Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Black Student Association has White Members...Horray!!

It’s a little strange to me all the people in the world. I know I’ve talked about it before but I can’t shake it out of my head. There is close to 7 billion people living right now in the world. About 20,000 died today and about 40,000 were born. Does that not rock your world?

We talked about stereotypes today in my Consumer Behavior class and my teacher spoke about how stereotypes were necessary in order for us to process information. This all ties in with my experiences today. I was in the student union and like most times I’m in the student union I decided to go and chat with the different tables that were set up by different clubs promoting their different causes. I walked up to a table surrounded by black people and started up a conversation about the club. The club was the BSA or Black Student Association and as I approached I tried to think to myself how I wanted the conversation to go and I thought that I’d like to talk about race and how the BSA’s title is racist. What I wanted to do was truly understand from a minority’s perspective why it is okay to have an organization titled the Black Student Association. One of the members main responses was, "Well we have white members in our club." Which obviously didn't sit well with me as a good reason. Their mission is copy and pasted here from their website:

“Our mission is to actively make a change for unity by encouraging the principles of scholarship, leadership, and cultural uplift. In addition, BSA is committed to promoting a positive image at Appalachian in the African American community at large.”

The first part of this mission statement doesn’t make sense because seeking unity by separating yourself into a club with the title “Black Student Association” is really the opposite of the goal. The real way to seek unity, if unity is what you’re after and if you think unity doesn’t exist, is to go to the clubs and organizations that exist and be a part of them. That is the real way to get unity. You should title the club, "People for the Equality of Black People." That'd be a club I could actually get behind.

Maybe it’s from my perspective but white people don’t view black people as lesser or unequal. Sure there are some racists out there and I give my two cents when I hear racist remarks but by and large whites think of blacks as equals. I mean goodness we elected a black president, we watch black athletes compete every night in every arena of sports, we watch black people give political commentary on our news networks, we’re friends with black people, we’re related to black people, and it’s a great thing.

Just to clarify, using the word black to refer to people with skin color darker than mine isn't necessarily PC but I do it for three reasons. First since I’m speaking about the BSA or the Black Student Association it only makes sense to refer to their group as a whole as black because they do also. Second, I don’t think it’s reasonable to say white and African American from the sole perspective that if you use the word white you should use the word black and if you use the word African American you should use the word Caucasian (not to mention that African American isn’t a race at all) and third, to call black people African American is first ignorant, second inaccurate, and third offensive. It’s ignorant because black people in America aren’t from Africa, their ancestors are. So if we were to call blacks African Americans then you should call me European American and not white…because that’s where my ancestors come from. Third it’s offensive because there are black people that aren’t American that are in America. For instance anyone who travels here and has a work visa who is black and isn’t an American isn’t African-American…they are black.

And I argue all this to say that that none of this matters. Goodness gracious I just spent an hour talking about stuff that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to God if you’re black or white or yellow or red. What matters is how you treat people. It doesn’t matter if you’re part of a group of people to promote your race because your race is going to pass away at the end of time and you’re going to have to account for your actions here on Earth. If you’re actions weren’t helping the widow, the orphan, the prisoner, or the stranger then your actions were in vain. If you’re fighting for freedom that’s amazing and I want to help you, but if you’re fighting for something other than that then refocus your efforts and do something worthwhile.

I’d like to say that white people and black people are as close to the actual colors of black and white as Jesse Jackson is to helping the civil rights movement today or as David Duke is to getting any respect from anyone I know…not even a little bit.

The key isn’t joining together with people that look like you but rather joining together with people that have the same purpose as you in order to fight side by side for something that matters. This happened in the civil rights movement and was an amazing thing but isn't necessary anymore. Now black people have equal rights and the ones that are focused on their skin color should focus on other things that are more important, like humanitarian efforts, or spreading love to people who need it. Because fighting for equality when you have equality isn’t time well spent and is looked on from the outside as useless.

I’m moving to Africa in three to six months where I’ll be a white minority. Now tell me how much sense it would make if when I got there I looked for all the white people that were there, made a club where we met once a week to talk about how white people could get more equality among our black African peers. It'd be stupid because that's not the reason for living. I’ll tell you what though it’d make a lot more sense doing it over in Africa, where there isn’t equality in most countries, than doing it in America where there is.

I write this merely to open up a dialogue and not to judge anyone. Jesus says not to judge...and so I don't judge.

"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." Leviticus 19:33-34

Things to think about:

-The United States Census Bureau announced that Negro would be included on the 2010 United States Census, alongside "Black" and "African-American," because some older Americans still self-identify with the term.

-Ritz crackers are by far the best cracker that exists. White crackers are probably third on the list after club crackers (I couldn’t resist)

-Racial Draft http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=162807&title=the-racial-draft

-Racial slurs are pretty fun to read about. http://www.rsdb.org/

Things to read:

-Founder of AIM http://www.sethbarnes.com/

-Night Over Water by Ken Follet

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