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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 7, 1999)
The Man for all reasons
University informs former oppressor of technical minority status
J.J. HARDER is a senior
political science and broad
casting major and a Daily
So I’m sitting in my living room,
sifting through the seemingly endless
pile of mail that waits for me each
day. The bills, notices, fines and
other usual annoying letters are there,
requesting money or involvement or
something else from me.
I notice one of the envelopes has
a UNL letterhead on it, and assume it
must be a brochure on the Blankety
blank Awareness Week or the This
’n’ That Opportunity Fair. Instead, I
open it up and this is what I read:
Congratulations, J.J.! We are
happy to announce that you will be
honored for your academic perfor
mance as a student at the University
ofNebraska-Lincoln. J.J., you are
among an elite group of students of
color here at UNL who have
achieved a cumulative grade point
average of 3.0 or higher. The staff of
the Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs
Minority Assistance Program invite
you and a guest to join us for an
April 25th dinner and program recog
nizing your academic success.
In case you’re reading the Daily
Nebraskan Braille edition and can’t
see my picture, my skin tone doesn’t
exactly scream “minority.”
I am definitely a Caucasian, but I
receive these types of minority-relat
ed letters for a reason. My dad is
from Iran, and I noted this fact when
explaining ethnicity on my initial
application to UNL. So ever since,
I’ve been categorized as a Middle
East-American, or whatever.
Therefore, technically, I am a minori
ty. But visually, I’m not.
So UNL had finally one-upped
me. The university has told me lots
of things during my tenure here, but
this time it told me I was a “student
of color.” Not that there’s anything
wrong with being colorful, but with
one simple letter, this institution has
single-handedly changed my charac
See, I ve always thought that I
was part of the oppressors, not the
oppresses. Ever since I was a little
kid, society has told me I was in the
group that demeans and puts down
others. The “us” rather than the
“them.” The bad guys. That’s right,
I’ve always been part of the group
known collectively as “The Man.”
You know what I’m talking
about: “Don’t let The Man bring you
down!” or “I finally got back at The
Man!” People say these things and,
just like saying “minorities,” every
one knows exactly what the phrase
But to say the least, this letter
really shook the foundation of my
way of thinking. I guess I can no
longer associate myself with “The
Man.” I must leave the group that the
world has told me is my family after
20 short vears.
But before I leave this group of
oppressive individuals, I feel that it ii
my duty to pass on the requirements
of being part of “The Man” to others
I do this basically because some peo
ple may wrongly think they’re part 01
“The Man” when they really aren’t.
So best of luck to those who can
meet these difficult conditions.
Criterion No. 1: Male
This one is just plain obvious.
How could a woman even dream of
being “The Man?” He is supposed to
oppress women in every way. He
should not only look down upon
females as much as he can publicly,
but should also suppress them pri
vately. No true “Man” could allow
his wife to work, nor could he ever
do any cooking or cleaning. He
should objectify the entire female
gender in everything that he does.
Criterion No. 2: White
By definition, I’m pretty sure
“The Man” has to oppress all minori
ties. So he couldn’t be anything othei
than Caucasian. He must be a racist
through and through. No ancestors o
his can have any ethnicity besides
European. He cannot even speak to
anyone that is not white, unless it is
in the form of a racially motivated
Criterion No. 3: Rich
“The Man” has the money and, in
effect, has the power. He lives in the
suburbs, most likely drives a luxury
sport-utility, and works in an office
downtown. He gripes about welfare
and wants a flat tax. He doesn’t care
about the underprivileged or down
trodden in any way. He actually is the
one taking away their privileges and
treading on them.
Criterion No. 4: Protestant
Hey, what does the “P” in WASP
stand for anyway? “The Man” must
be an active member of the
“Christian Right,” and look at anyone
that isn’t Protestant like an alien. He
has to be a reactionary, right-winger
who loves Rush. He watches CNBC
and votes for Pat Robertson. He
loves the phrase “moral majority.”
Criterion No. 5: Conservative
“The Man’s” mascot is definitely
the elephant. He wants to abolish
government financially, and serious
ly increase its involvement morally.
He loves big business and hates the
labor movement. The glare off his
shiny white collar blinds the eyes of
the working man. He detests unions,
supports all wealthy interest groups,
- and enjoys his mahogany desk on the
top floor of his skyscraper. Even
hearing the word “left” should make
f him sick to his stomach.
These are the basics, but there are
definitely optional characteristics.
“The Man” can frequently gather
with others and make rude remarks
and shady deals in smoke-filled
rooms. He should try to screw the
average Joe as much as possible
through some type of corporation.
Spitting at homeless people is possi
bly a part of his daily routine. He
could even want to abolish anything
that America foves, like cartoons or
I imagine that many of you have
by now realized that you are not part
of “The Man.” Maybe you aren’t a
racist, or maybe you respect women.
