Dialogue already exists on this campus. Resources are already available for those who want to learn. What this campus needs more of is not dialogue, but action. Not silence, but justice.
Challenges lie ahead for today’s activists who still balk at the possibility of initiating unexpected alliances. The sectionalistic few who prefer to lob slogans like “check your privilege” instead of making sincere attempts to ally with their opponents could benefit from a nugget of Putnam’s wisdom. “A society of many virtuous but isolated individuals is not necessarily rich in social capital.”
The answer here is not fewer protests or more conversations. Dialogue is a two-way street. If we really want to demand more effective communication, both sides have the power to bridge the gap and initiate a more productive conversation.
The class of ’78 wore white armbands against their black graduation robes to protest apartheid in South Africa. Tuesday, the Students Confronting Apartheid by Israel (SCAI) implored Stanford to divest from companies profiting from Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land. I didn’t see any armbands, and it wasn’t the SCAI’s fault. It’s that when you walk up to most Stanford students and try to interest them in divestment, more often than not they could care less.
Stanford voters will speak on an array of ballot propositions in the California midterm elections on Nov. 2, ranging from marijuana legalization to the suspension of air pollution standards to making it easier for the perpetually gridlocked state legislature to pass a budget–all measures that have the potential to impact Stanford constituencies.