Temple’s College of Liberal Arts Presents a Talk On Charlottesville

BY: EMANI WASHINGTON

The College of Liberal Arts presented Thursday, “Dissent in America: After Charlottesville, Neo-Nazism, White Supremacy, Anti-Semitism, and Racism.”

This teach-in gave students and professors the opportunity to voice their opinions and facts on the aftermath of the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The topic of race in America and the world at large tends to be a hypersensitive and often times emotional one.

Professor of History Lila Berman shares how she believes that past activists who fought for equal rights within America had a sense of intuition knowing that the fight of the 1960’s wouldn’t delete race issues overnight.

“One thing I think is the case is that some of those figures were in a sense prophetic,” Berman said. “That they knew that just passing the 1964 Civil Rights legislation is not going to be the answer to change everything, and they knew that there needed to be deeper change. And if we don’t pay attention, if we let big money take over and put in the candidates that they want to put in, then we lose the ability to make this country reach its loftiest aspirations. I really do see hope.”

Many students questioned if the First Amendment should have limitations. Students made the point that white nationalists had the right to rally and protest against the removal of Confederate icon General Robert E. Lee.

Some felt that the laws of America need to be re-evaluated. PhD of history student Menika Dirkson had a strong opinion on how freedom of speech can be abused and used as a way to trigger fear.

“Well when you’re talking about freedom of speech, there has to be checks on how you use it,” Dirkson said. “Just like you can’t shout falsely fire in a public place, you can’t be a white supremacist and say, white street, you can’t have torches at night, protesting with swastikas, saying inherently and implicitly racist doctrine. It triggers emotional and psychological fear in people of color.”

Temple University encourages ongoing discussions regarding this issue.