Amherst Life Blog

Welcome to the Amherst Life Blog! Here we will be posting information on activities, events, arts, community concerns, local business, and a variety of other topics related to life in Amherst, Massachusetts. If you are new to the area and looking for housing, please check out our other blog too ------------>> Amherst Housing Blog ::.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Words Can Trigger Change: Reader's Comments on Racism

We'd like to thank one of our reader's for the following comment:

"I am glad to see that SOMEONE is putting this incident into perspective, citing all the reasons why self-defense is normal, particularly in an environment such as this one. Racism is rampant on campus(es) and it is rampant in the community at large--regularly and frequently practiced not only by "hicks" but by so-called "educated" professionals--doctors (especially), proprietors, landlords/"ladies" (particularly), "human" service agencies and on and on. In fact, I wonder sometimes if some of these very same people aren't active members of the KKK chapter you refer to. There is a goulash of bigotry, with the some of the same bigots showing up in different capacities (sometimes where there is a direct conflict of interest. This is why the problem of racism is never really addressed in earnest in the Pioneer? Valley, despite the false perpetuation of the area as, per capita, one of the most progressive, intellectual, intelligent enclave of thinking and community-minded individuals. Hah!

Hampshire county is the only place where I have been called a nigger to my face (twice); it is the only place where I had a doctor repeatedly use a perjorative term designed to defend during a visit and laughed with delight when I let on that I was onto what he was doing? it is the only place where I have been repeatedly attacked, trounced and trashed, i.e. libel, 5th degree verbal assault by an MD, verbal assault by two officers on two different occasions (with other bigots "hungry for my head" as well in attendance as well). For all their progressive IDEAS and declarations, residents of the Valley are remarkably silent when it comes to really championing civil rights or human rights.

I think the arrest and charging of Mr. Vassell with the crime of self-defense the SAME public outcry and outrage that the attack involving the Jena Six in Lousiana sparked, followed by the support of THOUSANDS marching for all over the country. I don't see or hear anything from Al Sharpton. THE INSANITY IN THIS VALLEY HAS GOT TO STOP. People here have got to stop letting those who perpetuate racism and racist acts blow their own horn about how progressive, tolerant and educated (and all the other euphemisms used) while the casualties keep piling up.Maybe the "sleeping giants" at the NAACP can be roused to action. And what action or involvement has the Human Rights Commission taken to date? Are they just puppets and handmaidens of the ones crowing about how "tolerant" they are? Dr. Martin Luther King--who daughters atteneded college in this area-- would backflip in his grave if he knew how lazy and lackadaisical the "talented tenth" are in this bastion of education--as would Dr. DuBois. MAKE MORE NOISE!!! The spotlight on civil and human rights crimes is regularly shone on every other place--Darfur, Kosovo, So Africa, Holyoke, Springfield--EXCEPT HERE."

Let's keep this dialogue going. NAACP. Human Rights Comission, and other organizations should be contacted and activated. They will be more inclined to do so if there is more public outcry and more written from the perspective of Mr. Jason Vassell. Public gatherings are powerful tools and words can be as well. Keep the pressure on!


  • At 7:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    To me people should eradicate the word racism altogether. People have cultural differences and they should learn to respect one anothers cultures. People have the right to be protective of their culture and cultural identity as long as this can be done in harmony with other peoples ways of doing things. No culture should be allowed to dominate the other because then it has the danger of causing intolerance and voilence. Is this because people are not aware and have not been taught about one anothers cultures. Afrikaners were bullied in the centuries past and had to fight to be able to speak their own language. To many in South Africa these people are still spoken of as if they are a low class non-entity that should be wiped off the face of the earth. No wonder some of them react with such ferocity and resistance to other cultures. The Black people had a similar and even worse experience and in some instances were dehumanised. I firmly believe that there is a will to find a middle ground to allow the various cultures to flourish along side one another. Integration is a choice and cannot be forced upon anyone without getting resistance of some kind, especially when taking the aforesaid facts into account. That is what a Nationalist government tried to do and they failed! Does the ANC or any other related parties think doing the reverse to whites and particularly Afrikaners is going to solve the problem. Sit these students down and let them talk without bias and for once let them listen to one another without dominating and attacking and they will find that as young people they have much in common as human beings. Students do not allow cultural differences to destroy your lives. Instead allow them to enrich your lives. Don'f allow the politicians to use anyone of you to score points. Madiba set a president here - when a black pupil and a white pupil had a fight and stabbed one another or whatever - he got these two chaps together and allowed them to make it up. The illusion is that all whites hate black people and that all black people hate whites - we may have had bad experiences that can either embitter us or make us more determined to strife for greater unity. South Africa is a great country with a great future and all its peoples. So get with it students you can show the world that it can be done!

  • At 7:33 PM , Blogger UmassMenus said...

    Good post anonymous.

    I would like to say there isn't a racist culture at Umass, but more or less there is an ignorant culture that is really prone to backlashing when one feels that they are considered a racist individual. This happens when people of different races and classes never bother to mingle.

    It then sucks because when mingling does occur it would be a great racial incident between a victim and one person that is racist ( or just an asshole). That person sets a bad example for everyone else, but everyone else never provided a good example of integrating into the opposite culture. And usually instead of doing such a thing, they totally justify their ignorance by choosing to ignore the issue or deplore it when a better response is just to join together.

    This issue has made a lot of people join together, but it has also brought upon riffs that could easily be mitigated if people were seriously open-minded, had decent common sense, and felt brotherhood amongst all their fellow students, and not just their drinking/drugging buddies.

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