The Crescent Report

March 1, 2010

A “Post Racial” America? Not at the University of California

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 4:20 pm

“To the naysayers concerning UC Irvine and the Irvine 11: perhaps the article below may shed some light on the systematic attack that Muslims, African Americans and Latino students face within this university system. There’s something wrong with this university system, and students are standing up, sitting in and speaking out. That’s great. The history of America has shown that America does not respect wimps.” Imam Mahdi Bray
Quote of the Day: “You don’t have to be a weather man to know which way the wind is blowing.”

A “Post Racial” America? Not at the University of California

WASHINGTON, DC (MASNET) Mar. 01, 2010 – There are some people who have, since the election of a Black American president, promoted the notion that we now live in a “post-racial” historical epoch that evidences the decline of race and ethnicity in the construction of the American social reality. But apparently, that optimistic message has yet to reach the campus of the University of California in San Diego.

UCSD has witnessed recent incidents that point out the fact that racism is alive, and even thriving, at the university. On February 25th, a noose-symbolic of the lynching of African-Americans-was discovered on a book shelf at the main library of the university. This outrage prompted a group of irate students to stage a four hour sit-in demonstration at the office of the President of the University on the following day.

But not to be outdone, anonymous students at the university then held an off-campus “Compton Picnic”, full of ugly racial satire and even uglier racial epithets, in which students were asked to come dressed in “ghetto” attire and eat watermelon-all to demonstrate their disdain for African-Americans and for the celebration of Black History Month.

These incidents, added to the detention of Muslim student demonstrators earlier in February at the University of California campus in Irvine, have both exacerbated racial and ethnic tensions throughout the University of California system, and cast light on the under-representation of Black students throughout the system.

At UCSD, for example, incoming Black freshmen represent less than 2 percent of the class of 2013, even though African-Americans make up more than 10% of the area population. For some in the “majority” community, this level of diversity is acceptable, since the USCD is touted as a “research” campus (translation: Blacks are expected to matriculate elsewhere, where “lower” academic standards prevail).

However, the incidents on and around the UCSD campus reflect hard-core racist attitudes that simply cannot be dismissed as insensitive pranks or demonstrations of bad taste.

Arguably, the national climate of race relations is still troubling, and reflective of deep sentiments of both racism (in the examples of the noose and the “Compton Picnic” incidents), and Islamic xenophobia at UC-Irvine. Some students apparently feel that it is safe to display openly racist and hateful sentiments. Others, perhaps, feel the same way about people of color but are a little more circumspect about expressing themselves so openly.

Racist demonstrations that are tantamount to cross burnings underscore the need for a deeper examination of the need for real pluralism and a more open discourse on racism in America. And the unfortunate incidents on these two prestigious University of California campuses underscore the reality that racism still festers in American society.

Just as students challenged racial segregation in the 1960’s, they must rise up and organize to challenge it again in its most ugly, recent manifestations.

Ibrahim Ramey

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2 Comments »

  1. Racism begins with our families, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, people we admire, respect and love.

    However, as we grow and mature we come to the realization that what we were told by our family when we were children were slanted lies base on their prejudices. We realize that most people are like ourselves and not so different and want the same things, like a home, steady work, a Medicare plan and schools for our children (if you travel you will see this). We realize that most people are of good hearts and goodwill.

    This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him.

    Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need.

    Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his fellow man.

    You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

    But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

    That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help our fellow man in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help our fellow man, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

    This current climate of blaming, mocking and demeaning others for our own short comings, is not new, we have had this before and we have conquered it.

    Remember “Evil flourishes when good men (and women) do nothing”. Raise your voices with those of us who believe we are equal and we can win this battle again.

    Comment by Benito Juarez — March 1, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

  2. Racism begins with our families, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, people we admire, respect and love.

    However, as we grow and mature we come to the realization that what we were told by our family when we were children were slanted lies base on their prejudices. We realize that most people are like ourselves and not so different and want the same things, like a home, steady work, a Medicare plan and schools for our children (if you travel you will see this). We realize that most people are of good hearts and goodwill.

    This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him. Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his fellow man.

    You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

    But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

    That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help our fellow man in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help our fellow man, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

    God bless all my brothers and sister that stood side by side with our brothers and sisters in need, when you saw a wrong you tried to correct it, you may argue the methods but not the reasons. I know God will not discriminate by country of origin, our sex, our orientation, color of our skin, or our religion as men do.

    Comment by Benito Juarez — March 1, 2010 @ 11:42 pm


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