Weak invisible race week

Just before Thanksgiving Break, I attended ÒInvisible Race Week,Ó which debuted 11a.m. Nov. 18, a time during which many students were occupied with classes.

If you couldnÕt make it, you were fortunate to have an opportunity to attend another race themed event just two days laterÑat exactly the same time. Or, if that time also proved inconvenient for your schedule, you could have attended another that very same day at 6p.m. provided you werenÕt at dinner.

Fortunately, I attendedÑat the expense of dinnerÑthis last event (although, in fairness, they did offer free pizza and soda).

In the Silver Maple Ballroom, I sat through three Òsocial justiceÓ activities: A privilege test, a game of naming stereotypes and finally, a PowerPoint explaining racism.

The first activity resembled the hokey-pokey in a Kindergarten classroom.

We formed a circle in which a speaker noted privileges that only whitesÑor the rich; it wasnÕt really clearÑare alleged to possess.

For instance: ÒI can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresserÕs shop and find someone who can cut my hair.Ó

There were other confusingly compounded scenarios that tended to baffle me.

If you felt that these statements adequately described the conditions under which you live, you then had to step in the middle of the circle, until another ÒprivilegeÓ was announced.

I didnÕt, and still donÕt, understand how one should feel entitled to obscure foods which suit oneÕs cultural fancy.

But I can surmise that, if I wanted a Big Mac in Tunisia, I likely wouldnÕt be obliged, even with the evils of globalization.

And, mind you, the consumption of foods pertaining to the cultural traditions of ethnic minorities is usually not obligatory like, say, halal food is to Muslims.

After the privilege test, when asked to offer some thoughts, guilty whites expressed their, well…guilt. Or sorrow, or frustration or whatever unspecific emotion was required to conclude the activity.

The second activity required the participants to write down the respective stereotypes of different races on large sheets of paper hung up on walls: Native Americans (casinos); Asians (good at math); Hispanics (illegal immigration); blacks (basketball).

After the activity, the President of Inner Residence Association asked why we thought whites were not a race to which we could ascribe stereotypes. He posited that whites were not burdened by stereotypes, an opinion quickly laid to rest when members of the circle started shouting them out (white trash). The last activity was a PowerPoint on racism, which had some pretty disagreeable allegations.

The first of which purported that white people are the only racial group capable of racism.

This will come as a shock to anyone who knows even an ounce of history: The Rape of Nanjing is a perfect example of the fact that racism does not exist within a single racial group, as the Japanese certainly thought themselves racially superior to the Chinese they butchered. 12