As someone who both grew up in Compton and attends UCSD, I feel compelled to comment on the recent race relation issues UCSD is having. As most of you have probably already heard, the whole thing started when UCSD students, outside the campus, had a “Compton Cookout”, where participants were to wear “chains, rapper-style urban clothing by makers such as FUBU and speak very loudly.” Female participants were encouraged to be “ghetto chicks” with gold teeth, cheap clothes and “short, nappy hair.” Also, “The invitation said the party would serve watermelon, chicken, malt liquor, cheap beer and a purple sugar-water concoction called “dat Purple Drank.” It’s goal, apparently, was to mock Black History Month.
That was followed up a couple of days later by a Noose hung from the UCSD library. With just this information at hand, it paints a very dim picture of UCSD and the racial climate on campus. Especially when you see pictures of students crying and claiming to be ‘afraid to walk to their car’.
Since I have taken many undergraduate and graduate courses at UCSD, and my experience with the campus is the exact opposite – it is a welcoming campus and not in any way racist – I was suspicious about the news allegations and decided to dig in deeper.
The first thing I found that contradicted the image the media tried to portray was that the main organizers of the Compton Cookout were Black. This is how the main organizer defended his decision:
Right or wrong, he claims that the real reason of the Compton Cookout was “to bring the races together”, because “for one night everybody is on the same playing field”. Listen to the full interview. He even debates an ethnic studies UCSD professor on the appropriateness of the event.
Then comes the news story of the Noose. The student who hung the noose was a female minority. She explains how it happened here:
The student claims in her letter that she and her friends were playing with a rope when one of them tied it into a noose.
“I innocently marveled at his ability to tie a noose, without thinking of any of its connotations or the current racial climate at UCSD. I left soon after with one of my friends for Geisel to study, still carrying the rope,” she writes. “After a bit of studying I picked up the rope to play with, and ended up hanging it by my desk. It was a mindless act and stupid mistake. When I got up to leave, a couple hours later, I simply forgot about it.”
Yet with all of these details left out, UCSD is still forced to cave to the wishes of the race police:
On Monday , the university outlined the actions it has taken to improve the school’s climate and cultural diversity. They include creating a task force to focus on recruiting minority faculty, forming a commission to address the campus climate, continuing to fund Faculty-Student Mentor Programs, ensuring ongoing funding for the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, identifying space for an African-American Resource Center on Campus and meeting with member of the Black Student Union at least once every academic quarter. (emphasis added)
So you see, it was all one big conspiracy to keep ethnic studies professors employed.