Time to ponder

As I drove towards the train station in Ottawa on Sunday, coming back to Kingston after a brief stint at home, my dad asked me how my search for summer jobs was going, reminding me that summer was a mere three months away. He then asked me how my search for a Masters program was going, reminding me that my last application is due in a few weeks.

It suddenly dawned on me that my undergraduate career was about to end. Being the over-analytical person I am, I started thinking about my time at Queen’s, from living on the all-men’s floor in Leonard in first year and going to the caf in a bathrobe, to attending Herstmonceux Castle during the summer, picking up 2.5 credits in 10 weeks and, well, going to the caf in a bathrobe.

Now I’m sitting in my 8:30 a.m. seminar, banging out this editorial and pretending to listen to my professor along with eight other people who are also doing laptop things, and I’m pondering the value of the last four years. What have I learned? How have I grown? What would past Amrits think of current Amrit?

It’s an interesting train of thought I’m on, trying to figure out who I am compared to who I was. What constants have remained since high school? Since first year? Since second year, even?

I still love sports, always have, and probably always will. I started university with a staunch belief in the Conservative Party, but have since lost immense faith in party politics as a whole. I still think the AMS is largely irrelevant and doesn’t really reflect the wants of the students.

I think the one thing that will stick with me from Queen’s is the “racism.” Yes, I put racism in quotes, because I think a lot of the “racism” we’ve been whining about for the last two years has been blown so far out of proportion that we’ve all but degraded the word’s meaning.

When I was a kid and a teen, being called a racist was a very, very heavy accusation. You exercised extreme caution when using the word, and made absolutely certain that you had all your facts in place before using it.

Now, we throw it about so willy-nilly that it’s lost its weight. A friend of mine was called a racist last night because he supported a speech by Jason Kenney. I may not share all of our Immigration Minister’s views, but he has the right to his opinion as long as he doesn’t propagate hate, and people who go out to listen to them shouldn’t be blindly labelled as “racist.”

How dare we degrade such a heavy term to something we can throw around as an innocent taunt. It’s not a playground burn. It’s a word we need to refrain from using blindly before it completely loses its meaning.

It’s sad—I started writing this editorial with a smile on my face. Then I remembered how many claims of racism I’ve dealt with over the past two years, how many people have accused me of being a racist merely because I didn’t agree with them, and how little the word “racist” means now. And suddenly, I’m more sullen. Shame on us.

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