The Oberlin Review

Gibson’s Links Black People to Anti-Semitism

Booker C. Peek, Emeritus Associate Professor of Africana Studies

December 1, 2017

To the Editors: As the founding fathers of Oberlin College and Arthur Tappan, whose name Tappan Square bears because of his much-needed financial support of the College, would have wanted, Oberlin remains America’s most luminous beacon for a more just, peaceful, and humane world. As much as the Founding Fathers of our nation will always have our admiration, they showed a serious human weakness in their subjugation of women and willingness to enslave Blacks. As women throughout America need us all to step up to fight against sexism, so do Blacks need all Americans to help us fight against racism. But the middle-aged white men who feel hurt and abandoned — a disproportionate number of whom commit suicide — also need our f...

Student Debate Will Help Strengthen Personal Views

Booker C. Peek, Emeritus Associate Professor of Africana Studies

November 10, 2017

To the Editors: When some anti-Semitic signs appeared on campus, President Ambar announced that her administration will not automatically amplify those messages by informing the entire campus each time they appear. But she will surely do an all-campus notification if need be. I have no idea if she explained to students or the campus what her rationale was before taking this action; in any case, her position does seem to be a good one, if only because there is nothing anyone can ever do to prevent one person — perhaps not even associated with the College — from having the power to sow fear throughout the entire campus by posting hate-filled scribblings. When President Ambar visited New York City about two weeks ago, she rece...

President Ambar Announces Hate Speech Policy in Wake of Posters

Alexis Dill, News Editor

October 27, 2017

Anti-Semitic posters advocating the end of “Jewish privilege” were discovered outside of Warner Center, the Science Center, Carnegie Building, and East Hall by Safety and Security officers Oct. 20. The posters were promptly removed as they went against the College’s stated mission of diversity and inclusion and were in violation of Oberlin’s postering policy, according to Clifton Barnes. Following the incident, President Carmen Ambar reached out to students, faculty, and staff members via email. She recognized that the incident mirrored similar events that have occurred recently in other communities and college campuses across the country, both in content and in approach. “These actors are working from a pre...

Policy of Silence Threatens Students

Editorial Board

October 27, 2017

In the wake of anti-Semitic flyers being discovered by Safety and Security on Warner Center and Peters Hall early in the morning Oct. 13, President Ambar announced in an email to the students, faculty, and staff that the College would stop notifying the community of discriminatory postings “unless there is clear evidence of an ongoing pattern or a serious threat to campus safety.” As a group that includes multiple marginalized identities, including Judaism, the Editorial Board is surprised, confused, and frightened about the implications of such a sudden sweeping decision. First and foremost, we believe that marginalized students have a right to be informed about any all possible statements of hate and threats ...

Charlottesville Highlights Need for Bystander Intervention

Kira Findling, Contributing Writer

September 1, 2017

I went to high school with a girl who talked a lot about her interest in Hitler. Most of my friends thought it was weird; when she started talking about the Third Reich, we would try to change the subject. It wasn’t until I saw her reading Mein Kampf that I understood that it was not interest she felt, but admiration. As a Jew and granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, the situation made me uncomfortable. I remember feeling awkward and upset whenever she mentioned Hitler or made anti-Semitic jokes. But one of her best friends was Jewish, so it seemed impossible that she actually felt hatred towards Jews. I was fifteen and scared to draw attention to myself. I didn’t know what to do. Then she suddenly ann...

College Should Prioritize Healthy Working Environment Over Free Speech

Daniel Markus, Arts and Culture Editor

May 5, 2017

Imagine the following scenario: You work in an office. One day at work, the company brings in a speaker to give a presentation about business development. Midway through, the presenter starts making incredibly disparaging comments about women. What would you do? Most likely, you would file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, because the presenter’s actions are prohibited under federal law. According to the EEOC, “The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.” If you were a member of this workplace, you wouldn’t expect coworkers to go about their bu...

