Letters to the Editor 4/26

Rewards should not stop at mere reparations

This letter is in response to Mr. Brad Wright, who wrote that America’s Civil War, affirmative action program and former President Clinton’s “apology” to the African American community are compensation for over 400 years of the most inhumane form of terror ever known to man.

Mr. Wright, your whole argument was based on lies and ignorance of the truth about the assault on black people since we were first kidnapped and brought here. That assault continued well after 1865. You have to understand that even though the physical chains of slavery were removed, the institutional, psychological and mental chains were very much alive and still have a stronghold on our people today.

It was only in the last 100 years that black veterans of World War I and II came home from giving their life in defense of this country only to be greeted by a racist government that didn’t feel the need to supply us with equal employment, housing or healthcare. It has only been in the last 45 years that black winners of the 1960 Olympic Games came home with gold medals only to be greeted by Jim Crow laws and segregated facilities. It has only been in the past 35 years that the FBI considered the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most peaceful men in the history of the world, the most dangerous man in America. It was less than 20 years ago that the FBI destroyed the Black Panther Party with their counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO), murdering black men and women and creating internal conflict within the organization. And it is still today that Abner Louima, a Haitian man in New York City was beaten and sodomized by four NYPD officers, three of which had their charges overturned.

This is the history of your country. Your country, a so-called “civilized” nation, had to be taught how to be “civil” by a black man, Dr. King. It just shows how backward some white people were in their human development. They couldn’t even understand the concept of universal brotherhood. It’s obvious that some people still don’t get the message.

Mr. Wright, to argue whether African-Americans should receive reparations is truly an insult, and it undermines the contribution that people of African descent have made to this country. Our blood, sweat and tears have been major contributors to the wealth of this nation.

As a country, we recognize the effects of a broken family. We have shown that by our unanimous support for the families of the victims of Sept. 11. I don’t see how you can argue against reparations for the descendants of a people who have had generations wiped out, families broken and culture destroyed. I don’t think African-Americans should receive monetary donations. Education about our true history instead of lies is all we need. We all know that the single greatest threat to white male domination is black male education.

Bruce Gelin is a senior majoring in management information systems.

Generalization is just as bad as racism

I am white. Yes, I am talking about my skin tone. But where is my heritage? My ancestors fled from Poland and Germany during World War II to escape the terror of Nazi death camps, which had already claimed he lives of other members of the family. Yet still my complexion is light, and apparently, according to Ms. Walthour’s letter, my forefathers were rapists and murderers who signed some “pact with the devil” upon arrival on U.S. soil. That devilish contract must have been overlooked in my ancestor’s frantic attempts to flee terror.

There are millions upon millions of people in this country living under Ms. Walthour’s definition of white and or “white with a tan” who came to this country searching for something better than what they had. The truth of it is, there is no culture in the world that was not bullied and treated as scapegoats by someone who felt they were superior. So before you go on another rant about white vs. black, stop and think about who you are and where you came from, and then maybe do some research on where some of the “whites” came from. You might also want to visit some of the predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods of Miami, or better yet the streets of South Boston, which has the lowest income per capita and yet is predominantly Irish and Italian.

To address the idea of plagiarism or whites stealing everything they could get their hands on without citing the sources, I have to point out that most of the foods we eat and the cultures we celebrate come from somewhere else. They were introduced to the country by other cultures when they arrived here. They created the many squares in the complicated quilt that makes up American culture.

Maybe we should also do a little research on the civil war and the actions taken by Lincoln and other government officials that caused the Southern states to secede the union and inciting the Civil War. Also, maybe we should find out what our immigration policies are and how any immigrant, legal or not, is treated upon arrival; there is ample information out there about the mistreatment of immigrants of all sexes, colors and creeds.

Before we go throwing stones at any one of any race we all need to educate ourselves on the trials and tribulations of every culture, and maybe then we can have an educated argument on the issue. I don’t think that there are many sane people out there who can defend slavery as a moral act carried out by one group of people against another, and those who do need to take a look at the world of hate they live in. Yet, the way to end the hate is not through more hate. It comes through education, understanding, love and empathy. I regret that any group of people has ever been persecuted by another, but what offends me is that I am grouped into a hated majority.

My ancestors fled the horror that was Europe at the time. I am “white,” and I am proud that my grandparents made it here alive, with only the clothes on their backs. I am proud to have been born American. What does that make me?

Melissa Bauer is a sophomore majoring in anthropology and mass communications.

WUSF is a good addition to the university

I take issue with Mejia’s comments of Thursday denouncing WUSF radio. Where else could I listen to classical and/or jazz music on a regular basis? Sorry to say, but I have little faith in WBUL’s capability to bring worthwhile music to the airwaves. The last time I descended into the basement of the Marshall Center to use the computer center, I heard some terribly loud processed sound popularly known as “music” supplied by a WBUL DJ. That was two years ago, and I haven’t been back since. If you want to listen to that type of music, just roll down the window to your car … it’s everywhere.

