SAGA members discuss Mr. Concordia events

 

Some students who watched the Mr. Concordia competition on Jan. 25 were disturbed by some of the comments and skits that contestants partook in during the competition. Concordia’s Straight and Gay Alliance held a meeting on Jan. 29 to discuss the events and to have dialogue amongst its members. Photo by Morgan Schleif.
Some students who watched the Mr. Concordia competition on Jan. 25 were disturbed by some of the comments and skits that contestants partook in during the competition. Concordia’s Straight and Gay Alliance held a meeting on Jan. 29 to discuss the events and to have dialogue amongst its members. Photo by Morgan Schleif.

 

Comments made at Mr. Concordia have prompted conversations around campus about privilege, gender, race and culture.

SAGA, the Straight and Gay Alliance, met on Jan. 29 to discuss some of the remarks that were made at the event held Jan. 25.

The main issue the group discussed came when one contestant made comments about the “Chocolate Man” – a statue of former Concordia President Joseph Knutson – being the only form of diversity on campus.

Diversity on campus is a pressing issue to the Concordia community, but members of SAGA believe that the contestant might have brought up diversity in the wrong way. They suggested that it might not be appropriate for a person with white-passing privilege, a person who is able to pass as white and also another racial group, to bring up the issue of diversity using humor, especially when the statue is of a white man.

Geneva Nemzek, SAGA co-president, said that if a person of color made the same remark, it would have had a different effect.

“There would be more urgency to the race issue,” Nemzek said.

Colin Sullivan, also co-president of SAGA, said that referring to racial minorities as chocolate is offensive. He brought up the term “hipster racism,” or, people who believe that they are incapable of being racist because they are educated.

“There’s no amount of education that makes statements not racist,” Sullivan said.

A fortune-telling skit brought up similar questions about culture and diversity. Members of the group discussed the dangers of cultural appropriation when one contestant wore a towel on his head.

“I don’t feel like they were trying to me mean or isolate them [a group]…but they might have done that,” said Heather Hurner, SAGA’s special events coordinator.

The group also shortly touched on other issues that presented themselves at the event. During one performance, two women were brought on stage. The performance was about finding the sweetest girl, but the man lost interest and found a new girl. Some members of SAGA found this to be objectifying towards women.

A member of the group thought it could have been less offensive by not including women.

SAGA addressed why some people’s actions are offensive to groups of people and whether or not ignorance is forgivable.

“What are the implications of things we believe are normal?” Sullivan asked the group.

Some people at the meeting did not attend Mr. Concordia, so talking about the issues were difficult without naming who the offender was.

“We are talking about the specific actions someone did,” Sullivan said. “We’re not here to vilify people.”

 

 

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Mykayla Zwiener

Mykayla is a senior from Avon, Minnesota. She is a multi-media journalism major. When she isn't working as a Student Manager in Anderson Commons, she is surfing the internet, drinking coffee, socializing with friends and going to concerts. Her favorite bands are The Wonder Years, Breathe Carolina, A Day to Remember and Man Overboard.

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10 Comments


  1. Avatar

    Is racial humor really always wrong? Whether you have an opinion on that or not, you should check out the colloquium talk in BW 144 at 4 on friday (tomorrow). It might change your entire perspective on this article. The talk is on racial humor and is being done by Dr. Aragon. Also I very much agree with kanye that the “defendants” of this situation should have Been approached for a statement. As an MMJ major myself I am a little upset with the lack balance in this article. It does imply a bias in the story, regardless if the writer came right out and stated a reaction or not.

  2. Avatar

    Liberalism is a mental disorder

  3. Avatar

    Oprah,
    My point was that the article made note of several skits that maybe could have offended people but failed to take into account the point of view of the people who performed said skits. I know for a fact (as in, I talked to them or in the case of Mike, saw a Facebook post) that those people were all unhappy with the way the were portrayed in the article as they thought it was unfair to them that they were in a sense thrown under the bus. Perhaps “journalistic integrity” wasn’t exactly the term I was looking for but I stand by my criticism of the article in general.

  4. Avatar

    Kanye W – as far as journalistic integrity goes, there wasn’t anything Mykayla wrote that informed us as readers about her personal opinion re: the towel scenario. This is what was written:

    “A fortune-telling skit brought up similar questions about culture and diversity. Members of the group discussed the dangers of cultural appropriation when one contestant wore a towel on his head.”

    Please tell me how that is a judgement on his character on behalf of the journalist.

  5. Avatar

    Everyone needs to relax. What SAGA does is have DISCUSSIONS. This is something they discussed. I also like how most of the people freaking out about this on Facebook (and probably here) are all white. Who are we to determine how calling the statue “The Chocolate Man” makes people feel? Maybe some people of color ARE offended by this, and maybe some aren’t. All this was is a discussion. Please keep that in mind.

  6. Avatar

    The fact of the matter is no one actually bothered to ask the contestants criticized in the article for their point of view, which is totally unfair to them. And you’re not going to convince me that something is offensive unless I hear it from someone who actually IS offended by it. If I were a minority, I sure as hell wouldn’t want white people telling other white people what should and shouldn’t offend ME.

  7. Avatar

    I, for one, am glad people are talking about this. These are real issues that exist outside the “Concordia bubble” and people who are upset by this article seriously need to stand back and re-examine their lives. What, people aren’t allowed to say something when people are being offensive? It doesn’t matter if the skits in question were meant to offend (because let’s be real, who would set out to purposefully offend people?), they are still quite questionable and I feel the Concordia community should be able to expect better from our own students.

  8. Avatar

    Should Mike have used guys instead of girls in his skit???? Would that be less offensive to SAGA??? (By the way, I have nothing against what SAGA actually stands for.) And how exactly is calling the chocolate colored statue guy the “chocolate man” racist in ANY WAY AT ALL?? HE’S A STATUE! And Justin’s actual point about the lack of diversity on campus is totally valid because he’s 100% correct. As for the supposed towel controversy, if you think Zach was trying to offend ANYONE by that, you clearly don’t know him and shouldn’t be allowed to speak on his character. Like, what ever happened to journalistic integrity? Try actually speaking to the people you’re going to criticize before you publish this garbage.

  9. Avatar

    Is this an early April fools article? The overall gist of this article is that SAGA is full of people just looking for negative things to say without any positives. I know that’s not true of SAGA’s attitudes in general and is probably making the contestants feel pretty lousy as well. Of course there are things that could have been handled differently but this article I believe misrepresents the spirit of SAGA and the Mr. Concordia event overall.

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