Activists Must Tackle Bigotry on Local Level

Nathan Carpenter, Contributing Opinions Editor

March 10, 2017

Donald Trump’s presidency endangers many people in the United States, citizens and non-citizens alike. Over the past week and a half, this threat has materialized in a very real way for the Oberlin and greater Lorain County communities. Earlier this month, a swastika and hate speech were carved into the door of a synagogue in Lorain. A Facebook page called Oberlin Illegal Immigrant Tipline began encouraging people to report undocumented immigrants in our community. These dehumanizing acts of hate are local, immediate examples of how Trump’s rhetoric is inciting violence in increasingly personal and intense ways. We as a country put a virulent racist in the White House, and now we’re seeing the impact of that...

American Jews Must Confront Trump’s Bigotry

Roman Broszkowski, Contributing Writer

November 18, 2016

There’s a saying that three Jews have four opinions. If that’s true, then one is that Donald Trump and his tiny hands are worthy of the presidency. Although Jews overwhelmingly rejected Trump’s message of hate on Nov. 8, one in four did not, according to exit polling. Nearly a quarter of our community voted for someone who spewed racism, called for violence, used anti-Semitic imagery and preached xenophobia. This article isn’t about why that happened; it’s about what we, as Jews, will do in our communities over the next four years. Jews are often ignored as a demographic that has much to lose from a Trump presidency. While it is obvious that Trump is racist, misogynistic, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant, he ...

Rosenfeld Anti-Semitism Lecture Unproductive, Misinformative

Josh Koller, Contributing Writer

November 4, 2016

I’ve been taught to honor, admire and respect educators across the board, but due to Dr. Alvin H. Rosenfeld’s propensity for denying facts and vilifying groups of people, I feel that I cannot extend him the usual respect. Dr. Rosenfeld, professor of Jewish Studies and English at Indiana University, Bloomington, came to campus Monday to lecture on contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism, which had the potential to be productive, informative and important. Regretfully, the lecture did not address the nuances of anti-Semitism but instead perpetuated hateful, vilifying, racist sentiments and accusations. Dr. Rosenfeld made many assertions that were not only highly offensive but blatantly false. The first of Dr. Rosenfe...

Feature Photo: Alvin Rosenfeld Warns of Modern Anti-Semitism in Talk

Feature Photo: Alvin Rosenfeld Warns of Modern Anti-Semitism in Talk

November 4, 2016

Alvin Rosenfeld, an English and Jewish Studies professor at Indiana University, delivered a talk in Dye Lecture Hall Monday about how anti-Semitism manifests in today’s world. The talk, titled “The Longest Hatred Renewed,” examined various contributors to the issue, such as anti-Zionism, which Rosenfeld said is just a “camouflage term” to hide modern-day anti-Semitism and a way to accept older forms of bigotry. “It has become the most dangerous form of anti-Semitism in ou...

Student Feedback Crucial for Change

Tim Elgren, Andrea Kalyn, Meredith Raimondo

October 7, 2016

To the Editors: At a time when higher education faces significant pressure to make good on its promises of equity and inclusion, and in light of debates on our own campus about the impact of discrimination and bigotry — including anti-Black racism and anti-Semitism — we ask that all members of the Oberlin community contribute to institutional change by sharing any information about experiences of bias in our educational environment. Oberlin is committed to addressing any discrimination and bigotry on campus, using processes designed to protect the rights of affected individuals and the intellectual integrity of the academic program. We encourage individuals who may have questions or be concerned with participatin...

Oberlin ACF Actions Polarize Campus

Josh Koller, Contributing Writer

September 30, 2016

This is the first installment in the Review’s new Student Senate column. In an effort to increase communication and transparency, Student Senators will provide personal perspectives on recent events on campus and in the community. Oberlin College’s student body is never at rest, nor should it be, given the current state of global, national and campus-wide affairs. The event generating the most noise at the beginning of this week was the panel centered on anti-Semitism held by Oberlin Alums for Campus Fairness on Sept. 22. Along with my fellow Student Senators, I took part in sending an open letter to the student body condemning the actions of ACF. Some people may wonder why Senate chose to take this stance, and...

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