Reactions to Racist Events Are Overblown

Dear Editor,

As a current UCSD student, I am saddened to see the behavior on campus over the past two weeks — by all of the parties involved.  

What was originally intended as a tongue-in-cheek social event has been latched onto by an overly sensitive and zealous group of minority students, a weak faculty, sensationalist media and more misguided reactionaries.

All of these parties add further flame to an ever-growing firestorm of bad press directed toward our great university, while the rest of the student body sits back in disbelief.

It is time to stop the growing national media storm denouncing our school, the cries of victim and “racism,” a pathetically late response by our faculty and staff and, most importantly, the inappropriate and insensitive actions of a few juvenile students on campus. 

The Black Student Union’s response prompted Chancellor Marye Anne Fox to send out a campuswide e-mail condemning the event, yet allowing her to side step punishing the parties involved for the behavior. This was perhaps a bad choice as well. Before these two responses, the event was relatively below the radar. The BSU’s reaction and Fox’s letter thus prompted the now-infamous retaliatory Koala TV broadcast.

While allegedly using the offensive terminology of “ungrateful niggers” to condemn the BSU’s uproar, the Koala’s diatribe was historically no different from other previously juvenile satires of other minorities and majorities alike. The “Compton lynching” sign later recovered by police most likely referred to the social lynching the BSU was attempting against the fraternities in question, and it was not intended as a threat against the black community.

The Koala broadcast has only emboldened the BSU and various faculty members to speak or act out, and this has escalated the national media attention on UCSD.

And, again, a cycle of action, reaction and overreaction has occurred.

The crowd went wild when a student hung a noose. This draws in the authorities and even more national media attention. Thus, the student confesses. But the twist is that she is a minority and apologizes. She is still suspended — but is she racist?

The crowd goes wild again, which in turn prompts someone else to act out. And we are now left with a Ku Klux Klan hood on our beloved Dr. Seuss statue. These escalations are growing on what should have always originally been a non-issue.

What is happening on our campus is a cycle of insensitivity and stupidity, overreaction and attention and acting out by both sides again and again.

An intended parody has brought us into the national spotlight, and as these actions become more absurd and extreme, we run the risk of a real danger or violence on our campus, as the UCSD name is drawn through the mud.

When you have a college consisting of diverse backgrounds, someone at sometime is bound to be offended about something. 

But for the sake and dignity of UCSD as a community, we need to move on. We have an amazing school with a diverse set of students and faculty, and I have never felt a hint of racism before these past weeks.

Let’s stop this cycle now.

—Brett Collop

Senior, Eleanor Roosevelt College

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