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Take it personally

Sarah Brenzel | Wednesday, February 29, 2012

As I sat and read The Observer in South Dining Hall during a lunch break this past Monday, a fellow diner-reader at another table exclaimed to her friend, “If I were black, I would be very offended by this.”

While acts like placing fried chicken in mailboxes associated with African American organizations are overt, purposeful and offensive acts of prejudice, the attitude implicit in statements like this are similarly ignorant.

It seems many students have heard about this event and have expressed sorrow for those who have been directly affected by it. To view the act as insulting solely toward a specific group is to view the group as “the other,” a mindset that obstructs the complete integration of majority and minority groups.

Instead, I encourage everyone to take this, and all other prejudicial acts, personally. Think of someone you know or admire in the targeted demographic and imagine how much it would hurt you to see their talents and character belittled by such a tasteless stunt. In this case, think of it especially as an act against persons within the Notre Dame community. In every case, consider it an offense towards someone imbued with the same human dignity as you. Take it personally, get mad and act accordingly.

Irere Romeo Kwihangana, in his Viewpoint submission “Fried chicken does not celebrate Black History Month” (Feb. 27), detailed an incident where he heard three white students tossing around the n-word and called them out on it to no avail. If we all stood up to this kind of ignorance, instead of pretending it doesn’t affect us, this kind of behavior would likely stop. My theory: because the types of people who hold these racist attitudes are too close-minded to think intelligently for themselves, then some peer pressure in the opposite direction would help to advance us past this bigotry.

Sarah Brenzel

senior

Walsh Hall

Feb. 29