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A community response

Jack D explains what happened:

As many of you know, early in the morning yesterday someone entered my dorm and sprawled on the wall of the first floor, “Death to all fags @ Jack.” In just five words and an ‘at’ symbol, my sense of security and safety on this campus was shattered. 

Efforts have been made to find the assailant but the likelihood of success seems minimal. However, the person who wrote on the wall is greatly unimportant.

I would like for people to understand who I am. I wish to be a peer and not a name. I grew up near Boston with a single mother and siblings. I played sports throughout school and spent summers volunteering. I am a freshman but have lived as a proudly out and visible gay man on Duke’s campus. I am Jack. I am the fag. I do not deserve this treatment. No one deserves this treatment.

by Alex Shapanka

Last week, I was sitting on the C-1 and heard two different pairs of freshmen engage in the same conversation. “Hi. What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “Where do you live?” “What’s your major?”

I couldn’t help but to smirk and think to myself, ‘freshmen.’

We have all engaged in the same conversation countless times over our years, but I don’t think we realize the implications of our seemingly harmless questions. Think about why we ask the standard litany of biographical inquiries. Are we just being polite? Are we avoiding awkward silence? Maybe we are sincerely interested in forming a relationship with the person we’re interrogating. If we are indeed looking to make a connection with someone, I suggest we do so without being so reductionist.