Last week, a white Yale student named Sarah Braasch called the police on black student Lolade Siyonbola for falling asleep in the student dorm common room. Siyonbola broadcasted the entire incident live on Facebook, and the story quickly went viral. Reporters immediately started looking into Braasch’s background, and found something disturbing: although she’s a humanist, she has a history of racial insensitivity.
In 2010, Braasch wrote an article for The Humanist about how she was assigned to defend slavery for a middle school debate, and won after bringing up the fact that some slaves didn’t know what to do after being freed. “[I]n the land of the free,” she argued, “who are we to tell people that they can’t be slaves if they want to be? Who are we to tell someone that she has to be free? Who are we to tell someone that she has to be regarded as fully human? It doesn’t matter that the alternative to slavery, which would mean walking away from everything one had ever known to recreate life anew without any resources, was regarded as healthier and more dignified. It was still the individual’s choice to make.”
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