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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

‘Cinco de Mifflin’ criticism does not address real racism in America

Having read the recent letter sent by Badgers Against Racism to The Daily Cardinal, I feel it is necessary to stand against unfounded and inappropriate accusations of racism. Furthermore, by calling the term “Cinco de Mifflin” racist, Badgers Against Racism is implying the students who thought of the phrase are racists themselves. To me, this is extremely inappropriate and unfair.

First of all, if you’re going to label something as racist or racially offensive, you had better have a good reason to say so and have real support behind such accusations. I am sure every normal, rational person probably has already disregarded Badgers Against Racism’s claim, but it seems people are worried or held-back from truly fighting back against these types of statements. This is why this rhetoric must be stopped in its tracks, because militant political correctness does nothing to deter actual racism.

Being Americans, we live in a culture that is a mixture of different cultures and traditions. In fact, to deny this overwhelming and obvious influence is to deny the power of the “melting pot” in the U.S. So isn’t it inevitable, and actually normal, for American culture to be a blend of different cultures and ideals?

To me, “Cinco de Mifflin” represents progress because the phrase actually embraces a mixing of UW-Madison tradition with the tradition of Cinco de Mayo. To write off this type of cultural blending can only hurt racial harmony.

Real racism does exist and there are great records of what happened. One thing I can confidently say is that true racists, people who truly harbor hatred on the basis of race and lineage, would never endorse or respect any aspect a culture or group they hate. You really can’t have both.

This is what confuses me, and many other students, who are constantly being accused of being racists because they do not adhere to strict political correctness. There is absolutely no evidence, no indication and no reason to suspect “Cinco de Mifflin” and its celebration is anything other than some students’ attempt to find  a fun, light-hearted theme people can come together and celebrate around.

I want to make this last part specifically for Dean of Students Lori Berquam, someone I am sure we are all familiar with by now.

First, my fellow Mifflin enthusiasts and I, are not insensitive racists and many people in Madison are not offended by this. Do you see any public outcry over this or strong social reaction? Dean Berquam, I know you did not mean for your video to be incendiary, but when you go spouting off about racism or something of that seriousness, there had better be a good reason for it.

I don’t like being told I’m a insensitive, Mexican-hating racist because of a completely innocent phrase to accompany celebrating Mifflin, an event that is truly open to anyone and everyone of all backgrounds—at least for us students. Please, let’s all get real.

In the grand scheme of global suffering that has plagued human existence, “Cinco de Mifflin” has no bearing on the honest, intellectual battle against racism in society. If anything, students should be asking where Badgers Against Racism and Dean Berquam stand when it comes to the real racist aspect of American society today.

Matthew Curry is a junior mjaoring in political science and environmental studies. Please send all feedback to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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