Are you really the ‘Real Nevada’?

Super opinionated and charged editorial that hopefully doesn’t contribute to the outrage by RUBEN KIMMELMAN

Writing on top of a screengrab of a recent issue of the Nevada Sagebrush.

More and More Out of State Students

“I am the real Nevada,” read the shirts distributed for free to students at the University of Nevada, Reno this semester. But were they?

In 2015, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported that the university’s total student population at the time was about 21,000, and that out-of-state students represented 17 percent of entering freshmen that year.

The Gazette-Journal also reported that this percentage had doubled from what it was five years prior. If that trend continued into 2017, nearly a quarter of incoming freshmen are likely to be out-of-state. Any student from any Nevada System of Higher Education would likely have a quick response if asked where these students are coming from — California. So maybe a quarter of the shirts should have read, “I am the real California.”

A screengrab of a recent Google Image Search for Cytanovic.

Free Shirts to Counter An Image Gone Viral

The shirts were distributed for free by the university’s student government in response to the negative media coverage the school has seen since one of its students, 20-year-old Peter Cytanovic, was identified in a now iconic photo of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The shirts were part of a continuing effort on behalf of the university and its student organizations to address the fallout surrounding Cytanovic. A continuing effort that seems rather “Californian” in nature.

A video explaining some of Nevada’s historical roots.

A Battle Born State Tinged with Racial Connotations

Nevada is the “Battle Born state”, a homage to the fact that the territory received its statehood during the Civil War, a war with obvious racial connotations.

And there was a pretty major battle/war fought over white nationalism and against Nazis in the middle of the 20th century.

Should We Punch a Nazi?

During the Twitter incitement earlier this year that centered around whether or not it was OK to punch Nazis — after neo-Nazi leader Richard Spencer was punched in the face on film during the presidential inauguration (at two separate incidents), as you can see above — I would like to imagine that Nevadans either said, “Hell yes it’s OK to punch Nazis,” or, “I am a Nazi,” and nothing in between.

We Shouldn’t be Berkeley

It is strange to me that a conversation is being held about whether or not the university is doing enough to protect its students from some white guy with a goofy haircut and a tiki torch, in Nevada — let’s leave that for Berkeley.

And if Peter Cytanovic does or says something that makes you feel unsafe, punch him, or run and find the police (they are usually good at that ol’ brutality stick) or me (violence makes me uncomfortable but Nazis make me sick). I think Peter Cytanovic is an affront to humanity and our state and that he shouldn’t be allowed the education that is provided to him through the efforts of many of whom he would like to see exterminated, but he’s here and the school can’t legally do anything about it and I sure as hell ain’t scared of him.

The Violence of Racism on Campus

Reading quotes by students Trisden Shaw and Rachel Katz in article linked above from the Reno Gazette-Journal is heartbreaking. Shaw says he has been called the N-word on campus and Rachel left school crying one day after having class with Cytanovic and hearing him disparage Jews while seeming to support Hitler.

Students of color “feel as if they are unwanted and they are treading in unwanted territory already,” said Shaw.

“I wasn’t sure if I should speak today in fear I might danger myself and others who I associate with on campus, but I felt like this was too important,” Katz was quoted as saying at a student government meeting. “I know it’s free speech and we should tolerate other opinions that are not our own, but I can’t sit next to someone who flies across the country to chant, ‘Jews will not replace us.’”

A screengrab from the RGJ article.

We are Wanted

Trisden, you are wanted, just like I hope I am as a Hispanic man, and if you feel like you are not, don’t give time to those who make you feel that way. Rachel, don’t sit next to that person and don’t tolerate those opinions, and I say that as somebody with a Jewish grandpa who was too young to fight in WWII but who served his country in Korea. The school has to tolerate, yes, but you, as an individual, in this libertarian state, don’t.

That’s the real Nevada.

Opinion article by Ruben Kimmelman shared with the Reynolds Sandbox