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Hidden Heroes: The Eight Against Hate

Photo by Princeton Men's Soccer

As a society, in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and maintain our completely racism-free present, it’s important that we practice erasure selectively and minimally, like when women share original thoughts in class or when school-related stress leads to suicides. 

One step that the University has taken to amplify lesser heard narratives is the distribution of black tee shirts with the text, “8 Against Hate” on them to all athletes. The “8” refers to the eight Ivy League universities, notorious for their prestige, but frequently overlooked as bastions of progress, social justice and equality. In particular, athletes are not given enough credit as social justice warriors.

Since the beginning of time (by time I mean when sports arose, because life had no meaning before sports), sports arenas have been places for camaraderie, friendly competition, and equality; one might look to gladiator fights or international events in which athletes squinted and stretched their eyes as if they were hands, outstretched for friendship. Football teams have been great places for queer youth to become conditioned both for physical trials and living in fear. 

Despite such a robust history of fighting for what is right, until recently, athletes, particularly vulnerable, white Ivy League athletes have not received the recognition they deserve. The University hopes that by promoting uniformity and awareness with these shirts, other students and minority communities in particular will know who to thank. They suggest that athletes wear their “8 Against Hate” shirts 24/7 so that Penn is never mistaken for a fringe institute that would accept racist students. Body odor shouldn’t be a concern, because the stronger they smell, the more recognizable athletes will be as social justice warriors. However, in the rare chance that athletes must forgo this premium fashion option, the University recommends that athletes put “ally” or a black square on every social media app possible.

To all students, the next time you see an athlete (synonymous with underdog) clad in an “8 Against Hate” shirt, be sure to thank them for their hard work.