Events at high school and college campuses create controversy surrounding race

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Two recent controversial incidents involving high school and university students in the U.S. have brought to question if it is racist for white students to create Caucasian organizations or to hold public events questioning affirmative action.Oakland High School freshman Lisa McClelland is seeking to create a Caucasian Club that focuses on the cultural heritage of European Americans. The proposal gained national attention, with many civil rights organizations accusing the 15-year-old of being a racist. McClelland maintains that the organization is open for all students.SHSU students sounded off on legitimacy of such an organization, and the effect it might have on either the high school or college level.Black Student Alliance vice-president senior Lachel Ceasar said that such an organization could be important for cultural understanding, as long as it is open to all students.”I feel that it is important for all cultures, ethnic groups and races to have some type of organization that is focused on them,” Ceasar said. “I think that by having these types of organizations give students a chance to learn more about their own history and their own heritage. But I believe the one thing that confuses things or that really set distant these type of organizations apart from each other is when we try to exclude people from other backgrounds as we try to learn about our own history.”Ceasar added that the organization could be beneficial to the students if it stresses the importance of teaching all students about the Caucasian culture.”I actually think that this type of clubs would make us closer if people from all backgrounds are welcomed to attend the meetings and if the focus really is own learning,” she said. “I believe once we start understanding each others history and heritage the closer we will grow as a people.”Senior Rebecca Elliott said that she was okay with the organization as long as it remains unprejudiced.”If it’s just a social organization and there’s not negative racial or ethnic motivations, I don’t think there’s a problem,” Elliott said.Despite agreeing with the validity of the organization, Elliott said the club might be stretching the original intentions of cultural organizations.”I feel it’s kind of political correctness to the extreme,” she said. Elliott added that she assumed most minority organizations were most formed because the existing organizations at the time were probably all for founded by Caucasians, and that the same argument may not apply in this case.Sophomore Bryan Swink agreed with Elliott.”I think it would be perfectly all right, as long as it doesn’t cross the line of discrimination,” Swink said.Brink added that a cultural organization aimed at Caucasians would be okay as long as it stresses equality.”I think that what they’re doing is all right as long as they’re just gathering and don’t cross the boundaries of thinking they’re being more superior to minority groups,” he said.Sophomore David Castillo said he had no problem with the club.”I think it’s just another organization,” Castillo said.Along with the Caucasian Club, a conservative group at Southern Methodist University came under political fire for holding a race-based bake sale. The sale, held by the Young Conservatives of Texas, charged different prices for the same food based on race. Under the price system, white male students had to pay $1 for a cookie or Rice Krispies treat, white females had to pay 75 cents, Hispanics paid 50 cents and blacks paid 25 cents.Members of the group said the purpose of the bake sale was to protest affirmative action standards for college admissions. College administrators halted the sale after a student filed a complaint on the grounds that the sale was offensive and racist.Ceasar said the bake sale sought the wrong way to make a statement on the issue.”The stand I take on this is that as young adults if we don’t like certain issues we should do something to change it, and just by making fun and cracking jokes about certain issues won’t change them or make them go away,” Ceasar said.She added the message that the students were trying to make with the bake sale was faulty.”I think that by trying to use a bake sale to show affirmative action was very immature, and in all reality was a wrong portrayal,” she said. “And in my lifetime I’ve never been given a discount for anything because I was black or because I was a woman. So if they are lowering the cost of some cookies to show affirmative action, I think they need to research and come up with a better portrayal than what they had.”