As the great playwright and poet Oscar Wilde once put it, “A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.” Somehow, this remains to be the case in lieu of the growing number of anti-discrimination holidays stacking up in the world today.
It is as if a red "X" on an Aryan nationalist's calendar would make him walk up and kiss an African American.
In 1966, the United Nations declared March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In other words, show the minorities of the world you really aren't thinking about their skin color for at least one day.
We at the Northern Light oppose all forms of bigotry or racism and realize that even on a diverse campus like UAA, the stench of racial division is still putrid.
On a national scale, the March 21 campaign was initiated in response to the need to heighten awareness of the harmful effects of racism and to demonstrate the commitment of the federal government to fostering respect, equality and diversity.
The United Nations also declared that 1983-1993 was the Second Decade for Action to Combat Racial Discrimination. Does that mean we're over it eight years later or are we entering Phase Three? We understand the importance of the peacekeeping system that is currently operating under the United Nations. They are there to make sure we all live healthy, non-hateful lifestyles. What an interesting concept the UN has adopted in taking away people's innate desire to hate, almost in a magical, God-like quality. They gave us a day so that the racist idiots of the world will be reminded that we should all be nice, equal, human beings. Next, the UN will organize an International Day Against Potty Mouths. Good intentions that unfortunately wouldn't win everyone over.
Awareness holidays (World AIDS Day, Breast Cancer Awareness Day, etc.) were created to remind us that through our pointless daily lives of brunches, meetings and shopping malls, there are more important, pressing issues with which to be concerned. Do you hear many people discuss the growing problem of AIDS outside of wearing a red ribbon on that one designated day of the year? Probably not.
It makes Americans feel good when they remember an awareness holiday, but not to actually do anything about the cause, that would be just too much work. A water cooler conversational piece is faster and easier than organizing a march towards a downtown courthouse. Preconditioned to care but not really that ready to change our daily routine and jump on the liberal bandwagon. Unfortunately, it is the American way.
Racial discrimination will never go away. Alaska is sheltered from a lot of things prevalent in the Lower 48 but not from racism. The recent investigation over the alleged use of racial slurs within the Anchorage Police Department was taken very seriously as Mayor George “please someone like me” Wuerch hired a retired judge to investigate the matter.
The recent Mardi Gras-gone-bad in Seattle a few weeks ago had the city citing racial tension as the riot catalyst for the death of a young man and the many others injured. There is also that ever-so-familiar school shooting spree in San Diego that left two students dead. Although the 15-year-old responsible was not using racial bigotry as the answer to his destruction, he did claim that he was called "faggot" so much, it drove him crazy enough to kill. He obviously didn't get the brochure about World Love Day.
The impression we get about how aware Americans really are about the problems in the world is not an impressionable one. This means that, for most, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is just another Wednesday at the office.
Hopefully, groups that do take notice will bring the problem to the forefront and voice a loud concern and not look at the minority member sitting across the cafeteria table and smile a look of “Sure, I'll acknowledge you exist, today.”