Giving kindness and RACK week a chance

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Julie Gallagher, Contributing Writer

 

Walking through Haggar around midday, I witnessed a small gang of students giggling by the glass doors as individuals posted colored notes on a large white sheet dedicated to good deeds done throughout the week. I immediately knew what had happened, and my heart sank a little. I dismissed it at the time, since my priorities were elsewhere, but I did not forget it.

Later that evening, or more accurately, earlier in the wee hours of the next morning, I finally had the chance to inspect the crime scene. There, upon the large white banner of posted good deeds, were a few flagrantly rude comments and jokes.

Some jests were flat out derogatory and clearly a result of ill-formed humor, but that is another subject. Many words crossed my mind, but only one stuck out: Why? What was the purpose behind these disparaging words?

The back of a Haggar window hosted people's Random Acts of Crusader Kindness, or at times, their less pleasant "jabs" and "inconsiderate" comments. –Photo by Rebecca Rosen
The back of a Haggar window hosted people’s Random Acts of Crusader Kindness, or at times, their less pleasant “jabs” and “inconsiderate” comments.
–Photo by Rebecca Rosen

If the notes were made with serious intent, the opinions voiced were valid. However, the lack of argument and evidence behind the claims made their purpose ambiguous. As a third-party witness, I found the statements to be unconstructive, unnecessary and inconsiderate, expressing rash and thoughtless opinions with no basis in fact.

If the notes were made in jest, these comments could have offended the organizer of the event or the subjects of the comments. In such a case, the posting of the comments was inconsiderate.

Perhaps these little jabs were intended to make someone think. If that is the case, well done. I’m thinking.

I understand supporting a week encouraging kindness within the community. But I also understand opposition to the idea of enforcing courtesy during an unfortunately named “Random Acts of Crusader Kindness,” or RACK, Week. I must admit to initially standing neutral in regard to the whole thing until those boldly colored remarks stirred my thoughts.

My point in bringing up this seemingly small issue is not to moralize to the student body, stop any of its opposition or enforce any sort of courtesy. I write to challenge students to think, not only in class or in theory, but also in life and in practicality about the big and the small.

The University of Dallas takes pride in being the school for independent thinkers, but there are times when we just don’t think enough. These flagrant comments showed independence but little thought. In defying the campaign for kindness, the authors of these notes showed independence, but defiance does not equal independent thought. Independent thinking does not mean going rogue against the established current of thought. Going rogue might be a result of truly independent thinking, but it is not a necessity. Independent thinking entails taking up all arguments willingly and sorting through them in hopes of finding the truth, whether others agree with you or not. Independent thinking might even entail supporting someone else’s verifiable opinion.

No matter one’s opinion, however, it is important that it be expressed with kindness. Since this banner was intended for the posting of kind deeds, these notes were out of place and inappropriate. These remarks contributed little to the conversation about kindness that the campaign was trying to promote. They did, however, show a lack of consideration, and consideration is the spring of kindness. Without thought, how can one make the effort to be kind, since kindness entails thought about the welfare of one’s neighbors? Inconsiderateness shows a disregard for neighbors. Disregard is disrespect’s parent. Respect and consideration are essential when expressing opinions.

RACK week was a period of time to make you think about kindness, about how even the least of our actions can have a ripple effect. Naturally, as in any other celebration, the best and the worst of human nature made appearances. The inappropriate notes made me think about the topic of kindness and its importance in the community. Thinking about kindness was really the purpose of the week, after all. If you formed an opinion about the week and thought about what constitutes kindness, thank you and congratulations! You helped to make RACK week a success.

 

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