Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Student Body Drives Me Nuts

In an earlier post, I wrote about how much I loved my progressive school. I may have spoke to soon.

I forget how much the student body doesn't reflect the politics of my studies.

The YorkU livejournal community provides AMPLE evidence of this. In a post initially speaking about some recent racist graffiti, the thread suddenly became about the "wrongs" of affirmative action, and of course all the whining coming from people who feel cheated by it (ie white people who are automatically qualified for the job, whereas people who are systemically discriminated against are CLEARLY questionable).

There are usually few dissenting voices to the right-wing-ism displayed in this community, and so I get tired of arguing and feel like I just want this conversation to be OVER. So I sent a letter to Carmen at Racialicious, most of which I'll repost here.

I hope she can address it there on her blog, mostly because my blog here is so tiny, and I really want these issues brought up in that thread to be made visible. Also, I don't feel nearly as qualified or confident to address it with the vehemence it deserves. So here it is:
Hi Carmen

I've written to you before, and got lots of great feedback on a project I'm still working on. But I was wondering if maybe you could address this sometime on Racialicious:

I hope that link works.

York University is generally considered a very left and progressive liberal arts school in Toronto. You can see this reflected particularly in the Women's Studies program and various others. However, it is NOT always reflected in the student body itself nor in the addressing of certain issues that arise on campus. This particular linked post in the YorkU Livejournal community was in reference to grafitti that had been sprayed something along the lines of 'death to white supremecy' across the walls of a very public part of campus. I never got to see it myself, as it was removed before I got to campus quickly after the story broke out.

What irks me about this thread is how it was used as a jumping point to discredit affirmative actions programs, not for their effectiveness but rather for how "perfectly qualified white people" are left out of the jobs they are so CLEARLY entitled to. Then the justification becomes that people should just all be equally considered without issues of race, gender, or sexuality "getting in the way" as if those very things have never been used against people who fall under those categories in the first place. As if those things have been resolved in the slightest. ARGH!

I'm writing to you because I feel so frustrated, as these type of right-wing threads pop up often in the community and I'll start to argue, but then I end up backing down and feeling tired and hopeless against so many people who are so sure I'm just a radical left-wing nut. I feel like everything I have to say about this is better argued and with more strength and visibility on racialicious...and quite frankly, I really want the YorkU student body to publically called out on this shit. I'm so tired of it. It's so disappointing to attend a school that doesn't live up to its reputation. I want there to be a link that discusses things like affirmative action intelligently and not like some spoiled brat who didn't get what he wanted when he wanted it. ARGH! again!

with deep lamentations...

I wonder at times like this if I am even strong enough to fight.

Edit: I had heard conflicting reports about what was sprayed across the walls...I think the graffiti I had quoted to Carmen was a response to either racist graffiti sprayed across the walls of Black student organizations. Just wanted to clarify.

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