The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 29, 1997, Page 5, Image 5

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... and discrimination for all
Political correctness fans flames of hatred
OK, here’s the scene: A bunch of white
college boys dressed up in Confederate garb,
playing with Civil War weapons and burning
a cross.
Sounds like the very foundation upon
which to lay a brotherhood of men. No, not a
fraternity. I was thinking more along the
lines of say ... the Ku Klux Klan. Oh, wait a
second, everybody calm down. They didn’t
have the hoods on after all.
The recent “historic ceremony” that
occurred as a function of a certain fraternity
on campus did not in any way help to show
that racism is dying.
Regardless of whether or not the incident
was racially motivated does not matter — it
obviously came across as having prejudicial
insinuations — and from the ensuing
reactions it is evident that racism is alive and
kicking today in America (as if you couldn’t
already tell).
We need to face up to the fact that some
people are going to be racist no matter what
Racism has been around almost since the
beginning of time, and it is not going to cease
in the foreseeable future. People naturally
look at others and notice differences and
similarities, and probably, always will.
However, people are now finally trying not
to discriminate against others based on their
respective racial and gender differences.
When I was about 4, my family moved
from an all-white small town in Kansas to a
good-sized city in Iowa where for the first
time I saw a black person.
I said “Mom, what’s wrong with him?”
pointing to a black male, and “Why is he
colored like that?”
I received a lengthy talk from my mother
a--~ lr;-■-.
We need to face up to the
fact that some people are
going to be racist no
matter what happens.”
and learned how God had created us all with
our differences in colors, shapes, sizes and all
sorts of other aspects.
Now I understand, but I still cannot look
at a black person and not notice that he or
she is black!
“Whoa!” you say, “It’s not ‘black,’ it’s
‘African-American.’ Come on, get PC!”
I’ll tell you what you can do with your PC!
If we are all going to be PC then I guess that
I am ‘Iranian-German-English-Irish
Now how does that sound? I don’t think
that I am going to be putting that on every
job application for the rest of my life!
“No, wait! You’re white!”
What? Why can I be referred to on the
basis of my skin color unlike others? How is
that fair? If we’re going to discriminate, let’s
discriminate against everyone fairly. If blacks
can have the United Negro College Fund,
why can’t I have the United White Kids
College Fund? I’m not advocating discrimi
nation, but if some are going to do it, what
the heck, join the party!
So what is discrimination truly about? It’s
about certain people saying exactly how
everyone is separated. We are all different,
just quit pointing it out at every place! Don’t .
be PC and ask for your ‘server’ at dinner.
Ask for your waitress if She’s a girl, and
don’t insist that things be referred to as
‘human-made’ rather than man-made.
These types of literal accuracies are just
asking for everyone to analyze each situation
until we have a nation of individuals and not
an indivisible country. If some people are
racist and others want their minority status to
bestow upon them extra advantages — let
‘em try! Tell our PC world that the majority
doesn’t want to discriminate or be racist in
any form, even if a few want to anyway.
As for all of the fraternities out there
considering bringing back certain rituals for
tradition’s sake, you might want to be a bit
less hasty in making your decisions.
Just because we used to beat, rape and
ridicule blacks doesn’t mean that we should
have an “educational event” to show a
“strength of brotherhood” in the form of
National Slave Day. Although for Sigma Chi,
I bet that Jan. 23 would do just fine.
Harder is a sophomore broadcasting
major and a Daily Nebraskan columnist.
The Francisco Renteria case has certainly
tested the waters of Lincoln’s law enforce
ment, emergency response and legal systems.
At issue is the question of racism, exces
sive force and improper treatment of an
individual whom police had attempted to
question regarding a disturbance.
This case should not be about racism,
although racism is easy to justify. It should be
about appropriate behavior for law enforce
ment personnel when apprehending someone
for questioning regarding a crime, and when
excessive force is justified.
According to Lincoln Police Chief Tom
Casady on Oct. 30,1994, Lincoln Police were
called to respond to a disturbance in north
central Lincoln.
The individual causing the disturbance
was Chico Martinez who was in violation of
a protection order. A member of the Univer
sity Police department also responded to the
call because she was in the area. She ap
proached an individual matching Mr.
Martinez’s description. This individual was
Francisco Renteria.
When approached and asked to stop, Mr.
Renteria responded, then attempted to flee.
The UNL officer moved in front of him and
was “bowled over.” At this point, Mr.
Renteria became combative.
Lincoln Police officers responded to the
scene and a struggle ensued that lasted for
twb-and-a-half minutes. During the struggle,
police radioed for assistance three times,
before subduing Mr. Renteria. According to
the records, Mr. Renteria had been subdued
using a lateral vascular neck restraint, more
commonly known as a sleeper hold.
After being placed in the back of a squad
car, an officer noticed that Mr. Renteria was
having trouble breathing and immediately
rendered assistance. The response of police,
fire and ambulance crews was timely, but Mr.
Renteria eventually suffocated and died.
