Shameful hypocrisy alive and well on campus

How can we blame The Koala?

No one should be attempting to shut The Koala down. No one. The Koala should have the right and the power to publish unstifled opinions and ideas as a publication explicitly protected under the provisions of the First Amendment. The First Amendment is designed to protect speech that is unpopular in our society, for if every word spoken or printed were favorable, there would be no need for the protection of free speech at all. The Koala, with all of its racially insensitive epithets, absolutely qualifies for such protection.

I am not condoning the hate speech spewed within the pages of The Koala. In fact, I find the content within the newspaper disgusting, and as an African American, quite offensive. But just as the Guardian has a right to go to press, likewise for the Muir Quarterly and all other student publications, The Koala staff has a right to put into print whatever its derogatory and racists hearts desire (oops, did I let that slip?).

My problem is not with The Koala. My problem is not with The Koala editor in chief George Liddle, either. My problem is with the thousands of UCSD students who claim to not be racist but laugh at the denigrating filth that permeates throughout The Koala. On Nov. 30, The Koala staff distributed what seemed to be a million copies of their paper around campus. That Friday, I spotted students of various ethnicities giggling to themselves. A few students were holding up their copies to their friends exclaiming, “”Read this!”” with generic smiles plastered across their faces. Now, it goes without saying The Koala is racist. They have refuted this claim extensively, but anyone with half a brain can see that the socially constructed institution of racism is upheld on The Koala’s pages. That said, if you were one of those people whom I spotted around campus laughing, giggling — even mustering a pathetic smile — ask yourself this question: “”Am I a racist, too?””

Before you answer with the popular answer, “”Hell no!,”” think about a few things.

If you happened upon a Ku Klux Klan rally and caught yourself cheering at the racist utterances of an Imperial Wizard, are you in agreement with the KKK? If you happened upon an issue of The Koala and caught yourself laughing at the racist rants of Liddle, are you in agreement with The Koala? Now try again: “”Am I a racist, too?”” The popular answer should not be quite so easy to mutter this time.

If no one attends Klan rallies, then soon enough even the hate-preaching Imperial Wizard has no foundation on which to stand. Similarly, if no one reads The Koala, then the student organizations for civil rights would not have to contend with its attacks due to lack of readership — The Koala would be forced to shut down. But if, on the other hand, you read and shamelessly grin at the contents of The Koala, then racism — however humorous it may seem — has found an active participant in you.

The Koala has every right under the Constitution to print and distribute its hateful content. The UCSD student body should not attempt to constrain or revoke its First Amendment right of free speech.

But the student body should voice a counter-opinion of its own that dilutes the power behind The Koala’s message. Our student body needs to stop straddling the fence whenever diversity is concerned and take an active stance to welcome and celebrate its underrepresented population.

All students — whites included — need to ensure that the The Koala feels the rejection it has earned because racism cuts away at the core of human rights, not just civil rights.

When The Koala distributors are around campus handing out the latest edition of steaming garbage, turn them down.

When you see abandoned Koalas lying around campus, put them in a recycling bin so that others who do not seek such offensive material do not inadvertently happen upon a copy. Better yet, set up barbecues on Library Walk and invite people to torch their copy alongside you.

But if you are not racist — and you probably claim not to be — then don’t laugh at racist speech. Don’t snicker at sexist suggestions. Don’t support a publication that openly embraces ethnic denigration and gender stereotyping if you do not share these beliefs.

The Koala is not the problem — everyone who claims to be offended by its content out of one side of their face but laughs about it out of the other side are the real problems at this school.

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2505
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2505
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal