By Adam Smith
Conservative groups at Texas State are not happy about a recent opinion piece in the school’s student-run newspaper. The University Star published a column on April 17, that defines the practice of tokenism and accuses the local chapter of Turning Point USA (TPUSA) of using minority speakers to create an illusion of diversity.
Student Senator Eli Miller’s views about the organization are featured in the column. He said TPUSA Texas State used an upcoming Antonia Okafor talk to make them seem more inclusive.
“They were kind of parading her around like a badge of honor that they were bringing this black woman to campus, which is fine and dandy,” said Miller. “The issue for me is they’re an organization that prides themselves on protecting the second amendment. TPUSA as a national organization seems very silent when black people’s second amendment rights are infringed upon. TPUSA does not speak for black people at all.”
TPUSA Texas State president Stormi Rodriguez disagrees with that assertion. She said her organization invited Okafor to talk at Texas State because of her unique perspective and experience on news outlets like CNN and Fox News.
“The woman that they’re talking about, Antonia Okafor, founded her own organization. She was originally a democrat,” said Rodriguez. “She voted for Obama Twice. And she’s had such a struggle really opening up about how she feels about being conservative. And now that she’s proud of it, she has great perspective, intelligence and funny wit that people want her to come and speak. And our university paper calls her a token.”
Rodriguez said the concept of tokenism has affected her personally and sees it as a way to undermine opposing political viewpoints.
“I’ve had people come up to the table and say don’t you realize you’re Turning Point USA’s token? There’s no greater insult,” said Rodriguez. “I have worked really hard to become the president of TPUSA. I do my job well. You see me on the quad every week. There’s a reason I’m the president and it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m Hispanic.”
Conservative and Second amendment advocate Antonia Okafor will speak at Texas State on May 1.
Featured image by Adam Smith.