Over 300 students gathered at EMU amphitheater dressed “ready for a fiesta” after tweets posted by Ellen DeGeneres instructed students to come for a chance to win tickets to the Fiesta Bowl during a live taping at University of Oregon campus.
DeGeneres tweets created a racial dispute after student arrived dressed in sombreros and panchos, which a group of students found to be offensive and mocking Mexican culture.
“It’s offensive. You wouldn’t dress up as a white person and come to something this.” Cory Kirshner-Lira stated.
Vice President of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity Dr. Charles Martinez and Dean of Students Dr. Paul Shang talked with students during the event to help resolve the conflict. Shang said that the University plans to release a formal statement addressing this matter in the Oregon Daily Emerald on Monday.
Students were initially upset from the apparent lack of empathy in regards to the legislation and prejudice that many still face in Arizona. The group wanted the University of Oregon student population to have been more supportive and understanding, rather than putting on over-sized mustaches.
Another crowd observer had a different stance on the matter, “this is just for fun. People dress up as cowboys and that is a reflection of ‘white’ culture.”
My reaction to this matter.
Originally, I felt that the crowd of people were being overly dramatic for yelling and causing attention over the word “Mexican.” I held the initial belief that people put their own insecurities behind certain words, rather than just taking something for what it is. However, I realized that I was making this assumption without listening to all parties involved. I decided to go and ask the group questions and gain a better understanding rather than instigate the issue any further. After talking with the group, I realize that clearly they are passionate about their culture and want others to share the same respect. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. I was grateful for the group’s presence for the mere fact that someone was there and speaking out for those who couldn’t.
However, I do believe that overall people need to be more understanding. And from all sides.
DeGeneres and the crowd participants could have been more cautious with using the word “fiesta” and how it may reflect upon that related culture. The group of students could have also been more light-hearted and understood that the event was not intended to be used as a racist rally, but rather something fun in promotion for an upcoming sporting event. In some situations a word is just a word, and it’s our insecurities that bring negative connotations and continue the spread of racism. Realistically speaking, it is impossible to be politically correct. No matter what word anyone chooses to use, it is going to offend somebody. But at the same time, national television networks should really spend more time taking these types of matters into consideration. You can’t ignore it, these issues exist. And it does look very poorly on DeGeneres part for not being as empathetic to this as she has been in the past over adopting another families pet.
Let’s think about this one, Ellen.
I am not saying that anyone is wrong in this matter, I just feel that not enough sensitivity and understanding was being communicated and demonstrated on campus yesterday.