College life no excuse for failing to fight for respect
In his address to the readers of the Black Voice last week, Editor-in-Chief Ahmed Brown advised the community against complacency. After all, it is easy enough to find 400 people to show up at a party, but hard to fill up Goldstein Auditorium if Bell Hooks or Sandra Guzman shows up. He went on to say that, ‘If you choose to say stay silent when others are being abused and mistreated then you are as guilty as the ones inflicting the damage. You must leave some sort of legacy no matter where you go in life. If not you should leave and let a better person willing to make a change take your place.’ It is not easy, however, to make such a stand, and I sometimes wonder if we as a generation are collectively ready to leave a positive, lasting legacy for those who come after us.
I have always made it a point not to dance to any songs containing lyrics with which I don’t agree; so you’ll never see me bumping to 50 Cent’s ‘Candy Shop.’ However, like any college senior, last Friday I attempted to do what most college kids do on a weekend: party. Less than two hours had passed before I decided to make a stand, albeit a silent one, by leaving prematurely. First the disc jockey decided that the only two words in the English language with which he could entertain and cajole the crowd were ‘mother’ and ‘f’. I personally think those two words are mutually exclusive, and should never occur together, far less in the same sentence. If that wasn’t bad enough, when a female patron unwittingly angered him, he proceeded to curse her out over the microphone.
I felt disrespected and offended, and his comments hadn’t even been directed toward me. This wasn’t the first time I had seen a young man on this campus verbally abuse a female companion, and I know it probably won’t be the last. Neither was I surprised that I was the only one who was apparently irked and disturbed by his comments.
I’d hate to think the crowd’s nonchalance was a direct result of the party’s differing ethnicities. He was black, and his female peer was white and possibly inebriated. Regardless, incoming first-year and transfer students look up to upperclassmen so that they can get a sense of the campus community and the issues for which we will make a stand. It is human nature to imitate and follow the paths carved by people we think are just like us.
However, if the only thing our first-year students can come here and do is fight, then as a generation and a community we should be ashamed. It’s not acceptable to blame youth, the college atmosphere and alcohol for forgetting to treat everyone with their due respect, because as Granny used to say, ‘What goes around, comes around. What sweet in goat mouth does sour in him bam bam!’
Dzifa Job is a featured columnist whose columns run Thursdays in The Daily Orange. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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