Some comic fare

While working at this particular educational institution over the past several years, I have, at times, assumed the posture of a confused and befuddled witness who could only sit back and observe as the academic atmosphere and social climate of the campus shifted and quaked with spasms of racial ignorance and unrest.

And through perilous times, I managed to maintain, for my students, as well as for myself, SOME semblance of reason and silent detachment. But no more.

Therefore, as a member of this educational system, but more specifically, as an African-American male (one of the few actually teaching at this university), I feel compelled to deliver this modest bit of advice to the student body.

First of all, to the Caucasian population, specifically all those who share the narrow intellectual perspectives of Tom Sullivan, I wish to say that, realistically speaking, there is no way for you to absolve yourselves of the humiliation, degradation, and bestiality that your forefathers inflicted upon numerous cultures, but specifically the African-American.

By openly subjecting yourselves to your own “internalized fear and shame,” through the adoption of overly defensive positions concerning numerous documented occurrences, you only succeed in frustrating yourselves. Therefore, my prescription for your particular “ailment” is for you to actually practice what you preach.

If you really want to understand other cultures, specifically African-Americans, then walk up an openly inroduce yourselves to us. Attend various African/multicultural functions, as well as join various African/multicultural organizations. While you may feel “awkward” at first, through openness and willing demeanor, you will broaden your horizons, make new contacts, and put to rest the internalized fear that you modern “children of equality” possess.

Secondly, to the people of color, specifically African-Americans, I have this heartfelt message. The time has come for us, as a people, to lay down the baggage of the past.

I did not say to totally forget the wrongs that we, as well as other cultures, have suffered. I simply mean that in order for you to acomplish your various objectives at Northern, or anywhere else in society, you must lay down the unnecessary baggage of anger.

Uncontrolled anger is a detriment to your academic success, and there are those in this academic community who would have you lose yourself in your own hatred and pity; thereby missing your objective of attaining a college education.

At this university, I teach composition 103 and 104. In the 104 course, I stress the concept of applying “critical thinking” to various arguments that people encounter on a daily basis. Well, by applying this concept to the ridiculous proposal and veiled justifications for a white student union at Northern, I submit to you that we, as a culture, have little to fear or concern ourselves with.

Only a child that is completely devoid of all rationality and social awareness would attempt to propose a white student union at a predominantly white university. When I think of this, for some strange reason, the word “redundant” immediately comes to mind.

And that which is humorously illogical and vapidly redundant poses no serious threat, other than death from fits of laughter!

It is high time for the academic environment of NIU to return to its natural state of quasi-normalcy. Let us leave the Tom Sullivans of our little community to ponder the impossibilities of reversing the numerous ethnic and social accomplishments that have been achieved over the years. And while they do this, we shall continue to strive forward, all the while tipping our hats to them for their contributions for comic relief.

Jacques A. Betts