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Volume 68, Issue 117, Monday, March 24, 2003


'Frontier' not an offensive name

Aaron Schlanser
Opinion Columnist

The PCP strikes again ­ thatis the Political Correctness Police for the uninitiated. Student groups have objected to Frontier Fiesta, but not for the parking concerns that haunt many students. Several ethnic groups on campus are concerned about the word "frontier," claiming it represents a time of enslavement for minorities and doesnit represent the entirety of the universityis population.

But, there is a much larger problem facing our nation. A new type of culture has invaded our borders, and it shows no sign of waning any time soon ­ it's the culture of "victimhood."

It seems that everywhere one turns, thereis someone being offended by everyday occurrences or by words that really have no derogatory meaning. The next thing you know, weill be asked to stop wearing cotton because it reflects a time of enslavement, or to tear down the Alamo because it's a shrine of oppression.

The problem is that itis easier to be a victim than to accept oneis shortcomings, where failure is not a personal fault and not the fault of the society that rejects them. People escape responsibility for their actions by playing the victim. Similarly, easily offended people think the deck is stacked against them, making each failure the fault of others and each success the result of fighting against all odds.

Even longstanding traditions such as the Frontier Fiesta are no longer safe. The United States has changed quite a bit since its establishment. There's no longer a frontier to explore or any wild and uncharted lands to tame. No challenges at all, save for the mysteries beneath the sea and beyond the stars.

The Frontier Fiesta is a throwback to older times, utilizing a Western theme to celebrate the history of this great state. More importantly, itis a chance for students to come together and have a good time on campus ­ all students, regardless of race or ethnicity.

One legitimate concern is mostly white fraternities and sororities operate the activities. The solution is not to denounce the event, but rather to participate. Frontier Fiesta is open for participation from all student organizations. If minority groups take part in the planning, then better representation is a safe bet. Sure itis easier to complain, but complaining leads to nothing but division and frustration. Whatis happening now serves only to alienate and vilify those who have worked so hard to create something for other students to enjoy.

Despite stealing a large chunk of our parking lot, Frontier Fiesta offers many interesting diversions for UH students. At a university where school spirit is minimal and very few people hang around once classes are over, Fiesta offers motivation to stick around and mingle with your fellow students.

I hope students at least check it out next year, if they didn't last weekend, and see what all the fuss is about. And please, leave your victimhood behind and have a good time

Schlanser, a junior university studies major, can be reached at 


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