As a result of Mr. Renteria’s death, a
number of lawsuits were filed by the Renteria
family. The city of Lincoln recently made a
Regardless of the
monetary issues, the
Renteria case is really
about crime and
$200,000 settlement. According to Bill
Austin, the Lincoln city attorney, there were
a number of reasons for the settlement.
First and foremost was the cost of prepara
tion of the city’s defense. To date $40,000 has
been spent on outside legal defense and
$25,000 to $30,000 has been spent by the city
attorney’s office just to address the mountain
of motions filed by the Renterias.
Beside the costs, there was the risk of loss
to the city due to a sympathetic jury — which
is always possible in a case of this magnitude.
The City Council also had to deal with the
potential loss and burden to the taxpayers
and the continued disruption of the city
revolving around this case. Consequently, a
settlement was deemed appropriate.
Regardless of the monetary issues, the
Renteria case is really about crime and
While I sympathize with the family
regarding the loss of a loved one, and
knowing that the family was only seeking
justice in their loved one’s death, seeking
financial gain from this unfortunate situation
only raises more questions about Mr.
Renteria’s attempted flight.
But if an individual is approached by
police regarding a criminal act and the
individual attempts to flee from police, isn’t
his flight an admission of guilt?
Why would he choose to confront police
and flee — when all they wanted to do was
question him? Simply telling the police his
name would have precluded his eventual
Police need the support of the community
and the City Council to remain effective in
combatting the ever-increasing threat of
If this includes use of excessive force to
bring criminals to justice, then police should
be able to use force when the situation
warrants and we, as members of this commu
nity, should stand behind their decision.
If their actions were racially motivated or
excessive force was not called for, as many
people believe, then we can no longer tolerate
force for the sake of force, and these officers
should be held accountable for their actions.
This should include criminal prosecution
to the fullest extent of the law. Police are,
after all, not above the law, but they have to
be able to enforce it unimpeded.
The courts have already determined that
the officers involved acted within the
authority and protocols of the Lincoln Police
Department and have cleared the officers of
any wrongdoing.
We cannot continue to reward people for
criminal acts. If we do, crime will become
more appealing than honest labor. We might
as well, declare moral bankruptcy now and
get it all over with.
MacDonald is a freshman electrical
engineering major and a Daily Nebraskan
columnist .
Handcuffing the system
Numerous questions abound after Renteria settlement
Bible, literal don’t mix
Minnesota is the “State of 10,000
Lakes,” then Hawaii surely must be the
“State of 10,000 Lucky Pierres.” Ever ,
since a Hawaii judge ruled in favor of
same-sex marriages, every homosexual \
from Kalamazoo, Mich., to Yazoo,
Miss., has moved there to take advan
tage of our 50th state’s lax social
mores. Their lustful, sinful behavior is
a shame to us all.
Homosexuality is wrong. It says so
right there in the Bible. Leviticus 18:22
- clearly states, “Thou shalt not lie with
mankind as with womankind; it is
abomination.” Lest we think God is
merely joking, he repeats himself in
Leviticus 20:13, this time with a curse
that “they shall surely be put to death.”
One could, of course, split hairs by
pointing out that homosexuality per se
is not forbidden, just homosexuality
ueiween men. ^uoes mis mean
“Heather Has Two Mommies” is
acceptable Sunday school material?)
And then there is Matthew 5:29-30.
4‘And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck
it out, and cast it from thee; for it is
profitable for thee that one of thy
members should perish, and not that
thy whole body be cast into hell. And if
thy right hand offend thee,’cut if off...”
If the Bible is to be taken literally,
then every red-blooded American male
should be walking around without his
pecker and, (let’s be honest, because
lying is a sin) his right hand. But whoa,
careful with that ax, Eugene! Before
you Bobbitt yourself, read Deuteronomy
23:1 - “He that hath his privy member
cut off shall not enter into the congre
gation of the Lord.”
. But circumcision is also commanded
(see Genesis 17:11, among other
verses). But what if the rabbi is careless
and, “Thwack!” lops off the whole
thing? Should we abide by the Old
Testament philosophy of “an eye for an
eye” (Exodus 21:24), or should we turn
to the New Testament and “turn the
other cheek” (Matthew 5:39)?
OK, so even the devil can quote
Scriptures ... I’m not the devil, but I am
a Republican, so I can certainly
understand the confusion.
Does this mean I support gay
marriages? No. I’m still something of a
traditionalist, and I strongly believe
that marriage should consist of “man
and wife,” not “manly woman and
wife” or “two guys” or whatever else
couia cane up.
If this means I’m sanctimonious
about the sanctity of marriage, so be it.
Nevertheless, I do believe homo
sexuals ought to at least have the right
to nest. So call it something else. That
way the gay community gets what it
wants, and is happy. My fellow
Republicans get what they want, and
are happy (or as happy as Republicans
can be). And every legally wed gay
couple I meet will be spared the
indignity of having me ask them, ‘‘So
which one of you guys is the wife,
—Eric Powell
The Daily Cougar
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