Over the past few weeks, the pages of the Lamron have been home to a great deal of controversy, stemming from professor Maria Lima's choice of words, namely in classifying the Geneseo campus as "God-forsaken white." It is an interesting statement about our ability to deal with critical thought, yet altogether predictable considering the state of our media outlets. Instead of dealing with the critique with a response refuting such a claim, or attempting to ascertain the validity of the statement, the response has been outrage at her phrasing, and the issue at hand has been largely ignored.
Even as a white, middle-class, heterosexual male attending school at a largely white college, I cannot help but agree with her claim that at the very least, we are engaging in a sort of white supremacy by assigning the idea of "normal" to our own experiences. This is one reason that Geneseo has still not integrated an Eastern Humanities course, and why many students are expected to take only one class that falls in the category of "multicultural" and then are permitted to continue ignoring that which falls outside the bounds of "normal."
Is the concentration on the phrase a conscious effort to avoid discussion which may force one to admit to the problems on campus? Probably not. I realize that some people may have been genuinely offended or put off by the statement for various reasons. But, the fact that "God-forsaken white" became the focus instead of the underlying issue represents additional obstacles in reaching some sort of an equal state.
It has been argued that the use of inflammatory language does not help the case Lima was trying to make. Whether or not that is true is subjective, depending on your personal sensibilities. The moment that you allow that possible offense to overshadow your ability or willingness to think seriously about the topic at hand, the case of the language becomes a meaningless squabble divorced from the serious and pressing issue.
What can be made in the way of a solution then? Frankly, if you were offended by the phrase, several people in several contexts have already made the case against it, and I urge you to move past it. The issues of discrimination and various prejudices will take a long time to reach some meaningful plateau. If we are so easily distracted from the task at hand, how are we ever to make any progress?