If you want to find a serious drain on USF resources by a “nonacademic” program, try athletics. What a sad waste that students who could care less about football have to chip in for such a wasteful program that such a small proportion of students enjoy. Or take a gander at the Village, which is being torn down to make way for Greek housing. What proportion of the student body is actually a member of a fraternity? Why are they more important than the rest of them? Those are two examples of waste for the few, while WUSF delights listeners across Tampa Bay.

I am, however, alarmed that WUSF denied Ralph Nader advertising. I’m not Nader fan, but I find their branding of him as a “controversial” political figure alarming. So WUSF wants to be the conscience of the public now? What a sad state of affairs. I would expect nothing more of Genshaft than to approve the measure. It is in the interest of both of our dim-witted political parties to censor even the potential of a third party voice, and Genshaft is firmly in the Republican camp.

If WUSF wants continued support from our community, they should have a lot more ethical backbone than that, especially if they are sponging off USF. All right then, on with NPR news and late night jazz, please.

Andrew Huse is a staff member in the USF Library.

Accutane does not cause mental disorders

I would like to agree with the editorial in Wednesday’s Oracle about Charles Bishop not crashing a stolen plane into the Bank of America building because he was on Accutane. I took the prescription for several years and never had any negative effects involving suicide or depression. While I cannot speak for everyone who has taken the acne medicine, I cannot imagine having psychological effects due to an acne medication.

The accusations by Charles Bishop’s mother are sad and in my opinion will prove unfounded. While we are all saddened by her loss, she is trying to place the blame on the wrong people.

Heidi L. Wilson is a senior majoring in mass communications.

SG deserves more credit than it recieves

Like most regular Oracle readers, each day I scan through the opinion letters and often read articles with which I do not agree. The vast majority of the time, I simply dismiss the article and the things that were said, but on rare occasions, the things that were printed are so far off the mark that I feel compelled to respond. Kerene Tayloe’s Thursday opinion “Student Government candidates: unappealing lot” was full of an attitude that demonstrates being completely uninformed.

As a transfer-commuter student myself, I take great exception to Ms. Tayloe’s comments. Like every large school – and keep in mind that USF is one of the biggest – a student will only get out of their experience what they put into it. Without listing my own accomplishments, I can say that I have had the opportunity to be extremely involved at USF – particularly with Student Government. When I transferred into USF as a junior, I sought out opportunities to get involved. Where was Student Government? Oh that’s right, they were at my orientation – they’ve been around from the first step that I took onto campus. Since I suspect that Ms. Tayloe was also required to attend an orientation, it’s possible that SG was there for her to see, as well.

According to U.S. News & World Report, USF is ranked #1 nationally in percentage of transfer students. That status brings with it a tremendous challenge – getting nontraditional students to act like traditional students, specifically, getting all students involved and invested in their school. Is this a problem that SG is addressing? Absolutely. This semester, SG Senator Bryan Polson pioneered a program called BullSit. The objective of the program is to really get among the students and try to understand more fully the issues that are confronting them. Does SG even care? If dragging chairs out in front of Cooper Hall just to hear everyone’s opinions doesn’t answer that, I don’t know what will (and I dare say that if Ms. Tayloe is indeed a mass communications major, she’s in the area).

Unfortunately, I must agree with some of Ms. Tayloe’s comments regarding election voter turnout. In a school of nearly 37,000, a voter turnout of less than 2,000 is very disappointing. This is especially sad because SG is responsible for the allocation of over $7 million in student A & S (Activity and Service) funds. Whether a student likes it or not, SG does affect them because it is your tuition dollars at work. As with most entities money is important. It’s possible that Ms. Tayloe is unaware that 150-plus various student organizations are fully funded through A & S fees. Undoubtedly, many of the students involved with these groups are also transfer-commuter students.

Nevertheless, Ms. Tayloe would imply that SG isn’t doing anything to reach out to and involve students. Perhaps the 3000-plus students who came out for the Marshall Center Lock-In would disagree with her, as would the 4000-plus who were present at theSun Dome for the first Midnight Madness in years. Maybe she could consult with the hundreds of students who have received a free lunch while learning about breast cancer awareness or organ and tissue donation awareness. By just these few examples, I think that there are thousands of students who may be inclined to disagree with Ms. Tayloe.

As to Ms. Tayloe’s further suggestion that perhaps Mike and Dave are only interested in serving USF as student body president and vice president to boost their resumés, maybe she could stop by the SG offices at 11 or 12 o’clock at night when they are still there working on student issues, as is often the case, and ask them herself. Student Government requires far more time than someone who is only interested in building a resumé is willing to give. I applaud Joe and Lakia for caring enough to get involved. The actions of all four – Mike, Dave, Joe, and Lakia – alone show that they care.

My final point is simple. Ms. Tayloe claims to get all of her campus news from The Oracle and within the same opinion article, purports that SG does nothing. It would seem to me then, that Ms. Tayloe skips right over the SG page that runs Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday every week to announce the upcoming SG events.

