21st Century Racism on UC San Diego’s Campus

For the past five weeks, one of the ugliest episodes of racism in recent years (before the Tea Partiers started spittin’ on people and calling Congress people “Nig**rs” and “Fag**ts” at the Congressional health care vote)  has been playing out on a campus of one of the nation’s largest publicly funded university systems. At the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), a group of racist students have taken over several of the university’s student-run media clubs and have used those media outlets to assault the dignity of African American, Asian, Indian, Mexican, Muslim, and Jewish students.

Black students have become the targets of ongoing campus disturbances stemming from white students mocking Black History Month celebrations. It’s time the California Board of Regents calls its San Diego campus administration into account for these students’ behavior.

It started out with some white students satirizing Black History Month by inviting the campus to an off-campus party in what they were calling a “Compton Cookout.” The Compton Cookout was held on February 15th, President’s Day. This outraged black students who voiced their opposition in protest to the administration, at which time some of the students used the campus television outlet to voice support for the white students’ “First Amendment” rights and they also used that opportunity to assault the black students dignity even further by calling them a bunch of “ungrateful ni****s.

The administration suspended the television show, but racist behavior has persisted through the use of other university properties and resources where racist students use symbolic vestiges of American racism to intimidate black students. The television show incident was followed by the discovery of two nooses on campus and the university’s alternative student run newspaper, KOALA, ran a piece under the guise of satire, “Top five ways to increase the number of African American at UCSD.” They were numbered as follows:

  1. Ship in more from the Ivory Coast
  2. Well, for the ones we have now—chain them up and don’t let any of them transfer to other schools.
  3. Count Asians as 3/5 of a person
  4. Give the BSU an Indian computer science slave…seriously, they don’t even have a website.
  5. Make sure you don’t serve any fried chicken. They hate fried chicken and will not attend any universities where it is served or parties where it is consumed. It’s a black thing. You wouldn’t understand.

UCSD only has a one percent (1%) black student population (1.3% to be exact). I do understand the history of racism in America and the Eurocentric mindset of subjugating ethnic, racial, and religious “outsiders” through the use of cultural caricatures that stigmatize those trying to acculturate in American society. That same issue of KOALA (which has been in existence since 1982) had article clips insulting the dignity of India-born Indians (Top five ways your Indian roommate is useful), Haitians (The Running of the Haitians — after the 7.2 quake, actually a whole page dedicated to the degradation of Haitians), Mexicans (Top five things Mexicans are good at, and Top five reasons I would bang a Latina), Jews (Top five reasons Jews are like clowns), AND Muslims (“Dear Muslims” — a column dedicated to insulting Muslims). No articles insulting white people or degrading “whiteness” as a cultural impediment are anywhere to be found.

Countercultural journalism and countercultural commentary has its place in a free society, but only as a tool to expose cultural hypocrisy; not as a tool to reinforce cultural hypocrisy. Racism is America’s biggest hypocritical practice, and we are witnessing the evolution of another generation of racial culturalists, who maintain social and political control by denigrating others in the society. This is extreme and dangerous racist propaganda coming from a taxpayer-supported institution.

These students at UCSD are almost taking a supremacist pride in assaulting the dignity of others, and their animus toward the black students seems to rise with every protest in which their pathetic behavior is demonstrated. Nor do they seem to want to coexist in a multicultural, multiethnic environment of higher learning. Higher education should be a safe haven against such a racist ethos, not a perpetuator of it.

It is time the Regents became intolerant of this behavior. Free speech is only protected speech if it doesn’t assault others. Hate speech is not protected under free speech and satiric speech that causes violence isn’t protected either (prior restraint). It’s time to call for suspensions and expulsions of students who want to continue their racist behavior. Or call for the Regents to cut back on UCSD’s state funding until they resolve the problem.

It’s your call, University of California at San Diego. The student racism has to stop.

Anthony Asadullah Samad

Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of the upcoming book, REAL EYEZ: Race, Reality and Politics in 21 Century Politics. He can be reached at www.AnthonySamad.com

Crossposted with permission from The Black Commentator.


  1. in_awe says

    “before the Tea Partiers started spittin’ on people and calling Congress people “Nig**rs” and “Fag**ts” at the Congressional health care vote last weekend”

    OK, I presume you are busy so I will catch you up on the status of those widely reported allegations. They have proven to be false. Period. Andrew Breitbart repeatedly has offered first a $10,000 contribution to the United Negro College Fund plus $10,000 for the person providing the documentation of a SINGLE SLUR being hurled (not even all 15 alleged slurs), and now he has raised it to a $100,000 contribution for anyone proffering PROOF of these alleged acts.

    Jessie Jackson was among the group “trolling” for harassment. He was videotaping the entire walk, along with at least two others videotaping the event on behalf those seeking slurs. Do you honestly believe that these acts happened but were not captured by ANY of the videographers whose presence was solely to document such slurs when they occurred? Or they are for some reason unwilling to release their tapes when a $100,000 contribution plus a personal $10,000 payment is offered?

    Rep. Emanuel Cleaver who initially claimed he was spat upon changed his story when he told it to WaPo reporter Courtland Milloy. He described it to Milloy as a man who was yelling “allowed saliva to hit my face,” which sounds unintentional – quite a bit different than the fiery allegation initially made and fanned by the MSM.

    As convenient as it might be to attack Tea Party members, try to limit your attacks to ones based on fact.

    • Marshall says

      good response, he also did not address why it is OK to spout HATE speech at the families who are putting their fallen sons or daughters to final rest. What they shout at the family members is much worse than one could shout at mr Jackson. Samad could care less.

  2. James Dehnert Sr says

    As a proud UCSD graduate, its hard to read about these terrible events as they unfold.

    I do not believe that the attitudes of a few students on campus should be mistaken for the attitudes of students in general at UCSD, or in higher education as a whole. I do not believe that racist attitudes are prevalent at UCSD. Its easy for a very small number of people to grab a large number of headlines by this kind of disgusting behavior.

    With respect to the KOALA, that paper is notorious for its short sighted, knee jerk publications in search of a laugh. That’s no excuse for its insensitive and inflammatory issue. I believe that UCSD should deal with them in a way that makes it clear that the university won’t endorse, or fund, any hateful speech.

    If you look closely at UCSD you will see that this racist behavior is anathema to everything UCSD stands for. Just look at the names of the colleges at UCSD.

    Thurgood Marshal
    John Muir
    Roger Revelle
    Earl Warren
    Elanore Roosevelt

    These ARE the names of enlightenment in the 20th century, and none of them were chosen lightly or on a whim. If you look at the general education requirements for any of the colleges you will see a great deal of emphasis on multi-cultualism and humanities requirements at all of the colleges.

    Finally, I believe that it’s not the universities that are failing us. The failures are on the part of the individuals that see UCSD, or any university, as a soap box for these racist and hateful viewpoints. Some small minority of students have accepted admission to UCSD and have wasted an opportunity for personal growth and enlightenment. Clearly these spots could have gone to more deserving people.

  3. Dianne says

    Students should be protected against a hostile environment while attending school. It’s hard to understand why the regents allow this to continue. It’s also disturbing that in an institution of higher learning, these types of racist attitudes are so prevalent. In the past, there was always more tolerance and enlightenment on a college campus. These institutions are failing us if students aren’t being educated on matters of race, justice and equality.


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