Milloy’s Malarkey

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There’s a lot you can say about my generation. In some respects we are indeed apathetic, clueless, and self-absorbed. Still, there are those who do carry the tradition of political activism: a longstanding tradition that many students at Howard University take great pride in. A tradition that Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy obviously takes great pleasure in mocking.

If you read Mr. Milloy’s column, “How Bush Visit Became the Siege Of Howard U.,” you would be under the impression that the recent protest of President Bush’s arrival onto our campus was nothing more than a temper tantrum thrown by a number of students rooted in hunger. According to Mr. Milloy, here at Howard, all we do is sit around munching on fried chicken while reciting rap lyrics that pay homage to our homecoming – which apparently is the only thing we have left to offer.

How infuriating it is to read such an insulting and more importantly, incorrect account of events that took place on my campus. Had Mr. Milloy done any research before he submitted his column, he would know that students were not protesting over one less Soul Food Thursday to partake. The protest had nothing to do with fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, or cornbread and everything to do with President Bush’s deceit, lack of leadership, and the downward spiral this country has embarked upon since he took office.

Mr. Milloy writes, “What might have been a public relations coup for Bush — a visit to a historically black college to show concern for at-risk youths,” — insinuating some type of correlation. I had no idea that attending a school that boasts of being the “Mecca of Black Intelligentsia” made me an at-risk youth. Perhaps I was too busy dancing to Ludacris while holding a chicken leg in one hand and picking watermelon seeds out of my mouth with the other to notice I was taking the road less traveled.

Or maybe Mr. Milloy was too busy digging up old stereotypes to recycle in his work to know the truth about my university. I am very proud to be a student at Howard University and I find great displeasure in reading, “Howard is not some hotbed of political activism.” In 2005, neither are UC Berkeley, Amherst, and other institutions known as havens for future activists. Look around you, Mr. Milloy: political apathy runs amok on many college campuses. The same can arguably be said about editorial pages across the country when it came time to stand up against the Iraqi invasion.

But, I’m almost certain that even our fried chicken loving selves at Howard would not be appeased solely by President Bush sharing a wing and collard greens with us for supper as suggested by Mr. Milloy. It ain’t that easy to please the coloreds, boss.

It’s quite unfortunate that Mr. Milloy chose to take a disparaging approach to point out the incompetence of our President. Now we all look like fools. Mr. Milloy concluded his article with, “God help us in Iraq.” I’d like to ask God to help us here, as it’s clear that if we can’t acknowledge when free speech is exercised here without it being trivialized, then there is certainly no hope for those we’re fighting to afford that same opportunity to.

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