Letter: Racial stereotypes are not acceptable

Editor:In regard to Lee Barnett’s letter (“Sheya is no more privileged than any other at the U,” Nov. 28): Maybe Yusuf referred to Sheya as a “white Christian male” because Sheya referred to himself as such. Barnett, “open your eyes,” like you yourself stated, and realize that you are trying to defend Sheya from (some of) the same issues that are also forced upon students in the Black Student Union (BSU) and MEChA. Why do you bring up that Sheya hasn’t received financial aid? If Sheya hasn’t received financial aid, then he’s experiencing oppression that members of BSU and MEChA must experience on a daily basis. You advised Yusuf to “grow a thicker skin,” but if you believe that, then why are you complaining that Sheya is waiting for financial aid? Sheya claims that the reactions of BSU and MEChA were ridiculous and “the basis of every problem of the world.” How ridiculous to blame problems on the victims rather than the perpetuators. Would you rather have a world where victimization and oppression go unchecked? Historically, the United States has prevented the assimilation of groups of color, and groups of color have had to fight to attain basic rights. No one should give up beliefs and traditions within his or her culture simply because he or she wasn’t the conqueror. Sheya’s family has made the choice to assimilate, but that choice is detrimental because most communities of color gain support from their culture. Perhaps Sheya himself practices traditions from Lebanon. Assimilation doesn’t work because actions are carried out against groups of color because of their phenotype, something that can’t be changed. Barnett, you said yourself that Sheya’s family undergoes strip searches–becoming criminalized in the process–because workers are judging based on phenotype and associating culture with certain phenotypes. Grills and extensions are typically associated with black culture and then to associate such aspects with sin is just as horrible as associating a country of origin with terrorism. I’m glad BSU and MEChA stood up for these important issues because, in doing so, they educated the university on what is not acceptable behavior–education that should have already been achieved. All students should be empathetic to issues where culture is degraded because, hopefully, everyone believes in the advancement of human rights.

Thanhtung Thantrong Senior, Philosophy