Last month, Abby Thorpe, the Editor-in-Chief of The University News, published an article regarding the Patriot Front’s propaganda scattered around the UD campus for the third consecutive year.
The content of the article is profoundly disturbing for two key reasons. First, why isn’t the UD community been more outraged by this propaganda?
Secondly, and more importantly, why is a school whose motto is “Love Ye Truth and Justice” being targeted by a white supremacist group?
Dismissing the Patriot Front is easy to do. I do not think there’s a majority or even a notable minority in our student body who would condone or agree with such propaganda. Despite our easy dismissal of the radical and evil views being espoused by this propaganda, we cannot afford to be dismissive of the fact that they chose the UD campus to spread their message.
Why would a group like this target our school? What about our culture of young intellectuals screams “Recruit!” to these white supremacists?
The Patriot Front was founded by Thomas Rousseau, a member of Vanguard America, a group that marched at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va on August 12, 2017. During this rally, Rousseau is seen pictured with James Alex Fields, Jr., who pleaded guilty to a first-degree murder charge for ramming his vehicle into a crowd of protesters and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. After this rally, Rousseau split off from the group and started the Patriot Front here in Irving.
The group’s manifesto includes neo-Nazism, American nationalism, neo-fascism and white supremacist sentiments. For example, the manifesto states:
“An African, for example, may have lived, worked, and even been classed as a citizen in America for centuries, yet he is not American. He is, as he likely prefers to be labeled, an African in America. The same rule applies to others who are not of the founding stock of our people as well as to those who do not share the common unconscious that permeates throughout our greater civilization, and the European diaspora.”
What about our make-up as a university would attract a group with a manifesto so antagonistic to our core principles?
Maybe it was simplistic, maybe those in the Patriot Front that keep coming to our campus and advertising know nothing about us.
However, isn’t that a bigger problem? If our motto is “Love Ye Truth and Justice,” why aren’t we known for our love of truth and justice, even if just among those in our home of Irving? Being seen as a university that is neither absolutely opposed to these evil ideals or even somewhat warm to them would have to be seen as a great failing on our part.
Whatever the motivation to advertise to us; I hope the rest of the UD community will stand up in opposition against a group whose core principles disregard humanity for what it really is.
When we all return to campus, we must take it upon ourselves to extend our inclusive, educational and Catholic mission beyond the perceived bubble, and to the Irving community in a tangible way, to show our community that ours is a university that holds no home for such extreme and backward views.
I do not need to explain to you or persuade you that racism is wrong at its fundamental core. There is no need to respond to an argument whose logic is a fallacy. There is, however, room for outrage, for a reality check in our community.
Racism is poison in the soul. It is an antagonism to the core beliefs of this university, its community and our nation.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, Asians across the globe have experienced heightened hostility. In fact, one of our own students, Tiffany Han, an Asian-American student at UD, experienced an unsettling experience while visiting a Japanese restaurant in Rome. According to an article published by the University News titled: “Coronavirus: dread and discrimination in Italy” by Liam Edwards, Han was asked to leave a restaurant in fear that her presence would draw away business.
In a time where we all feel alone, where isolation is the only solution for this deadly disease, I urge us all to pray for those whose hearts have been captured by a more principled evil—racism.