Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fighting Tigers Fight For Mizzou

Need to speak my piece concerning generalized disparaging and negative perceptions about my alma mater, the University of Missouri-Columbia a.k.a. Mizzou. What I have heard and read over this past week in the media and by pundits has been both disheartening and enlightening. Though other options were considered, I chose Mizzou because of my love for the school and growing up a born-and-bred Missourian as my dad's “Missouri Tiger” (all of which you can read about in my personal narrative, Echoes From An Unexamined Life, among other in-depth topics). As a proud graduate of the school, I, like my fellow Tigers in their respective fields, have had a rewarding and successful career as sort of a jack-of-all-trades historian, journalist and writer - albeit, perhaps not as financially desired (*cough* buy my books *cough*) - thanks to my college education.

Other than when my buddies and I gather for our annual trip to a football game, I have not been on campus on a regular basis in decades. Thus, it is difficult for me to comment on the current daily activity that happens on it. When I was an undergraduate, I can recall several incidents and protests that occurred aimed at the administration concerning discriminatory acts and student hardships. For the most part, though, they were few and quickly addressed without further calamity and broader upheaval. To concede a point, maybe my friends and I simply were insulated from these occurrences tucked away in our isolated enclaves and alleged privileges.

Since the American Civil War, Missouri has had a dualistic and volatile history. Yet, indicting the entire university, faculty, staff, students and alumni for the actions of a few is no different than blaming all gun owners for mass shooters. I was born (figuratively) and raised (literally) color-, gender- and, to an extent, orientation-blind. My parents taught me not to see the world in such terms (the latter, honestly, never an issue raised in my formative years), but on character and merit - which, full disclosure, makes me cynical toward and hate on all of humanity equally in general. Perhaps, ironically, this also has blinded me to the biases and prejudices apparently still prevalent even today in the 21st century. Either way, please do not insinuate or presume to define and equate proud, successful and, especially, tolerant Mizzou alums based on current events.

We fight not only for Mizzou’s soul, but also for the hearts of all Tigers; the same can be said for this nation as a whole. Thank you for reading, end rant...MIZ!!!

©2015 Steve Sagarra

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