Personal Narrative: “How ‘Open Dialogue’ Closes the Conversation”

The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives. Today’s is authored by Michael “Trixie” Kengmana ’14. If you have a personal narrative you’d like to share with the Kenyon community, please submit to

You can find it in mission statements of schools throughout the country. You can find it in just about every letter of apology sent by school administrations over incidents of intolerance. It’s a mantra that our generation has heard throughout our lives and has worn out its significance. The idea of “Open Dialogue” is ideally to have all sides be on an equal playing field and have everybody able to voice their opinion. This all sounds great in theory. On April 22, 2014, I was able to once again see how none of this works out in practice when I attended the forum to discuss Kenyon Students for Justice in Palestine’s (KSJP) wall installation in Peirce. (KSJP’s statement on the installation can be seen here here), Continue reading

Michael “Trixie” Kengama ’14 On The Importance of Dialogue (And The Purpose Of All Those Posters)

Last week, campus was covered in posters and chalk messages that posed point-blank questions about a variety of social and ethical issues. A few days later, Michael “Trixie” Kengama ’14 sent an email describing the intention behind the posters and inviting the campus to discuss them in an open forum. On April 8, Kengmama — whose personal narrative “I’m A Sexist, Homophobic Racist” was published on the Thrill in February — sat down to give the us further insight.

So, I guess the obvious question to start with is, why? What was this about — was there a mission statement, so to speak?

I guess the biggest thing was about promoting substantial dialogue. A lot of the people who I initially started engaging with have been very frustrated, especially over the course of [this] year, whether it be through the administration or even just seeing things that have happened amongst the student body. I think one example was after the white sheet incident, regardless of what people thought – because it was a wider range of opinions on it. But it was interesting how there was a meeting in the Black Student Union lounge for anyone who wanted to come and discuss it, and it was a good discussion, but one of the things that came up was the people in the discussion were the people you would expect to be there. They were racial and sexual minorities, or people who really cared about those issues. And that’s always the case, that’s always how it is. It’s  people who are really interested or directly affected by it. Obviously it’s important to have the space where people can talk like that, but… it’s something we really don’t address, that because it doesn’t really come out. The minorities are always more resident so there’s this kind of facade of ,”Yes, we’re talking about these issues,” but no, it’s really a very small minority that’s talking about these issues. It’s just that these kinds of issues have a lot of power that makes it seem like it’s a majority. There’s a lot of apathy.

Read the rest of the interview after the jump!

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Project for Open Voices: “Letter To My Professor”

The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives courtesy of the Project for Open Voices. Today’s essay was authored anonymously for POV’s new publication. POV is always accepting new submissions, so if you want to share your story, email — if you prefer to submit anonymously, the login password is kenyoncollege.


I just wanted to thank you. Because of you, fifty other students on this campus have my name and my face memorized. That’s all they will ever care to know about me. Because of you they can spot me in crowded parties and outside the Mather breezeway. When I happen to bump into these random individuals – whose names I don’t remember because you weren’t as nice to them as you were to me – they nod knowingly as I try to introduce myself. “I remember you. You were in my class right? Hahaha!”

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Oberlin Holds “Day of Solidarity” Amid Reports of Racism


The New York Times, among other sources, is reporting that on Monday, Oberlin canceled classes for a “day of solidarity” after a suspicious figure in a robe and hood was spotted outside the College’s Afrikan Heritage House. Apparently, the decision to cancel classes was made in the wake of other hate-related incidents at Oberlin. Continue reading