Letters to the Editor

    Naive portrayal of Jewish friend unfair

    Editor:

    I find Claire J. Vannette’s Feb. 9 column, “”Distant conflict hits home with local traditions,”” very one-sided and naive on the part of the author. In her piece, Vannette describes how her mother’s Jewish friend wrote an e-mail denouncing terrorist attacks committed by Muslim terrorists. Vannette is outraged not by the terrorist attacks, but by the friend who wrote this e-mail, indirectly blaming the Jewish friend for being angry at terrorists that killed Americans.

    I find it very offensive how Vannette portrays her Jewish friend in a negative light, as if she was the terrorist. Vannette fails to point out the negative impact of the terrorist attacks on the victims. Nor does she note the anti-American hatred that Palestinians exhibited in the West Bank streets by dancing and celebrating after thousands of Americans perished on 9/11. Nor does she note that nearly 70 percent of Palestinians support suicide bombings and that 50 percent want to see the complete obliteration of Israel (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2072851.stm).

    Vannette only encourages anti-Semitism on campus that is increasing with the “”secret tension on campus between Jewish and Muslim groups”” by noting a case in which a Jewish woman was upset at terrorism. Next time, Vannette should take the time to research the subject and find that some Muslims do not have a favorable view of Americans or Jews.

    — Max Kuperman

    Earl Warren College Freshman

    Racism’s legacy still haunts America

    Editor:

    In response to Chris Taylor’s Feb. 4 column, I believe that American values are something to be proud of, especially the belief that all Americans should have equal opportunities, regardless of their religion or the color of their skin.

    Taylor argues that people should be “color-blind,” ignoring race and treating everyone the same. If this had been our nation’s policy since inception, “color-blindness” would pose no problems. However, America has been far from ideal, boasting a long and brutal history of conquest and slavery. Today, many Americans hold that racism is no longer a problem, perhaps because overt racism has faded from the public’s imagination.

    Unfortunately, the legacy of racism still haunts the lives of individual Americans. In a sense, racism has become “institutionalized” through the long sequence of oppressive actions against blacks and other minorities including hate speech, hiring discrimination, housing discrimination and economic policy biased against them. Today, blacks and Latinos are overrepresented in impoverished ghettos, where their schools receive inadequate funding and the streets are unsafe.

    For these individuals, chances of escaping a grim future of poverty or crime are slim. Whose fault is this? Unless you’re willing to put forth an archaic Social Darwinist argument about how minorities are inferior or “lazy,” the apparent answer is a legacy of racism.

    In a country that believes that opportunity should not be tied to one’s race, it is clear that Americans have a responsibility to rectify this injustice. Thus, there is an absolute need to consider race and its implications, even with your friends. If you don’t, and claim “color-blindness,” you are inadvertently supporting these institutions of racism.

    Taylor speaks of his best friends, Diaz and Suarez, who he never placed in racial categories. Presumably race wasn’t an issue for them, or they would have spoken to him about it. Perhaps they were never exposed to racism or discrimination. This does not make them “white-washed,” but there are a great deal of minorities in America who are very aware of their race, who are reminded every day when they take the bus from the Barrio Logan to La Jolla where they work. The contrast in opportunities is appalling.

    Steps must be taken to “level the playing field.” Right now whites continue to profit from advantages over minorities, whether you have racist thoughts or not. Perhaps this is one reason why hostility is sometimes directed at whites, in Voz Fronteriza or the New Indicator, out of frustration. That does not make it right, or by any means helpful to any party.

    As far as “diversity” goes, it is a shame that some cultural clubs on campus aren’t very welcoming to the general student body, but some are, and students should realize that their purpose is to preserve their cultural heritage, and not necessarily to reject whites.

    Yes, there is no official “white club” on campus. Why would we need one? Go to the mall, go to the movies, go anywhere and you will find white American culture. We could create a club. It might even be a great idea, if along with the contributions of white Americans we remembered our long history of oppressing other peoples.

    Race is an emotionally charged topic, fraught with taboo, and communication is broken down relatively easily. Extremists from the left and from the right often confuse the issues, which is why it’s best to keep an open mind.

    — David Krimper

    John Muir College junior

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