Thursday, March 15, 2012

Disingenuous Innocence

Last week there was a nice little brouhaha at Towson University when a student group calling itself Youth for Western Civilization, in the traditions of the school, wrote chalk messages on concrete around the campus. No big deal, except their messages included "White Power" and "White Pride". And then we were off and running.

The school held a big campus meeting to hash out the matter, which is a good thing, but that brought forth two statements, from diametrically opposed forces, that were difficult to believe.

First, there was the black student who spoke and said he felt fear for his safety because of these chalk messages. Really? You're going to school in the highly diverse Baltimore County at a school that's at least as diverse as the county. There have been no attacks of any kind on a student based on ethnicity. Hell, the message itself doesn't advocate any such thing, even. Yet you fear for your safety? I don't believe that for an instant.

Second, and more intentionally, there's the tool who's the president of Youth for Western Civilization's Towson branch. In post campus meeting interviews with the media he proclaims that "White Power" and "White Pride" are no different from any other ethnic groups expressing pride in their group, which is a fairly common thing amongst black, Jewish, Hispanic, and a myriad of other campus groups.

From a semantic standpoint, he's right. But that would be in a vacuum of history. The history of those expressions is one of oppression of anyone who's not white. He doesn't help his cause any by wearing a T shirt with the Stars and Bars on it while he's giving the interview. He knows perfectly well the baggage the phrases carry. He's just trying to poke people in the eye. I supposed it's to get attention for his group to get more members. There are only 8 of them on a campus of over 17,000 undergraduates and 4000 post graduates, so they're clearly desperate for some more members.

Besides which, there are plenty of ethnic pride groups for white people that don't have that baggage. Irish, Czech, Hungarian, German, Italian, and many more all have groups that celebrate their heritage. They don't do it by saying they're better than other groups. All they say is this is who they are and these are the things that their cultures value or have developed.

And to be thorough, I should point out the third disingenuousness that is the name Youth for Western Civilization. They're not for Western Civilization. They're for instability in the name of promoting ethnic superiority. Civilization means civil behavior not creating strife.

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