Letters to the editor

Conspiracy theory’s appearance hurts columnists’ view

Dear editor,

Jason Csehi’s March 25th column raised several interesting questions about the timing of Kosovo’s self-determination. Being a history student, I’m sure he can think of several former European colonies that were in much worse shape when they declared independence, but he does bring up several good points.

That is why it is disappointing to see a conspiracy theory about the “North American Union” and a superhighway in the middle of the continent on an otherwise good column. The myth first came out of a policy proposal by the Council on Foreign Relations think tank. Even if we were to assume this proposal (one of hundreds made by dozens of think tanks every year) were to miraculously become law in all three countries, it would not create an “EU-styled union.” The document says “A new North American community should rely … more on pragmatic solutions to shared problems than on grand schemes of confederation or union, such as those in Europe. We must maintain respect for each other’s national sovereignty.” The alleged superhighway is no more than a bunch of trucker stops. Far from supporting the proposal, George Bush called the accusations “political scare tactics.”

As anti-globalization writer Joshua Holland put it, “the chance of a North American Union that resembles the conspiracy theories becoming a reality anytime in the foreseeable future are about as likely as my being named Miss Universe.” There is plenty to criticize about Bush’s foreign policy. One does not need to go into Ron Paul-like theories to show its flaws.

Ian Grogan

Junior paralegal studies major

Racism hurts all

Dear editor:

I attended the BUS meeting Wednesday night.

I heard stories of prejudice from black students.

I heard tales of mistreatment from white students.

I heard reports of bias from multi-racial students.

I heard aching accounts of intolerance from students who felt targeted because of their race. Examples of race-related prejudice, “miscommunication” and misunderstanding, unintended slights and intended bias filled the hours. I admired the students who publicly shared their private anguish.

However, despite Wednesday’s stories about struggle, there was no sense of shared suffering.

We cannot have dialogue until we legitimize the experience of others who endured pain because of their race and ethnicity. When I say, “Your story of race-related intolerance is nothing compared to my story,” I deny, reject or minimize your lived experience. This is a mathematics of misery that claims that my story has greater pain and, therefore, greater moral significance. This is not to imply that all suffering is equal. Rather, it calls attention to what we have in common: the universal harm of prejudice.

Racism hurts everyone.

I heard no white student say to Sasha Parker and BUS, “I’m sorry that your organization has had to fight so long for what many of us already have.” I heard no black student accept Beth Rankin’s experience, “I’m sorry, Beth, that you were treated so badly.” Perhaps this acknowledgment of difficulty occurred in private. I hope so.

I heard the words “trust” and “fear” only one time each. One student talked about the understanding of “love.” On the other hand, I heard lots of “I’ve been hurt,” but didn’t hear affirmations of others’ suffering.

I wish I had heard more, “I understand your pain.” Or, “I’m sorry to hear that you were mistreated.” Rather than “Let me tell you about the time someone … ,” I wanted to hear, “I affirm your pain. My mistreatment helps me understand your suffering.”

Frank Robinson

Coordinator for Residential Communities