Oneida Meranto's Racist Speech · 29 February 2004
By Tom Elia--FrontPageMagazine.com, 02/27/04
Our readers may remember Metro State political science associate professor Dr. Oneida Meranto, who was the subject of two previous FrontPage Magazine columns, each penned by different students of the professor. The students allege that Dr. Meranto, acting as a advisor to a student group, attempted to stifle the opinions of students because they were in opposition to her own, and that she acted as more of an political activist than as a professor in the classroom; that she illegally, and falsely, revealed private academic information about the students in public; and that she threatened legal action against both a student and the college's student newspaper, The Metropolitan.
In one of the FrontPage articles, student Nick Bahl wrote that Dr. Meranto unilaterally dropped him from her class--even though he had passing grades and later received a "B" in an independent study project, threatened to sue him over taping a public meeting, and threatened to sue the school's student newspaper for publishing a column penned by Bahl calling for Meranto's dismissal. As a result of the threat, the school relented, publishing the column as a letter to the editor.
In the other FrontPage article, student George Culpepper wrote that Dr. Meranto, acting as an advisor to the group, threatened to throw campus Republicans out of a bipartisan student political science group and illegally--and falsely--maligned his grades in public, even though he had a "B" in the class before he dropped it. Since these allegations, Dr. Meranto has resigned as student advisor to the political science group at the school.
On February 24 Dr. Meranto gave a speech at a protest of the sexual assault and rape allegations surrounding the University of Colorado football team (the speech is printed below). As a result of the allegations--as well as his subsequent ill-considered comments regarding one of the alleged victims--Colorado's head football coach Gary Barnett was suspended by the university.
What follows is this transcript of Dr. Meranto's remarks at the CU Sex Scandal Protest on Metro State's campus:
Oneida Meranto: Thank you Tom and thank you to the individuals that put this together. I want to say first of all that I've been given the great honor of being the poster child of David Horowitz's Academic Bill of Wrongs and I wear it with pride.
We're entering into a new era of victimization. I say this with caution because I never want it to appear as though we are overlooking or ignoring the real pain that is associated with people that have been more importantly, not more importantly, but certainly just as importantly, those individuals that have been wrongly accused of being sexually harassed. I have had the misfortune of being sexually abused and of being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment. So I think I can with all fairness come from both sides on this.
At the age of five I was sexually abused by a white man, of course no one believed me. This was the beginning of my personal quest to understand race relations in America. Lets flash ahead several years to just last year at this school where I was charged by a white man with sexually harassing him - I know you might find humor in this, and I did at first, but it's not a very fun thing to go through.
This man was a faculty member. He had been accused of sexually harassing at least three other female students and this administration did very little in responding to these women's allegations. Let me tell you, the very minute this man pointed his finger at me there was a full-blown investigation. It became very obvious that this faculty member who had failed to finish his PhD and had failed to renew his contract at Metro was pointing his finger at me and needed to redefine himself as a victim in order to justify why he had failed.
Similar to the white students of last semester who charged me with ideological repression. Their complaints took the same immediacy as the sexual harassment charge did, the President's Office kicked into gear to be sure that these white men's procedural rights were not violated. They too failed to be good respectful students and like the white man that charged me with sexual harassment they too have made themselves victims.
I tell you these personal things because the mere gesture of a white person pointing a finger at a nonwhite person brings out the press, brings out the psychologists, brings out defenders of the white race even unknown to themselves; brings out the administration, at the same time I think we need to understand that the mere exercise of pointing a finger can destroy the future of the accused and bring notoriety to the future of the accuser.
Take a look at how we've rewarded white women or women in general that claim sexual harassment. They receive sympathy as they well should; they're accommodated; they're sometimes given their own talk shows; they receive a TV series; they write books; in essence they become famous. And if they join the reactionary right as Paula Jones did, they even get a makeover.
These false allegations against me by these two white male students have brought them the notoriety they crave and the jobs with their reactionary counterparts that they want.
To keep my experiences in line, both sides of them, don't hang any of the players up in Boulder until there has been a fair trial. Don't fire coach Barnett for doing what the administration has more than likely instructed him to do. It is the president that should be held accountable. Until we hold the president accountable, little change will occur.
Let me give you a few assumptions about race and rape. These two should always be intertwined as long as the parties are mixed race.
Now number one, nonwhite women can't be raped. See we've been socialized at a very young age, even at the age of five, that we can't be raped since rape is about power and since nonwhite women don't have power our voices are automatically suppressed.
Two, nonwhite men whether black, brown or red, desire white women. There is a history to sex, power and race in America and I suggest you understand it. Obviously some white men in great power have a nonwhite partner, but overall we as a society still have in our minds an overall sexual connotation of nonwhites.
Let me give you an example. Nonwhites are closer to nature. Those that are closer to nature are more animalistic. Thus, animals are less capable of curbing their basic animalistic tendencies. The favorite movie of a white professor here on campus is "Black Robe." Why? He said it was because the Christians taught the natives how to have sex in a more loving way.
Three, white people tend to equate race with being nonwhite. This prohibits whites from being able to see what it means to be white in a white society.
Four, making analogies between a nonwhite woman being raped and a white woman being raped makes us forget the differences and removes the race card. In other words, you can't possibly understand rape without understanding race relations in the United States.
Five, whites are trying their darndest to demonstrate that they too are victims in a society where they dominate. Whites have failed to prove to us that they are not part of the privileged class. They have failed to prove that they have gained so much from subjugation and domination of nonwhites. They have failed to prove to us that they don't have racist, sexist tendencies that just might be part of the very essence of their white skin. They have failed to prove to us that they too have not benefited from affirmative action legislation. They have failed to demonstrate to us that the reason for their poor grades is the flood of nonwhite professors. They have failed to take responsibility for their actions in this country where being white has its privilege.
So what do if you're a failure and you're white? You create a new kind of action. The kind that existed prior to 1965, similar to what has happened on this campus. White students get poor grades and instead of cracking the books and studying harder they blame the professors. File a grievance against a professor based on ideological repression. A white faculty member gets fired, can't finish his PhD, doesn't renew his contract, what does he do? He charges a faculty member with sexual harassment. The system isn't broken; it was never fixed. The administration of these universities consists of individuals that lack the fundamental understanding of race relations in America. If any organization is going to try and organize and integrate a football team or draft the best players they must demonstrate they know race-sex relations in America. And herein lies the problem.
Bill 1315 that the reactionaries want to pass, and may indeed pass this week, wants to give the students the right not to take diversity training. In other words, these white students want the right to think as they have and to keep these racist and sexist ideas afloat. They can call it ideological repression, but it is still racist and it is still sexist. Bill 1315 is nothing more than a repackaging of race relations. The old southern white affirmative action of doing business. They want the right to be free of professors like me that force them to think, who demand that they be respectful to women, minorities and gays.
Bill 1315 will give them the right to say, as they have said to me in e-mails, "Let's kill the f***ing commie bitch." And by this president refusing to make a statement not condoning such behavior, he is in essence sanctioning it. If Bill 1315 does pass you can be sure of at least two things. One, there will be many more allegations against professors, and let me tell you what they'll look like. You're looking at them; they'll be nonwhite, women and they'll be gays. And two, there will no doubt be more sexual harassment not less, because some students, faculty, and administrators want the right to stay ignorant. They don't want their say; they want their way. Thank you.
Tom Elia is an editor at FrontPage Magazine.