I saw this email sent out by the Missouri University Police Department:
To: MU POLICE
Subject: Reporting Hateful and/or Hurtful Speech
To continue to ensure that the University of Missouri campus remains safe, the MU Police Department (MUPD) is asking individuals who witness incidents of hateful and/or hurtful speech or actions to:
Give the communications operator a summary of the incident, including location.
Provide a detailed description of the individual(s) involved.
Provide a license plate and vehicle descriptions (if appropriate).
If possible and if it can be done safely, take a photo of the individual(s) with your cell phone.
Delays, including posting information to social media, can often reduce the chances of identifying the responsible parties. While cases of hateful and hurtful speech are not crimes, if the individual(s) identified are students, MU’s Office of Student Conduct can take disciplinary action.
What is wrong with this?
It is a meaningless email.
There is no human being living today who has not internalized what someone else has said to them as hateful or hurtful. Add to this you don’t necessarily know the intent of the communicator and whether they intended to bring out either of those emotions.
I find what Timothy Keller says about this genius. In The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness he writes:
“The ego often hurts. That is because it has something incredibly wrong with it. Something unbelievably wrong with it. It is always drawing attention to itself – it does so every single day. It is always making us think about how we look and how we are treated. People sometimes say their feelings are hurt. But our feelings can’t be hurt! It is the ego that hurts – my sense of self, my identity. Our feelings are fine! It is my ego that hurts…My ego would not hurt unless there was something terribly wrong with it. Think about it. It is very hard to get through a whole day without feeling snubbed or ignored or feeling stupid or getting down on ourselves. That is because there is something wrong with my ego. There is something wrong with my identity. There is something wrong with my sense of self. It is never happy. It is always drawing attention to itself.”
Also, there is no human being living today who has not purposely said something hateful or hurtful. We are broken people without exception.
In summary, there is no one alive who has not had their feelings hurt and there is no one alive who has not said something someone else internalized as hurtful.
If the University of Missouri Police Department wishes to draw this to a logical conclusion, 100% of all students, faculty, and staff on the campus, including the officers themselves, will be subject to disciplinary action.
Actually, this email is the equivalent of saying,
“To continue to ensure that the University of Missouri campus remains safe, the MU Police Department (MUPD) is asking individuals who witness incidents of breathing to:
Call the police immediately….”