The Horrors of Racism

I was placed in a very… “interesting” situation today.
As I was talking to a newly admitted student, another new admit walked by with some friends and was in the middle of some conversation about the racial make-up of Berkeley. I was in the middle of a very affable conversation with this new admit when the group walking by made an extremely disgusting, purely racial attack on a specific culture group here at Berkeley. It was not aimed or directed as us, but the new admit I was talking to was part of this culture group, and I could literally see the shock running through his body as he pulled back when he heard this comment, and my blood boiled…

I pulled the student apart as he walked by (the one who made the remark) and directly told him that “we try to respect all the different races on our campus” and he replied with something along the lines of “I would…”.

I have so much more to say to that student, and so much more to do in a situation like that, that I am partly disappointed in myself, party disappointed in students like these who walk under the Cal banner and call themselves Bears. My first reaction is still to pounce on this student and drive him into the group for such purely racial remarks, so casually and disgustingly made. Yet maybe something happened which prompted it which involved a person of that specific race, so that the fault also lies to blame with some unknown third party who tried playing their racial card. All in all I want more information, and I really want to lead this erring student to a brighter outlook on life than the boxed-in black-and-white existence that racial boundaries tries to enforce.

I was disappointed, and I did not gain any hope during our discussion on diversity at Berkeley. I find it hard to deal with seemingly so much indifference, yet I can identify because I too had (and still sometimes have) to push myself to recognize the issues and not be indifferent, and acting on your perceptions if hard when you are going against society norms, working towards social justice. Yet I have gained hope during the evening. At first I was purely anger and sadness, until I realized that it is the sodcial system which forces people into this zombie-like mode around painful/hot issues. Finally I found some solace in my own experience – that many of those who don’t talk as much or who might seem unrepsonsive often also gain a large amount from thse sections, thus…

Go Bears!

One Comment

  1. RR says:

    I have to say I have been there before, where you hear such ugly remarks about a particular race. In my case, I was astonished to hear such disturbing things, I didn’t know what else to do. So, I froze. I would should have said something then, but nothing really came to me fast enough…but this is something that we should really change…