On the heels of their “Find the Illegal Immigrant” hunt, the NYU College Republicans — clearly beacons of reasoned dialogue and educational debate — hosted one of the founders of the racist, xenophobic Minuteman Project last night.
Before I post on the content of the event, you should understand that the NYU College Republicans are a joke. (Not that the Washington Square News is any better — the Director of Student Activities is Robert Butler, guys, not Buckler. He’s a fairly important member of the NYU administration, and this is at least the second article where you’ve gotten his name totally wrong. That’s embarrassing.* But, hey, at least you got the date at the top of paper right, and you didn’t spell “Tuesday” wrong.** Way to take a step in the right direction. Next, you may want to hire a new copy staff).
I was pretty active in College Dems when I was an undergrad at NYU, and while I certainly didn’t agree with the College Republicans on just about anything, they had pretty good leadership and managed to put together some really interesting events and conversations. The current CR board, though, seems primarily concerned with acting like assholes in an effort to piss everyone off, and then complaining about how politically marginalized they are when people call them assholes and get pissed off. It goes something like this:
CR: We’re holding an event called “Find the Illegal Immigrant: They’re everywhere, so it shouldn’t be too hard…”. It’s a game. A hunt of sorts. Where we track down a dirty illegal. This will REALLY stick it to those NYU commie pinko socialist liberals!
Liberal: Uh, you’re an asshole.
CR: What? Can’t you HANDLE a little POLITICAL DIVERSITY?
Liberal: Dude, this event is uncalled for. You’re just trying to make everyone angry, and you look like an asshole.
CR: I am so TIRED of Republicans being so OPPRESSED at this school! This is EXACTLY what I was talking about when I went on Fox News. They invited me because I am the FACE of OPPRESSION!
Liberal: No, you’re being a jerk.
CR: QUIT VIOLATING MY RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH!
Liberal: I’m not the government, so I can’t do that. But I’m exercising my right to free speech, too.
CR: You and your NYU socialist cohorts are OPPRESSING ME!
The fact is, if the NYU College Republicans wanted to host a reasoned debate on illegal immigration, they could have invited a leading thinker on illegal immigration from, say, an immigration-related think tank. Instead they invited a Minuteman. And, from the looks of the room last night, they invited some media people too.
The Minutemen are not exactly what we’d call an “academic” organization. Or “intellectual.” Or “halfway reasonable or intelligent.” They’re a racist militia with affiliations to White Supremacist groups. Their leaders have been invited to speak at other college campuses, almost always with chaotic results. In inviting Chris Simcox, the leader of the Minutemen, the NYU College Republicans were absolutely and without question looking to piss off progressive NYU students. And then cry about how conservatives are an oppressed minority.
To give a little more credibility to their event, they invited an NYU sociology professor who offered no opinion on illegal immigration, a Temple law professor who argued in favor of a border fence, and Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, who was excellent.
Protesters, as expected, gathered outside the event venue before the discussion started. Once inside, it was pretty clear that progressives far outnumbered conservatives, although a group of Minutemen and Minutewomen sat in the first row (can someone explain to me why the Minute-people love hats so much? Because those were a whole lot of hats. Flat-billed hats). For most of the discussion, everyone was quite, save for coughing loudly whenever a speaker used the term “illegal” as a noun. Then Morones spoke.
I suspect that the CRs assumed that the leader of a group called Border Angels would be deferential and talk about peace, love and Jesus the whole time. Nuh-uh. Morones was rad, and he called Simcox, the Minutemen, and the NYU College Republicans out on their bullshit. First, he had to correct College Republicans president Sarah Chambers after she incorrectly read his organization’s slogan (yeah, embarrassing). Then he called out the CRs on their illegal immigrant hunt. Then he called out Chris Simcox and the Minutemen on their vile, racist campaign.
Morones rightly pointed out that there are “200 million undocumented people in the world — the United States only has 6 percent of them. Five percent of the world’s population lives in the U.S., yet it consumes one-third of the world’s resources and 75% of the world’s drugs.” He also posited that “The Minutemen have proven two things: Racism is alive and well in the United States, and racism comes in all colors.”
He ended his speech by chanting “Si se puede!” with the crowd. Then it was Chris Simcox’s turn. As WSN pointed out, Simcox was met with jeers and chants (surprise surprise). One student was led away after yelling at him for a few minutes (“We’re going to give him respect? Fuck you! You used to lynch people like me”). And as in any crowd, there were a handful of nutbags (and question-and-answer time gave the right-wing ones a chance to embarrass themselves, too). But everyone eventually settled down — and I can’t really blame students for being angry that a racist vigilante was invited to speak at their school. But Simcox was given his chance to speak, and he was pretty boring. The Q&A session had its moments, but over-all it was pretty anti-climactic. No rushing the stage, no booing Simcox off stage… I’m sure the College Republicans were thoroughly disappointed. Although they’re still managing to cry about POLITICAL OPPRESSION and FREE SPEECH. From the WSN comments:
These protestors are a complete embarassment to NYU and should be punished for their disruptions.
A real patriot, that one.
The fact that students are unwilling to allow conservative voices on this campus speaks to the close-minded ignorance that exists at NYU.
I look forward to this commenter elaborating on which conservative voices were not allowed on campus. Because I was at the event, and so was Chris Simcox. And he spoke for a full 15 minutes, just like everyone else. But whining about conservatives being OPPRESSED and SILENCED is way more fun than, you know, facts. I’ll end with this quote from College Republicans president Sarah Chambers:
“I did wish it had been more courteous and respectful,” Chambers said. “I think it could have went better.”
Someone give this woman a position as WSN copy chief, stat.
*It’s also embarrassing when, in a giant pull-quote, you refer to Ile Seguin in Paris — an island — as “a small river on the Seine River.” Further embarrassment comes later in the paper, where another giant pull-quote reads, “In one of the film’s most glorious moments, Sage Francis is booed off stage after jokingly shorting ‘East Side’ at the audience.” Pretty sure you meant “shouting.” I can’t bring myself to read the actual articles, but if the giant pull-quoted text is at all representative, it’s probably better off that way.
**To be fair, they never actually spelled “Tuesday” wrong. It was “Wednesday” that was spelled incorrectly, at the top of the front page. I will admit, though, that “Wednesday” is a trickier word than “Tuesday.”
- Find the Illegal Immigrant by Jill February 19, 2007
- College Republicans Diaper Drive at NYU Today by Jill September 26, 2007
- Marginalized College Republicans Speak Out by Jill December 5, 2006
- “Pro-Life” leader Jill Stanek shows her racist colors again by Jill June 17, 2008
- We’re not racist, we just hate niggers by Jill January 28, 2007