Why I feel a little like an alien

by Anna Blanch on November 5, 2008

Last night on a campus very close to home (which for the time-being will remain nameless) groups of students were watching the election returns when one group happier than the rest – someone wins and someone loses in an election – upset the group that was not so happy. I wasn’t there so I don’t know how it started – but it finished in verbal and physical stoushes. This morning the burnt remains of some Obama-Biden posters were found in an area used for barbequeing on campus. These two incidents have been compounded by another incident, made public today, where sometime in the last week a student saw what appeared to be a rope tied in the form of noose a tree on campus.

This campus is in an area where a number of lynching took place in living memory – not in the living memory of the students, but of their parents at least – and has been making a very big deal out of its 30% increase in multicultural diversity (read: there has been a modest increase in the small number of African-American students on campus. I am disturbed by the news of what has happened, let alone that it happened. So much was said last night about how far America has come – having lived and travelled in the south of the US over the last half a decade (I haven’t lived here that long) I shudder to think what things must have been liked thirty to forty years ago.
I don’t often blog about current events but I feel like this is my way of saying NO! I am appalled that I live in the midst of a group of people who think these things are okay. Maybe I am being naive by saying that; after all, you cannot control – nor would i want to – what people around you believe. Free speech doesn’t give anyone the right to assault another because you don’t agree with them. Insult will occur irregardless, but how inarticulate and ignorant is an individual who spits venom at someone because they look different. Especially, on the same day that the first African-American President is elected. It is naive to think that we all don’t have internal reactions to people we meet and whether we like it or not we all have a pattern of stereotypes with which we compare new experiences and interactions with people. However, It is not acceptable to malign someone because of their race or the color of their skin, especially not to their face. Talking openly about your differences and expressing disappointment because the person you supported didn’t win the prize is one thing, but these incidents sadden me. America has come along way……but it seems, in this part of the world at least, it still has a long way to go. As Derrin Hinch used to say – Shame on You, Shame on You.

Update ** Nov 5 **
One of the comments by Mr Epps posed that we should be seeking to still the boat. This article by Lignon Duncan offers an interesting view on where to start – the discussion about the article is also provocative!

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