Communication lines too important to lose

By Dave Kirkpatrick

With the fall of winter’s first snow comes a hush.

Those animals not lucky enough to be classified as waterfowl move to more hospitable environs in order to feast on the vegetation that is so sparse during Jack Frost’s stay in DeKalb.

Those waterfowl that stay are blessed by the goodhearted folk who buy four loaves of bread at Pick ‘n Save and spend Sunday afternoon contributing to the delinquency of biologically-confused ducks.

With the advantage of having a food source available, the quackers have reason to remain. They have been conditioned to their environment. They have it easy.

Without that food source, the ducks would either fly south or die.

It seems another group here on campus, though hardly are they ducks of any kind, has to make up its mind whether to survive without a food source or fly south. It seems at the moment, they have done the latter.

The John Lennon Society, sans Martha Palmer, has been without sustenance for a while now. Their presence has been felt, but their effects have been nil. Their relative silence this semester, compared with their vocal fervor of last semester, interests me.

I wonder where this idea of rampant racism at NIU has gone?

The JLS, in all their glory, stood up for Palmer when she was embattled with the administration over supposedly racist and sexist discrimination. Palmer said she was refused the renewal of her contract because she was a black woman.

Most of us remember the events of that circus, and if I wanted to go into all the details, I’d have to ask my editor for this entire page. I’m pretty sure he’d say no.

Palmer’s case will soon be in the hands of the courts, and no one but the adjudicators can decide whether or not she has a case. But there are things we can do, as students, to try to resolve this overblown issue.

The JLS deserves some credit for giving Palmer a hand in her struggle. It was not an easy time for her, the administration or the students, and they were really the only group who orchestrated an effort to establish some kind of communication between the parties. But now, it seems they have taken a silent pill.

We need to keep on keeping on about this “problem” of miscommunication between racial groups. The JLS was in the perfect position to lead the way toward more adequate and open communication between groups of all color here at NIU.

Since they have abdicated, we as a group need to confront the issues. We need to sit down and talk. Everybody—black, white, brown, yellow, greek, non-greek, duck, goose—needs to try to address this issue in the best way we know how.

I spoke with a black gentleman named James the other day, and he has hope that all this B.S. could be settled through communication. Simple conversation, how rare the practice has become, is a marvelous tool for fixing things.

He is concerned that the newspaper, “Lifeline,” has become a mouthpiece for the black community that would seperate people even more. I agree with him.

Everyone is entitled to seek channels of communication that best suit their needs. If those who designed “Lifeline” did so to promote their opinions, they are succeeding. If the paper was designed to be unfair and biased, it also is achieving that goal. This kind of opinion circulation without any face-to-face discussion and interaction, causes more problems than it solves.

James told me the people working for “Lifeline” feel they have been ill-treated by The Northern Star. How they have been, I don’t know. Nobody here at the paper knows. The only mail we get from black organizations is confrontational and negative in nature. This is no way to deal with grievances. Come and talk to us.

Maybe I’m setting myself up for an onslaught, but if anybody is concerned about this issue as much as I am, give us a call so that we at least know how the most important people—the students—feel.