#Resist: a political debate with positive intentions, but a negative result

Makenzie Schroeder

On Thursday, Feb. 16, #Resist: a debate about tactics, methods, and means in precarious political times was held in Michigan Room B at 5:30 p.m. The event was presented by UM-Flint’s political science department, Pi Sigma Alpha, Students for Free-Thought, the philosophy club, the debate team, and the communication department.

The debate covered questions regarding which types of resistance work is worthwhile, if violence is ever justified, and when civil disobedience is regarded as either appropriate or inappropriate.

“I think that there are aspects of the conversation that occurred that are totally valid, and there are many different complex components of morality and activism that were examined,” said David Washington, a recent UM-Flint graduate with a major in graphic design.

However, the intention of the debate was to cover a wide range of opinions and views but, as pointed out by Washington, there was a lack of diversity within the discussion.

“For a campus to have such a substantial population of black, Muslim, and international students, and to not make having at least some of these voices a necessity and key component to the structure and realization of this event is very problematic, and very telling of where we are as a campus, as a community, and as a country,” said Washington.

Near the end of the debate, Washington had raised his hand during the public questions portion. During this time, he expressed his disappointment in the event. He brought attention to how the panel was all-white and predominately male, which does not accurately represent UM-Flint’s diverse student population.

He expressed how during important events, like these political debates, opinions and ideas from people of his race and minority groups are often not heard. His comment was met with a round of applause when finished.

“It’s easier to debate the morality of activism in seemingly objective terms when it’s not something that affects your daily life or the survival of people that look like you, it’s unfair and limiting in the answers that it produces,” said Washington. “It’s really only half of a conversation.”

However, the hosts of the event did invite other diverse student organizations, but they were unable to attend. Even so, many other students and members in attendance believed Washington made a solid point, and were disappointed with how things turned out.

“I was extremely disappointed with the lack of diversity at this event. As soon as I sat down at the panel I noticed every panelist was white and at that point I knew we were not going to have a conversation that could be beneficial to all of campus,” said Courtney Hibbeln, a sophomore majoring in political science. “I think this was a real missed opportunity to get some real conversation going. I hope to see more events like this to happen in the future but with a better representation of our campus community.”