Misconceptions about Organizations at MU

I was saddened to read the article in “The Snapper” on September 24, 2009 concerning segregation at MU. However, I had no reason to be surprised by Ms. Gilstein’s opinion or react in a hostile manner.

There are many misconceptions that individuals form when they quickly observe a situation and/or do not obtain all the facts before forming an opinion.

This is wrong, yet it happens everyday, and we are all guilty of it. Ms. Gilstein formed a quick opinion about the BSU and the NAACP without obtaining all the facts. She also neglected to list the names of every single organization on campus for their inability to visibly show members from diverse backgrounds.

The quest to create a more caring community far expands one group reaching out their hand if there is no hand to grab back. This goes both ways and can be applied to not only race relations, but other types of relationships as well, such as gender and social class.

I also want to stress that a group of individuals of the same likeness who are gathered together to improve the community concerning issues that they feel strongly about is not a negative thing at all. It is a sign of self-love and taking responsibility for an issue they feel strongly about.

Ms. Gilstein would have been welcomed to either the BSU or the NAACP. In regards to the NAACP attempt to create a more welcoming environment, we talked with any and everyone who stopped to listen. When a non-African America stopped to listen, the board members at our table would have stressed our poster, which displayed all the founders of the NAACP of whom are majority European American with the exception of two individuals.

We stressed that the right to Civil Rights cannot be obtained through the efforts of one group, but all individuals. The need for Civil Rights is not an African American issue, nor Hispanic American issue, nor a an American issue at all, but an issue for all man kind to address.

In order to combat this issue, as human beings, we must be open to talking and listening to those who are different without passing quick judgment or reacting with anger. We must strive to dismantle these misconceptions by closely analyzing our day-to-day actions.

We must ask ourselves questions such as why do I form certain opinions about people and where am I getting my facts from. Am I doing anything to improve my perception of others who are different than me, or am I not moving outside my comfort zone by choosing one aspect of a human being to separate me from them?

When we take the time to ask these questions, we will be reminded that each of us are different in many ways. We will also find that the problems that we must address affect every single one of us. Again, these issues cannot and will not be solved with the efforts of one type of people.

Our hands are extended with an invitation to attend both the BSU and NAACP Meetings. The following is a list of the NAACP meeting days, which take place at 9:09 p.m. in room 49 of the Student Memorial Center: September 28, October 26, November 16, and November 30. Remember as Dr. Edeh always says, “Our differences are to be appreciated.”

  • Josh

    Thank you for this letter. This is huge misconception about lots of organizations. While many groups do tend to show a strong majority towards one ethnicity, gender/sex, age and/or socioeconomic status, most stand for multi-racial,generational, among other inclusive values.
    I will admit that I was also surprised to learn that NAACP membership was not open just to ‘nonwhites’ but white folks were just as welcome to join.
    The organization that I was/am involved with struggled to include a diverse group, especially since we created our group to fight the social and economic injustices that cut across all the various boundaries that seem to define each one of us from another.
    I hope folks will take the time to meet and talk to folks involved in all different sorts of groups and that groups themselves will intermingle more – which is a big problem I feel on campus.