“By portraying our views in a disrespectful manner, nothing positive can be accomplished.”
These were the concluding remarks of a letter to the editor written by members of COISO, SpectrUM and UBS which was published in last Friday’s Hurricane.
Yes, just as Black Awareness Month was concluding, conflict just happens to arise between these minority organizations and the Advocates for Conservative Thought. So what exactly happened?
On Feb. 25, members of ACT held an affirmative action bake sale in the UC Breezeway, selling baked goods at discounted rates to Hispanics and blacks while charging higher prices to Asians and whites. The purpose was to show how unfair affirmative action is because, said co-president Sarah Canale, “everyone should be judged, just like Martin Luther King, Jr. said, on the basis of their character and not the basis of the color of their skin.”
Touch, Sarah, but you entirely missed the context of King’s message. You see, it isn’t just being judged by your character for individual evaluation; it’s breaking the barrier and working together cooperatively with your fellow man – sitting together at the table of brotherhood. Oh, and the whole “affirmative action is like Special Olympics for black people” thing – well, that didn’t really help your case, either.
But this is where the leaders at COISO, UBS and SpectrUM went wrong as well.
Though it’s hard to critique the way these groups came together to combat ACT – they had students donate baked goods that they then redistributed for free with information on affirmative action, gave the leftovers to a homeless shelter and responded through media outlets such as this newspaper – the members of these organizations could have taken the higher road.
Upon hearing about the ACT bake sale, these groups decided that rather than contacting the opposition and attempting to stage an open forum debate for the student body (or even just their groups alone), they would transform the UC Breezeway, which stands as our school’s accepting marketplace of ideas, into a battle area for childish finger-pointing. The real problem is there was no real attempt at reaching out from either side. Certainly, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but let’s be honest: you will get nothing accomplished arguing opposite sides of an issue if you don’t first come together and hear what the other half has to say. What these groups are doing is segregating themselves from one another.
The Reverend would be disappointed.
Ben Minkus can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.