A letter from the Men’s Development Institute in The Record’s last edition troubled me, it described the Link incident as not “real” Johnnie behavior. This sounds like an attempt to disregard the event and join in the usual chorus reciting how a Johnnie “really” is.
Sweeping such actions away as not “real” Johnnie behavior doesn’t allow for the community to accept the fault, which is the start of any process of reparations. You can’t learn from your mistakes when others assure you it’s not your fault or not your true intentions. Once we embrace the mistake we can engage in the conversation of what it means to be a Johnnie.
Brushing off the incident as “not us,” then describing the hypothetical immaculate Johnnie as who we really are discredits the evidence before our eyes.
To these men, what we saw is what it meant to be a Johnnie, and they wouldn’t be alone. It’s no secret St. John’s predominantly leans Republican, they were surrounded by their buddies who echo congruent and homogenous thought that doesn’t challenge their beliefs which inhibits their intellectual and emotional growth.
Many of these students come from the suburbs or rural farms, miles from the diverse population centers of cities. Without the exposure to other peoples and ideas, the beliefs and ideas instilled in them by their community and the media perpetuate unchallenged.
And even if these first two criteria don’t apply, I feel comfortable generalizing that most Johnnies are from wealthy white families.
We have never had to experience racism, never had to feel the prying eyes and slanderous dispositions felt by members of another community; so we’re less aware of the impacts of our actions. The more diverse experience we have through meeting new people, travelling to new places and learning new things can make us more vigilant of our impact.
This was Johnnie behavior, not as we were told it, but how it’s played out. It’s up to us to redefine Johnnie-ism by evaluating values they personally hold as opposed to those instilled by the administration.
Cormac Quin ’19, SJU sophomore