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Race Relations at Bucknell By: Kyle McNeel
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, September 30, 2003

One wonders what Juvenal would say.  One wonders because it seems satire would accomplish nothing.  These are days beyond mockery, as they are so absurd that satire could not help but to be surreal.

Maybe you’ve heard: there’s a 15-year-old girl in Oakley, California, trying to start a "Caucasian Club" at her high school.  Freedom High School freshman Lisa McClelland says she’s not racist, the Contra Costa Times reports, but that the club will be all inclusive and will seek “to solve the issues of racial disparity.”  The proposed club has already seen fierce resistance.  Charnae Mosley, 16, a junior at Freedom High School, is one of the detractors.  “There’s no need for a Caucasian Club,” she says, “because they’re not a minority.”  Mosley is a member of the Black Student Union at Freedom.  

Darnell Turner, vice president of the East County Chapter of the NAACP, thinks the club will create racial tension.  “If her motivation is to bring harmony, as she alleges,” he states, “this is not the way to go.”  Then there’s 14-year-old Elliott Perez, who is Latino and white and has a handle on things when he says, “I think it’s fair for white people to have their own club, because every other race has their own club.”  Paradoxically, both Perez and Turner have assessed the situation properly, though they disagree on what the outcome should be.  A Caucasian Club will do nothing to soothe already inflamed racial relations at the school.  Though it would, indeed, be fair to allow McClelland to start her Caucasian Club, such clubs are not the way to racial harmony.  We should not separate ourselves based on our crudest attributes, attributes that are out of our control and have no effect on what we are to become.

That aside, I imagine what would happen if such a club were proposed at my soon-to-be alma mater, Bucknell University.  Almost certainly, the club would provoke the ire of the PC Police and would probably never have the chance to hold its first meeting.  Someone would invariably perceive the proposal to “create a hostile environment for another individual or group because of race,” which qualifies as thought-crime under Bucknell’s “Guide About Bias-Related Harassment.” 

Generously assuming that the club escaped unscathed by Bucknell’s egregious speech code, the next hurdle would be to gain legitimacy on campus.  The best way to do this?  Recognition by the university’s panacea to all racial ills, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Multicultural Council of Presidents (MCOP).  MCOP’s Mission Statement commits it to “fostering an inclusive and diverse campus community.”  This can be seen by the grouping of organizations under the MCOP umbrella:  Brothers and Sisters Empowered, the Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Trans-sexuals, Students for Asian Awareness, and the Turkish Student Association, to name a few. 

However, MCOP’s recent history has been less than inclusive.  Last February, the Bucknell University Conservatives Club went before MCOP to request a seat on the council.  The BUCC’s application was summarily rejected with no explanation until months later.  The Conservatives Club, apparently, does not mesh with MCOP’s understanding of “diversity,” hence they are not eligible for membership.

One can only assume that a Caucasian Club would receive similar treatment.  Because Caucasians are not one of the fetishized “protected” groups at Bucknell, we can be sure that a club intended to promote equality by representing Americans of European descent would receive short shrift.  As one Bucknellian wrote last year, “MCOP has no membership standards apart from the personal preferences of its members; it is run by liberals, for liberals, and is little more than a University-sanctioned instrument for liberal causes.”

Is the Caucasian Club a good idea?  No! I robustly reject the legitimacy of, let alone the need for, such an organization anywhere.  Yet, the irony at Bucknell is thick and serves an important purpose.  That the proposal has created such controversy shows us that the way to racial harmony is not through balkanization and self-segregation.

As we slip further and further into identity politics, we forget what makes us who we are.  I have seen this nonsense happening on my campus for the past three years, I see it now at Freedom High School, and we must all unite to stop it.

Let us not deign to define ourselves by our crassest characteristics. As we deny the Caucasian Club, we must expose the rest of the divisive race-based clubs for what they are and allow the rain of reason to saturate those under the “multicultural” umbrella.

Kyle McNeel (secretary@bucknellconservatives.org) is secretary of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club and copy editor of its magazine, The Counterweight.

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