The most disappointing thing about Ms. Tayloe’s comments is that her excuse for it all is that she’s just “a transfer student who commutes. You guys won’t even notice me.” I too am just a transfer student who commutes, but I also am a student who proves involvement is dependent upon the individual.

Daniel Ginn is a senior majoring in biology.

Al-Arian did not raise funds for terrorists

This is a response to Julie Heilos’s letter to the editor in which she stated; “Whether or not Al-Arian himself committed acts of terrorism against the people of the United States has yet to be proved, but it has been proved that he at least raised money for the Islamic Jihad.”

First of all Julie, I wasn’t aware the government has been trying to convict Al-Arian for a terrorist act against “the people of the United States.” That issue has never been raised before.

Second, I would love to see the evidence that proves “he at least raised money for the Islamic Jihad.” (Are you referring to Palestinian Islamic Jihad?) Where is this evidence that you are so privileged to see and the government is not?

The little bit of (secret) evidence the government did have was struck down by federal judge R. Kevin McHugh who said World and Islam Studies (WISE) was a “reputable” organization and Islamic Concern Project (ICP) “scholarly.” These are the supposed organizations that funneled money to terrorists, if you weren’t aware of that.

Afterward, then-Attorney General Janet Reno denied the government’s request to review the case, further embarrassing the government and emphasizing the truth. That truth is, Julie, Al-Arian has not been charged nor is their proof he raised funds for any terrorist organizations. It is stunningly ignorant and uninformed opinions like yours that skewers the opinion of the masses and gives fodder to slanderous individuals who have a specific and quite often racist agenda.

Your letter to The Oracle, and The Oracle’s willingness to run it, is repugnant. Please, for the simple sake of sticking to facts, do your homework first or at least mention that it’s your “opinion” that Al-Arian raised funds for terrorists. And the same goes for the editor at The Oracle who allowed this trash to be pushed in front of the eyes of 37,000 students at USF.

Alex Lynch is a senior majoring in mass communications.

Former SG electoral candidate speaks out

I have to say that I find it absolutely hilarious that someone who admittedly hadn’t taken the time to look into the SG presidential and vice presidential candidates had the audacity to write a letter questioning the reasons why Lakia and I ran for these offices.

Usually I try not to respond to comments made about myself that are so completely ignorant and wrong, but this time the comments referred to one of the greatest people I know at this university as well, and her name is Lakia. I am going take this time right now to set the record straight and explain to everyone why Lakia and I ran for these offices.

Lakia and I have known each other since the first day of classes our freshman year back in 1999, when we were both members of Learning Community 12. Over the past three years we have become the best of friends, creating a bond between the two of us that to this day I have yet to find with anyone else I have ever met. I respect Lakia very much, and I believe whole heartedly that she would have made a great vice president and made USF really proud.

Responding to the comment that maybe Lakia and I were only trying to build a resume, I find that funny as well because it is obvious that you know nothing about either myself or Lakia and are so not in the position to make that judgment. Let me tell you a little bit about myself. Well, as I said, I was a freshman back in 1999, but from the very moment I have been here I have been involved with one student organization or another. I started off my freshman years as a senator for Beta Hall building council and then was later appointed to the position of National Communications Coordinator for the Residence Hall Association. I am currently, and have been for the past year, the vice president for policy and procedures for RHA and a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary. Not to mention a one-time senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a cadet in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps here at USF. Tell me; do I need to put anything else on my resume?

Lakia and I ran for office because we love this school and wanted to make it a better university for all students, commuter and residents alike. Lakia and I had some great ideas like you mentioned in your article, but they were not only ideas. We had plans to accomplish these goals, as well, but you would not know that seeing as you were not at the debates a few weeks ago. Unlike you, USF was my first-choice university and I love it here and would have been proud to serve as president for the student body. But you know what? You told us all in your letter that the only way you find out about what is going on on campus is through The Oracle. I laugh at that, no offense to The Oracle intended, but you should widen your media resources to gather information and take the initiative to get the whole story before you jump to conclusions (especially as a mass communications major).

I can honestly say that Lakia and I tried to run a campaign that was a full grassroots effort, reaching out to students that in the past may not have had the will to vote. We reached, I would say, a couple of thousand students and am proud to say that the students who voted for us really believed that we were the best candidates for the positions. They were not voting for us because Lakia is African American as you might suggest. They voted for us because they believed we had the ideas and abilities to make the much needed changes here at USF. Not to take anything away from Mike and Dave, they won the election fair and square. I am sure they will do a wonderful job, and they have my full support next year.

I definitely would have liked to see more voter turnout as I am sure Lakia, Mike and Dave would have, as well, but even more so than that I would have liked to have seen a larger educated voter turnout. If your only reason for voting for Mike and Dave was because Lakia and I didn’t know the answer to a few trivia questions I feel sorry for you.

If you want to get involved and see what it is like to be an active student here at USF I suggest you try to run for a senate position. If you do I will see you next fall. Maybe then you and I can get to know each other and then and only then you can start to judge me and my intentions. But until then don’t, and leave my friends out of it.

Joe Nirenberg is a junior majoring in political science.