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Emory's Black Student Alliance: BSA B.S. By: Roland Green
The Emory Wheel | Monday, March 22, 2004

In the past I have addressed the Black Student Alliance’s treatment of certain issues and have uncovered many of its faults as an organization. While the BSA is a necessary part of the Emory community on a cultural level, it also represents a hostile and inflammatory element that has led directly to the campus’ racial division. As a student-run organization, the BSA is too overbearing with its misplaced energy, too overrun with easily misled leaders who readily ignore important facts and too overrated as an organization that adequately represents the needs of the black student body here at Emory. BSA members’ increased sensitivity, or rather, their illusion of others’ cultural insensitivity, is certainly their primary problem. The organization deliberately provokes reactions that allow for its expansion at the expense of others, most recently the Emory administration and the College Republicans.

In past articles, I brought forward the truth of the BSA’s concept of justice. I reacted to their all-too-common method of gaining support not through the cause itself, but through exaggerating the cause, as has been the case with the Horowitz issue. I was present at the initial meeting about his appearance last year, and from the very beginning, the BSA’s ultimate plan was to make it so that Horowitz did not get a chance to speak — even though his topic was completely unrelated to race. At the meeting, then-BSA President Candace Bacchus (’03C) addressed black students and myself, and for a moment persuaded even me that Horowitz was the most racist white man alive. Of course, others present at the meeting followed her blindly. Even then, Bacchus’ emotion and outrage was childish and disproportional to the scale of the event, and this was reflected in her shrewd display at Horowitz’s speech weeks later. The BSA’s intentions were to protest and completely prevent Horowitz’ speech — they planned to dress alike and to upset the event, following Bacchus’ lead. It was largely because of this combative action that Horowitz was forced to diverge from his planned speech on the gap between funding for conservative and liberal events to defend his past racial associations, as can be witnessed by listening to the speech recording.

I believe that I have presented a side of the BSA and its affiliates that few know about outside of these groups, in hopes that in the future, others might acquire the strength and determination of mind to counteract the BSA’s distasteful methods directly, despite being called “sell-outs” or racists. Currently, the BSA has managed to extend its sphere of influence from that of a cultural organization to institutional matters and now finally toward political matters, all the while with only one tool at its disposal: stupefying belief in the illusion of racism supposedly expressed by different groups at different times. If one looks closely at the methods that the BSA and its associates (among others, the NAACP and, recently, the majority of the College Council) employ, it seems that they are trying to control the campus by heavily utilizing claims of racist action against them, while simultaneously and ironically perpetuating reverse racism. I don’t think I have to express anything more for students to realize how wrong it is to take a cause of the past and extend it into nearly every matter that comes up on campus, very occasionally with merit but usually without. For example, an article expressing a far-fetched belief in the genetic inferiority of black people, since it was written by a student, is a matter for the BSA, a student cultural organization. The incidental expression of the “n-word” in front of faculty members, where no black student was present, is not a matter for the BSA, but for the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs and other Emory administrative offices. The desire of a declared political organization, like the College Republicans, to bring the strongest Republican lecturer in circulation to Emory’s campus during an election year, something that should be expected of a political organization, is not a matter for the BSA — and also not a matter for representatives of the Admissions Office, nor should it be such a threat to provoke a veto by the College Council. Crying wolf has never been an effective way to capture the sympathy and support of others.

The BSA is the source of its own problems, proven time and time again. I believe that its reaction to certain incidents is the foundation of the racial division on this campus. If a source of this problem can be traced, then I suggest the search begin somewhere around the BSA and quickly follow with a search around its associates to avoid any waste of time. Not to say that the BSA is wholly to blame, but the blame does seem to fit the organization quite well, in light of its childish tactics, mindless constituency and poor leadership.

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