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Tim Myers: It all comes down to manners

Myers Musings

Posted: March 6, 2010 11:57 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2010 4:55 a.m.
While I spoke to him by phone on Feb. 26, he sounded really shook up.

Our oldest son, calling from his apartment in the Claremont area of San Diego, related his in-person, on-campus view that Friday of the rally where 300 students occupied the chancellor's office of the University of California, San Diego, demanding quick justice for a disgrace to the human race caught hanging a noose in an area of the Theodore Geisel Library, named for the venerable Dr. Seuss, now spinning in his grave from the atrocity.

This incident capped a short period of now continuing chaos at UCSD that started on Presidents Day weekend, when at least one and perhaps three groups of students, primarily fraternity members (and feel free to use the words "fraternity members" and "idiots" interchangeably) hosted off-campus "Compton Cookouts" to mock Black History Month.

At least one, of course, made it onto the ubiquitous Facebook and upset the tiny minority (less than 2 percent) of black students at UCSD.

Now, the problems could subside there with the apology of the people involved, which came quickly and hopefully sincerely. An alumnus of a college fraternity myself, I realize they on balance constitute institutions to support the primarily alcohol-fueled idiocy of males in their late teens and early 20s. (Put me first in line to sign the petition to ban them forever.)

Unfortunately, an on-campus comedy troupe, a group of Howard Stern wannabes with a weekly show on the campus closed-circuit television station, broadcast a sketch defending the Compton Cookouts and using a racial slur. (For context, five years ago a member of this same group broadcast a 30-minute porno produced, directed and starring himself on the same station.)

Soon after the suspension of the show, another idiot posted a cardboard sign at the campus television studio that said "Compton Lynching."

After several peaceful rallies the noose incident followed, with an alleged note promising more racial incidents on campus.

I could hear the outrage bubbling in the voice of our normally apolitical son. One works hard in high school to matriculate into a UC school and then works hard to obtain a degree, and within a week a bunch of yahoos can completely discredit the institution.

I could not help but think of dual efforts within our own Santa Clarita Valley. The city, Chamber of Commerce and county kicked in significant money to form an economic development corporation to attract high-paying jobs to the SCV, while some elected officials and candidates run a dual campaign to encourage yahoos who like to yell at brown people in town for Save Our State rallies.

News flash for these folks: The people who run companies that can locate those high-paying jobs in the SCV will find their interest suddenly lowered when they see the sign-waving howlers from the Feb. 27 rally on YouTube. Take my word for it. I know some folks that run companies that produce high-paying jobs and the SOS howlers don't.

Reflecting back on my own college experience, I knew several fraternity "brothers" idiotic enough to host this kind of party but they did not. Why? Well, at Drake University 10 percent of the student body was black - five times the amount at UCSD - and even my idiotic fraternity brothers knew that such a party might prompt the traditionally black fraternities on campus to come over for a "talk," and by talk I mean an ass kicking.

Because in the old days one did not hide behind the First Amendment and arm themselves under the Second Amendment to shield the hurling of insults.

If one made an insult against a person or group they needed to either apologize or back up their insult and prepare to take an ass kicking.

If one did not stand ready to take their ass kicking, then that insult never happened. One wonders if fraternity members would hold a "Compton Cookout" in an environment with even 10 percent black students. Probably not.

The good news: Pictures of outraged students at a rally after the noose incident revealed primarily brown, yellow and white faces screaming for justice. This even jarred our apolitical son out of his study induced bubble.

In our own little corner of the world we can restore order by successfully ignoring and running off the out-of-town howlers from both sides of the debate.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Myers' Musings" appears Sundays in The Signal.


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