Widgets Magazine


Op-Ed: The Fine Line between Insensitivity and Disrespect

For those of you who have never received an e-mail blast from me, I am the President of the 6th Man Committee. Yesterday I was unsurprised to see an opinion written by a fellow student under the title “It’s all fun and games…until you call it a Fiesta.” The op-ed was critical of the 6th Man Club’s upcoming “Fiesta Night,” labeling it as “insensitive.” While I would like to personally apologize for offending anyone, I think the message behind the event is being lost and I disagree with the stance that we should prevent events like this at Stanford.

First of all, let me state for the record that I am sorry that the author and others may have felt “cheapened” by the theme for the event. I totally understand the sentiment that it seems unnecessary to associate tacos, sombreros and the word “Fiesta” with basketball. And I definitely sympathize with the fact that such events can quickly go wrong: first come sombreros, next, mustaches. Of course these objections were foreseeable; so what could we have been thinking?

I think the author is ignoring the venue and purpose of the event. It is not being held on the Row to celebrate drunkenness at the cost of another culture, as so many events admittedly are (take “International Progressives” or “Café Night,” for example). It is about bringing together a community of fans over good food (tacos), music (played by Mariachi Cardenal), fun prizes (sombreros) and, best of all, some exciting Stanford basketball (against U$C). Obviously, if one measures the event by whether it fulfills the traditional standards for a fiesta, it will come up short. But that is not to say the event is inherently insensitive or disrespectful. Although it is our responsibility to preserve Stanford as a respectful environment, this event, which has the best of intentions, seems a very misplaced focus for the author’s ire.

While the author may not have realized this when formulating her opinion, it is not the Stanford administration that is the object of her criticism but students like me. The members of the Committee plan all of the events for 6th Man, come early and stay late for every game, flyer weekly, go to dorm meetings, sell t-shirts for charity and support the women’s basketball team. We volunteer full-time to support men’s basketball and to make the student experience at games even better. In my mind, this really begs the question of who is being insensitive and/or disrespectful.

In any case, Fiesta Night will go on! Shameless plug:

Stanford men’s basketball vs. USC

Fiesta Night

6:30-9:30 p.m., Maples Pavilion

Hope to see you there!

Joel Sandler, B.S. ‘10, M.S. ‘11

  • OldGuy73

    ¿Cómo se dice “porcupine” en español? Someone has her quills up, poised to spear any potential insult floating nearby. Had the 6th Man Club billed its upcoming event as “The Soiree on Sand Hill”, I wonder if Ms de la Torre would have been concerned that her fellow students might show up wearing berets to enjoy the foie gras and croissants. Or how about “Milano at Maples”? Would members of the student body arrive covered by fedoras doing that dopey “Hey? Whatsamatta, you?” accent?

    I am cognizant of the fact that anti-Hispanic sentiment still roams at large, particularly within the legal jurisdiction of our neighbor on the border to the southeast. It is in Arizona where the truly heinous racism is taking place. Remain vigilant, Ms de la Torre; yet retain a frame of reference. You’re in college. Enjoy it, while keeping your eye on the real monsters.

    Bottom line: In life, two senses in particular will help keep your head above water: perspective and humor.

  • Eye roll

    The college experiences that a Latino student and a white student have are inherently different. Oldguy73 does not realize that.

  • gigglebox

    People need to extend grace to other people and not assume that racism is always the reason for everything. You insult your fellow students, Diana. It seems that you are the one who has alot of bitterness and sadness in your soul. Thank God for where you are and assume the best about your fellow students instead of the worst. You will have a sad life ahead of you if this is what you consider to be important. Quit looking over your shoulder and seeking out opportunities to be insulted.

  • gigglebox

    Hi, Diana- I think an apology is due.

  • question

    “The college experiences that a Latino student and a white student have are inherently different. Oldguy73 does not realize that.”

    So the best way to acknowledge that fact is to lash out against anyone who uses the word ‘fiesta’? Somehow I don’t see how those dots are connected.