On a largely liberal campus in 2017, it's sometimes easy to dismiss the recent anti-Semitic incidents here at the University of Minnesota as empty provocations from fresh-faced kids more interested in the furor rather than the Führer.
To ignore this as a possibility would be a lapse in critical thinking. However, even if those using hateful language and imagery on campus are only looking to ruffle feathers, this doesn't mean their behavior should be excused or overlooked.
When you swore as a child, you should've known better, but you likely didn't intend for your words to leave lasting harm. And still, you were disciplined, or at the very least scolded, because language has consequences.
I'm not advocating that we wash anti-Semites' mouths out with soap, but when children's language brings repercussion yet young adults' are defended as kids being kids, something's not quite right.
To be fair, the school administration and UMPD have taken appropriate action in response to these events; it's students who remain ambivalent and mostly forgiving of the reprehensible actions of their peers.
So, remember: anti-Semitism isn't limited to those with a toothbrush mustache and a stiff salute; it's often perpetuated by people who look a lot like you and me.
We live in an era where bigots are finding validation from the highest office in the land, so on our level, we must do more than just put our best foot forward — we have to actively combat bigotry by confronting it when we see it happen.