Amherst Life Blog

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Apologize Through Positive Action, Not Manipulation

The students involved in an act of racial hatred issued an unseen apology (and they had a professor of Spanish literature read it at light speed on their behalf – cowardice?-- at the forum), and have since engaged in several not-so-brilliant attempts to manipulate and persuade professors and colleagues that THEY are the victims of this incident. It gets worse: they have created two equally non-brilliant methods of turning themselves into victims: 1) Spain is marginalized in Europe and Spanish students and professors are marginalized here because of their “multicultural” backgrounds, 2.) it should be o.k. to “quote” a Colombian festival called blancos y negros in which slave holders and plantation owners and their light skinned descendants painted themselves as black Colombians, and darker-skinned Colombians were forced to parody themselves by painting their faces white. To summarize: instead of issuing a REAL apology (nobody even saw it to begin with) the students have tried to sneak their way out of ANY responsibility. And again, they got away with it.

Those students either need to get involved in creating forums where we can discuss this kind of ignorance or deal with the wrath of equally ignorant professors, chairs, administrators who may very well eliminate the problem (though we are seeing that that will never happen unless it was a dark-skinned international student dressing up as a “white dude”, Abe Lincoln, or some other white “forefather”) instead of thinking about how they are complicit. The first step: look at the situation of inequality in Spain and Colombia (it does exist) and consider why in their rush to defend you, your professors, peers, and other representatives forgot about that situation. If you want to go back and change what happened, that is a start.


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