Viewpoints

Here’s why racists should only eat potatoes

Cal Poly students speak out against racism at emergency town hall meeting

Cal Poly students gathered for an emergency town hall meeting in San Luis Obispo on Monday, April 9, 2018, to speak out against racism after a fraternity posted racially insensitive photos of members in blackface and gang costumes online.
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Cal Poly students gathered for an emergency town hall meeting in San Luis Obispo on Monday, April 9, 2018, to speak out against racism after a fraternity posted racially insensitive photos of members in blackface and gang costumes online.

In his latest Netflix comedy special, “Son of Patricia,” Daily Show host Trevor Noah delivers a punchline as hilarious as it is thought provoking.

“I think there should be a rule in America that says you can hate immigrants all you want, but if you do, you don’t get to eat their food,” he says.

“If you hate immigrants, no immigrant food. No Mexican food, no Caribbean food, no Dominican food, no Asian food, nothing. Only potatoes. I’m not even saying flavored potatoes. Just plain potatoes, no spice. Because, no immigrants, no spice. Don’t ever forget that.”

Seems fair enough, no?

If one chooses to hate immigrants — more specifically, chooses to discriminate against them — then they should not be able to benefit from their culture. Plain and simple.

We need to face the fact that racism is still ever present in our modern society, and our own behavior at times allows it to continue —as much as we may deny it.

Too many of us believe issues like racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and sexism are outdated problems no longer relevant.

Some typical comments heard in our local communities:

“We have women in Congress now, what else do you need?”

“Don’t ‘the gays’ have their own holiday?”

“All lives matter!”

Even NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once said, with comprehensive data to back up his claim, that “More whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism.”

But why, pray tell, does racism still exist in the year 2019 ... the Golden Age of openness and diversity?

Is it a due to bad parenting? The heavy influence of our surrounding culture?

Jennifer Richeson, a Yale University social psychologist, would argue it’s a healthy mixture of both.

“This is not the product of some deep-seated, evil heart that is cultivated. It comes from the environment, the air all around us ... the only way to change bias is to change culture,” she told The Washington Post.

Politically correct — or “PC” culture — works to change what we deem acceptable in society.

While many believe being PC censors our freedom of speech, it instead does less censoring and more correcting. It changes the way people view how they are allowed to treat others, and how they allow others to treat them.

To challenge the deep-seated prejudices that shape our behavior, to unlearn our implicit biases, we need to build diverse connections and have open and honest conversations.

“For some strange reason, white people whisper the word ‘black’,” Trevor Noah said in an interview with The Daily Campus. “There’s nothing wrong with saying “black” because there’s nothing wrong with being black.

“Don’t worry about seeming racist. Worry about being racist,” Noah continued. “I prefer people who stumble through racial conversations and make a few mistakes. What I don’t like is people who act like race isn’t a thing. There’s nothing wrong with seeing color. It’s how you treat color that’s important.”

Remember, we benefit from the culture of immigrants in every aspect of our lives, often without even being aware of it.

Look at avocado toast and tequila, the essential ingredient of margaritas — both of which are in danger of becoming much more expensive with President Trump threatening to levy tariffs on Mexican imports.

Those aren’t the only products that would be hit with tariffs: tractors, televisions, refrigerators, cars and trucks, crude oil, figs and beer are among our many other imports from Mexico.

So, the next time someone rants about how great it would be to kick out all those “illegal aliens,” remember these points:

  • In the words of Trevor Noah, “Everyone is an immigrant in some way, shape or form. It just depends on the time.”
  • We take advantage of and adapt the customs and traditions of immigrant people in our own families and communities.
  • And last, but certainly not least, we would lose way too many avocados.

I’m talking directly to you now, millennials. No more trendy Instagram posts or hashtags for you.

Alexa Ford is a high school junior from San Luis Obispo County with a passion for activism on many levels. She is involved with Students For Social Justice and the San Luis Obispo County Youth For Environmental Action Coalition. A few of her hobbies include cheering for her favorite hockey team, rock climbing, reading medical journals and volunteering with community projects.

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