Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Check your privilege

Why are Super Bowl riots acceptable?

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Check your privilege

Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian

Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian

Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian

Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian

By Sonali Chigurupati, Collegian Contributor

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I had never watched a full football game before Feb. 4, when I watched the entire Super Bowl. I wore a New England Patriots shirt and cheered with my friends when the Pats scored a touchdown, and I laughed and encouraged the banter that was going on as I sat down the hall from my room. It was fun for me to be a part of such a tradition because the room was filled with good vibes…until the Patriots lost.

The room fell silent as everyone grew angry — I could feel the tension rising and it made me uncomfortable. Immediately after I walked out of the room, I witnessed a Patriots fan put his neighbor, an Eagles fan, against the wall. Neighbor turned against neighbor in a heartbeat just because they were supporting opposing teams. I hadn’t even walked two feet before a girl told the boy who had just been pushed onto the wall to “shut the f*** up.” I couldn’t help but tell her to watch her mouth. He might have had an Eagles sweatshirt on and I might have had a Patriots shirt on, but he was my neighbor and I would not let someone disrespect him in such a way over a game.

It was then that I realized what was really going on: Students felt entitled to be disrespectful and dangerous because their football team lost. Students felt that they could push the limits of safety and civility because their favorite team lost a game. That was when I saw just how their actions spoke of their privilege — as did mine.

I turned around to see someone come out of a room, their hand leaking blood on the hallway floor. My hand instinctively reached for my phone to record the situation: I had to show everyone on Snapchat — they wouldn’t believe it. Instead of trying to help or remove myself from the situation, I added to the spectacle by posting it all over the web.

That seemed to be a common reaction that night. There were videos and photos of students destroying their own property and property of the University of Massachusetts all over. A bathroom stall was destroyed, the door resting on the shattered toilet and the photo went viral. Aside from thinking it was insane, I also wondered, “Who’s going to clean that up?” It is highly unlikely that the student who broke the stall would be asked to clean it (even if they were held responsible for the cost of the damage). Ultimately, if the student doesn’t have to pay, I don’t really care if the University has to use some of their money to fix that toilet, but our maintenance workers are not our servants, and they are not here to clean up our outrageous messes. And yet, our maintenance team would be the ones cleaning up after the students who threw a collective tantrum because their team lost.

What happens when Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during the national anthem? He’s associated with terrorism. What happens when UMass riots after the Super Bowl? An opinion article is published claiming that rioting is a culture that brings our student body together, and the police politely say, “We understand that the Patriots lost, but please go inside.”

I watched from afar as people yelled, “Police brutality!” when an officer arrested a belligerent student who had just started a fight. But that’s not police brutality; what happened to Freddie Gray is police brutality. If anything, the lack of force employed by the officers is what surprised me: Rubber bullets and tear gas were the most extreme measures that the police used.

Restraining and handcuffing someone who is physically violent and belligerently drunk is not police brutality, and you are privileged if you think it is. The last thing the police were on the night of the Super Bowl was brutal. No one was called a terrorist like Black Lives Matter protesters are, even though students were terrorizing their own campus. No one was killed. Rioting because the Patriots lost was considered socially acceptable. I just wish this privilege was extended to protesters who are fighting for something important.

In the Feb. 5 opinion article, “Sports gatherings bring students together,” the author argues that rioting is essential for UMass culture. However, the article was entirely based around the idea that rioting brings people together, and that is not how I see it at all. Amidst the riots after the Super Bowl, a video was posted of a white male student yelling racial slurs out of a window at a Black student because he was an Eagles fan. This video showed me that this was not a united group and this riot wasn’t bringing anyone together — it was turning people against each other and causing destruction, all because the Patriots lost a game.

Seeing my videos on social media, my friends from home kept texting me one question: “What is this privilege?”

Sonali Chigurupati is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected]


14 Responses to “Check your privilege”

  1. SittingBull on February 12th, 2018 12:32 pm

    WOW! What a pathetic and thinly-veiled shot at white people, not to mention an absurd extension of the concept of “white privilege.” New England and Philadelphia fans, in particular, are the mirrors of their respective cities. This is mostly a class issue where the rough and tumble Irish and Italian boys like to battle after a few too many drinks and insults. Is the behavior disgusting? Absolutely. Is it criminal? Often. Should they be castigated and made to pay for damages? Of course. But let’s not equivocate the actions of some low-class losers and extend it to all white people. Far more Indian men are mass rapists than American men are toilet-destroyers and bare knuckle brawlers. Do Indian men have a “rape privilege” in India? This is a disgustingly racist point of view. The more you race-baiters make an issue of white privilege out of every single event in America, the more you turn white people into actual racists.

  2. . on February 12th, 2018 3:38 pm

    “The more you turn white people into actual racists.” Funny. Damn you must have missed the last four centuries of slavery, huh? News flash, white people have always been racist

  3. NITZAKHON on February 14th, 2018 9:03 am

    Every race and creed has enslaved every other race and creed across human history.

    Where do you think the “white man” got his slaves from Africa? Whites bought slaves in the slave markets run by blacks.

    And what about the millions of Europeans taken by Muslims as slaves – males castrated, women made into sex slaves?

  4. BullSitting on February 12th, 2018 4:07 pm

    In response to SittingBull:

    Do you honestly think that if a group of black people were rioting, for any reason whatsoever, the police would be calmly asking them to go back to their rooms? To turn your head away from the disparity in treatment by police towards black people and white people is white privilege.

