Compton Cookout Was Just the Beginning   Leave a comment

I find this entire saga fascinating. Racial factors that get largely ignored most of the time at UCSD are thrust into the open. An out of sight administration and particularly shadowy AS step into the spotlight. UCSD publications have been unable, due to incompetence or frozen funds, get an inside scoop. The tearing of the campus actually seems to be occurring as different groups factionalize.

I wonder if the fact that things only seem to have gotten worse instead of dying down indicates that a deeper issue is being uncovered or that the responses on one or both sides have unnecessarily caused further outrage. One thing I will assess: this UCSD campus was about as ready for this racial inflammation as Port Au Prince was ready for a giant earthquake. The very buildings at UCSD are not racial incident-safe. It’s haunting echoes of Little Rock, 1957 at UCSD 2010. Fee hike walkout, what? That tiny tremor was nothing compared to this. The walkout was no cookout. This atmosphere is tense; somewhat strange for students to care about something on this campus. The administration and student government never saw this coming, and they have no idea what to do. DOC, ethnic studies, MMW, Thurgood Marshall Colllege- none of these things prepared the campus for this. The capital is crumbling.

For one, the UCSD administration has done an extremely poor job handling this in my opinion. The Battle Hate website is a crock, a publicity stunt, a pile of monkey crap designed to appease rather than solve any problems. Who the hell comes up with these titles? The NIMBY-reminiscent “Not in Our Community“. You know what seems to be “not in our community?” An explicable number of black students. This is Koala fodder all the way. Even the “battle hate” name sounds like a type of violent hate rather than a battle against it. I don’t know the reasoning behind the soft, flaky group names, but they are neither bold nor resonant.

The Battle Hate site is gaudy, self-righteous, and horrible to read. It’s the administration + AS President Gupta putting up a posing, aloof, finger-wagging front. It’s clearly designed to let YOU know that the administration and AS are doing everything they can to fight racism, puffing up and fancily titling all of their little do-nothing steps. The Koala’s “Compton Lynching” scandal beat your teach-in by a mile. If you spent that whole time coming up with a response to the “Cookout”, well now you have an arguably equally volatile scenario and your teach-in is already obsolete. I mentioned in my first assessment that the UCSD administration is not to be depended upon to handle this. They are showing exactly why.

Chancellor Fox, VC Rue, and their team have acted slothfully- that is slower than the Koala. The sloths have done little slowly, and frankly believe they’d rather have Gupta’s head on the chopping block than their own. They set up their little Battle Hate site and said a few issue-skirting words of condemnation. They weren’t ready for this, they didn’t see it coming, and they are either terrified or apathetic. They have a potential student uprising, the one they never had to worry about during the fee hike walkout, and have no idea what to do. The Black Student Union isn’t having all of their demands met, the party planners feel, arguably justifiably, that they haven’t received a fair shake. No one’s happy, the issue wasn’t settled quickly or decisively. And that’s where the vultures swoop in.

Mainly the Koala, which was able to to put up their typical Koala offensiveness on SRTV before the administration could do anything but say they disapprove of the incident the Koala TV skit was referencing. Always a step behind. Are you telling me they had no idea the Koala was going to jump on this as soon as they possibly could? Nobody in power seems to understand the motivations of the Koala, and I can’t say that I do either, but I’m going to bet they want the attention more than anything and their wish has been fulfilled.

In all of the news reports, nobody seems to have a first hand account of what actually happened on the Koala SRTV episode, finding just a “Compton Lynching” smoking gun. Or red herring, who knows? They can’t find the tape, the Koala has outsmarted everyone else, and Gupta and the administration look very stupid trying to respond. Freezing the funding to the 33 media publications is incredibly unpopular and useless. Gupta has to be completely out of touch to think people will believe this isn’t a curb on free speech. These are college students. They aren’t going to believe anything the student government 6% of them voted for or the administration that 0% of them voted for tells them. The Koala is winning this battle, thus far.

It’s not too cynical to understand that many people and groups have seen this whole thing as a publicity opportunity. The Koala has probably handled this the best from that point of view, while the Guardian has stumbled. They had to cite ABC 10 News in their story about the Koala incident. Apparently ABC 10 is more competent than the school newspaper in finding the right people to talk to on the UCSD campus. Totally dropped the ball with poorly written, poorly sourced, clearly biased, reporting. The Compton Cookout Part Two guy is an attention whore, but has done a good job of getting his name on the news. That’s how you gain publicity from this type of thing.

The administration and student government have really performed poorly on this issue, either due to being unprepared or unfit to deal with it in the first place. They stumble over each other, post lies and nice-sounding distractions, while taking action too slow to make a difference or too hasty to realize the backlash and possible rights violations.

It’s a circus at UCSD administrative offices right now, and they deserve it. They didn’t realize how pissed off the BSU and others were initially and how they’re even more pissed off now. Expect the Koala to continue to offend, the original “Compton Cookout” guys to fade from view, and the administration and student government to continue blundering through it and making things worse. This ride is far from over.


Posted February 23, 2010 by Wada in Compton Cookout, UCSD

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