February 10, 2004
Pizza and Racism
Over Christmas break here, an incident (hereinafter, “the incident”) occurred that has a lot of people upset, which, although I found the act distasteful, was a frame of mind that I didn’t fully understand until this evening.
Four students who were back on campus early for sports found a piece of art on display in Pomona that was not sufficiently secured to prevent what happened, which was them carrying it up North and setting fire to it. Not a particularly bright or community conscious move in and of itself, but worsened significantly by the fact that this particular piece of art was a cross.
My original take on this was that it was a really fucking stupid thing to do, but, since they claimed not to have racist intent I figured that any response that considers that aspect of it would be blown ridiculously out of proportion, but I’ve started to think that perhaps I’m just culturally insulated from the really forceful significance of cross burning.
This evening, the proctors and the Office of Black Student Affairs for the 5Cs organized a presentation on the historical significance of cross burning and a moderated discussion on the current events. I went to this event because I have a firm belief in the importance of working toward racial harmony in our community and they gave us free pizza.
It’s good that I went; I changed the way I think about things like that, and the whole event seems to have raised awareness of our relative proximity to events that otherwise just seemed to happen in old black-and-white photographs.