Letter to the editor

Last week, in Jesse Shapiro’s editorial entitled “Multicultural center: YES”, he re-iterated his belief that the “multicultural” center should be aimed primarily at providing services “for students of color”. He believes that it should be a center where people of color should be able to congregate in a “safe environment” outside of the normal (apparently unsafe) white society that runs rampant on PSU.

Perhaps I am missing the point, but shouldn’t a multicultural center be promoting celebration of ALL cultures? Is driving a multicultural center towards serving a constituency of people based on color not promoting segregation and racism, the very thing it should be fighting against? Does a student from Kenya, because his or her skin is dark, provide more “culture” to our school than a student from Russia, because his or her skin is white? Are the stories and history of the Irish not as important and worthy of our celebration as the stories and history of the Mexicans? Are we at PSU only interested in appearing to be “multicultural” and “diverse” to the eye?

The primary focus of a multicultural center should be to celebrate ALL cultures, not just cultures whose members have a darker skin color. It is truly sad that one person’s overtly bigoted views have turned a place that should promote unity into a place that promotes division. We should create a world community, not a community based on color. Thinking in terms of white and colored is racist by definition, and racism promotes racism.

The implication that a multicultural center should be focused primarily on people who share a common skin pigment is disgusting and blatantly racist. With the current director spouting such horribly offensive comments, we may as well hang a sign over the center that reads “coloreds only”. If the multicultural center is to live up to its name, I propose that it seek a new director.

I am sorry and saddened that Mr. Shapiro feels so incredibly isolated from his white peers at PSU, implying in his editorial that we are driven to take classes such as Minorities to assuage our “white guilt” (because, of course we can’t truly be interested in learning about the culture of minorities!), and that we just can’t help our uneducated selves but to make offensive comments about race without even knowing it. I agree with you, Mr. Shapiro.

Racism definitely is not a figment of your imagination. It seems to be coming straight from your own mouth.

Chris Henderson, PSU student