As I began writing this blog, I thought about comparing powerful emotions. But then I decided that perhaps emotions should not be compared, because each has its time and place. Emotions like love, grief, fear, joy, and hate. Yes, hate! Now, hate is indeed a very powerful emotion and has led to much death and destruction throughout history, and will unfortunately, lead to even more in the future. Is there a way to get beyond hate? If I had the answer, I would win the Nobel Prize. One way, to not get beyond hate is to pretend it does not exist and have no conversations about it. There must be honest dialogue if we as a human race are to make any progress.
That brings me to the exhibit on hate and intolerance that is “THEM: Images of Separation”. This exhibit contains graphic images that include racist, sexual, and violent content that visitors may find upsetting (maybe a euphemism). But it is part of our ignominious history born out of hate and it is the truth! This exhibit is the brainchild of Dr. David Pilgrim, the founder and curator of the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University, Big Rapids Michigan. Please feel free to google it.
As controversial, offensive, horrifying, and repulsive as some of the images are, we at MCCC, as the center of intellectual excellence in Monroe County, felt it necessary to bring the exhibit here to elicit discussion and to further educate, edify, and illuminate our campus and community. This is how we learn. More importantly, facing the uncomfortable truths about our past is how we as citizens can fight hate and prevent it from infecting future generations and repeating itself. It is a use of images of hate and intolerance to teach tolerance, understanding, and respect.
Please feel free to stop by the Library anytime over the next month. Warning signs are posted outside.