Letter to the editor: Racial nature of “Just Sayin” comments shows prevalence of prejudice

We are responding to the racially insensitive remarks towards Asians and Asian Americans published in the “Just Sayin'” column in the Feb. 21 issue of the Iowa State Daily. The statements — “Just had a staring contest with a squintey. They are fearless” and “I just saw a squintey inside the building…they have started the invasion” — have raised concern among many ISU students, staff and faculty. Our intent in writing this letter is similar to the Daily’s mission statement to empower students and educate the community. As members of the ISU community, it is hard for us to accept the racial slurs that were published in the Daily. Asians and Asian Americans are more than stereotypes.

You may think this issue is not a big deal, but to the person who wrote the comments, to the editors who let this appear in the Daily, to you and me, our ignorance shows how little respect we have for each other. We are tired of sitting in class listening to people trying to justify these stereotypes. We are tired of being in social groups where racial jokes are passed around like pieces of gum. We are tired of walking down the streets hearing slurs being yelled out of passing cars. We are tired of ignorant people using racial slurs as everyday language. We are tired of people not having the guts to stand up for what they know is right. We are tired of people making fun of their own people.

We ask the Daily to address racial intolerance and racial slurs in a meaningful, ongoing manner. A regular column on this topic would help create an environment where all students, faculty and staff feel a part of the community. Devoting more space to these issues also supports the university’s commitment to celebrating diversity by creating a safe place for people to express their differences. The “Just Sayin'” column caused the opposite effect by producing feelings of alienation, frustration, fear, anger and sadness. In a world where there is a supposed to be emphasis on diversity, this is proof racism is alive and thriving. Sadly, this has been “our adventure at Iowa State University.”