No, I will not sit back and “be cool”


Photo credit: Genevieve Humphreys

Illustration by Genevieve Humphreys

While it is certainly true that personal attacks are unjust and spitting on another human being is disgusting, Isaiah Mitchell’s most recent column defending Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) is both hypocritical and rather dismissive towards substantiated criticism aimed at the student organization.

In his article, Mitchell complains that more “vitriol” from “fearless activists of Trinity” has been directed towards other YCT members rather than towards Mitchell himself as the current YCT president. Though this is a sarcastic complaint designed to poke fun at students that criticized some of the events and activities that YCT has held, Mitchell brings up a good point. Students in YCT leadership positions, like leaders of any organization, should be held responsible for the things they say in relation to the organization they lead.

Mitchell writes, “YCT spices things up around here — so what? We’re not hurting anybody … You certainly can’t stop us either, so there’s no point in trying. Trinity has a long history of apathy; whatever happened to that?”

Supposing Trinity did have a “history of apathy” — which Mitchell offers no evidence for — broadly criticizing students who are becoming more politically active and passionate about improving their country is self-contradictory. After all, Mitchell is the president of a student organization political in nature. He is quoted in two other Trinitonian articles saying that YCT — then known as Tigers For Liberty (TFL) — encourages civic engagement through voting, education and discussion. Mitchell, along with several other YCT members, also recently organized a social event at a local Chick-fil-A in order to show support for the business after it was removed from the concessions contract for the San Antonio Airport. Therefore, is Mitchell saying that YCT members are the only students who are allowed to be civically engaged and the only ones who can voice criticism towards events and beliefs that they disagree with? Wouldn’t it have been better to encourage conversation and empathy? He mentions diplomatic liberals, but Mitchell is not being very diplomatic himself.

Instead, Mitchell deepens the divide between students who are politically left and politically right by telling readers that no one can stop YCT and suggesting YCT should be left alone. Instead, Mitchell wants students who disagree with some of YCT’s events and speakers to “be cool.”

I don’t want to be apathetic. Though I firmly believe that students of all political affiliations should have organizations on campus and that YCT is one such important organization for conservative students, I have some concerns.

Mitchell and other YCT members have, in the past, stated that YCT “is not a religious group,” but the organization does “stand for religious freedom.” But I think that it is important to point out that while YCT may advocate religious freedom, many of YCT’s events have dealt with Christian beliefs more than any other religion. Bob Fu talked about what it was like being a Christian in communist China and Chick-fil-A has well known Christian affiliations. TFL also sponsored guest lecturers from an advocacy group called Abortion Hurts, God Heals — a group that is obviously Christian from name and website alone — in January of 2018.

I am not trying to say that Christian religious freedom is stupid or that Christian beliefs are completely dated. I am Catholic myself, and I love my religion dearly. But why is there so much focus on Christian religious freedom and so little attention on other religious groups that are being persecuted not only in the United States but also in the rest of the world? Islamophobia and antisemitism are violent, frightening and important issues that are going on right now. Where are YCT’s sponsored guest lecturers and tabled events for discrimination towards people who practice Islam, Judaism, Buddhism or Hinduism?

And where is the attention on people of color?