Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Oregon Students Sanctioned for Obama Effigy

Four Oregon college students have been sanctioned by their school for hanging a cardboard cutout of Barack Obama from a campus tree.

OK. Now before anyone gets all bent out of shape, George Fox University is a private college and they can mete out punishment as they see fit for breaches of the student code of conduct (not that I can find one on the school's website). The school has handed out long term suspensions and public service punishments for the unnamed offenders. Fine.

But can anyone explain to me why the FBI is investigating whether "any civil rights were violated?" The cardboard figure of Obama had a message which referenced a minority and low-income scholarship program at the university. I am not sure if that is a supposed "civil rights violation" or not but on the face of it, I would have to say no. Whose rights, precisely would have been violated.

A university official made the following statement:
"Regardless of the students' intent, the image of a black man hung from a tree is one of the most hurtful symbols of racism in American history," Lau said in the statement. "Displays such as this have no place on a campus that is dedicated to living out the teachings of Jesus."
I will grant that the image of a hanging is not exactly within the teachings of Jesus. I will also admit that such an image is tainted with racist overtones from history.

But is the display itself racist? Given the overtones and the written message regerring to a minority and low-income scholarship--maybe. Further, I am not sure that racism in and of itself is necessarily a civil rights violation. These students quite possibly have racist thoughts and racist intentions. But there is the "civil rights" creep factor. Formerly, to punish someone for violating the civil rights of someone, you had to actually violate someone's civil rights, a person, not some anonymous, amorphous group, but an actual person. Now, college campuses and liberals can simply claim, someone's rights were violated and a FBI investigation is launched. There is no indication that a particular person was even offended, let alone have their rights violated. Rubbish, I tell you.

Then we have the Obama factor. What if this had been McCain hanged in effigy at say UC-Berkely--would there be a civil rights investigation? No. Would the students have been punished. No. What if this had been a McCain effigy at a private liberal arts college? Again, I seriously doubt anyone would be punished or at least not punished to the point of long term suspensions. But the mere presence of an Obama image has raised the level of this matter from a poorly executed protest against a scholarship program and perhaps a political display to the level of a civil rights violation.

Really, has it come to this? Have we become so politically correct that any negative display with a picture of a black man present is now a civil rights type offense?

What have we become?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that if it had been McCain hanged in effigy there would have been no civil rights investigation. So now the administration of some religious private school is going to sanction a few students for hanging in effigy a "2008 Presidential Candidate from the Democratic Party who is non-white"? It is always good to see that racial discrimination is alive and well in religious private colleges. Exactly which one of the "teachings of Jesus" covers racial discrimination again? I guess I'll have to go to George Fox University to find out!