Letters to the Editor
Appalled with the Apollo performances
We were deeply saddened and repulsed by the repugnant display of blatant disrespect that occurred Thursday at The Apollo in the Special Events Center. The organizers for this event from both the Campus Activities Board and Black Student Union should be ashamed of certain performances that they allowed to go on.
We are specifically referring to the first five performances, with the exception of the second. These four performances included scantily clad dancers and poetry/comedy acts that were filled with foul language and racial slurs.
What took the cake was the dance routine by the male dance group “Boys of Poison.” The dancers stripped off their shirts and one dancer went so far as to pull down his pants, grab his privates and jerk himself up and down.
What followed was even more horrendous: Each dancer pulled a girl on stage and then simulated oral sex with them. It is all too easy to grab garbage and present it as entertainment.
The purpose of Black Emphasis Month is to bring pride to our people and our culture. African-Americans have a rich tradition of culture and respect that deserves to be represented with the highest amount of quality. The Apollo should have stimulated our intellect while teaching other persuasions of people what blackness truly means. Blackness is not sexually exploiting our brothers and sisters for entertainment. Blackness is not subjecting young children to sexual promiscuity and a litany of vulgar language. Blackness does not lack taste, respect or enrichment.
True blackness does, however, entail brainpower, hard work and sincerity in putting together a show that would exemplify the integrity and strength of our culture. Not just blackness, but tact, would urge the formation of a review board that would screen prospective talent and defend the sacredness of our ethnicity.
We urge the organizers of this event to stop being complacent and feebly following the mainstream. Set the standard for our student body and lead by example. Don’t accept the filth that society hails as entertainment — accept what is honorable and right. The civil rights movement only took place because its participants had these ideals ingrained in their hearts and stood upon an unshakable moral and Christian foundation.
Thursday’s performances were a slap in the face to the people that bled and died so that we would have a right to higher educational pursuits. The Apollo did not display progression, but regression.
Karine Calixte is a senior majoring in philosophy and Leslie Moss is a junior majoring in biomedical science.
Students should value USF’s diversity
As we have read in the pages of The Oracle, the first two weeks of Black Emphasis Month have reaffirmed the importance of continuing dialogue about the value of diversity at the University of South Florida. I have been proud to hear the campus community — especially students — talk about a campus climate that not only tolerates diversity, but respects and values it.
USF has one of the most diverse student bodies in the state. For example, we rank second to Florida A&M in the number of African American freshmen and fourth for the number of Hispanic freshmen.
Yet, diversity is more than just numbers. It’s a strength to build upon. Valuing diversity means creating a culture of inclusiveness. It means actively seeking diverse perspectives from people with different backgrounds and experiences.
This month, we are honoring African Americans, but we must also remember that a culture of inclusiveness has room for people of all backgrounds, including race, gender, ethnicity, disability, religion and sexual orientation.
As we proceed with the second half of this important month, I ask each member of the university community to commit to three things: First, dedicate time for reflection on diversity in your life and consideration of ways you have benefited from inclusiveness.
Second, talk with at least one person of a different background about their perspectives on diversity and inclusiveness. And, third, if you haven’t already participated in Black Emphasis Month activities, commit to attend at least one event before the end of the month.
Each of us has a responsibility to nurture the climate for diversity and inclusiveness at USF. By doing so, we are improving the climate today and creating traditions that will benefit students for many generations to come.
Judy Genshaft is the president of the University of South Florida.