North Carolina Newspapers

    OCTOBER 5. 1992
No Pity for Hardin
By Scott B. Wilkens
"You hate me! You really hate me!
You all hate me!"
-Chancellor Paul Hardin
Hardin said these words during
a meeting held on Sept 16 with the
coalition. They came after an hour
of discussion during which both
sides repeatedly stated their posi
tions. As the meeting progressed, it
became clear that the chancellor
was loosing control of his commu
nication skills. He repeatedly
cradled his head in his arms, moan
ing as if in physical agony. At one
point, the chancellor looked at
Margo Crawford, director of the
Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural
Center, and said condescendingly:
’’Come on now Margo! Get a little
bit smarter!”
Although this remark was made
in the midst of a tense meeting, I
feel that it indicates a total lack of
respect on the part of the chancel
lor, if not blatant racism. Believe
me, I do not want to believe that our
chancellor is racist After all, he
was supposedly an activist for Civil
Rights in thel960s. However, in
1992 he makes it painfully obvious
that racism, however subtle, is alive
and kicking.
As I said in the Dean E. Smith
Center on Friday night (Sept. 18),
the administration does not view all
students equally. A white face car
ries a lot more weight than a black
face. When asked how many white
students it would take to change his
mind on the BCC, Chancellor
Hardin responded, “Quite a few.”
Meanwhile, thousands of black stu
dents support the concept of a free
standing Sonja Haynes S tone Black
Cultural Center. 1 don’t know about
y’all, but I sense a whopper of a
double standard.
Let us for a moment set aside the
BCC issue. Ask yourself what the
chancellor and his administration
have done to improve campus race
relations. Not one cotton-pickin’
thing. They haven’t even talked
about doing anything. Y es, they did
solicit a committee report on race
relations, which characterized them
as “chilled.” But reports don’t do
any good if you are not prepared to
act on them.
On this basis alone, every stu
dent at the University of North Caro
lina at Chapel Hill should be angry
with Chancellor Hardin. What does
he get paid six figures for anyway?
I can tell you that his salary is not
based on competence or diligence.
I know that my rhetoric sounds
harsh. Perhaps you are saying to
yourself, “Scott sure is being mean
to the chancellor. 1 really feel sorry
for him.” Believe me, I do not get
my jollies out of criticizing Paul
Hardin. In fact, it pains me deeply
that he has so gravely maligned our
campus. Please don’t feel sorry for
Paul Hardin. He does not deserve
your pity. When we don’t do our
homework, do our professors pat us
on the back and tell us they shouldn ’ t
have assigned so much? Do our
professors exempt us from all fu
ture homework assignments so that
we can spend more time with
The coalition doesn’t hale the
chancellor; it is just trying to make
him do his job.
Asian students
By BiUy Fan & Hubie Yang
African Americans know what
it means to be left out Throughout
history and during many glorious
achievements, African Americans
have faced systematic oppression.
Yet through resilience, they have
overcome. Much of America was
built on their sweat, blood and pain.
The greatest irony is that they have
always been told that their achieve
ments were made possible by white
Fourteen years ago, the Black
Student Movement was promised a
free-standing black cultural center.
At that time, the Asian-American
population at the University was
relatively small. Unable to organize
an effective voice, Asian Ameri
cans and other ethnic minorities at
the University relied on the BSM to
act as standard bearers. The Asian-
American student population has
grown since then. Today, Asian
Americans comprise about four to
five percent of the student popula
tion. It has been implied by many
that Asian students at the Univer
sity and throughout the nation have
been politically apathetic; that, in
fact, they have not contributed to
the struggle for civil rights and fur
ther, that they do not deserve to
enjoy the fruits of the civil rights
There’s more to this issue than just black
and white
While our participation has not
been as visible as the African Ameri-
cans’, a parallel can be discovered.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. recog
nized that America could never truly
be just if even one minority voice
remained crushed under the weight
of majority oppression. The coined
phrase, “Fight the powers that be,”
is in recognition that power institu
tionalizes cultural perspectives. We
all know that’African-American
history was systematically left out
of the nation’s history books.
Only the efforts of men like King
and Malcolm X reaffirmed that there
was another voice and that voice
belonged to the oppressed minor
ity. At this university, the BSM has
been the leading protector of civil
rights. Asian Americans and other
ethnic groups have benefitted from
the BSM’s sacrifices. Like the
movement at the University, it was
again the struggle of African Ameri
cans and the Civil Rights Move
ment of the 1960s that spawned the
multicultural movement. But such
a multicultural movement took place
at the University of California at
Berkeley in the 1980s. AtBericeley,
Asian students comprised the “ma
jority minority,” and they led a coa
lition that included African Ameri
can and Hispanic American stu
dents. They chose to call their union
a multicultural center.
The multicultural movement
sought to rectify the problem of
institutionalized oppression by em
powering all minority voices, even
those too weak to be heard on their
own. If we Asian-American stu
dents at this university have seemed
“politically apathetic,” the point is
that we don’t want to be—we want
our voices heard, the same way the
African Americans wanted their
voices heard in the great Civil Rights
Movement of the 1960s.
The African-American commu
nity can truly understand the pain of
having a minority voice lost among
a powerful, cultural society. But
likewise, we Asian Americans are
fearful of being a “minority within
a larger minority.” Not only does
our voice run the risk of being un
heard by the establishment, we are
concerned that our voice will be
drowned out by the “majority mi
nority.” It is our deepest hope that
our African-American friends will
not institutionahze specific cultural
perspectives. African Americans
have conuibuted greatly to this state
and nation and currendy constitute
the largest minority at the Univer
sity. But let us not forget the contri
butions of other immigrants and
their impact on the nation’s history
and culture. With the changing de
mographics in this nation and at this
university, Asians and Hispanics
will giuw as political communities
and the United Stales will become
more ethnically diverse. Instead of
growing apart, we must grow to
gether. The more divided we are as
people of color, the easier it is for
the establishment lo oppress us all.
We are extremely impressed by
the energy, organization, skills and
fundraising abilities of the BSM.
Other campus ethnic groups have
long looked lo the BSM as a role
model; a leader to model our own
struggle after as we attempt to gain
political empowerment on this cam
pus and in this nation. We Asian
Americans know that the African-
American community will not for
get us in our struggles. We recog
nize that the fight for a free-stand-
ing black cultural center has been
the struggle of the BSM. Regard
less of what anyone thinks the build
ing should be named, we realize
that It is the BSM’s prerogative to
name the center.
There is a misconception that
the only racial tensionson this cam
pus is between blacks and whites.
The aftermath of the Rodney King
verdict illusU'ales that the “Rain
bow Coalition” is quickly becom
ing a “Rainbow Collision.” We do
not want Asian Americans to be
come a “pawn” in the
administration’s racial “chess
game.” We don’t want to be a part
of the efforts to divide this campus,
and we surely do not want to dilute
your efforts to obtain a building that
would promote the African-Ameri
can culture.
We support the construction of a
building that would promote Afri-
can-American culture. We support
it knowing that it will be fully en
dowed by private funds. We sup
port it knowing that it will be open
to the entire University community
and that its meeting rooms and au
ditoriums will be open to all cam
pus ethnic groups. The African-
American community can truly un
derstand the pain implicit in the
politics of exclusion. We know that
the BSM at this university will not
forget it here.
Editor's note: This article does
not necessarily reflect the opinions
of the Asian Students Association
or other Asians at UNC.

Page Text

This is the computer-generated OCR text representation of this newspaper page. It may be empty, if no text could be automatically recognized. This data is also available in Plain Text and XML formats.

Return to page view