Letters to the Editor

    Solutions to racial problems necessary

    Editor:

    In ìEthnic Graduations are a Form of Free Expressionî (Feb. 9), Logan Goh avoids addressing racial problems and proposing solutions in favor of a simplistic, laissez-faire view of the world that does not amount to anything resembling a constructive criticism.

    While Goh tried to sound righteously nonpartisan and objective, he failed. Equating ethnic graduations to an element of unpleasant but necessary free speech is a cop-out to political correctness rather than an analysis and acknowledgement of what is really going on.

    It is not in question that the United States has a deplorable history when it comes to racial division, but using ethnic grad ceremonies as an attempt to make up for historic injustice is a farce.

    While a great deal is made out of ensuring that minority students feel comfortable at all campus events, anytime a white or nontraditional minority student feels uncomfortable, he is accused of being prejudiced and is told to cope. As Kelly Gilbert pointed out in her Feb. 9 article, ìDistinct ceremonies divide the student body,î any sort of a Caucasian grad ceremony would not be recognized, even in the name of free speech, although Slavs, Poles, Croats, Serbs and others are certainly minorities at UCSD, too. Whatís more, the majority of UC students donít even know what differentiates these ethnicities from each other.

    College graduation is an academic, not ethnic, celebration. It is about what you have achieved, not what color you were born. And still, those who fight the hardest for spending student fees on segregated graduation ceremonies also cry the loudest whenever there is a fee increase.

    If we continue to systematically divide by race, we will never all ìjust get along.î What Goh ignores is that his argument has no end. By saying, ìWe donít like it, but we shouldnít change it,î he poses no solution to the greater problem of division and complacency. If anything, he embodies that problem.

    – Adam Pearlman

    Former member, UCLA Undergraduate Student Association

    Council

    Cultural clubs educate against prejudice

    Editor:

    While Chris Taylor makes some fine points in his Feb. 2 opinion article, I believe that he and others who may share his opinion have some misperceptions about the purpose of ìdiversityî at UCSD. Like him, and Iím sure many others, I grew up with the idea that people should be politically correct and colorblind. People should be judged by the content of their character rather than superficial qualities. I also thought that race-based groups were unfair and those of European descent should be able to have their groups too. I even argued with my parents that everything was perfectly fine with my first boyfriend being ìwhite.î

    Unfortunately, thatís where the similarities end.

    I have found that unlike many people from UCSD (ìwhitesî and ìcoloredî included), I have been made very aware of the fact that I have more melanin in my skin and different features on my face early on. In elementary, I was asked if my face was smashed by an iron. In high school, I was made aware that my group of friends was all white except for me. Racist phone calls, death threats, racial slurs like ìchink,î ìrailroad worker,î ìpotsticker lady,î etc. were thrown at me. Mind you, I come from the Silicon Valley (stereotyped ìthe Asian meccaî). Just over winter break, I came back from China and had an English woman screech at me and the other Asians that just got off the plane to get out of the citizen line and into the foreigner line just because we werenít ìwhite.î Interesting how thatís the first thing you are greeted by after you step off the plane and read the ìWelcome to Americaî sign.

    Taylor complains that the classes in UCSD lead to self-loathing for being white. Isnít it lucky that heís never before had to experience any of the aforementioned in real life directed specifically at him? I believe he misinterprets the purpose of those classes.

    For most of our lives, we have been taught that America is great and beautiful.

    American ìwhiteî men are great because they founded the country. Likewise, so are ìwhiteî European men who gave them their ideologies. ìWhiteî women fought for and gained right. ìBlacksî fought for rights and gained freedom. ìNativesî are vaguely mentioned to have been oppressed, but recompensated. (Oh yes, but first they had a nice Thanksgiving picnic with the Pilgrims.)

    Notice the incredible lack of other ethnicities and the glorification of ìwhitesî?

    One of my friends decided to become a high school history teacher because his textbook had depicted Filipinos as barbarians who were ìrescuedî by whites. These college classes are meant to fill in the blanks and set history straight. There is not a superfluous necessity of more ìwhiteî glorification. It is already programmed into most of us.

    Yes, I understand the feeling that it must generate to be told that whites were evil in the past. However, it is generally true that whoever holds the power tends to be held accountable for a societyís problems. In history, it just so happens to be white men who are in power most of the time. As for people being ìwhite-washedî or ìselectively dissociating from their race,î how about an Asian guy in my history class telling me that the KKK is not so bad. Most of the class agreed with him. Mind you, I am by no means saying those are the only reasons why he might have said that. Various reasons might explain it such as being one of the lucky ones who have never had to encounter racism.

    The purpose of the ìethnicî clubs are to extend the concepts of the courses. They are meant to give people a voice who do not have one. They are used to fight against the injustices and educate against the prejudices – only a few of which I have mentioned above. The point of the graduation ceremonies are to thank people for their hard work throughout the years. I think a very big part of Chris Taylorís misconception is that these clubs are exclusive. By no means are they so. We encourage people of all ethnicities to join in every activity. Everyone is treated as an equal. Do not make judgments without experiencing and considering as I have done for his article.

    As a final thought, I hope you have noticed that my reality is very different than that of Chris Taylorís. I think he is very lucky not to have experienced any hate crimes or true discrimination (I acknowledge that those too happen to ìwhitesî).

    Moreover, I think it is interesting that he has chosen to attack ethnic studies and groups, but not those concentrated on the female gender (even though one could easily make the same argument for both).

    Both exist for the same reasons and equally suffer discrimination, hate, the glass ceiling, blue and pink collarism, and all the wonderful consequences thereof. I wish one day that we could all live in Chris Taylorís world where people truly can be judged solely on the quality of their character, but as of yet, the denial and suppression of a societal disease is not the cure for the social body.

    – Stephanie Tsao

    Earl Warren College sophomore

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