You think a conservative ideology is
truly better for all Americans. Maybe
you think a base morality is needed
in government. Perhaps you don’t
hoard your wealth in the ’burbs. You
may have elements of “The Man,”
but you aren’t an evil person. Just
like minorities don’t always want to
be grouped by society, neither do
Well, brothers, I feel your pain.
I’m not the angry, white male the
world has told me I was either. We’ll
have to get together and start a sup
port group or something. Until then,
I guess I better realize I’m not “The
Man” and get ready for my new
Again, congratulations on your
academic achievements, and we look
forward to seeing you on the 25th.
Slacking turns into chain reaction as graduation draws near
ERIN REITZ is a senior the
ater performance major
and a Daily Nebraskan
Tatiana Cooley is the American
memory champion. She won a memo
ry contest called the U.S. Memoriad
’99 in New York in February. After
looking at a stack of 100 portraits for
20 minutes, she could pair 70 of them.
A real (normal) smarty could probably
Because she’s got such an amazing
memory, she never had to study in col
lege, because she could just remember
what her notes looked like.
I am not Tatiana Cooley.
I do not have a memory of steel,
and man, do my grades prove it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not flunk
ing out or anything. I just can’t seem to
do as well with the whole scholastic
thingy as I could a few years ago.
This is my big question, though:
Am I less motivated than I was before,
or am I just becoming stupider as the
Realizing that this is not an easy
question to answer (like #83 on my the
ater history test), I decided to motivate
myself and do some research on my
own academic past. Yes, folks, it’s long,
and it’s getting messier with each pass
ing day. Bear with me.
When I was a youngster I found
out I had some kind of disease called
“gifted.” (If you’re unsure, this is a dis
ease teachers treat by “giving extra
work,” and kids treat by “calling
No one knows exactly when I
acquired it, but they kept telling me
that it was a good tiling. Kids who are
gifted are apparently supposed to grow
up to run the world and design space
I lived this interesting little gifted
life until I was in about seventh grade.
That’s the year I took pre-algebra and
got a C+.
The world ended.
I actually cried. I wasn’t used to
getting anything but A’s (and a smatter
ing of B’s), and I didn’t know how to
handle myself. I decided then and there
to commit to never getting a C again.
Yeah, awfully funny, I know.
Little did I know in my time of sev
enth grade all-knowingness that I
would go on to lose all kinds of interest
in high school (with the grand excep
tion of my history, art and English
classes, because the teachers were just
so flippin’ cool). I scored a few more
C+’s and practically flunked chemistry.
(Wait, maybe I did flunk. Damn
those repressed memories! Damn them
I graduated with a respectable GPA
and began my quest for scholarly supe
riority at college four years ago. With
motivation oozing out of my ears, I
came away from my freshman year
with a 3.65. One-tenth of a point away
from the Dean’s list, I was certain that I
had regained all of my smartness and
was ready to work toward my 4.0.
Okay, honestly, your laughter is
waking up your sleeping classmates.
Cut it out. Thanks.
My grade point slipped a little in
my sophomore year, and once I took or
the task of being an student assistant in
the halls, it began to, well, nose-dive.
(Recently hired SAs, please take note.)
I am now at the point where I’m
attempting to raise my GPA from the
dead, Dr. Frankenstein style.
This, as you may be well aware, is
not easy. However, because I do have
some of my brain left, I understand dial
it is not impossible. I think.
Truth be told, I’ve really had to
kick myself in the ass this semester and
work hard. Of course there’s still a little
bit of slacker in me that gets in the way
every so often.
(Side note: The slacker bug can
infect you for three or more years while
at college. It is very hard to get rid of.
Many, many nights of hard drinking
are guaranteed to help. Excuse me,
strike that, guaranteed NOT to help!
Sorry, I read my Health Center
Wellness guide wrong.) y"
Now for the meaning- /
fill message, kids: /
You can’t afford to j
slack off, even though i
you think you can. |
Because once it starts, its V
an ugly chain reaction u
that s wickedly tough to v t
This has been my prob- \
lem, especially over the last two
years. I’ve taken much, too
much advantage of the “freebie
absence days” that profs give, and
really needed them when I’ve gotten
I’ve turned lots of assignments in
late because it’s only a couple of points
off at a time. Things get nasty when
those points add up.
I’ve taken advantage of extensions
and never followed through. More than
one professor has been disappointed in
So there you go. I haven’t been
turning into an imbecile - I’ve been
Thank goodness I was able to use
the reasoning skills I’ve acquired in
college to actually solve a problem!
Now maybe I should put them to work
on something that’s actually going to
matter. Like my classes.
This next part may remind you a
little of your NSE tour.
If you’re in your first or second
year, take it from someone whose
been around the screw-up block.
Don’t mess with this oppor
tunity. Be involved, but not to
the point where you’re losing
your grip on your studies.
(Thate why you’re here,
remember? Yeah, I knew
you could.) Don’t skip too
many classes. Get your
work done. Call your
mother. Eat your veggies.
You know what I’m say
Give yourself a
chance to do well. It’s
never too late to light a fire
under your butt, so do it.
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