Letter to the Editor: The Gray Area


By JEFFREY PODISCENTRE STUDENT

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to this article.

Dear Editor,

When I first read the article in the Sept. 26 issue in “The Gray Area” titled “The Things We Say and the Things We Mean,” I was furious. Why is this white, privileged sophomore student telling me what to call black people?

On what authority does he reserve the right to tell me what I should label people? In my rage, I was prepared to slander the author as a jerk and a racist. I have several acquaintances that would agree with me on that standpoint upon first reading the article, for what seems to be a good reason.

I spoke to a few of my friends of various ethnic backgrounds and to the author himself. What should I call my friends who are black? I received a resounding, “Black.”

To proclaim that someone is African-American is to, potentially, denounce his or her ancestry. I have a close friend here at Centre who is descendent from Haiti, but, I suspect, denotes “black” whenever he takes a survey. Why? Because he is black! This is the only common colloquial term that was not created for the purpose of demeaning or discriminating.

To promote usage of “black” is to promote a semi-factual, non-discriminatory label. Should we be promoting usage of a label at all? Is being cognizant of race something that I should be happy about? Does any of this really matter?

We are all people, each of us are a part of the Human Race; whether you are male or female, straight or gay, wealthy or impoverished, Greek or Non-Greek, or whichever label appropriately describes you.

In order to have a community, there needs to be diversity, discussion, conflict and resolution, and above all we need to be respectful. Respect your peers and you will forever be happier than if you were ever “politically correct.”

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Podis


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