Tuesday, August 03, 2004


"Patrick Herndon, a senior at Fremont's Irvington High School, has plans to start a cultural club next year. Like many of the other campus clubs, his would focus on his heritage and raise awareness about its roots. But Patrick, 16, is white -- and he knows that his idea for a Caucasian Cultures club is bound to receive some harsh criticism and maybe even allegations of racism. But he's prepared to argue his point.

"I think people will consider it to be racist and they won't let us do it because they think we will try to infringe on the rights of other races," Patrick said. "But by not allowing us to have a club, it infringes on our rights as Americans."

He's not the first with the idea for a club for white students. Last year, Lisa McClelland, a freshman at Freedom High School in Oakley, made headlines around the world when she tried the same thing and ended up transferring to another school because of the harassment she encountered.

It's a sign that the tables may be turning when it comes to racism, with whites on the receiving end this time. It's an especially sensitive issue in diverse Silicon Valley, where minorities make up about one-third of the population. In many Bay Area cities, they represent the majority....

For Roni Cohen, a Jewish 16-year-old who goes to Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, it isn't an issue of control. For her, it's more about being taken advantage of and being able to speak her mind, even if what she has to say isn't necessarily politically correct.

"African-American girls laugh at us when we dance because we're white, but we can't laugh back," she said. Even though white people represent the majority of the nation's population, it's almost as if "they don't have the right to speak, so they can never defend themselves."..."

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