Social Justice

Standing up against hate

December 11, 2015 by Kathleen Ringenbach, Ph.D.

This world is a wild and crazy place right now.  I am appalled at the rhetoric and “anti-anyone who is different” opinions being spread like wildfire.  I am disgusted by the hate-filled speech.  While we have a lot of freedoms in the United States, with those freedoms come many more responsibilities. Yes, we have the freedom to express our viewpoints.  Yet we also have the responsibility to acknowledge and respect that others may not have the same view, or that our words may be hurtful and may make others feel marginalized.  We also have a responsibility to work together, despite our differences to find solutions. We have the freedoms and protections to pursue our beliefs.  We have the responsibility to speak up when there injustices in our communities and our world where others do not have this same freedom.  Inciting violence against peaceful, loving and innocent people is not helpful or rational.  It does not make our world safer, but infinitely less safe.

I believe we have the responsibility to show compassion, consideration, and to stand up and voice when we see or hear something that is very wrong.  The hateful rhetoric I am hearing hurts my heart on behalf of my students, friends, and family who are perceived as being different.  Differences create a rich world, providing us with perspectives that allow us to grow as individuals.  I surround myself with people of all faiths.  I surround myself with people who are a first generation Americans, and people whose families fought in the American Revolution.  I surround myself with people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  I surround myself with people of different sexual orientations.  I surround myself with individuals with many different educational levels.  My students, friends, and family make my life (and the lives of many others) richer because of their individual uniqueness and stories.  No one should ever have to feel fearful while living in our country of freedoms.

We have a tremendous gift at Brandman, the gift of being educated and educating others.  Higher education and life-long learning provides us with opportunities to apply our critical thinking and problem solving skills to avoid egocentric and sociocentric thinking that lead to division and hate.  My hope is that we can work together to find solutions through peace and responsibility, not through hate and bigotry.  I will not tolerate listening to hate speech and I make a promise to all my students, friends, and family that I will stand up and say that it is wrong when I hear it.  I hope everyone in the Brandman family will make this same promise.  We all live in this country, where we enjoy the many freedoms that others in this world do not have.  We do not have the right to take those precious freedoms away from our fellow human beings.  We all have a right to pursue our beliefs, dreams, and goals without fearing for our safety.

About the author

Brandman Professor Kat Ringenbach

Professor Kat Ringenbach

Dr. Kat Ringenbach is a professor in the School of Arts and Sciences at Brandman University and is president of the Faculty Assembly. Prior to her teaching career, she worked as a consultant in areas such as developing selection and promotion tests, survey instruments, statistical manuals for a personality measures, job performance measurement, online and blended content, assessment rubrics, and competency-based education content and assessment.

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