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Last login: Saturday, February 20, 2010
Well, first, there was a “Compton Cookout” theme party; then there were claims of a chilly University climate; now, there is a list of 32 demands.
I suggest that the “Black student leaders” of UCSD take a step back, focus on their near-term and longer-term goals, and then articulate measures which will help achieve these goals. These should be goals that entire University community embraces.
Vice Chancellor Rue is right to deny racism in the UCSD community, but, have the University authorities determined that the “cookout” event was racist? Although I’m no expert on popular culture, there are myriad examples of extremely provocative, edgy, pushing-the-boundaries-of-good-taste entertainers/others who parody ethnic, religious, and other stereotypes. Examples would be Dave Chappelle and his “Chappelle’s Show” on Comedy Central, or the much milder Jeff Foxworthy and his “redneck” act on “Blue Collar TV.” These are examples of satire, though many would say they perpetuate hurtful and harmful stereotypes, and are not humorous. They are not examples of racism.
The “Compton Cookout” event was clearly ill-advised, and I would expect the fraternity members who took part are learning just how thin the line is between parody and hateful prejudice. But shining the media spotlight on the “Cookout” in order to precipitate expulsions does nothing...this was satire, and not hate crime.
As for the University climate for Black students…well, someone has to make a case. The incident at “The Koala” may be an indicator, but those folks have a dicey reputation at best. Certainly, the 2 percent African American population at UCSD seems incredibly low, but what does it mean, and how did it come about?
As a taxpayer, I reject Mr. Ritcherson’s Hobson’s-Choice ultimatum to “fund our programs” or we leave. Students and the administration/others—reasonable people all—should be able to agree. Let the investigations run their courses. It is better to get this right than be done quickly.
February 20, 2010 at 4:44 p.m.
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