The Oberlin Review

Anonymous Author Offers Apology

The Review cannot verify that this letter was from the writer of the graffiti. This unsigned letter was sent through an anonymous e-mail address and, despite numerous attempts, we could not confirm the writer’s identity. Due to the nature, tone and content of the e-mail, however, we felt that it should be published.

Anonymous

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To the Editors:

I do not hate people of African descent, nor do I hate homosexuals. I realize how hurtful both terms that appeared on the south wall of Dascomb are to members of both of these groups and all people in between. A lapse in judgment and common sense led me to spraypaint those two epithets on that wall outside of Dascomb, a lapse informed by a lack of taste and a perverse self-destructive urge.

I have rationalized the actions I took so many different ways that I’m not even sure why I did it anymore. I’ve told myself that it was an experiment in light of how readily some members of this community throw these two words around. I’ve told myself that it was a statement. I don’t think that that was the case, though. Furthermore, I am not overtly bigoted, nor filled with hate for any group of people based on who they are, how they look, what their sexual preferences are, etc. I recognize that the n-word and f-word are intensely infuriating. As I belong to both groups that these words are intended to target, I have been called both many times in my life. While I have not always felt viciousness to those that use these terms, I distance myself from those who attack people of African descent and of a homosexual orientation simply to deride them. I did not do this to hurt others.

I think the best way I can explain my actions is this: I’ve noticed a horrible trend in my life over the past few years. For a decade or so, I’ve been trying my damnedest to squander every bit of goodwill shown to me through self-sabotage or out-and-out self-destruction, whether opportunity comes from family or from the Oberlin Financial Aid Office, or other sources. I’m not sure why. My guess is that I am a coward. I love the Oberlin community dearly, I love all people therein, but recently I’ve been scared of being in an environment that has challenged me so thoroughly so often. I haven’t trusted myself to survive in such an environment. Unfortunately, I feel I succeeded too well in my attempt to hurt myself, and — worst of all — I hurt the people around me for this very selfish desire.

I am trying to put an end to this behavior, for the sake of those around me, for the sake of the people I love and for the sake of myself and my future. I regret that my personal problems have manifested themselves in such a disgusting way, and I am especially sorry for the pain it has caused all of the members of this community. I am sorry for disgracing this school with my words and actions.

The strong reaction to this vandalism has endeared me to this community so powerfully. I know that Oberlin is intended to be a sanctuary for people looking to curb the injustices that continue to hurt people so fundamentally; this is one of the many things I love about Oberlin. If the people of Oberlin College will still have me, I would love to give this community everything I have to offer. However, assuming that people are still scared, angry and/or hurt in light of this confession, I will abide anyone who feels that this apology is not a strong enough form of justice. I’m deeply sorry, once again. I accept all consequences of my actions.

I look forward to your response, and to finding out what I can to compensate for my wrong doing.

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