Daily 49er

To the Guy with the Knife…

Some apologies are owed over the knife incident.

Cameron Christner, Contributing Writer

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On Feb. 25, a male student displayed a knife during a race and gender studies class. Reports circulated that the incident was racially charged and students vocalized disappointment in the amount of time it took campus officials to release a statement. A moderated forum was held last Thursday to give further opportunity for students to speak on the topic. 

Dear Knife Guy,

I don’t know who you are, what your beliefs are or what you did in class on Feb. 25. You may be a white supremacist who threatened a black woman like they say.

Or, you might just be a foolish guy caught up in the race politics of our age. Regardless, I apologize – and not for anything that happened in that classroom.

I apologize for everything that happened after, on both sides of the conversation.

I’m sorry that the police and administration perceive a greater threat to your life than to the people you supposedly threatened. I’m sorry about the wannabe Black Panther in the purple sweatshirt and camo jacket who basically threatened to lynch you during Thursday’s forum.

I’m sorry that even if it is found that you did nothing illegal, your accusers will still call for your expulsion simply for carrying the knife, even though it was legal to have on campus, according to campus President Jane Close Conoley.

I’m sorry that no one, official or civilian, stood up for your rights or even asked for patience in regards to the facts, which are still yet to be established. If you are innocent, I am sorry that your name has been tarnished, that you have been called a white supremacist, that you have been lumped in with medieval-minded primitives who are still living in tribes.

If you in fact are a white supremacist, well, I’m just sorry.

I also want to apologize to people who were at the forum last Thursday. I’m sorry that the yelling from the crowd and panel got in the way of a civil conversation.

I’m sorry that the officials and administrators were bullied into timid silence.

I’m sorry that Carmen Taylor was interrupted less than 30 seconds after calling the forum to order. I’m sorry to the girl who started crying two seconds after beginning to speak, and then miraculously felt better two seconds later; those crocodile tears must have been hard for her to pull off.

I’m sorry to the girl at the forum who said she was “triggered” simply because the guy with the knife had the same skin color as her alleged rapist. I’m sorry that the man who wanted to express his view that small knives should be allowed on campus felt so intimidated that he decided not to speak.

I’m sorry to the police officer who was misquoted as saying the social media response was bad, when in fact he was making the point that some of the information parroted on social media was factually inaccurate.

I’m sorry to everyone who was interested in the facts, and I’m sorry that you only heard one side of the story, almost exclusively from people who were not even there.

I’m also sorry to anyone who has been the victim of racial violence or profiling. I’m sorry to those who have been raped and those who have suffered police abuse. I’m sorry to anyone who has not received justice, no matter what for.

And it is for this reason, because I make a point to stand against all injustice, that I am willing to wait for the facts to come forward instead of jumping to conclusions.

To the man with the knife: if you are innocent, I implore you not to be intimidated and come forward.

Tell your side of the story. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for the truth.

There is nothing to gain from letting others tell it for you, and the longer you wait, the more they can demonize and lie about you with impunity.

And that goes for anyone else in that class on that day. And if you did in fact threaten another human being with a knife because she has different colored skin, then I hope the punishment fits the crime.

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