  5. Ben on February 13th, 2018 6:15 am

    “Do you honestly think that if a group of black people were rioting, for any reason whatsoever, the police would be calmly asking them to go back to their rooms? ”

    Yes. The city government allowed blacks to burn down Baltimore. They gave them “space to destroy.”

  6. Tom Brady jr on February 12th, 2018 9:24 pm

    This article stinks

  7. Tom Brady jr on February 12th, 2018 9:28 pm

    This article stinks

  8. john aimo on February 13th, 2018 1:42 am

    This difference in how races are treated is completely ignored of the real reason why. It’s stated and implied it’s an ‘injustice’ that more black people are in prison than other races, it’s because they commit more crime. Black people commit around 30 percent of crime in the united states, despite being 13 percent of the population and commit over 50 percent of violent crimes.

    That’s not an injustice, it’s just a fact. It’s not just black versus white, black people commit more crime than Asians and Hispanics. Asians commit less crime then white people. So is there Asian privilege?

    Yes the police may treat black criminal suspects differently than white ones or other races, it’s probably because they arrest more black suspects and from experience those black suspects tend to be more violent and difficult. And usually the only riots are by black people, so when these types of events happen although it may be unfair, the police officers are just going by their experience which makes them more distrustful of black people.

    The dishonesty the author is promoting and the liberal viewpoint isn’t helping anyone. It’s not helping society to reduce crime and it’s not helping black communities who are the biggest victim of crime when you blame the behavior of criminals on ‘white privilege’

  9. An On on February 13th, 2018 10:44 pm

    You nullify your entire argument in your first two sentences. You’ve never seen a football game before this year’s Super Bowl and you happened to own a Patriots shirt, and you feel that you’re familiar enough on the subject at hand to write a critical article about it? How is that any better than a white man criticizing Black Lives Matter’s actions? You scream privilege to me.

    Football is an enormous part of American culture. It’s the most watched event in the country every year. Everyone knows about it, and my hyperbolic use of “everyone” is more close to literally everyone than in any other context. And yet this was your first football game. You don’t understand just how passionate people are about football all over the country, especially outside the context of a college campus. You certainly don’t understand how the general public of the country feel about

    People being disrespectful to one another because their team lost is entitlement? Have you ever been to a sports game before? There is a difference between rooting for your team and bad sportsmanship, but saying “fuck the Eagles and fuck you for liking them” is not bad sportsmanship. The entire purpose of sports is to feel like we’re awesome and the other guys suck. People need to feel passionate and “on a team” about something. But seeing as this was your first football game, you must be unfamiliar with the idea. Would you rather humans abandon the concept of competition altogether? Good luck with that.

    You are so deep in your own head with how you think the world should be that you fail to see what it really is. The average American will look at this and roll their eyes at how many hoops you have to jump through to claim that being a Patriots fan and being upset alongside the Patriots community that they lost is privilege.

  10. NITZAKHON on February 14th, 2018 9:04 am
  11. Ed on February 14th, 2018 12:30 pm

    Race is a social construct — as is support for a region. Hence this article is more about “Patriot Privilege” than anything else, and something UMass itself exacerbated. Which was stupid.
    But to equate this with being “White” is obtuse — the author might look at what European & Latin American soccer fans do. El Salvador and Honduras once actually went to WAR over a soccer game!
    And as to the original Patriots, what’s not widely known is that there was a ” them to instead go beat up British soldiers.North End” and “South End” gang who used to fight each other on the Boston Common on Sunday afternoons (after church). Paul Revere got them to instead go beat up British soldiers.
    Then, as now, there were underlying tensions and that’s what people really ought to be looking at. Why is there the pent-up rage below the surface?

  12. pleasureprinciple on February 14th, 2018 3:04 pm

    *sees article has “privilege” in the title*
    *sees author has non-anglo name*
    “Get this PC bullshit away from me!!!”

    You guys are making this WAY more about race than the author did. Chigurupati only mentions race by noting the difference between perception of Kaepernick’s peaceful protest and UMass’s rioting, as well as giving a truer instance of police brutality and citing a widespread video of someone using racial slurs which could have just as easily been sexist/homophobic/whathaveyou slurs and still have driven home the point that rioting in no way creates some mecca of student unity and acceptance as the other article suggested.

    To me, Chigurupati’s article seems to be way more about class privilege than race. If you are a UMass student, you know exactly the kind of student who would be the main instigator in this riot – they’re the ones who think it is their god-given right to drink, act belligerent and destroy property. They’re the people who think UMass waits till midnight to declare a snowday specifically to discourage people from partying the night before. It doesn’t matter what race you are – if you are going to go around destroying campus property, insinuating violence with police officers, doing all the things UMass administration specifically creates Superbowl Weekend policies to prevent, and then act like your punishment is cruel and unjust, you are PRIVILEGED. I don’t know the races of any of the arrested students – they could all be people of color, but if they truly did what they’re being arrested for than I have no sympathy for them..

    I was here in 2014 when all those kids got arrested during Blarney for similar behavior. There were the usual “Hey hey ho ho police brutality’s got to go” protests the week after, which looked especially dumb when Ferguson happened a few months later. It all just frames the point that UMass students who insinuate drunken riots over a football game are incredibly privileged to feel that doing so is their right.

  13. Sonali Chigurupati on February 15th, 2018 5:25 pm

    I love you, can we be friends?

  14. Ed Cutting, EdD on February 19th, 2018 10:32 am

    The fact is that the police industry itself condemned the APDs tactics after the Barney Blowout, there was an extensive report enumerating all the things the APD did
    Not so with Freddie Grey — other than not fastening his seatbelt, even Eric Holder couldn’t find anything, and he tried…

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