I am both appalled and saddened by the remarks made in yesterday’s paper by Mr. Kyle Gambrell. As a representative of both Lambda Chi Alpha and Tarleton State University, Mr. Gambrell should have reacted as both a leader and a responsible member of our community. Instead what I read was only a rush to deny responsibility and point fingers elsewhere.
I am sorry Mr. Gambrell, but whether or not the actions that took place at this party were meant to be offensive or not is not important.
The fact is that they were, and those involved should be held accountable. Perhaps, instead of attacking the local NAACP and its leadership you should be busy trying to find out how, at an institution of higher learning, such a grotesque display of ignorance could have ever occurred.
Also, it is almost laughable that you demand that since everyone apologized those offended should have let the situation ended with a lesson learned. What lesson would that be Mr. Gambrell, don’t get caught perhaps.
No, I think that the members of the community, especially, members of the Tarleton community, are completely justified in demanding that action be taken swiftly and severely. While I am sure that the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity feels that they can handle this matter internally, I feel it has already been demonstrated that many within the fraternity are at best guilty of poor judgment, and probably not capable at this point of handling such a delicate matter.
I only hope that Dr. McCabe and the rest of the University do not try to make this matter go away quickly with a slap on the wrist. I understand that young people make mistakes, and I also understand that these young people may not have been aware of how hurtful their actions were, but that in no way relives them of responsibility.
Hopefully these students will be forced to learn more about cultural sensitivity, and also hopefully the university will take this as an opportunity to be progressive and implement programs to help students better understand other cultures, rather than just waiting until something like this happens again.
Nick Ocampo, Dublin
I agree Mr. Elder that the “MLK Party” thrown by some Tarleton students was in bad taste and could be deemed offensive. But do you truly believe that these kids’ intent was to hurt you or any other member of the black community.
Had those pictures not been posted on the Internet, would you have even known about the private party held in someone’s home? The people involved were not out making a public spectacle. They weren’t dressed up in “gangster wear” protesting against MLK Day on the steps of the student center.
No, they were tucked away inside of a house having a good time on their day off.
Did they have fun at someone else’s expense? Maybe, but again, I don’t believe that was their intent.
But you, Mr. Elder, have made a public spectacle of this situation. After contacting the person who posted the photos on his Facebook, he apologized for his insensitivity and removed the pictures from his site. But that wasn’t good enough for you Mr. Elder.
Your anger and your hate were spelled out when you e-mailed the site owner with the words, “These photos will not go away silently. Justice will be served. This is a promise.”
It is obvious that you in no way wanted to resolve this matter in a civil manner. Martin Luther King Jr. won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work as a peacemaker.
You releasing the photos has perpetuated hate and insighted people’s emotions over this incident, which could have been handled much more peacefully.
Now, the pictures are out across the country on more than one Web site for everybody to see. You have dragged the name of a fine fraternity and a great university through the mud.
Do you have the right to be angry? Absolutely. But there are better ways of handling this situation without tainting the good name of Tarleton.
The news of this party has reached all the way to the depths of South Texas and beyond across the nation even. People who have never heard of TSU, now only know the institution by what they have read or seen about this story.
You were quick to label the party a fraternity function, yet you never tried to sit down with the group and talk to them. Every time you go to a party, does that make it a NAACP event? I think not.
You also said that this event happened on campus. That also is untrue. I believe that the event in question, albeit some in attendance were members of the fraternity and most were probably Tarleton students, is far from being a sanctioned event by either institution.
The damage has been done, by both the offensive gathering and by your angry reaction. I hope, Mr. Elder, that you are never offended in this way again. But, if you are, think about the consequences of anger and how it can affect everyone involved.
Caleb E. Chapman, Boerne
I wanted to thank you for your recent coverage regarding the public outrage following the MLK party attended by numerous TSU students. Though I’m a little old to have been in attendance at this particular party, your coverage has opened my eyes and made me realize how insensitive I have been in the past. Today I’m turning over a new leaf, and I would like to start by apologizing to a number of minorities I may have offended in the past.
Though at the time I thought it harmless, on Cinco de Mayo of last year I drank a Margarita (in a dry county) after a long day of labor in the construction industry. To make matters worse, I’m certain I was being underpaid for it. For this insensitivity, I would like to apologize to the Hispanic community, and of course, to the Baptists.
In addition, I would like to extend my apologies to the homosexual community. It’s not that I have anything against you personally, I just cannot bring myself to like the color pink or "Will and Grace.” Honestly, I don’t even think pink is a real color.
To the entire Democratic Party, especially Hillary Clinton, I would like convey how deeply sorry I am. Hillary, regardless of what I may have said in the past, I think you look fabulous wearing Bill’s pants. My deepest apologies to Paris, Britney, and Rosie - I know that you’re all far too rich to truly be white trash. I would like to send additional apologies to people with bratty children, lawyers, female drivers, lazy people, bald people, my 8th grade math teacher, and the entire cast of Doogie Howser.
My biggest apology should go out to the people of France, it seems I may have errantly, and possibly maliciously, told my sons that the French invented the white flag. As I cannot confirm this, I should tentatively apologize to the guy who actually invented the white flag. He probably doesn’t even care; he’s made a fortune off of the French. Other countries I should apologize to are Ireland (for drinking green beer on St. Patrick’s Day) and Germany (for drinking Guinness cold).
On a more personal level, I once had a dear friend who was vertically challenged whom I affectionately referred to as Shorty. My apologies to her as well as Slim, Tiny, Big Red, Butterbean, Cupcake, Pancho, and you guessed it, Lefty. My insensitivity must have been excruciating for you to endure over the course of our friendship. Regrets also to all Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Amish, and the Reverend Moon. Please accept my apologies, I promise to be more sensitive in the future.
As Americans, if we ever wonder why it seems we’re losing our once exalted status in the global community, perhaps we should look at our inexhaustible capacity for being hypersensitive and trivial. Michael Richards’s recent rant insulting African Americans was disgusting, though only slightly more than his victims’ insistence that they be compensated monetarily. In America we have a specific right which allows us to deal with situations like this - it’s the right to ignore them or not buy their products. No matter how hard we may try, we will never legislate tolerance.
This country is at war, with the finest and most ethnically diverse military on the planet - and I doubt that a single one of our soldiers is fighting specifically for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. They are fighting for Americans, and it seems they might actually remember what we have in common. Perhaps we could learn something from them. Surely we have more in common than anger.
Finally, after reading today’s paper I was left wondering exactly what we are "investigating". The actions of these students might be tacky, or tasteless, or to some even racist. But they were off campus at a non-university sanctioned event and didn’t break any laws. Though several of those involved have apologized, a student was quoted as stating that it would take more than an apology (paraphrased). How much more? Precisely what is going to set this right?
Finally, I would like to apologize to those readers unable to recognize satire and to Mrs. Muncey (my high school English teacher) for the run-on sentence with which I started this letter. To anyone else I may have angered throughout the course of this letter, I would challenge you to wait a couple of weeks before you reply. Who knows, you might just get over it.
Jon Koonsman, Hico