Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Special Report: Crisis On Campus

A Younger Generation Is Looking More Like The Status Quo
By Mark Moran

As each generation grows up and enters the workforce, we are optimistic that they will change the world. Will this generation make the world a safe, peaceful and fair place? For those who have high expectations for our maturing youth, recent news stories regarding college students might just leave them disappointed. Frat boys are hiring strippers, a man is referring to female student athletes as “nappy-headed hos” three times their age, and Virginia Tech just experienced the worst on-campus shooting in U.S. history.

For those hoping for change, it seems very possible that this generation will merely carry on a tradition of sexism, racism, and violence. When news broke that the charges filed against three Duke lacrosse players last year had been dropped, newspapers painted these boys as innocent victims. The three are most definitely victims of our court system, but they are in no way stand up fellows. They hired a stripper to come to a house full of men -- not exactly the kind of behavior they wanted their mothers to find out about. ‘Boys will be boys’ is what some would say, but this attitude toward women seen in our youth is allowing sexism to leap the generational gap.

Don Imus, like the Duke boys were, has been at the center of his own controversy involving race and gender. Recently, Imus thought it wise to refer to the Rutgers’s women’s basketball team as “nappy headed hos”. Imus should really consult someone about the definition of the word “ho.” The women he so casually used this word to describe are not only esteemed athletes but also academically conscious students. Were they hos based solely on their gender? Imus is someone’s boss and the Duke players are soon to enter the work world themselves -- and frankly, it’s quite frightening.

Has Imus continued the tradition of gendered salaries? Will the Duke lacrosse players make sure women continue to make 80 cents for every man’s dollar? The hopes for a new tradition of true quality for future generations seem near hopeless.

While the Duke boys are keeping the status quo when it comes to gender, and Imus has both race and gender covered, hopes for a new tradition of non-violence also seem dim. The news of a Virginia Tech student’s shooting rampage that killed 33 people is a continuation of our most frightening tradition: violence.

To change these traditions we have to decide what we value as a nation. Racial and gender equality should be at the top the list, right next to safety and security. Once the constitution of this new American tradition is made, we can finally break free of the chains of the past. Like with everything else in life you have to start somewhere.

Where that is we may not be completely sure, but if I had to guess it starts with the youth. Not only the new generation but also every generation. As soon as the people decide we can change there is nothing stopping us.

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