The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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The ignorance war

Minority Of A Minority
 The ignorance war
The ignorance war

The ignorance war

One day of my senior year at boarding school, I was in one of the restrooms on campus when I noticed a piece of graffiti on the wall. It said: “You can have your X [that, of course being the X from Malcolm X] and I’ll have mine [which was the Confederate flag, also no surprise].” I haven’t seen a cap with that on it in over four years, and I haven’t seen a Malcolm X cap since, ? well, ? never mind.

Anyway, back to the point. We all know whose “X” is supposedly whose. And in both cases, it is just as silly. I wonder how many people who wore those Malcolm X caps did so in honor of the man Malcolm X died as, the man who finally discovered the true, peaceful nature of the Muslim faith. Wait. Let me answer that. No one, because that wasn’t the purpose. The purpose was to reaffirm “black pride”, and, in that case “black power”, for the movie dealt with Malcolm X’s role as a black separatist. The “I have mine” caps, using the same logic, would have to assume the promotion of “white power”. That may be unfair, but the argument that the cap is pitting black pride versus Southern pride has no merit in this case; the use of the “X” the way Spike Lee did does not allow for mitigation on either side.

Although I personally do not always view St. Andrew’s Cross as a symbol of racism, it can easily be painted as such. How can you have a Southern “heritage” without slavery? The flag was officially in use for less than a decade, when the southern states seceded to form a country where slavery was protected. Another thing: Why were the “stars and bars” added to the Georgia and South Carolina state flags during the time when Civil Rights Movement was picking up steam? I’m sure they weren’t boasting their southern “heritage”. Or were they?

The Confederate flag has been permanently defiled by the bigotry it was made to represent. That is why the “heritage, not hate” phrase has not been too relieving to the descendants of the plantation slaves. (Do you think you could wear a swastika and tell a Jewish person that it’s your good luck charm?) However, I believe that if blacks demand the Southerners get rid of their flag, they too should have to lose any comparable symbols. That means, among other things, the “X” also should be dropped.

In the past forty years, we have fought internally over the necessity of fighting the Vietnam War, rallied around our troops and stomped Iraq in the Persian Gulf War, and watched communism and the Soviet Union fall, bringing an end to the Cold War. It may seem that only in the past eight months we have been renewed our engagement in martial activity, but I beg to differ.

We have been fighting an ignorance war in this part of the world ever since the first settlers made their homes in Jamestown. The colonists took a name for a race of people that an explorer a hundred and ten years before called them when he thought he had landed in Asia, and then the new settlers dared to make the judgment that they were “uncivilized savages”. Then, when they found their farms too hard to work, they participated in the African Slave Trade, believing that the Africans were mentally inferior and thus suitable for such labor. When they made their Declaration of Independence and later ratified their Constitution, they conveniently made it to where only white, Protestant, land-owning males could vote. Not even a hundred years afterward, blood would be shed over whether we should allow people to be held in binding servitude in “the land of the free”, and that conflict still is a separating issue in some parts of the country even today.

In 1997, Proposition 209 was passed in California, ending affirmative action in the state college system. The raising of the proposition rekindled the debate of whether affirmative action was necessary because of prejudices, or dropped because it is simply transferring the discrimination to a different set of people.

One way of interpreting affirmative action means that if one slot was left in a freshman class and a Caucasian and a minority student had similar statistics, the minority student would get the thumbs up simply because of being a minority. It is just the same, and just as wrong as picking the other student simply because they were Caucasian, past injustice or no past injustice. (We are aiming for equality between the races, not revenge.) The other form of affirmative action gives minorities lesser qualifications for admission. Lower standardized scores, lower grade point averages, and lower grades to maintain eligibility once in college. Needless to say, I hate it. If I were white, nobody would have cared that I had a 3.5 GPA and a 1380 on my SAT. Since I am black, it is an extraordinary feat. Why? Am I not supposed to be that smart? Am I supposed to be mentally inferior?

I realize that dropping affirmative action now could give liberty to pigment-focused morons to discriminate. However, keeping it doesn’t help our goal either, because it allows another set of pigment-focused morons to discriminate. It also tells minorities that they don’t need to be as good in school (and as prepared for college?) as others, because that’s just the way things are and nothing can be done about it ? a statement which is obviously not true.

However, this war isn’t just being fought between races. It is in religion as well. The Bible has been and still is used to back many bigoted, empty-headed arguments. It makes me wonder how many of those people — who will swear to you that they are true Christians — realize or recognize that there is a verse in the Bible which mentions something about loving your neighbor as yourself, as well as a few other verses in there which allude to the fate of hypocrites. However, the problem is certainly not just in Christianity.

Over the Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa/La Posada/[insert your own holiday here] break of my high school junior year, I watched a rerun of a Peter Jennings special report on Jerusalem, which, as you know, is a holy city for the three Western monotheistic religions. During this show, Jennings wishes to get an interview with two people, a Rabbi and a leader within the Muslim community. Because of his interest and congeniality, Jennings takes a very informative Muslim man with him to the first interview. While they are walking to the meeting place of the first interviewee, they come across a Jewish procession. The wife of the Rabbi happens to be one of the marchers and sees Jennings with the man. She is angry with Jennings for being brazen enough to walk down the street with a Muslim. (Apparently, that means Jennings is “anti-Semitic”). She tells her husband, and the Rabbi cancels the second interview. When Jennings finally makes it to the Muslim section, he is asked by one of the guards why he was making conversation with the Jewish woman. (I guess in that fifteen-second walk he changed his mind and is now “pro-Semitic” and “anti-Muslim”.) Jennings finally convinces the guard that he wasn’t taking her side, and was allowed to pass. However, another guard saw the same argument, informed the first interviewee and then reported back to tell Jennings that the interview would not take place. In other words, the Rabbi canceled the interview because of Jennings’ acquaintance with a Muslim, and the Muslim interviewee disapproved of Jennings because of his conversation with a Jew.

We humans are supposed to be the most intelligent species on Earth, yet some members of our species commit incredible acts of ignorance and stupidity. There are those who discriminate because of skin color and race, those who assume intelligence is determined by economic class, those who shun because of sexual orientation, and those who kill because of differences in religion. Some hate before they think. Some hate because their daddies and granddaddies and great-granddaddies did. Some hate because they have seen one and thought they saw them all. Some simply want a scapegoat for all the problems they are having. It doesn’t matter. None of it makes any sense. When we decide an aspect of a person defines them, we are doing a great injustice to that person.

There are a number of people who think we can “bridge gaps” by “celebrating our differences”. So much time has been wasted “celebrating differences” it is almost funny. And its advocates have no clue why no progress has been made. It isn’t that hard to figure out. Differences divide. Factions don’t form because the members want to go in the same direction. Divorces don’t happen because of irreconcilable similarities. Wars aren’t fought because the two sides share visions. If you really want to celebrate something, celebrate similarities. That doesn’t mean to go out and have some corny “healing day” or anything. But don’t cheat yourself by letting differences stand in the way of finding out the type of person someone really is.

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