A brown man’s farewell

Aman Ali

I’m back.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the column I wrote in the Stater titled “Black people need to start sharing.” Because of my sarcastic stereotypes and clumsy use of the n-word in the column, my article caused an uproar, including a day of meetings with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and hate mail messages in my inbox.

Out of the 73 negative e-mails I received, 43 of them brought to my attention that I wasn’t black, but actually Indian. Thanks for the clarification. This whole time I wondered why I smelled like curry and owned so many turbans. Oh yeah, and by Indian, I mean the 7-Eleven kind.

More importantly, my column scared the pigment (or lack thereof) out of the editors at the Daily Kent Stater from printing anything remotely offensive to any group of people that semester.

What did Kent State students learn from the column? Nothing really. Sure the newspaper learned important issues about diversity (especially me). When I recklessly wrote that column, I was happy it was generating dialogue among many groups of people, who bluntly, didn’t understand each other. But that quickly died out. Who’s to blame for that I don’t know.

I’m just sad we’re right back at square one.

The best part of my college career, aside from playing hide-and-go-seek at the library and driving my car across Risman Plaza, has been the conversations I’ve had with interesting people. I just wish Kent State University, both the administration and student organizations, could put more effort into promoting dialogue.

Some of the best events I’ve attended in college have been speeches by people like Scott Ritter, a former United Nations weapons inspector; journalist Erin Brockovich; hip-hop legend Chuck D; and Rwanda massacre survivor Paul Rusessibegina.

But where most of our dollars are going, are to entertainers, most recently with Chingy, a rapper with as much lyrical talent as Rico Suave’s adopted nephew. I like a good comedy or concert show as much as the next person, but imagine the caliber of speakers we could bring to this campus if we just put more money to intellectual uses.

The Forum page of the Daily Kent Stater is another place where I’d like to see more dialogue. If you disagree with some moron columnist (and there are plenty this semester), for the love of Allah, don’t just sit and whine about it. Write a letter to the editor. And if you have any remote comprehension of English grammar, sign up to be a columnist.

Start giving a damn about changing the community around you. Put the iPod down and stick it to the man.

I have proudly served the Daily Kent Stater for three years, but I don’t exempt my fellow homies from criticism either. We’ve had tons of reporters publishing stories with more fluff to them than buckwheat pillows at Bed Bath and Beyond (buy one, they’re fabulous). We all need to change.

I don’t claim to be better than anyone else, let alone right about everything. But what I do claim to be is an angry brown man with an opinion. Goodbye Kent State. Thank you, come again.

Aman Ali is a senior newspaper journalism major and the city editor of the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].