Dissension to the forum

By Daniel Pounder

After reading your editorial in which you cautioned students against attending the “Racism, Power and Privilege” forum on the grounds that it was poorly advertised, I became even more resolved to go. I am quite upset to report that your predictions were correct.

Throughout the event, there was only one “dissenting” audience member. I say “dissenting” because, while he did not say anything in favor of Chief Illiniwek, he dared to question the validity of the anti-Chief position and asked why this racial incident has everyone up in arms, but other things, such the racially packed comedic material of Richard Pryor and Chris Rock, were not worthy of outrage. He also dared to say that he thought Coca-Cola, Inc. made a good product, despite the accusations against them concerning human rights violations.

Perhaps what disgusted me most was the blatant racism exhibited by the audience members and event organizers during the introduction and open mic sessions of the event. This ranged from using the injustices perpetrated on one’s ancestors as a weapon for the purposes of garnering pity to personally attacking the administration representatives that made up the panel. At one point, the panel (which included University President B. Joseph White) was made to feel morally and intellectually inferior on the grounds that all of the panel members were caucasian, and as such, they were not fit to properly deal with the problem.

It is sickening that such an event professed to be the first step toward a racism-free campus, and instead ultimately served to argue that race is grounds enough to demand power and privilege.

Daniel Pounder

Graduate Student