Friday, February 23, 2007

Activism In Action

Yesterday, to my unending shame, I heard about this little stunt:
A Republican student group in New York has sparked claims of racism by organising a game called "Find the Illegal Immigrant".

Students will act as immigration officers in Thursday's game and try to find a student in a crowd designated with a badge as the illegal immigrant.

The game has sparked protests from other students with hundreds planning to demonstrate against it.
(emphasis mine, for obvious reasons)

Now, when I attended NYU, the College Republicans got along pretty well with everyone else around them, even us liberal Democrats. Why? Because Republicans in New York tended to be more like Nelson Rockefeller than Strom Thurmond: tolerant, cooperative and willing to talk things out rather than be reactionary.

I see things have changed. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the spirit of the 60s and early 70s, NYU saw a genuine protest yesterday:
Protesters packed a park near New York University yesterday to rally against members of the student Republican club who were playing a game called Find the Illegal Immigrant.

Members of the club who present their NYU identification become "immigration agents" looking for someone wearing a sticker that says he or she is an illegal immigrant. The agent who finds the "illegal immigrant" wins a $50 gift certificate.

About 10 people signed up to play.
(again, emphasis added. Again, for obvious reasons) Hundreds. Versus ten. And I'd bet all ten were members of the "club" (pun intended). That might be enough of a smackdown for me to ignore this story, but somewhere deep inside me is a bubbling, boiling anger.

It did my heart good to read this, particularly in light of the University reaction to the game:"At universities, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas - even difficult and unpopular ideas - is a key mission," NYU spokesman John Beckham said in a statement.

Um, yea. Forum. Exchange of ideas. Not mockery. Not...well, let me have one of the students describe it: "It's a mock lynching," said 20-year-old junior Miranda Siegel, one of the demonstrators at the Greenwich Village campus.

When I attended, and I was pretty active in student politics, we had debates about issues. We asked intelligent, informed speakers to come address the student body. We spoke to both sides of an issue, and sometimes even came up with solutions.

And we'd get five, maybe six hundred people in the auditorium at Loeb. But then again, we weren't so obvious preening and primping our CVs for law school or to get attention. We wanted to deal with issues withOUT inflaming opinion.

Which meant nothing to the head of the College Republicans, Sarah RichWhiteGirlWith Chambers Maids:"This is a productive dialogue," said club President Sarah Chambers, a 21-year-old political science major from St. Louis. "I guarantee you, if we had a debate about the issue, all of these people would not be here."

Oh. Missouri. At least this bitch is from out of town. *whew*

Sarah, honey, let me clue you in. In the words of Mayor Mike Bloomberg, another out-of-towner: "We all spend too much time, I think, worrying about what college students do. Sometimes, and this is clearly a case, they do something that is not only distasteful but just downright stupid."

Get it, stupid? The only dialogue ANYONE should be having is whether your scholarship should be revoked! You tarnished the name of a fine academic institution, one that I was proud, until yesterday, to be an alumnus of.

I presume your real motivation was to land yourself a spot on Fox News, you fraudulent, self-aggrandizing twerp.

You're welcome to it. Just don't drag the rest of society down to your corrupt and inane level.

By the way, to the 10 or 11 people who participated (and to the winner, Fraser Dachille, 20, of Baltimore)?

I hope one day you are stuck in a foreign country without a passport and with no way to get to the American consulate. Shame on you. Shame on you all.