Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day 11

I'm over here in my adult world, living with some guys, going to work with them, coming home with them. I see so few children. Sometimes when we're at lunch someone will be there with their kids. I see a few school buses in the morning, kids all sitting behind the bus windows in their uniforms. I haven't been anywhere where there would be a lot of kids. Yesterday at lunch there was a woman with two kids sitting at a table behind a partition, kids running around, she scolding them and then one of them pealed with laughter. What a beautiful sound.

My wife told me last night that my daughter has recently been through a controversy. She is an officer in a group called the Campus Nerds. They put on two haunted houses, one for kids and one for adults. Well, apparently they had a noose in the haunted house. Someone took a picture of it and made a big stink. I've been told that it made the local paper. The end result is that the Campus Nerds had to go make a formal apology to a black fraternity on campus.

The Campus Nerds is not a racist organization - it's a bunch of kids who like anime, computer gaming, etc. You know, geeks. They created a haunted house using images that have been a part of halloween since before my time. This isn't Jena. No one was trying to keep black students out. But someone got all PC on these kids and made a huge stink over nothing. I am sensitive to the legacy of slavery and the racism born of it, I grew up in an area where black people were farm hands, house maids, common laborers and were constantly reminded of their place. I understand the legacy of the KKK and the murders they committed. What I don't understand is why something so obviously not meant to be racist was deliberately made out be so. Ghosts hanging in effigy have long been a staple halloween decoration all over this country. It isn't as if hanging was solely inflicted upon black people. Hanging was the primary means of capital punishment in this country until well into the middle of this century. It was the means of execution for Saddaam Hussein. So now my daughter has been initiated into this world where speech is monitored for fear of offending someone, constantly worried that a look or a gesture will be misinterpreted as a leer or an insult. She isn't out of college yet. She's in, what was for me at least, the last insulated world she'll live in. She should be making good friends and happy memories that'll last her a lifetime, not be dumped slap into the middle of the real world where intentions don't matter and victimization rules the day.

I wish she were back at the age where all she had to worry about was if mommy was going to let her have a piece of candy before supper.

7 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

meno said...

Poor Jena. It's hard to even think of everything that will offend someone.
Around here someone i know got into trouble for saying "sitting Indian style" when sitting with her legs crossed. Apparently it's supposed to be "criss-cross applesauce."


patches said...

I feel what you're saying, PC goes too far.

I'm think we mail our state taxes to the same address. I understand part of where you are coming from. I'm disappointed for your daughter.

I didn't realize you were NaBloing. I would have dropped by sooner.

liv said...

That sucks. And, unfortunately, it's getting a lot of press (not particularly that incident) right now. I opened last week's copy of People magazine today to find that there was an article on the resurgence on the "symbol" of the noose in our country. I honestly had no idea that it was viewed as such a hate symbol. Rather, I would have thought that it symbolized hanging for any man or woman regardless of color. Guess I was wrong.

Sober Briquette said...

I never thought of a noose as a racist symbol. It has a much more general meaning for me, but things are somewhat different in the north.

Your wisdom can help her navigate this.

Mother of Invention said...

Sorry this had to happen to her so soon into college and spoila bit of clean fun. Living in Canada, I'd never have even given it (noose thing)a second thought.

amusing said...

Meno - - so THAT's what criss-cross applesauce means! The Youngest keeps saying it and I've been bafffled... I think he likes the sound of the words, as there has been no sitting associated with it (that I've noticed)

While Jena's experience was obviously rather ridiculous and overblown, I believe the NYT recently covered a story about nooses that were being placed on the doors of black families -- sort of a modern apt bldg. take on a cross on the lawn. These nooses had nothing to do with Halloween.

I fear this whole country is beginning to react like everything bodes the end of the world -- fear is taking away rights and priveleges and even tradition and sense of humor. I should go reread "Animal Farm" and "Lord of the Flies"

amusing said...

(Oh, but before I got to the part about the creepy world we live in now.... Your talk on the absence of children reminded me of being in college -- I designed an advertising poster for some performer who was appearing at the local elementary school and they gave me free tickets as payment. I remember being struck by seeing all those children, and the realization of what a homogenous environment I'd been living in at college without even realizing it.....)