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Caucasian Celebration?

 
 
Article by: Erika Streich

 
 

    The University Community Center Atrium has been the backdrop for many campus wide clubs. There is no doubt that you have seen the wide array of displays set up to attract prospective members to get involved in the Western community. Each club brings a little something different to satisfy the needs of students.

    Yet, each of these clubs, while different in name and vision operate on the same set of grounds. It is the policy of the University Student Council that each club adheres to a specific set of regulations in order to operate as a faction of the University (see http://www.usc.uwo.ca/clubs/clubs_policy.pdf).

    The Caribbean Students association, UNICEF, The Newman Club, the list goes on of the over 140 UWO clubs that follow this very policy. One name that will not be included in this category is the Caucasian Club (of Western). It will not be placed on this list and you will not see their display set up in the atrium during clubs week because according to the aforementioned policy a "club" at Western is one which is ratified by the University Students Council.

    This route was never taken by the Caucasian club. Rather, as might be clear in most of your memories, the Caucasian club opted to forgo this process established to maintain organization and respect among the clubs on campus. The result was seen in many electronic mailboxes of Western students and faculty.

    The mass e-mail sent out to attract members proclaimed that the club was designed to celebrate white culture and that everyone was welcome to join. (Possibly the one rule followed by this "club"). Yet, even in with its open invitation for membership the very name "Caucasian club' inherently turns people away.

    According to Neville Boney, The President of McMaster University Students Council 'a name is not just a name, the intentions and the actions of the group are part and parcel of the whole thing.' For many the argument seemed to be solely based on the name of this club. While this is a very crucial part of the debate the issues surrounding the clubs reach much deeper.

    The club which prided itself on the idea of celebration attracted more powerful words of hate than of any other kind on the web server by which it operates. While it may not have been the intention of the club to draw this type of response, moderation by the web operator 'Lisa Love' was poorly filtered leaving numerous derogatory, racist and homophobic posts on this outlet of 'celebration.' If the 'actions are part and parcel' of the whole thing then can we not assume that so are the actions not taken? If these posts were not erased, then what can be said for the club itself? What is to be prided upon in hatred? What is intolerance of difference supposed to teach us? If pride and education are at the forefront of this clubs operation then how does a web server filled with words of hate do either of these?

    The relevance of this very sort of education and celebration can be debated within itself. Rich Hitchens of the Association for the Elimination of Hate sheds some light on this area of discussion. 'Whoever the young lady is, she did not appreciate that there is no need for a Caucasian Club since "Caucasianness" is dominant in our society, which means that there is no need to "celebrate" "Caucasianness" since it is already "celebrated" in our society by virtue of its dominance.

    The reason that other groups "celebrate" their "non-Caucasianness" is because of this reality. Thus, it is extremely offensive and threatening to other groups when such an entity is formed'. Neville Boney adds to this point, "White students association" or "Caucasian Clubs" will not be fulfilling anything in terms of education because the very people they need to educate and promote their culture to are already immersed in a culture where they can readily learn these attributes.

    By questioning the necessity of this club, critics are not being hypocritical or blind to the fact that other clubs do exist with names of specific races, but rather privy to the realities of our world. The club centers on the idea of pride, yet, the actions taken by the club show little to this affect and in fact prove to be the opposite. No one stepped forward to stand behind the club. There were no statements made on the vision of the club. There were no steps taken to have the club seen as valid on campus.

    Every operation was shrouded in secrecy. What was being hidden? Like so many questions that surround the Caucasian Club, this one will go unanswered.

   

 
     

 

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