The Hunted Shoot Back
Last January, the University of North Texas chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas organized a "Capture an Illegal Immigrant Day," a campuswide game of tag in which "illegal immigrants" (students wearing color-coded shirts yellow for Asian, brown for Latino/a; you get the idea) were "It." People interested in participating were encouraged to catch an illegal immigrant and get a candy bar as a reward. When word got out that the UT chapter supposedly was planning the same stunt, the wires were abuzz once again (or in the Chronicle's case, our e-mail boxes full) with outraged letters and plans for counterdemonstrations. Although UT's YCT chairman, Lauren Connor, sent out an e-mail stating there were no plans to host an "Immigrant Hunt," and that the YCT was holding a Texas Independence Day celebration instead, we went down to the West Mall to check out the scene. What we found were two red-faced kids behind a table offering chocolate chip cookies and cakes in the shape of Texas, surrounded by about 60 shouting people.
Surrounded by protesters, Conner said, "The YCT does not support bigotry and hatred; we never have and we never will. The event they had in North Texas the purpose of that event was to voice their opposition to illegal immigration. We aren't here to talk about North Texas. If you have problems with them, you can take your group up there and talk to them. But I'd appreciate it if you would remove yourselves." (A request that only brought a roar from the crowd).
Lorena Sanchez, an undergrad social work student holding back tears of frustration, tried to explain the crowd's anger to Conner. "Do you understand why we are so angry?" she asked. "You say it's political, you talk about homeland security. But we're not the terrorists. We're not bringing down the buildings. We're putting them up. So, what the hell are you complaining about? We are the ones who are constructing this nation."
And UT's official stance on the matter? President Larry R. Faulkner had this to say, before it was revealed that the YCT backed out (or were simply subject to campus hysteria in reaction to their Denton brethren's actions): "The proposed action by the Young Conservatives of Texas falls within their constitutional right of free expression and must be allowed to proceed, if they so insist. But I also wish to convey my view that it would be nothing more than a despicable display of inhumanity, having nothing to do with the American conservative tradition."