Staff Editorial: Racial reconciliation talk is sometimes unbalanced

Editorial for March 4, 2010 issue.

Chimes Staff, Writer

We’re pleased that Biola honors its commitment to intellectual and cultural openness by hosting events like last week’s Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation. Racial diversity is a key ingredient to the greatness of the United States.

But, even more so, we must focus on what unites us. Although racial reconciliation is a noble and necessary goal, we somewhat disagree with how it is being pursued at Biola; discussion on this topic has often flared racial tensions rather than eased them.

There are wounds that run deep from stinging words and marginalizing behavior — the Jesus Mural debate and the SCORR conference are evidence of this. The pain and anger should be heard, not trivialized. Biola has taken positive steps by hiring Pete Menjares as associate provost for diversity leadership, and forming the Multi-Ethnic Programs department.

But it is possible to revert to a reverse racism in an effort to promote racial reconciliation. Parts of Monday’s chapel were offensive; American Indian Richard Twiss, keynote SCORR speaker, jokingly listed derogatory names for white people. Why are minorities free to make jokes about whites, but cries of “racism” resound when a white person jokes about a minority?

It's also crucial to acknowledge our nation’s progress in this area. Although it would be naive and foolish to declare victory over racism, it’s also foolish to dismiss our victories. Look to the upper echelons of our government: This decade we’ve had a black president, secretary of state, secretary of defense and Supreme Court justice. We had a Hispanic attorney general, and Congress recently welcomed its first Vietnamese-American.

Furthermore, the millennial generation, far removed from the racial struggles and blatant segregation of the past, will certainly continue progress as it takes center stage.

We charge the Biola community to address the pleas of racial minorities, but with fairness, from all sides. Let us look forward with a mentality that doesn't condemn us to perpetuate the sins of the past.

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