary fear of change and inclusivity is dying out; don’t breathe life into their hatred. If you want them to never return, ignore their existence.

There is more strength in passive resistance than confrontation. The group returns because our students lack brave-intelligence. It’s easy to desire to defend your friends, protest hate or prove to everyone how “woke” you are. True social change is never so short-sighted. Progress requires holistic thinking.

Civil rights activist the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and gay rights icon and politician Harvey Milk didn’t preach passive resistance because it was easy; they understood power dynamics and leveraging public influence. Every time you confront the hate group on campus, you are handing over the power that is inherently yours over to their cause. You are handing the power that belongs to all of us who don’t believe in hatred over to their cause.

Bigotry, racism, intolerance and xenophobia should not be ignored on our campus. However, confronting these issues is systemic in nature. If you want to truly protest the hate group, find out who funds them. Find out their affiliated churches. Find out which politicians share their beliefs. All politics is local. Nothing is out of our hands to change.

If you want to make a greater impact, where were you when COD included the anti-gay and anti-immigrant former State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R) on the school’s presidential search committee? By endorsing her inclusion, the conservative members of the board endorse the same beliefs the hate group espouses. Failure to denounce is complicity.

Ives is currently campaigning for the sixth district congressional seat, which represents most of COD’s students. Where are the protesters against her campaign and her supporters? Where are the students demanding COD’s current administration bars Ives from any future participation with our inclusive and diverse student body? Students just congregate around the hate group’s table because it’s convenient. It’s nice to feel like you’re making a difference in the world. You’re not. Be stronger. Aim higher.

The only power hate groups have is what we give them.

Find yourself some antibacterial, cooling lotion, refrain from scratching, and before you know it the pestilent rash will go away.