Nov
13
2015
This recent PGA Tour winner weighs in on recent racial tensions
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

The night before Peter Malnati captured his first PGA Tour title at Sanderson Farms Championship in a Monday finish, he took the time to reflect on the controversial racial incidents that have precipitated most prominently at University of Missouri — where Malnati graduated in 2009 — and Yale. Color me impressed.

Very well said. I definitely need to make an effort to track him down the next time I’m on tour (Kapalua?).

As an alumnus of Yale, I, too, have been saddened by the unfortunate series of racially-charged events that have unfolded in the last few weeks. I can’t say I ever felt like my college wasn’t a “safe space,” (except maybe that time I was mugged on campus during my sophomore year) nor can I say that I encountered a culture of racism that was prevalent across the university during my time as a student. In fact, I’d say my experience was just the opposite, where diversity was celebrated and encouraged. Perhaps my sentiments are biased in that I’m romanticizing the best four years of my life. That’s not to say these current students are crying wolf or exaggerating their plight and concerns. (I actually wouldn’t be surprised if some drunk idiot SAE frat brother did indeed tell a group of African-American girls that it was a “white-girls only” party.) Our society has plenty of room to improve and intolerance and racism are still alive and well — even in 2015.

However, I do think the some of the behavior members of the student body at Yale have displayed is almost as reprehensible as the injustices they are protesting. Demanding for the resignation of Yale’s Silliman College Master Nicholas Christakis and his wife Erika does not solve anything. In fact, the email penned by Erika Christakis was thought-provoking and encouraged a civil conversation amongst the community over the topic of insensitive Halloween costumes and the freedom of expression.

Mizzou students and protestors called for the resignation of the university’s president Tim Wolfe. He has now resigned. I don’t know anything about Wolfe or the details surrounding why he was forced to step down. It doesn’t sound like he encouraged any of the racially insensitive incidents. As far as I’m concerned, his resignation does not and will not solve the root of the problem. Same goes for those calling for the Christakis’ to do the same (which doesn’t sound like will happen, thankfully).

I understand and empathize with those who were victims of the racially-charged events that led to the protests. (I’ve been there in similar ways.) There is clearly a systemic problem in our society that still needs to be addressed when it comes to tolerance. I’m sure there are a number of people who would rather plead ignorance and believe that the culture of racism is a thing of the past. These same people probably haven’t been subjected to the type of prejudice that the college students are protesting. They don’t know what it’s like to be the target of racial epithets and hateful, despicable acts. For change to happen, we need to encourage conversation, discussion and education — not for people in perceived positions of power to become unemployed scapegoats.

I urge the students and protestors at universities across the country to reflect on their actions over the past couple of weeks. Spitting on a group of people who have an opinion you disagree with is not the answer. Cursing and yelling at faculty members (and in some cases, the media) is not going to make more people pay attention to your plight. If anything, acting like spoiled children with hurt feelings only exasperates the problem and alienates a fair portion of society that would normally be sympathetic — it detracts from the original purpose and cause. And I get it. Sometimes the frustration and pain become so overwhelming that it leads people to behave irrationally (been there, done that).

Engaging in constructive discussions and even tolerating dissenting opinions are a better path to forge change and understanding between people. Don’t turn into the idiotic, intolerant bullies who started all this. You’re better than that.

But I digress. Peter Malnati also has a really good blog that he attends to regularly. Check it out.