Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yik Yak Is Not The Problem

Yik Yak is not the problem.  Just to avoid any confusion, I repeat, Yik Yak is not the problem.  Yik Yak, rather, is an excuse.  It is an opportunity for students to show who they truly are, and the truth is apparently quite dark.  Yik Yak, in a sense, is the ultimate test of morals.  There are no rules, no consequences—anything goes.
Here’s an analogy: if you had the opportunity to cheat on an exam, and there was a 100% guarantee that you would not get caught, would you do it?  I wouldn’t, but I’d venture to say that many university students would.
The most invaluable lesson that the Park School taught me was positive expectations.  When students are given freedom to do as they choose, they often act in a surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) positive fashion.  Many professors at Emory would never dream of giving a take-home exam—how could they ensure that all the students would act in an ethical manner?  Instead, they develop strict policies to prevent even the slightest possibility of corruption.  I even had a professor who did not allow bathroom breaks during a three-hour exam.
The culture at Emory is not one that promotes moral actions, but rather, one that promotes not getting caught.  Smoking pot in the dorm isn’t frowned upon until the RA knocks on the door.  Hazing isn’t an issue until IFC steps in.  Stealing food at Cox is all fun and games until the cashier chases after you.  Likewise, hatred, loathing, and cruel disdain have been largely ignored, until now.
So, for a third time, Yik Yak is not the problem.  It seems, for many, Yik Yak is a solution.  It’s a means to express the grim feelings and horrifying sentiments that once resided behind closed doors.  Yik Yak is a self-portrait—an unadulterated projection of what our community is, deep down, and what we see isn’t pretty.

In the end, no SGA petition, or school mandated WIFI barrier can change who we are as people.  That, I’m afraid, is up to us.