When UAAP is Reduced to Mere Academic Bigotry; When a School Preaches Anti-Reason and Bigotry
The important thing about you is what you choose to make happen – your values and choices. That which happened by accident – what family you were born into, in what country, and where you went to school – is totally unimportant.”– Ayn Rand
The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me…
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“WIN or lose, it’s the school we choose!” This is the Ateneo mantra in the UAAP. What does this bigoted slogan mean? It means that 99 percent of Filipinos are nothing– that before they can be recognized as part of the elite system- or as part of the human race, so to speak- they must be Ateneo graduates. It means that men of ability like Andrew Tan, Lucio Tan, Chief Justice Renato Puno, and many great Filipinos who did not graduate from Ateneo are nothing. It means that greatness and prestige are something that is automatic, unearned, anointed or decreed. No argument is possible for this kind of pathetic thinking.
Academic bigotry now looms in the air as the UAAP Season 72 basketball Game 3 comes to town. I don’t think this kind of
racism or bigotry is justified. A few days after the UE Red Warriors demolished the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ championship ambition, several online comments, blogs and forums had the stench of academic bigotry.
Let me define academic bigotry. This is not about the usual bigotry whereby the so-called superior race discriminates against an inferior race, but that new type of racism that has a broader and wider scope— wherein identification is not by the color of the skin, but by one’s capacity to send himself to a so-called elite school.
Win or lose, it’s the school we choose” is a battle cry for the UNEARNED, for something that is outside the attributes and character of an individual. It’s a battle cry for ZERO… One can’t have a battle cry for the negative or ZERO unless he’s a second-hander, brainwashed or a bigot. This mantra means that it is the SCHOOL that determines your virtues, win or lose.
There have been a lot of bigoted rants and irrational tirades on the cyberspace in the aftermath of typhoon Ondoy and the Game 2 match between the Red Warriors and the Blue Eagles. Most of these lunatic rants made me scratch my head and asked: What’s wrong with some people in this country? It is never the role of academic institutions to turn young people into bigots or to mold them into a gang of irrationals. Schools are supposed to teach them how to think rationally— to preach the primacy of reason over faith, tolerance over bigotry.
I am very proud of how the Red Warriors forced a rubber match. They were able to show their class—that despite the rashness and provocative demeanor of some of the main players of the desperate Blue Eagles, they were able to keep their cool. The most improved Elmer Espiritu saved the day for the Warriors, nailing 22 points. At the final buzzer, the Recto-based dribblers thrashed the players from Katipunan, 88-68. In sports, the creative man is motivated by his desire to achieve, not by his desire to beat others.
It was disappointing and nauseating to see a number of chauvinist rants online. These academic bigots need to be reminded that this is all about basketball, and there is no need for them to shout that their school is the “best” in the Philippines. UAAP is not a popularity contest. It is not about bigotry or empty arrogance. The purpose of the UAAP is to encourage young people to achieve in the field of sports—to showcase their talent and embody the spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship.
UAAP now appears to be the microcosm of this country. There was one time when I was really appalled at how the fans of a Catholic university team behaved, shouting bigoted invectives like “tuition niyo baon ko lang!” Most of these people behaved like they were conceived through Adolf Hitler’s Lebensborn. Who could ever forget that cheap shot of De La Salle University official on former FEU Tamaraw Arwind Santos, who is now a thriving PBA player and a millionaire? Several years ago, Ronald Tubid endured the bigotry of some irrationals in Ateneo and De La Salle. Today, Tubid is now a PBA sensation, reaping the fruits of his own achievement.
These academic bigots must be reminded that school does not define man’s future and destiny. The main role of education is to teach students how to live their lives—by developing their mind and equipping them to deal with reality. The school that teaches its students to take things on faith and to regard pride and self-esteem as an external phenomenon is the par excellence of an evil educational institution.
There’s nothing wrong for students to feel pride as long as it proceeds from their clear understanding of their own ability and achievement. Pride and self-esteem are attributes personal to an individual— they are earned, not inherited or anointed. To feel proud, one must know the meaning of pride. To have self-esteem, one must fully understand the essence of personal achievement. Students who take such important abstractions as pride and self-esteem on faith (because they were told so by their own professors) are nothing but a bunch of idiots.
The school that teaches its students to take things on faith and to regard pride and self-esteem as an external phenomenon is the par excellence of an evil educational institution.”
Bill Gates made the greatest choice of his life when he decided to drop out of Harvard. It’s not his choice of school that made him great in what he does; it’s his fundamental choice to succeed in life. I must remind you, guys, that basketball and choice of school are opposite variables. These two variables belong to different perspectives. Choice of school is something that we do when we turn 16 or 17. Our goal in sports is something that must be achieved through our own personal virtues and ability.
Observe that most people of their kind are also clannish. This is why I wasn’t surprised when a famous columnist revealed that President Gloria Arroyo and her husband call their aides and guards “muchachos.”
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