OPINION | “Ye Did Nothing Wrong” has no place at Tulane University

Taylor Spill, Staff Writer

(Emma Clark Luster)

Tulane University boasts a considerably large Jewish population, making up around  41.3% of the student body. Consequently, the recent spike in antisemitism inherently resonates closely with Tulanians. This is why when Tulane student, Sarah Ma, published an article titled “Ye Did Nothing Wrong” on the right-wing news platform, the College Dissident, students and other community members reacted strongly. The views emulated within this article amplify and justify the harmful rhetoric that Kanye West, or “Ye,” has repeatedly used against Jewish people and people of color. 

Words can play a large role in influencing reactions to hate and prejudice, and words like those from “Ye Did Nothing Wrong” have caused harm to Jewish people and other minority groups. As an institution, Tulane should bear the responsibility of holding the author of this article accountable. Hateful rhetoric is powerful and has real effects on people in and beyond the Tulane community.

“Ye Did Nothing Wrong” came to light when a student on the anonymous discussion app, Fizz, posted the link to the article under the category of “PSA” on Jan. 12. The article was published the day prior, the same day that the College Dissident went live. Fizz has gained popularity and notoriety throughout the Tulane community since its launch in August 2022, so it is no surprise that word of this article spread quickly. People discussed their opinions on the article on the app, but it eventually reached the larger community. 

Many students expressed their opinions regarding the article on Instagram through stories and posts. Rachel Dan, a Tulane student who is Jewish and a part of the same sorority as Ma, took it upon herself to tell the story of her grandfather, a Holocaust survivor. Through her post she mentioned how her grandfather, Morris, played a large role in educating people about the dangerous impacts of antisemitism, as he was a direct witness to it throughout the Holocaust. 

Despite the atrocities that many, such as Morris, endured, there are people, such as Ma, who still have not learned the danger of hateful rhetoric against Jewish people.

Morris’s story is just one of many examples of how words of hatred have an impact on the lives of many. Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” echoed a variety of hateful beliefs and harmful rhetoric that eventually contributed to the Holocaust. And in the 2020s, there is a correlation between hate speech and antisemitic hate crimes; as antisemitic tropes become more relevant, hate crimes against Jewish people happen more frequently. In 2021, there was a 34% increase in acts of antisemitism from the 2020 statistic. Unsurprisingly, as there were more examples of antisemitism in the media in 2022, the number of antisemitic hate crimes in the past year could surpass that of 2021.

Once Ma’s article became more publicized, the organizations she was a part of, such as Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority as well as Women in Politics, issued statements condemning her actions and implying that steps would be taken to remove her. In addition, Dean of Students Erica Woodley issued a statement that the beliefs in this article do not align with the values of Tulane University, and that they are working to address the issue, which is a confidential process. There has been no follow-up on what actions the university has taken.

Much of what was said in “Ye Did Nothing Wrong” fits under the category of hate speech as it targets a demographic of people in a large community at Tulane and amplifies the voice of a person who has said atrocious things about Jewish people. Hate speech is defined as threatening speech that expresses prejudice. While the article does not express a direct threat, there are many examples of prejudice throughout this article, including “although unexpected and shocking, the picture of a swastika inside the Star of David literally unites Jews and Nazis.”

This excerpt not only disregards the harm that Nazis have caused to Jewish people, but it is also a largely misinformed viewpoint on the symbolism of the Star of David to the Jewish community and the swastika being a symbol of hate. Quotes such as these belittle Jewish and marginalized communities and they perpetuate hatred that endangers the lives of marginalized individuals. Nobody should have to feel unsafe at an institution with the motto “non sibi, sed suis,” translated as “not for one’s self, but for one’s own,” which emphasizes the importance of community. 

“Ye Did Nothing Wrong” is harmful to the well-being of Jewish and marginalized students, especially those who have been directly affected by acts of hate. Tulane should treat the article and the author in the way that they treat other threats to the community. Hatred targeting members of the community has no place at Tulane. Hopefully, Tulane will take the right steps to ensure the safety and well-being of those impacted by recent events. 

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