University real estate
In response to the January 18 article, “Alderman, Administrators Address Community Issues,” we would like to clarify a point made regarding potential University property purchases along Cottage Grove Boulevard. During the community meeting held on January 13, we did mention that the University might be interested in very selective purchasing of properties as they become available on Cottage Grove Boulevard north of 55th Street. An existing storage building was mentioned as an example. As communicated in previous community meetings, any University purchases made along Cottage Grove Boulevard would be north of 61st Street and would in no way involve the Grove Parc apartment complex.
I don’t find Karlis Kandero’s caricature of Bush supporters as poor white Americans in the January 21 Maroon to be humorous. The Christian cross, Nascar hat, long hair, incorrect grammar, and waving American flag play upon negative stereotypes attributed to the white working class and appear intended to imply ignorance. Am I getting it right? Would the Maroon publish a similar cartoon exploiting negative stereotypes of African Americans? I suspect not.
Apparently the artist contends that the privileged of our University community, who primarily come from wealthy families with college-educated parents, have less sympathy for this demographic. How many of us are products of the working class? That makes it OK to ridicule them, right?
Cartoons such as this make it acceptable to mock a specific group, just as it was once acceptable to laugh at denigrating depictions of Native Americans, Japanese Americans, and others.
In addition, the artist has the facts wrong. Post-election polling data (from CNN for instance) shows that the majority of the lowest class Americans, by income and education, as well as the educated elite (those with graduate degrees) voted for John Kerry. Meanwhile, the majority of those in the middle education bracket (with high school diplomas and Bachelor’s degrees) voted for the President. I guess the truth doesn’t serve the artist’s intention as well as the insensitive lampoon that was inappropriately used.
I listened to plenty of promises prior to the election from Bush-haters about building coalitions instead of creating divisions. I submit that this type of insensitivity, aside from its inherent hypocrisy, isn’t contributing to the building of bridges. It does serve to deepen the chasm between the prevalent ideologies on our college campuses and those of middle and working class America. And this is a disheartening division that should trouble all of us at least a little.
Masters student, Physical Sciences Division