The Oberlin Review

Oberlin Students Fail to Actually Engage Communities, Show Solidarity

Melissa Harris, Editor-In-Chief

May 11, 2018

As my final weeks at Oberlin approach, I’ve felt blessed to be surrounded by many incredibly dedicated, inspiring individuals who genuinely work toward change and actively support the efforts of others. But I also feel jaded by the many faults of this institution, with which I’ve become familiar throughout my time here. Among them, I’ve realized that performative allyship is one of the most off-putting yet definitive flaws of this school’s culture — and it needs to stop. In a nutshell, performative allyship is when one acts minimally to earn approval, creating a façade of detachment from a status quo that systemically keeps marginalized folks oppressed. We see this frequently; people are quick to retweet or ...

Students Must Take Initiative as Allies

Sadie Keller, Rowan Maher, and Jesus Martinez

February 9, 2018

Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump’s racism and xenophobia did not take a winter break. When the president made disturbing comments about immigrants and the countries from which they hail, he insulted millions and negated ideas of respect, mobility, and equality — values fundamental to the Oberlin community. The president’s dangerous rhetoric and policies have made the past year and a half an escalating nightmare for many members of our community. Thousands of recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) live in Ohio, and Lorain County is home to a number of undocumented immigrants. Many of our neighbors live in precarious positions of safety and belonging due to their relationship with immigration — with Tempo...

Online Prejudice Reveals Weak Allyship

Samantha Smylie, Contributing Writer

December 5, 2014

When the St. Louis County prosecutor announced late on Nov. 24 that a grand jury found that “no probable cause exists to file any charge against Officer [Darren] Wilson,” millions around the country were in shock, outraged at the decision not to indict the Ferguson, MO police officer who killed Mike Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, in August. According to Dorian Johnson’s eyewitness testimony, Wilson fired shots at Brown after a confrontation, and Brown then tried to flee the scene. Wilson chased after Brown; once confronted again, according to witnesses, Brown put his hands in the air in an attempt to surrender and show that he did not have a gun. However, no one will ever really know Brown’s true intentions,...

Nothing to Celebrate: Consent Posters Do More Harm Than Good

Anne Buckwalter, Contributing Writer

November 14, 2014

During a recent visit to Student Health Services, I noticed something I did not like at all emblazoned on one of the stock posters in the exam room. While I’m sure that many of these posters could be considered problematic due to racism, male supremacy and other fatal flaws, the one I noticed was about consent. It read, “83 percent of college men respect their partner’s wishes about sexual activity.” I’m almost impressed that such triggering, heterosexist and poorly planned content could all be contained in one poster. The poster was created by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network in a campaign to involve men in the prevention of sexual assault. The RAINN poster seems to suggest that 83 percent represents...

OSCA’s Decision To Kick Out Kosher-Halal Co-op Upsetting, Disappointing

Hannah Seidel

April 5, 2013

On March 17, the OSCA Board of Directors decided to remove Kosher-Halal Co-op from the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association. As a member of both organizations, I am deeply ashamed of OSCA for this decision. I am disappointed, I am upset, and I am angry. I am ashamed because throughout this process, the OSCA Board and General Management Team have been uncooperative and dishonest to their membership. This important decision should have been made by OSCA as a whole, because democratic member control — one member, one vote — is one of the core principles on which OSCA was founded. However, because the Board met in confidential “Executive Sessions,” behind closed doors (perhaps “under the table” would be...

Struggling with Allyship, or, It Takes a Village

Ryan Brazell

March 15, 2013

As an open and visible member of the trans* community, I know intimately how it feels to be subjected to micro- and macroaggressions on a regular basis, even in historically and notoriously liberal pockets of the country like Oberlin and the Bay Area (where I currently live). My whiteness, however, affords me the unearned privilege of moving through society with relative ease. I was reminded of this privilege while watching students and faculty of color express their anger, pain, sadness, frustration and fear during last week’s “The Community Stands Together” convocation. I was reminded of this privilege again thanks to the clip of a group of students interrupting President Krislov’s interview on CNN. My immediate...

Apology for Divisive Nature of Responses, Not for Protesting Krislov

A.D. Hogan

March 15, 2013

Last week, a petition calling for a “formal, public apology” from me was circulated on the internet, primarily through social media. I’m writing to apologize. I am deeply apologetic for the distracting, divisive nature of people’s responses, and I am deeply apologetic for how these responses have diverted attention away from our task of making this community more just. Nonetheless, I remain unapologetic for protesting President Krislov’s interview on CNN. Students who are not directly targeted by recent events cannot judge nor invalidate the actions of students who are continually marginalized and oppressed, institutionally and interpersonally; instead, we all must listen to the experiences of students of...

New Club Addresses Male Privilege

William Passannante, Staff Writer

February 22, 2013

Signs for a “Dudes Collective,” which have been hanging around campus since the beginning of this semester, have garnered both positive and negative attention from several members of the Oberlin community. The group, which has tentatively changed its name to “Masculinity and Male Allyship,” held its first meeting Wednesday, Feb. 13. Posters for the group, advertising an organization called “Men’s Club” or “Oberlin Dudes Collective,” read, in small print, “How cis males can recognize the privilege we have and best be allies to women, queers, transgender folk, and each other[,] ... work towards gender equality and a non-violent, rape-free society ... All are welcome.” This message proved problematic...

Thoughts on Appropriate Action in Face of Racism

Mandy Hogan

April 20, 2012

To the Editors: I write this letter to call for recognition, for acknowledgement, for responsibility. I recognize the gross injustices against communities of color on campus, in the town and in greater society, along with the historical and current repression of LGBTQ people. I acknowledge that I am privileged by my race, perceived class status and gender identity. Society calls people who do this “allies,” but I take responsibility for the fact that I am not an ally — because the word suggests that I am making things better, and while I strive to practice an anti-racist politic, all too often I am able to be silent, and silence is complicity. I am a white, queer woman who has lived in Third World House and...

Established 1874.