Commentary: Thoughts about cancelled auctionCollege LifeNewsOpinion

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It all started that day I went to Wal-Mart. After a whole semester without it, I decided to buy a universal remote control. I decided not to have to stand up each time I had to change a TV channel. I decided that I’d be like everybody else. I decided to be lazy.

But I forgot that me plus technology (any form of technology from I-phone to microwave) equals black out for my brain. The instructions on the manual were in gibberish! Or if not, it felt like it.

A recent flier noted that a male auction was organized for February 2 in R. Wilson Brown Room. Twenty-four men were willing to clean rooms, move furniture, walk your dog, or anything you wanted them to do to raise some money for the Marshall Food Pantry.

Twenty-four volunteering males were going to be “auctioned” for their handyman skills. The bidding would start at $2, the fliers informed.

I had a choice to make. Ask for a friend to come and help me for free and then accept all the sarcasm toward my technology-disability or pay for a stranger to help, still with the sarcasm that comes along with it.

My choice was made. I gathered my quarters, dimes and pennies. The self-satisfaction of me giving money to a charity balanced out the low self-esteem that the sarcasm would bring upon me.

And yes, I had butterflies in my stomach; in a few days, I would pay for the luxury to be lazy!

Or that is what I thought before the controversy happened, causing Facebook-war, hall altercations and later the cancellation of the male auction event.

The problem was that the male auction was scheduled in February which is Black History month. Some students who were part of the Black Student Union saw a negative “irony” on a male auction organized during the Black History month.

Indeed, the male auction can raise some painful history, as in the American era when slaves were sold for “services” or labor.

More than ironical, some students found it outrageous.

And we cannot blame them. How would women feel if the same auction would have displayed women sold for their handy skills during Women’s History month, or if a beauty pageant would be organized then.

And talking about pageants, the MVC “Big Man on Campus” event last semester did not have the feminine equivalent. Is that not a little bit sexist?

What about putting together a rice-eating contest during the Chinese New Year’s Eve? There are many stereotypes that could be put to use to offend any group.

Charity or not, good cause or not, boundaries cannot be crossed.

The question is: Were some boundaries crossed with that male auction?

First, the male auction was not a “race-thing”!

All the participants of the male auctions were not African-American, and all of the bidders were not white men and white women. 

Second, free-will!

Participants were volunteering. That means they were not forced to be on stage. Nobody would walk up to the participants to auscultate teeth and gums.

Also, what is great with the activities on campus is that you do not have to attend. Usually, when civilized people don’t support an event, they do not try to cancel it, they just do not go! For example, if you don’t support the LGBT movement, don’t cancel the gay-pride parade. Just, don’t go!

Third, the male auction was positive.

Even without mentioning the charity part, the event was light-hearted. People expected a fun time to go and see who was self-deprecating enough, brave enough, confident enough to step on stage and maybe not be bidded upon at all.

Some students thought that the issue was blown out of proportion, turning a charity event into a racism issue. Especially knowing that Missouri Valley College has so much diversity in its own student body.

Maybe the timing of the event was off, maybe it was a lot of misunderstanding, maybe more communication would have avoid the fuss.

We can hope that Black History Month will not be summarized by this cancellation and I am looking forward to hear of the activities organized to celebrate this month.

People can feel bad about the failure of a meaningful found-raiser but, after strongly disagreeing with the male auction, the leader of the Black Student Union gave from his own pocket $50 to Marshall Food Pantry.

I think it is, above all, sad for the ladies who were willing to bid for some cheap dates. Valentine’s Day is coming up. I know some ladies planned on it!

As for my remote control? Oh, it remains perfectly un-set and un-used. I guess I can use the exercise of walking about 3-yards-a-day from my bed to the TV and back to my bed to swap channels. Or else I’ll just think twice before turning it on!

Paulene Wendy

About Paulene Wendy

Paulene Wendy Ntsame Assoumou has contributed 22 posts to The Delta.

Paulene-Wendy Ntsame Assoumou is majoring in Mass Communication and is a member of the Lady Viking basketball program. An international student from France where she graduated from high school in the Literature field, she wants to travel the world and learn sign language. Wendy aspires to be a writer.

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