The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

79° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag

    Terror drill did little to prepare for real threat

    I was galled to read in Thursday’s Arizona Daily Wildcat that the campus emergency drill started with a tip about “”two suspicious individuals of Middle Eastern descent”” purportedly spotted at UA’s Nuclear Reactor Lab. In many ways, the drill – which could have been a valuable exercise -ÿwas a waste of taxpayer money to promote racist stereotypes, perpetuate cultural insensitivity, prepare for the wrong kinds of emergencies and divert attention from the situations more likely to cause danger on campus.

    A tiny proportion of terrorist and otherwise catastrophic events on U.S. soil have been caused by foreigners of any kind. Why promote suspicion and hysteria regarding people of Middle Eastern descent when more violent acts have been, and continue to be, carried out by American citizens – white supremacists, anti-government militia members, religious extremists, etc? Why are you not preparing, for instance, for a confrontation between the fanatical “”Minutemen”” of Arizona border infamy and a student group holding an immigration reform rally? Why, even after the lessons of Hurricane Katrina, are you not preparing for a major natural disaster?

    Organizers may argue that since Sept. 11, paranoid tipsters are more likely to report suspicion of people they believe, even mistakenly, to be Arab, Middle Eastern or Muslim. I would argue that by condoning and perpetuating such behavior, you prevent community members from gaining awareness of the real threats and from learning how to identify and handle them. Some emergency situations far more likely to affect any major university campus are these:

    – Staff negligence or mechanical failure at the nuclear reactor where the “”suspicious individuals”” were reported, or other similar high-security facility

    – Any kind of attack on a scientific laboratory by a group protesting its experiments, resulting in the release of animals or hazardous chemical or biological material

    ? Street rioting and property destruction following a sports championship game

    ? A rash of street crime or sexual assaults targeting college students

    ? A mentally ill or disgruntled student/employee/community member going on a shooting spree at a crowded location on campus.

    All of those situations have occurred on American college campuses in my lifetime, several of them at universities I attended or worked at in the past 20 years.

    Coincidentally or not, the Department of Homeland Security’s own inspector general is releasing a report this week that states that DHS was unprepared to deal with a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina because it spent too much of its time and resources preparing for unlikely terrorist attacks.

    And as for those scribblings reported to be Arabic but later deciphered as “”Peruvian gibberish””? There is no language called “”Peruvian””; the official languages of Peru are Spanish and the indigenous Quechua. Just one more egregious example of how Homeland Security and university officials used this “”emergency drill”” to perpetuate ignorance and cultural insensitivity over learning – a real shame at a premier institution of higher education.

    Sarah Miller
    visiting research fellow, Center for Creative Photography

    Easter coverage unfair to non-Christians

    What are you doing? Has the UA gone Christian on me in the last week? Like most Americans, I marked Easter by doing my homework and preparing for class the next day.

    The real question is this: Where’s the Passover coverage? Is the Wildcat going to devote this much attention to Yom Kippur? Or the Haj? Or the Sun Dance? Giving coverage to religious fundamentalists only encourages them. The Easter coverage was unnecessary and sharp jab in the eye from the Wildcat to non-Christians.

    Jared Hautamaki
    second-year law student

    Science, religion not at odds

    Jake Campbell’s letter yesterday is a classic example of the persecution that Christians face on a daily basis. He claims that religion and science are mutually exclusive and that any religious person would be living in a “”mud hut in the forest”” if it weren’t for science. I’ll ignore his disgusting display of bigotry and focus on his point. Well, I would if he had one. A person who created a mud hut thousands of years ago is no different than a person that develops the technology we enjoy today. They both use the scientific method of trial and error until the result satisfies the purpose. In no way whatsoever does this disprove God or make “”every Christian, indeed every member of any religion”” an “”absolute hypocrite”” or “”savages.”” By this estimation, we would come to the absolutely ludicrous hypothesis that only atheistic scientists have contributed to the development of this world.

    For anybody who didn’t believe it before, this example of bigotry and hatred toward people of faith is something that exists everywhere, especially for those of us in the field of science. By and large, atheistic hatred such as the aforementioned letter is at the root of the rift between a harmonious relationship between faith and science. It would do everyone some good to try and understand that science does not supersede religion in any way.

    Jeff Beran
    senior studying engineering management and biomedical engineering

    Resistance to bilingual education hurts everyone

    I am dismayed to read Matt Winter’s assertion that people coming to America should assimilate into American culture.ÿFirst, this assumes that America is a homogenous entity with a specific set of cultural values.ÿThis is simply not the case.ÿWe are a nation that is divided on many issues and we are a nation that is (or used to be) about debating and having dialog about our differences.ÿ

    The fact of the matter is that most industrialized nations are multilingual.ÿThe idea that Spanish-speaking people should automatically learn English is also ridiculous given that we have repeatedly cut bilingual education programs and we have taken on ineffective policies for encouraging Spanish-speaking students to learn English.ÿ

    In our usual imperialist way, we have assumed that people who come here will learn it on their own, and if they don’t, it is their loss.ÿWhat is really a loss, however, is that we have forgotten the contributions made to this country by immigrants.ÿFor example, next time you want to order a burrito or an enchilada, I suggest that you find the English word to express it.

    When we want to graduate, as college students in Arizona, we are required to learn a “”foreign”” language. Is Spanish so foreign?ÿI refer again to the food choices we make or to all of the things that are named in Spanish, such as “”Rancho Sin Vacas”” or “”Javalina Cantina”” or the numerous neighborhoods with roads named in Spanish (Camino de Oeste or Calle Miraval). Yet, rather than teach it to us when we are young (languages are best acquired prior to age eight) and let the Spanish-speaking kids learn English in the process, we hold on to our stubborn notions of assimilation.ÿDespite my personal grievances with global capitalism, the fact of the matter is that Americans are woefully ignorant, and learning languages other than English is an asset to our working lives.ÿBesides, on a personal note to Winter, would it really hurt you to learn something new? There are any number of places to pick up even a working knowledge of Spanish.ÿ

    Pima Community College offers great Spanish classes that are designed for specific career fields. Finally, how can a heritage or a culture be held on to when one is forced to conduct most portions of his life outside of it and how can it also be held on to if people who don’t assimilate, even if they speak fluent English, are constantly afraid of being deported or arrested by the Border Patrol?

    Jonna Lopez
    women’s studies graduate teaching assistant

    Walk-outs reinforced stereotypes of Mexicans

    I agree with the letter that was written April 10 concerning the students who walked out. The majority of those kids walked out only to get out of class and many probably did not even know both sides of the issues they were protesting against. All it did was further the stereotype we Mexicans have been trying to erase for many years, which is that we do not value education, which by walking out of class really doesn’t display a value for an education.

    The other stereotype that was furthered was that we do not respect law enforcement, which was displayed when many of the protesters interfered with the police trying to prevent minor outbreaks escalating into something more serious (riots). I hope the superintendent does punish those who walked out.

    Gabriel Mark Bustamante
    family studies senior

    More to Discover
    Activate Search