By Gary Robbins|OC Register
An opinion piece in UC Irvine’s student newspaper that questions the need for Black History Month has generated more tension on a campus where almost 30 people have been arrested this month in protests over religious, racial, political and financial issues.
The controversy also comes amid high racial tension farther south at UC San Diego, where students are angry about an off-campus party that belittled Black History Month. Students also are outraged that a noose was found in the UCSD library.
Hanna Guthrie, a writer for UCI’s New University newspaper and website, wrote a piece that begins by saying, “It is irritating how many people today believe that racism will end as long as every American minority has a special day, week, month, club or organization dedicated to them.”
Guthrie explains her thinking and notes the accomplishments of many prominent African-Americans. She adds, toward the end of the piece, that, “Furthermore, it is a known fact that things like affirmative action give preferential treatment to American minorities. I would go so far to say that universities and companies seek minority candidates for the sake of calling themselves ‘diverse.’
“I agree with (writer Raina) Kelley in that there are many issues since slavery still extant in the African-American community, but I do not agree that in today’s world it should all be attributed to the ‘white man.’ While slavery is a scar on American history, its legacy has also opened so many opportunities with an equally powerful political force: The Civil Rights Movement. The statement that we live in a “culture over-reliant on stereotype and slow to explore the complexity of racial issues” just doesn’t hold true anymore in post-Civil Rights America.”
Through 8 p.m. Friday, Guthrie’s column had received 73 reader comments online, most of which were negative, and UCI’s Jesse Cheng, who will become the system’s Student Regent in July, said Guthrie was wrong.
The piece “seems to suggest that slavery was bad but that the civil rights movement evened things out. That kind of language excuses slavery,” Cheng told The Register.
A New University reader identified only as Jeff said in an online reply to Guthrie’s piece, that, “Ok so cultures should stop celebrating their achievements and their history because it is SO WELL REPRESENTED in every other historical text? A group or race celebrating their achievements has nothing to do with making them feel special. It’s about breaking down stereotypes and showing what we are capable
“This isn’t a mere birthday we’re talking about. This is a means of showing the rest of America what minorities have done to make America what it is and showing young minorities what they can do despite the system that attempts to hold them back.
“This article is ignorant. Enough said.”
Another commenter, identified as Michael, said, in part, “I honestly have no idea what to say about this article. It is ridiculous and ignorant beyond words. What could have been going through the writer’s head when she was spewing out this naivete and lack of intelligence? Her arguments lack any concrete evidence, and her claims mirror the same oppressive thoughts that have perpetuated hate and and racism for so many years, and that continues to do so.”
Complete article: http://tinyurl.com/yc367a6
Photos from UCSD protests: