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The answer to bigoted signs isn’t to tear them down

Right here in River City, in southeast Minneapolis, one finds blatant bigotry. And then we liberals compound the problem.

Recently, signs stapled to telephone posts read, “We should have more people from places like Norway.” That, of course, is a quote from the president of the United States. Should anyone mistake the meaning, the attribution makes the intent clear. Under the quote one finds an emblem with a picture of Goldy Gopher and the words, “University of Minnesota White Student Union.” Really? Have 21st century students really organized a White Student Union?

Nextdoor Marcy-Holmes Daily Digest provides a photo of the sign with a request for responses. The first comment on Nextdoor Daily Digest is, “Please tear these down wherever you see them.” And then a string of additional rejoinders including, “Already down.” “I take them down. Was going to deface them. Why make it noticeable??? Take them down!!!!!”

We don’t know if the U really has a White Student Union (though, according to this recent City Pages story, it doesn’t). Someone or some group chose to deliver a message. We liberals shouldn’t be tearing down “their” signs. What if the sign read, “Black Lives Matter” and were posted by the Black Student Union? We’d be appalled. What if signs were put up by Holocaust deniers? What if the signs asked us to “co-exist?” If our signs were torn down, we’d protest and make more signs defending free speech. What special right does our team have to tear down the signs of a White Student Union?

Of course, there is a second issue. Should anyone, regardless of beliefs, be defacing telephone posts or other public settings? But that’s a theme for another time. 

Fred Amram is the author of We’re in America Now: A Survivor’s Stories.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 06/15/2018 - 02:32 pm.

    Add a sign

    We need more Norwegians.

    Second sign: Norwegians have no need for us – and Minnesota is well stocked already.

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