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Racist graffiti at York University

CityNews: York University Students March After Racist Graffiti Attack:

Hundreds of angry students at York University gave their president the boot from a meeting to talk about racist graffiti found on school grounds.

The “N” word, along with “Go Back To Africa”, were scrawled on the door of the Black Student’s Alliance (BSA) on Tuesday.

Even more upsetting for the students was the University’s lack of response. E-mails and calls to York Administration went unanswered, and when the school’s president showed up to the rally, he was asked to leave.

And this at my alma mater. sigh. The conversations written on the washroom walls and cubicles around York has been dredging this territory for a few years now, so I’m not surprised. (Yes, I do read that stuff) However, for someone to write it on the Black Student Association’s (BSA) front door after Martin Luther King day is, as they say, taking it to a whole ‘nother level.

However, the BSA’s decision to shut out Mr. Mamdouh Shoukri, the new university president, from their awareness event seems shortsighted. First, it wasn’t him who put up the racist graffiti. Second, the man was born in Egypt. Last I heard, that was still in Africa; so the graffiti is as much against him as it is to any of the students in the BSA. Third, the time between the incident and his response was a reasonable 24 hours. Yes, it is a very short response, but the “its too late” rhetoric is way too melodramatic and OTT. Reparations are also ‘too late’, but we’d still take ’em; why not this little olive branch? And fourth, if they were as interested in getting his response as they claim, they would have let him talk at the event. Seems like a lot of unnecessary grandstanding going on. Maybe they thought that he was trying to steal some of their thunder and the publicity that they drummed up. Fair enough. But haven’t we come far enough to be just a little open-minded? Hear another side, maybe?

What I’m really curious about is a counter-factual. Imagine if the female and white Lorna Marsden, – outgoing York president – was still in office, what would the official York reaction have been? Would she have gotten the statement out sooner than Mr. Shoukri? Would she have even attempted to walk into that gathering? On both counts I’m pretty sure the answer would be NO. And would the BSA members have been so strident in their disrespect had it been her instead of Mr. Shoukri? Again, I think not. Why? I’ll let you think about that one and tell me what you come up with…

But BSA histrionics aside and back to the main point: Anti-Black Racism is still here in the 21st Century. Even in multi-cultural Canada. Shock of shocks.

3 comments ↓

#1 Jer on 02.06.08 at 1:02 pm

“the man was born in Egypt. Last I heard, that was still in Africa”

Mad hilarious.

“Anti-Black Racism is still here in the 21st Century. Even in multi-cultural Canada. Shock of shocks.”

ESPECIALLY in multi-cultural-look-how-far-we’ve-come Canada. One step forward, two steps back.

Many still fail to realize that racist individuals are not born, but are produced and nurtured by institutions in society.

#2 main slave on 02.09.08 at 6:11 pm

Interesting. :)

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