Minority clubs not racist in purposes

Student Association Minority Relations Adviser Larry Robertson is seeking panel members for a forum to discuss the pros and cons of having minority organizations on NIU’s campus. He needs students who are opposed to the existence of such groups.

ecent letters to The Northern Star indicate some NIU students believe minority clubs encourage separatism and “reverse racism.” These students misunderstand the purpose of having minority clubs and organizations.

Minority organizations such as the Black Choir or the Organization for Latin American Students are not formed to give minority students opportunities to separate themselves from whites, nor to promote anti-white attitudes. They’re meant to provide a support system for minority students that is lacking in the larger community.

When the Reverend Jesse Jackson was on campus last year, he addressed this issue. He tried to explain that whites have a different perspective on the world, because they’re embraced by their society from the moment of birth. There is nothing obviously different about them to set them apart or make them feel out of place or unwanted.

But for minority children, there is no immediate acceptance into the larger community, because the larger community recognizes them as being different. Their skin is darker, or their first language is Spanish, not English, or their religion requires a type of dress that sets them apart from other children. The only unconditional acceptance they get is from other children of the same race, culture or religion.

The need for this acceptance does not disappear as one enters adulthood. If anything, it becomes stronger. As young adult minorities are faced with the stresses of entering new careers—and with few or no role models of their own race to emulate—the need to turn to others who experience the same stresses and anxieties becomes even greater.

In general, when people are faced with difficult decisions and choices, or a stressful environment, they turn to the familiar—regardless of whether they are a member of a minority population group. This is perfectly natural—and has nothing to do with a desire to separate one’s self from the majority or to indulge in “majority-hating.”

opefully, Robertson will find anti-minority organization members for his forum. It will be interesting to see whether the experience helps them understand what they fail to understand at present.