Elias Atienza is a history freshman. Letters to the editor do not represent the viewpoints or editorial coverage of Mustang News.

Congratulations. To the leaders of SLO Solidarity, you have done something that no other group on campus has been able to do. Have a conversation on racism, sexism and all kinds of phobias such as homophobia and transphobia.

Now let me retract that congratulations and tell you why I don’t support you. 

When the Free Speech Wall was built by the Cal Poly College Republicans, we anticipated that some idiots would write dumb and crude remarks. That’s what free speech is about. Evelyn Beatrice Hall said,”I don’t support what you say, but I’ll defend your right to say it.”

What she didn’t say, “If your feelings get hurt, mandatory cultural sensitivity training for the straight white, cis-gendered males from the suburbs of San Francisco and Los Angeles.”  

As an Asian-American who has experienced kinds of racism and discrimination in my life, often from whites and other instances from other people of color, I have no tolerance for serious racist remarks. However, I do support their right to say whatever they want. And for you to call them out on their stupid and intolerant remarks. What I don’t support is making it mandatory to learn about subjects people don’t sign up for. 

Nor do I support mandatory cultural sensitivity training. Making everything mandatory is bordering on fascism. It’s everything that is anti-ethical to what America is about. We have a right to choose what classes we want to take and what major we want to study.

Let’s talk about your demands. I do support you in that you should have a Queer Studies Major and other majors you want to take. If you can find a way to pay for all of it without raising tuition and cost of living, go right ahead. College is about your choice in what you want to study.

But, I will not support you in making forced change in curriculum to make these classes mandatory for all students. That is plain wrong, because it is force. America is about choice. America is about making the choice to study where you want and what you want to study. There’s a reason why more kids come here to study than to study in their home countries because we have so many choices and because we don’t force kids to take mandatory classes that don’t deal with their major. 

I have the choice to learn about other cultures or remain ignorant about them. I have the choice to take a women’s and gender studies class or not. I have the choice to speak against SLO Solidarity because of my right to free speech. I have the choice to study history. 

This is force. This is fascism. 

But I’m a straight, cis-gender male, who happens to be Asian, grew up in both the suburbs of San Diego and in one of the poorer neighborhoods at the same time where half of the people lived on welfare. I know privilege. And I know struggle. Don’t tell me to check my privilege. Check your own damn privilege. 

Author’s note: Not an official representative of the Cal Poly College Republicans. Just expressing my frustrations. 

Letters to the editor may be submitted to editor@mustangnews.net with the subject line “Letter to the editor” to be considered for publication. Submissions should not exceed 700 words, and should include a headline, and your year and major. 

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