Equity & Inclusion Blog Post

The Silent Majority

by a community member

At the start, I was going to write about a specific incident or two where individuals have shown an irrational fear of me and displayed acts of hatred due to my background. However, something clicked in my mind. My issues are not with the few individuals who expressed hatred and displayed racism toward me, but really with their silent peers. Reflecting back, in all of the incidents where I was forced to face hate, racism and bigotry, I was surrounded by the silent majority. In most of my unfortunate cases, members of the silent majority would pretend that they are suddenly deaf, blind or mute in the hopes that they do not have to intervene. As a result, it leaves individuals like me to our own fates in addressing this bigotry.

According to the United States Census Bureau, this silent majority constitutes 76.6% of the overall population of the United States of America[1]. Being part of this heavily represented population politically, socially and demographically places responsibilities on all members of the silent majority due to the fact that power on the political, social and communal levels resides with them. This means that the words and actions of the silent majority matter. They carry weight and have an audience that will listen and adjust their behavior accordingly. So the next time you see an act of hatred being displayed, ask yourself; if I do not intervene, who else will?

In the end, I would like to leave you all with this quote by Pastor Martin Niemöller’s, a former supporter of Nazi Germany and later one of its most outspoken adversaries[2], “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

 

[1] “U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: UNITED STATES.” Census Bureau QuickFacts. Accessed March 21, 2019. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/IPE120217.

[2] “MARTIN NIEMÖLLER: “FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE SOCIALISTS.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed March 21, 2019. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/martin-niemoeller-first-they-came-for-the-socialists.

**The Equity & Inclusion Committee posts blogs, articles, and other events in order to keep advisors engaged with tough topics of the day. Please feel free to comment below!**

Article for Thought by the Equity & Inclusion Committee

Part of our goal as the Equity and Inclusion Committee is to present articles, talks, and blog posts on diverse topics that impact our work and our students. To kick it off, we’d like to present an article from Ohio State’s very own Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. This article takes a look at discipline in our K-12 education system and how it is racially biased. You can find the article here or linked above: http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/racial-disproportionality-schools-02.pdf . 

After reading, please feel free to comment your thoughts below! Consider: how does this impact our work? While we can’t change their experiences in K-12, how can we use this information to better serve our students?

Any other topics you’d like to see covered? Feel free to reach out to anyone on the Equity & Inclusion Committee or email Nevrekar.1@osu.edu.