Well, at least one person is reading this column, but I fear I was misinterpreted regarding my comment relative to Ebola: “Be careful if you go near (Black people in) Dallas…” My intention was to highlight the absurdity of some of the reactions to Ebola in the US, not seriously advise staying away from Black people in Dallas. Because that is indeed how some are reacting. Here are a few examples taken from a recent BBC story:
“The examples of Ebola hysteria in the US are growing too numerous to count.
“Two students from Rwanda, 2,600 miles (4,148km) from West Africa, are sent home from a New Jersey elementary school for 21 days. A Maine high school teacher is given three weeks off because she attended a convention in Dallas, Texas.
“A Texas college sends out letters to prospective students from disease-free Nigeria informing them that they are no longer accepting applications from countries with “confirmed Ebola cases”. A Pennsylvania high school football player is met by chants of “Ebola” from the opposing team. A middle school principal goes to a funeral in Zambia, also with no cases of Ebola, and is put on paid administrative leave for a week.” [“Ebola, race and fear” by Anthony Zurcher]
It reminds of when people worried in the 1980s about the possibility of getting AIDS from glasses used at bars frequented by homosexuals.
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So we are nearing the end of what for first-year students is a notoriously difficult period: from the start of the school year to Thanksgiving. In part that is because Thanksgiving comes too late in the semester. We really needed a break last week. The realities, good and bad, are I guess settling in: new place, new people, new responsibilities. A lot all at once. Hopefully those of you new to IU and Collins are finding your niche, adjusting to your work load, finding new social opportunities. Collins certainly offers lots to do in terms of programming: dances, films, music, discussions. And if you haven’t tried already you might visit one of the many councils: BOEP (Sunday 11/2 at 5pm), Arts Council (11/9 at 4pm), the Sustainable Food Committee (this Friday at 5), Community Council (every Th at 2:30); like BOEP/AC, Board of Governors (11/2 at 8pm) and Student Government (11/9 at 7pm) meet alternate Sundays. It’s never too late to get involved.
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Anyone get the three dot reference? That was a style and phrase used by SF Chronicle columnist Herb Caen (1916-97). He wrote a daily column on the City that appeared in that paper for nearly 60 years. I think my father read most of them. Alas, Caen did not live to see the SF Giants win the World Series. My father instead (five years younger than Caen and still kicking) has now witnessed that happen three times (as of last night). Though he doesn’t really care that much. I don’t know if it will work, but here was the heading for Caen’s column. He added the Transamerica pyramid to it after that building went up in 1972:
So maybe if I hone my skills with the Collins Columns, I’ll be invited to take Caen’s place (no-one really has since he died). Happy Halloween.
Professor of History
Director, Collins LLC