ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Racism 101: My Thoughts on the Racist Incidents at U.C. San Diego

Updated on March 13, 2010

When I heard about the recent racist incidents at the University of California, San Diego; the "Compton Cookout" party thrown by the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity that mocked Black History Month, the Ku Klux Klan-style hood that was placed on a campus statue, the noose that was hung in the campus library, and students on Koala TV, UC San Diego's TV station, calling blacks "ungrateful n*****s" during one of their shows, I was not at all surprised.

Considering that incidents like these have happened on campuses across America for roughly 35 years, it wasn't shocking to me.

But it was upsetting.

I was upset not only by these acts, but particularly by the attitudes of the conservative white population toward this issue.

Hanna Guthrie, a student at the University of California's Irvine campus, located in the right-wing stronghold that is Orange County (who's obviously white), penned an letter to her campus' newspaper that voiced perfectly how conservative whites feel about cultural events like Black History Month and dare I say it, African American culture in general.

In a nutshell, Ms. Guthrie feels that ethnic clubs and holidays such as Martin Luther King Day and Cinco De Mayo enable people of color to, as she describes it, "cry eternal victimhood"; that because of the successes of folks like Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama, blacks should stop blaming their oppression solely on "the white man" and "take personal responsibility" to solve the problems of their communities and cure their own ills.

It was also fairly obvious by what she wrote that she sees affirmative action as nothing but a ploy to give preferences to unqualified people of color, and that African Americans and other "minorities" should simply forget past wrongs, blame themselves for their sub-par neighborhoods and schools, and as right-wing legend Ronald Reagan so puts it, "pull themselves up by their own bootstraps".

Which I am sure is the view of all conservative Anglo-Caucasians.

As for the acts and subsequent reactions at UC San Diego - like Irvine, also located in a longtime conservative area - I can say one thing for the fraternity, the students at the TV station, and Ms. Guthrie at UC Irvine:

They are honest.

Those young people were showing the resentment of whites who see blacks, Latinos and other underrepresented ethnic groups as crybabies who want everything handed to them because of past sins suffered at the hands of whites in this country. That racial-themed party, the noose, and that n-word remark was only an extreme example of the white backlash that has characterized American racial issues since the 1970s.

In fact, President Obama's election and presidency as triggered an avalanche of conservative Caucasian backlash, including school children chanting "Assassinate Obama" on a bus in Idaho. Incidents like that has made it crystal clear that millions of whites wish that Obama's skin was the same color as theirs.

As far as what went down in San Diego and Irvine, what those acts have told me is that not only does Pi Kappa Alpha, Hanna Guthrie, and the students at that TV Station not understand, they have no desire to understand.

They refuse to understand that just because African Americans can sit at any lunch counter they want to and go to any bathroom they wish, does not mean that racism is a thing of the past; to conservative whites, racism equals "Whites Only" signs in restaurants, sitting on the back of buses, and the KKK burning crosses - which are merely extreme symptoms of racism and not the true definition.

They refuse to understand that it continues to be much more of a challenge for a black or a Latino person to get a job than for a white person to get a job, even among college graduates, the reasoning for this being that white employers often feel more comfortable hiring someone like them, even if the person of color is clearly the better job candidate. According to the New York Times, unemployment among young African American male college graduates are nearly double that of their white counterparts.

A good personal example of this was when I was a undergraduate, I answered an ad to help a girls' softball team one spring.

When I had the initial conversation with the head coach on the phone, it went great; she sounded quite impressed with my experience coaching kids and my knowledge of the game, and I was very much looking forward to working with the team as I hung up the phone.

However, when I arrived at the field that following Saturday the coach that was so impressed and friendly with me gave me a funny look, then informed me that they were going to go with someone else because "he asked first". When she said that, I knew right away that this lady did not want any black guys near her team of little white girls, and was trying to hide her racism (not well) by saying so.

Though I was still a student with my graduation still a few months away, I knew that I had received a master lesson on dealing with white society as a young black adult male.

Getting back to what happened in San Diego and Irvine, these white conservatives also refuse to understand that African Americans still get stopped by the police while in their cars, especially if such cars are nice, far more than whites - the term being "Driving While Black" - and get followed in stores because management and clerks suspect them of being potential thieves.

And they refuse to understand that clubs like the Black Student Union, MECHA (for Latinos), Nisei Student Union (for Japanese students) and Hillel (for Jewish people) exist not to segregate themselves, but to provide support and camaraderie for the folks in those ethnic groups and to celebrate their culture, which in the face of campuses that can be hostile are very much needed.

The kicker to all of this is, I don't expect these conservative white kids, or anyone else who feels like they do, to understand.

And don't expect them to ever be able to.

The reason? Pi Kappa Alpha, Guthrie, and all other middle class-to-upper class Caucasians in America are beneficiaries of white privilege.

They mostly hail from places where there are hardly any black or brown folks - except for workers and maybe a celebrity or two - have almost never interacted on a regular basis with such, and will never know what it's like to be an African American or a Latino and suffer the indignities that racism, whether it's blatant, subtle, or institutional, brings.

They will never know what it's like to live in a neighborhood where wearing the wrong color in the wrong place at the wrong time can mean death, where drugs such as heroin and crack are sold out in the open, or where cigarette / tobacco shops and liquor stores abound on nearly every corner, as opposed to their own neighborhoods.

They will never know what it's like for people to look at them with fear, thinking they are violent thugs and clutching their purses and handbags because they are afraid they might be snatched.

And they will never, ever know what it's like for folks to see them and somehow being inferior beings because of their skin color, their name, and in Latinos' case their language.

I am convinced that if those frat boys at UC San Diego didn't see blacks as inferior, they would not have thrown that "Compton Cookout" party complete with gold teeth, watermelon, and girls acting "ghetto" - the irony being that Latinos have outnumbered African Americans in Compton since the 1990s.

If Guthrie didn't have at least some negative feelings toward blacks, she wouldn't have written the letter that she wrote.

And it goes without saying that if those students at the TV station didn't have any hatred toward African Americans, the n-word would have never been uttered on the air.

At the end of the day, these incidents have proven once and for all that this is not a post-racial society, despite what some think.

All of the civil rights protests, marches, and "I Have A Dream" speeches, the affirmative action policies, and the Oprahs, Obamas, Bill Cosbys and Kobe Bryants of the world will never change how conservative whites feel.

In other words, you cannot force a white individual with right-wing views that are seen by many as racist to stop feeling that way, no matter how many African American presidents these United States may have.

People like Hanna Guthrie and those students at UC San Diego's TV Station will always feel they way they do about race and racial issues; that's just the way it is.

And that's the way I see it.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Right Black profile image

      Right Black 

      8 years ago from Huntington Beach, California

      Dhart, Great hub. I agree with almost everything you have written except that this racism is a racism of the conservatives only. Racism is an equal opportunity infection. The "progressive" aren't as progressive as they would want you to think. Remember when Bidden was running for president and talked about the "clean and articulate black guy" as if he were something abnormal. How about Harry Reid's statement about how the President can speak with "no negro dialect" and why was it important for Chris Matthews to forget that he was "black tonight for an hour." So you see it cuts both ways and I would imagine that not all of those students were conservative seeing that the majority of UC instructors are "liberal." Other than that small distinction I do agree that most upper-middle to upper class whites need to get out more and see what goes on in the rest of the world. Hey, how's about a photo of some kind or are you so ugly we couldn't stand it. Oops, guess I'm not being PC to the ugly crowd. :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)