We, the various student-led groups and organizations of Brite Divinity School, watched in dismay as conservative political commentator, syndicated columnist and radio show host Ben Shapiro asserted that white privilege and institutional racism are “leftist myths” and not valid societal problems while speaking on TCU’s campus on Nov. 2 at the invitation of a TCU student group. During his time on campus, Mr. Shapiro attacked Colin Kaepernick for his acts of protest, publicly shamed three TCU students for demanding that the university work to improve diversity and inclusion on its campus and called Chancellor Boschini and other administrators “weaklings” because of their good-faith efforts to begin addressing the issues of white privilege and racism at TCU.
To be clear, we affirm Mr. Shapiro’s right to free speech and the right of the student group Young Americans for Freedom to express their views by inviting him to speak. Words have the power to inspire and uplift; however, they also have the power to cause incredible harm and motivate violent behavior. Unfortunately, we understand the type of ideology expressed by Mr. Shapiro to have the latter effect. We believe that this type of demagoguery is harmful, divisive, and unworthy of the type of intellectual conversations that should be occurring at institutions of higher education. We would be remiss if we, as students of theology, did not point out that this type of speech is also inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ and our interpretation of scripture. We believe that we are called to embrace and affirm all people, regardless of our differences, for we represent the many parts that make up one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
For these reasons, we stand in solidarity with our fellow TCU students who are being oppressed and marginalized, especially those represented by the #BeingMinorityAtTCU movement. We support the efforts of the university’s administration to tackle issues of white privilege and racism, which we recognize as systemic and structural in nature. We are committed to doing our part in educating the community about these problems. In the coming months, we will coordinate with TCU to host conversations about white privilege and racism, bringing in experts on these topics to educate us all on these issues that threaten our unity. These discussions will be open to all TCU and Brite Divinity students.
We wish you grace and peace in these trying times.
Stephanie Kendell (Moderator)
Brite Student Association
Brite Student Association Executive Committee
Tim Schaefer & Avery Belyeu (Co-Facilitators) on behalf of Brite Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA)
Christian Briones & Matt Pargeter-Villerreal (Co-Founders) on behalf of Mi Gente (Brite Latinx Student Group)
Lauren Ward-Reed & Dani Musselman (Co-Founders) on behalf of Self-Care Group
Editor’s Note: What are your thoughts about diversity on campus or other big issues? TCU 360 wants to know! We are now accepting opinion columns for tcu360.com. If you are interested in having a piece published, send no more than 2 pages on your desired topic to [email protected] We reserve the right to edit for brevity and style.