You’ve probably all heard it. We’ve probably all believed it. Yes, Tommy Hilfiger is a bigot.
Just ask Oprah Winfrey, where the clothing tycoon allegedly went on her show and confirmed rumors that he stated that any number of minorities looked bad in his clothes, and they were designed strictly for upper-class white suburbanites.
When I heard this, it was rumored that he actually used the vernacular derogatory slang for each of these groups.
I heard this rumor years ago, and I guess I believed it then, but I had since forgotten about it.
But, recently, in an e-mail, I received a call to boycott Tommy Hilfiger clothes because of this supposed Oprah appearance.
So I looked into it. Here’s the truth: Tommy Hilfiger never said anything like this. This rumor is some smear campaign originated on the Internet.
Many major periodicals, along with Oprah herself, have debunked the rumor, saying that not only did Hilfiger not make these comments, he was never even on her show.
This is definitely not a public service to help continue stopping this rumor. I do not feel for Hilfiger. I just cannot muster up enough pity to actually feel sorry for a multi-millionaire clothing tycoon, no matter how untrue the rumor is.
I am also not writing because I like the clothes. If Hilfiger saw me wearing his designs, he would have no reservations about saying I look ridiculous.
My point has nothing to do with Hilfiger or Oprah. It lies in the perpetuation of a fabricated rumor by academicians.
This bothers me. I know that we all have spread a rumor that was untrue at one time. We received knowledge that had no actual backing and we used it in an argument, for conversation or to impress our friends.
But we, as the culture of the soon-to-be college education, need to be constantly checking ourselves and our sources.
Everyday, we sit through class, scrambling to get down everything the professor says, without question of its credibility or validity. We expect that because the professor is teaching the class, what he says is correct.
Generally, this is going to be true. University professors are accomplished experts in the subjects in which they teach. But what if this isn’t the case?
What if the professor is some crackpot that somehow finagled the system and got a job at a university?
My point is: Thirst for knowledge. Constantly ache to learn more, to become educated. But always check your sources. Analyze their backgrounds, their motivations. Are they actually credible? Or is this information questionable?
It is our responsibility, as the future educated and educators of America, to perpetuate knowledge, to teach those that will follow what we perceive as the truth.
It is our responsibility to teach them, as well as we can, the right facts, not some fabrications spewed to us by some pseudo-intellectual.
Constantly question your sources, La Verne. Do not simply mindlessly inhale every piece of knowledge propelled in your direction. Question it. Seek your own truths. Truth is far from static. It is constantly changing. Let’s not fall behind.
And it should be the University’s prerogative to nurture this environment, to encourage questioning of old findings and the search for new ones. Sometimes I see this happening here. Sometimes I don’t. But, I do know that if this responsibility is neglected by ULV, then something is really wrong.
Matt Paulson, a junior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.