Minority groups discussed

By Susie Snyder

In order to rid ignorance and dispell rumors about predominant minority groups at NIU, a forum was held at Grant Towers North Wednesday night, GTN Resident Assistant Dan Modaff said.

The forum allowed students to ask questions and state their opinions to representatives of the Black Student Union and the Gay/Lesbian Union. The forum was designed by GTN RAs Modaff, Debi Martin, Donna Phillips, Brian Tenclinger, Tim Anderson and Kevin McLean.

BSU representative Tim Ivy said students must keep fighting ignorance and racism or the problem will not go away. He said people enjoy hearing and reading disturbing news, and the media complies to those desires.

Ivy said there are black bigots as well as white, but he said black bigotry stems from the treatment of blacks in the past.

“It’s almost a curse to be born black,” Ivy said. He said it would be fine if every black was born secure enough to deal with that fact, but they are not.

Ivy said the BSU is a necessary group because it helps blacks deal with their heritage.

Ivy said that in a sense NIU does have a “White Student Union,” referring to Greek Row. However, a few RA’s in attendance disagreed, saying many whites feel left out of the greek system as well.

Ivy said any race is able to join the BSU, but he said they should not expect a warm welcome. He said blacks have been rejected for so long that they have the attitude of “I will reject you before you can reject me.”

If a student is sure of himself and has a genuine interest in the BSU, he eventually will be accepted by the black members, Ivy said.

Ivy said minorities need to form unions for support, and that members do not form a union for radical purposes.

Dan Greenwood, representing the GLU, said gays feel the need to tell their closest friends of their sexuality, but when they do, they often can lose those friends. He said gays often need to form support groups to ease the “coming out” process.

Greenwood said the GLU organizes days like “Jeans Day” to allow people to express their belief in human rights. He said Jeans Day is one day straight people have to go through a small inconvenience, and it shows them that gay people must go through a number of minor inconveniences every day.

Greenwood said he is against the idea of Jeans Day and would rather organize social functions where minorities and majorities could meet on a one-on-one basis. He said it would break down the barriers between the groups much better.