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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Soundbites: Feb. 10

Minority retention rates not cause for xenophobia

While many public schools in Tucson were closed down for the day due to water pipes bursting on Feb. 5, the UA commenced. But, despite schools not sending the school buses out, more than 200 high school students were gathered on our campus by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers to hold the fifth annual Advancement of Latinos in Engineering Day. It was a remarkable day for a nationally known non-profit group that received the Region II Outstanding SHPE Chapter of the Year in Cincinnati last semester. Only seven of these awards were given out in the nation.

Despite the amazing feat of organizing hundreds of high school students on a day they didn’t even have to attend school, it’s no surprise that readers of the Arizona Daily Star would attack the attempt to build a bridge from the community to higher education. With many innuendos concerning drug smugglers on the border utilizing catapult systems to launch drugs, as well as someone referring to this momentous day as “”segregation”” on our campus, the award for most delusional, ignorant readers go to the authors of online comments in the Star.

I’m sure I speak for the next brown person from Arizona on this campus that when we speak up for retaining minority students of all colors and someone complains that we aren’t including the Anglo students, we yawn. We yawn at these accusations because events like SHPE’s engineering day included non-minority students. One comment on the article read, “”Imagine the outcry had this event been specifically and exclusively for ‘white’ people? Racism at it’s finest. Nice going UA.””

Are you kidding me? For readers who have ever acquired that logic for understanding attempts to build diversity on our campus, I apologize. I apologize on behalf of SHPE that this event wasn’t titled, “”Engineering Day to Recruit Minority Students to Consider a Field They Aren’t Usually Represented in but Let’s be Sure We Invite More White Students to Avoid Being Racist.”” To those readers, I send our deepest condolences.

— Elisa Meza is a junior studying English.

The king’s fallacy

The New York Times recently reported on the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter T. King, and his current process of gathering witnesses for testimony before the committee for threats of homegrown Islamic terrorism. The hearings, set to begin on March 7, have been largely criticized and branded a “”modern day McCarthyism.”” One main criticism is that King is embarking on a witch-hunt against the Islamic religion. In particular Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) wants to make it clear that he opposes the premise of hearings. Ellison said, “”If you put every single Muslim in the U.S. in jail, it wouldn’t have stopped Jared Loughner … it wouldn’t have stopped the young man who killed his classmates at Virginia Tech. It wouldn’t have stopped the bombing in Oklahoma City or the man who killed a guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington.””

King, of course, dismissed the criticism, and said Ellison’s claim is to say that “”we think there’s a security threat equivalency between al-Qaeda and the neo-Nazi movement, or al-Qaeda and gun groups. There is none.””

Of course the events mentioned by Ellison are random acts of violence and have no tie to any particular race or faith, and I feel most can agree on that. However, focusing more on King’s remark, there is something truly interesting. King is insinuating that although there may be no connection between al-Qaeda and the neo-Nazis or gun groups, there is, however, a connection to the Islamic faith. Unfortunately this walks directly along the line of the classic “”converting a condition”” logical fallacy. In other words, King is assuming “”if A then B, therefore if B then A.”” In simpler terms, if all of al-Qaeda (A) is Islamic (B), then all Islamic people (B) are part of al-Qaeda (A). As we’re all aware, that is not the case. Someone please let King in on this potentially life-changing revelation.

— Storm Byrd is a political science sophomore.

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