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LETTER: Conservative Union’s use of flyer sends troubling message

As a proud Rutgers alumnus, I was disheartened to see the Conservative Union flyer that made the Targum’s front page on March 1, 2017. Although I believe that The Daily Targum should have explained that Dylan Marek's explanation of the five tenets of Islam was inaccurate, I would like to comment on the poster and the Conservative Union itself.

While the poster may be protected speech, we, as educated students, should all understand it as speech that should not be tolerated, promoted, or seriously considered. The poster is blatantly nativist and racist and ignores Rutgers’ proud diversity. As the Targum correctly shows by juxtaposing the two posters, the Conservative Union’s poster obviously draws inspiration from the white nationalist American National Vanguard’s. As far as Marek’s claim that the message was originally his own, this is either woeful ignorance or a blatant lie. His message so clearly mirrors that of the National Vanguard, down to lifting whole sentences, that even if he did not know of the original, we should disregard his defense. When your message agrees so much with a white nationalist one, your message becomes white nationalistic. 

It would be easy to tear down Marek’s position that he makes so boldly clear in his poster. The facts are consistently arrayed against him. But I would rather ask him, who do you mean when you disparage the “third world?” Who are you attacking when you complain about “cheap foreign labor?” What pride do you have in being a “conqueror” and what people did you destroy to gain that pride? I guarantee you, they do not look like Dylan Marek.

At Rutgers, we pride ourselves on our diversity. We pride ourselves on our global reach and our global roots — our students hail from over 120 countries. And we can now take pride as a University that acknowledges its own troubled history with racism thanks to the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History. While Marek and his Conservative Union may feel that this diversity and full understanding of history have robbed them of their country, we here at Rutgers know that America's greatness is due to our diversity, to our different colors and nationalities.

An openly racist ideology that attacks the very core of Rutgers' modern understanding of itself as a diverse, global university will hopefully gain little traction with our students, who understand that it is our differences which unite us and make us great.

Zachary Torrey is a Rutgers alumnus. 

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