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The College Republicans do not need to apologize for their event

As a Latino student who was here last year and during the debate between the College Republicans and Latino Student Union, I differ in my opinion and expectations of the College Republicans than other Latino students.

I agree with the College Republicans: there is no need for an apology. In my opinion an apology is only worthy if it is a true sense of regret or remorse and if they were to give any apology it would be more of a defensive tactic than an expression of guilt.

As we have seen their event was simply “fun” and “entertainment” to them, nothing showing remorse or humility – which is something I have difficulty understanding. You would assume a group such as the College Republicans with such a strong base of Christian beliefs would understand “the meek shall inherit the earth” or “the last shall be first.” Alas, as we have seen through time, everyone has their own way of interpreting any document or doctrine, which they are entitled to.

There are reasons that need to be addressed as to why the Latino population feels this is an issue that must be re-examined. The reason many take this so personally is because to us it is personal. Many of us have friends and family who have come to this country documented or undocumented in a struggle to succeed. We see these stories firsthand, we understand their intent has not been to be malicious or criminal and to us it is easier to see the person than the act.

Though in no fault of your own, many College Republicans have never experienced that connection, nor will you ever. So, it is easier for you to see the act and therefore criminalize the person. Again, we revisit the idea that we each have a different way of interpreting a situation.

Knowing this, why do we wish to revisit the issue, because while it was well known how offensive this event was, the idea of “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day” is not original. There are many records of the offense it caused at Penn State (in April 2006), University of Michigan (Sept. 2006) and Michigan State University (Sept. 2006), yet they decided to continue on with the event. In terms of the first amendment, this previous knowledge borders negligence.

As we have seen throughout history, “we Americans” have spoken and acted out knowing our actions were infringing on others. I would say Americans, but the Native Indigenous of this land weren’t given citizenship until 1924. In the 100 years since slavery, only one state has given an informal apology for the enslavement of African Americans. There was never an apology given for Operation Wetback and the deportation of thousands of Mexican and Mexican-American citizens. It took the U.S. 40 years to officially apologize for the Japanese interment camps.

This is why I don’t expect an apology from the College Republicans, but is also why many continue to address this issue. Neither group’s members were alive or had a part in past atrocities, but this is one issue we can address because we see how easily actions are dismissed and never brought to justice or apologized for.

Lastly, I feel I would be offended by a “Catch a Drug Dealer Day” because if the event was put on similar to last year’s event I wouldn’t put it past the College Republicans to emphasize a black and brown look to these “drug dealers,” insinuating we are all drug dealers. Statistically speaking, it is already more likely for a black or brown drug dealers/users to get arrested then a white drug dealer/user. (http://www.blackcommentator.com/139/139_wise_2.html)

In a sense, we have been productive: La Uni’oacute;n De Estudiantes Latinos worked with the College Republicans to set up the debate. The nitpicking has not been on our side as members of La Uni’oacute;n, but from the College Republicans disapproval of the coverage. The BG News had the right to freely publish their version regardless of its focus – freedom of speech.

What many are failing to realize is in any panel or debate the meat of the program is the Q ‘ A, especially with such strong opposite points of view. So in retrospect was it so wrong to give substantial coverage to that section? Was it not a scheduled part of the program?

La Uni’oacute;n will continue to give aid and assistance to the Latino community wherever it is needed, from protesting hostile immigration legislation, to rectifying the Dream Act so all students have the right to higher education. It is not La Uni’oacute;n’s mission to expose undocumented workers and we fail to realize America has two unprotected borders.

Let us not challenge the integrity of each other, but instead until the time arises again, agree to disagree.

B. Celestino Carreon is a senior majoring in social studies education.

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