OPINION| It seems like the Texas Longhorns are always in the headlines, and not always for positive reasons.
This week was no different when their ‘Embrace the Hate’ shirt caused an uproar on social media. The shirt, which features a Longhorn logo with the words “Embrace the Hate,” has sparked much controversy among snowflakes across university campuses and online platforms alike.
The University of Texas at Austin released a statement regarding the shirt, saying it did not reflect its values and that it had never been approved by the school. It went on to say that any student wearing such a shirt would be in violation of its code of conduct and could face disciplinary action.
Many people have expressed outrage over what they perceive as an offensive message. Critics have argued that this type of messaging is insensitive to marginalized groups who may already experience hate or discrimination due to their identity or beliefs.
Others have pointed out that this message encourages people to accept hatred instead of standing up against it. Then there are those of us who are rational and realize the motto speaks to rivalries in college football that everyone enjoys and has nothing to do with ‘marginalizing’ so called ‘minority groups’ or any of the other absurd accusations that have been leveled against the merch.
The school’s response has been met with some criticism as well, with some arguing that it was too little too late and that more should have been done to prevent this kind of messaging from entering campus culture in the first place.
Many students and alumni also took issue with how long it took for UT Austin to respond to the controversy surrounding this shirt when other universities had acted far more quickly in addressing similar issues on their campuses.
In addition to calling for accountability from UT Austin, many people have taken matters into their own hands by speaking out on social media about why this type of messaging is harmful, organizing protests against racism and discrimination on campus, and pushing back against those who defend such messages as being harmless fun or satire.
Overall, it seems clear that this incident has touched a nerve among many students at UT Austin who feel strongly about creating an inclusive environment free from prejudice or discrimination based on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or any other factor.
While only time will tell if this incident leads to lasting change at UT Austin or elsewhere across college campuses nationwide, one thing is certain: these conversations about how we can create welcoming spaces for all students are sorely needed now more than ever before.
At the end of the day, if a t-shirt with a joke on it is this triggering for you … good luck when it’s your turn to join the so called ‘real world.’