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Racism still alive

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, November 8, 2005

In response to Stephanie Yoshida’s “Segregation natural” letter to the editor, I would agree that Notre Dame is a self-segregated campus. However, Yoshida and I have some very different views on this issue which I would like to discuss.

I do not agree with Yoshida’s argument that people from a particular ethnic group inherently have more similar interests. Certainly, there are cultural similarities in many cases among ethnic groups.

However, from personal experience I would say that an Asian-American from Minnesota normally has fewer common interests with an Asian-American from California than he or she does with another Minnesotan. So, the idea that self-segregation at Notre Dame occurs along racial lines due to shared interests is undoubtedly flawed.

With the idea that common interests lead to self-segregation on campus being ruled out, it becomes clear that there is a different reason for this phenomenon. The reason that I am about to suggest is more cynical than the reasons presented by Yoshida.

Racism in America is still alive and among some people quite strong. This also applies to the Notre Dame campus. The number of racist remarks I have heard since arriving on campus only a few months ago is staggering.

With this, my theory is revealed as to why there is self-segregation on campus. In an effort to place themselves in a comfortable and fully accepting environment, ethnic minorities are almost forced to self-segregate into their own groups.

I am not claiming that Notre Dame is a completely racist campus, however complete racism is not necessary to cause discomfort for those who are targeted. Students form self-segregated groups because they know they will not be unfairly judged just because of their race within these groups.

I feel that the problem at Notre Dame is the racist tendencies that many students have without even realizing it. So, the best solution is to closely examine our own thoughts about race and to hopefully realize that race should not be an issue when interacting with or talking about other people.

Jeff TatefreshmanFisher HallNov. 7