Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 15, 1996)
Monday, January 15, 1996 Page 4
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
J. Christopher Hain..,.Editor, 472-1766
Doug Koumct.Managing Editor
Doug Peters. Opinion Page Editor
Sarah Scalet.Associate flews Editor
Matt Waite.Associate News Editor
Michelle Garner...Wire Editor
Jennifer Mopes.. Columnist
Birthday celebrates nation’s diversity
Twenty-eight years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was killed by
an assassin’s bullet. He is gone, but his dream is still with us.
) King’s dream of a color
| blind society took some serious
j blows in 1995, though.
The O.J. Simpson trial
| made evident the enormous po
| larization that exists between
] whites and blacks in America.
| Poll after poll reflected a mu
tual mistrust, a diametrically
| different look at the same sets
| of evidence.
Then came the “race
| card.” The Fuhrman tapes. The
| riot police suited up and de
j ployed on the day of the verdict,
waiting for the inevitable may
hem that would come with a
At times, it seemed the only unifying factor between black and
white America was that all of us watched.
And we should have.
The “trial of the century” had more than one defendant. Simpson
was before the court, but America, too, was on trial.
And the verdict has yet to be delivered.
One preliminary ruling has been issued, however: The dream
of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is still, all too often, just that — a
But not an impossible one.
Wc live in the most diverse nation on earth, a country living the
grand experiment of the melting pot. Before we look at our prob
lems and declare the experiment a failure, let us look to the east
— to Bosnia, where a scant handful of ethnic groups continue to
kill each other off because of their differences. ^
As King pointed out 30 years ago, we can let our differences
define and tear apart our society, or we can let them add spice to
the richness of the American recipe.
As we observe the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today,
wc should do so with a range of emotions as diverse as our nation’s
Sadness and frustration over the obvious chasms that scar our
country’s racial landscape; elation over the advances that have
been made; determination to try, checking our petty stereotypes
and misconceptions at the door, to realize the dream so boldly
proposed all those years ago.
This year has not been an easy one for the dream. But no one,
especially not King, ever thought it would be easy.
The most important things never are.
Staff editorials represent the official
policy of the Fall 1995 Daily Nebras
kan. Policy is set by the Daily Nebras
kan Editorial Board. Editorials do not
necessarily reflect the views of the
university, its employees, the students
or the NU Board of Regents. Editorial
columns represent the opinion of the
author. The regents publish the Daily
Nebraskan. They establish the UNL
Publications Board to supervise the
daily production of the paper. Accord
ing to policy set by the regents, respon
sibility for the editorial content of the
newspaper lies solely in the hands of its
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief letters to the
editor from all readers and interested others. Letters
will be selected for publication on the basis of clarity,
originality, timeliness and space available. The Daily
Nebraskan retains the right to edit or reject all material
submitted. Readers also are welcome to submit mate
rial as guest opinions. The editor decides whether
material should run as a guest opinion. Letters and
guest opinions sent to the newspaper become the
property of the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be re
turned. Anonymous submissions will not be pub
lished. Letters should include the author’s name, year
in school, major and group affiliation, if any. Re
quests to withhold names will not be granted. Submit
material to: Daily Nebraskan, 34 Nebraska Union,
1400 R St. Lincoln, Neb. 68588-0448.
No §m. I r~~p>
Phillips capable of good after his terrible deed
Earlier this week, an Oklahoma
man was arrested and charged with
assaulting his wife. Crazily enough,
it’s yet another domestic violence
case related to the Cornhuskcrs. But
I don’t think we can put the blame
on Dr. Tom or the system for this
The man, an avid Husker fan, was
having a heated discussion with his
wife over who would stomp whom in
the Fiesta Bowl. His wife was
confident that the Gators would come
off with a win, and he disagreed. The
discussion turned violent, and he
attempted to bum her with the grease
of the bacon she was cooking in
addition to hitting her.
Now, as most of us at Lincoln
know, it does absolutely no good to
argue with Husker detractors.
Nothing will change their minds but
a national championship game in
which the second-ranked team in the
nation is pounded into the ground.
Most of us simply sit back until
the game, when we can let the
Huskers speak for themselves. Then,
we can go around with a smug smile
on our faces, giving everyone
telepathic messages with the basic
content of “Naah-nah-nah-naah-nah.
We told you so.”
But those who can’t resist getting
into arguments like that (and I have
before) can understand the emotions
this Husker fan was feeling.
Then again, we can look at the
Oklahoma man as an impression
able, mindless fanatic imitating his
heroes. The topic of Lawrence
Phillips has been beaten to death,
but maybe his assault on his ex
girlfriend actually did make it
acceptable in this man’s eyes.
Monkey see, monkey do.
But if that was the case, I don’t
think this incident at Oklahoma
“The NFL has never
claimed to be looking for
community service and
superior athletic ability.
No, they’re looking for
superior athletic ability.
And nobody can deny
that Phillips has that. ”
would have happened. Really. Let’s
try an exercise in creative thinking.
Close your eyes. (No, open them;
you won’t know what the exercise is
unless you read this.) OK. Now, quit
looking at Lawrence Phillips as
Phillips the monster, even though
what he did was terrible, and yes, he
can become a monster.
He is human like the rest of us.
And we should look at that human
side of Phillips. Frustration is a very
human characteristic, but most of us
deal with it in less violent ways.
With the help of Tom Osborne,
Phillips also is learning to deal with
frustration and rage. He has started
again, learning to control his anger
and find acceptable outlets for that
frustration we all face.
No, it’s not fair that someone
who did what he did should get
millions of dollars in an NFL
contract. But life by nature is not
fair. The NFL never has claimed to
be looking for four categories:
scholarship, leadership, community
service, and superior athletic ability.
No, they’re looking for superior
athletic ability. And nobody can
deny that Phillips has that.
And I’ll say it again: Life isn’t fair.
When teachers are paid as much
as they are worth with respect to the
rest of the society, then maybe I’ll
retract my words. But until then, life
isn’t fair. If a different young man
who had the skills to be a bricklayer
had assaulted a young woman, we
wouldn’t try to stop him from using
those skills. And we wouldn’t mind
him getting paid for it. But I would
want to see evidence that his attitude
toward women had changed, and
evidence that he was trying to build
a positive new life.
It’s easy to tear people down,
demanding retribution and justice.
It’s human nature. But why not get
involved and try to help?
I admire Tom Osborne for having
the courage to help his player
despite bitter public opinion.
Perhaps if the energy we spent on
criticizing public Figures were
reinvested into our community, we
could eliminate some of the prob
lems we complain about.
Let’s just hope that day will
Kohl Is a senior biology major and a
Dally Nebraskan columnist
Send your brief letters to:
rf) fnp Daily Nebraskan, 34
... i v-/ ill Nebraska Union, 1400 R St.,
-- Lincoln, Neb. 68588, or Fax
to (402) 472-1761, or email
cletters @ unlinfo.unl.edu.>
L—^-1—,— Letters must be signed and
|\Tgok 1~\ include a phone number for
^ JL^I C UJL 1 verification.
Powered by Open ONI