Tuesday Updates

1. Breaking News: Ku Klux Klan-like hood found on the statue of Theodore Geisel at the UCSD Library

The head librarian at UCSD has just confirmed rumors that yet another racially-tinged incident has occurred at the Geisel Library.  Last night, at about 11:15pm students reported to Libraries staff that someone had put a Ku Klux Klan-like hood on the statue of Dr. Seuss [Theodore Geisel] on the forum level of the Geisel Library.  Campus police–who were called and are investigating the incident—promptly removed the hood.

We don’t have pictures of this incident yet but we’ll post them as soon as we get them. -J.F.

[Note: due to the absurdity of the image of Dr. Seuss (Thedore Geisel) wearing a KKK hood, some people are wondering whether this is some sort of risqué artist's statement, given Dr. Seuss' history of drawing racist propaganda in his early years. For more on that, click HERE. Also, today is Dr. Seuss' birthday, which makes it more likely that it's intended to make a point about the man and what he symbolizes for UCSD. However, as one Professor just noted to me, "it seems anyone in tune enough to know the history of Theodore Geisel or of San Diego as "Klan Diego" would know enough to leave a sign, or something to more clearly articulate the politics behind the act"].

Update 8:30PM from the San Diego Union-Tribune: “KKK-style pillowcase found at UCSD; noose sent to city attorney”


2. For Your Teaching Toolkits:

3. Other Statements and Articles from around the internet

  • “A noose is never just a noose. And it’s not just your fault alone that you didn’t know that. The university where you go to school bears some responsibility for not funding ethnic studies, for obscuring the history of people of color in this country, for cutting funding for recruitment and retention programs that would make UCSD a vibrant, racially diverse campus. The state must be held accountable for making public education inaccessible to Blacks, Latinos, Native American, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander students.” – excerpt from  “How Exactly Does a Lasso Turn into a Noose? And Other Thoughts on UC Campus Racism“, Colorlines blog
  1. Montana
    March 2, 2010 at 7:37 pm | #1

    Instead of an apology there has been steady escalation and now the noose. So, what exactly will the excuses be for this cowardly act that brings up memories of the confederate KKK of the South in their attempts to keep slavery and the non-whites in fear? Is it that are uneducated, is it that their parents planted these seeds of hate, is it that they are live in fear because our President in the white house is not 100% white. In my opinion this is what the republican party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” have brought you. These kids follow what their dullard leaders say, they listen to Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush and Savage and the rest of the Blowhards, they are young and dumb. Are you surprise at what they do when you know what they think?

  2. Tom
    March 2, 2010 at 7:57 pm | #2

    Wow, this is ridiculous. Have UCSD students ever thought about the reputation of the university? Putting UCSD on my resume won’t be of much help when the interviewer says, “Oh you went to UCSD, the school with all the unnecessary racial protests, KKK, and noose, going around?” This is way blown out of proportion.

  3. April
    March 2, 2010 at 8:13 pm | #3

    And it just so happens to be Theodore Geisel’s birthday today.

  4. a
    March 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm | #4

    It is unjust to automatically assume that ALL republicans are racist, support the dastardly actions of the KKK, and are the root of the problem.

  5. Kim
    March 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm | #5

    As a UCSD student who’s currently observing this tense atmosphere, I’m sad to say an stupid, immature act by an fraternity that was escalated by a TV show in extremely bad taste has turned into a complete and utter farce.

    UCSD is NOT racist; it’s certainly a lot less racist than the town I came from where racist jokes and comments are the norm. People have to stop generalizing the school from the singular acts of idiots. It’s the fault of isolated acts of fools who think it would be amusing to play a prank. Otherwise, UCSD is perfectly fine and the BSU need to stop exploiting the situation to their advantage. They are NOT the victims; they’ve become the manipulators.

    • Brian
      March 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm | #6

      Exploiting??? not the victims??? do you not see whats happening at your own school?? a noose??? a klan hood?? you must be blind or ignorant if you dont think that they are the victims. Manipulators?? explain. Fighting for your rights makes you a manipulator? When the colonists refused to pay taxes, and rebelled, were they being manipulators? when civil rights leaders stopped taking shit and asked for RIGHTS, were they manipulators? saying they are not victims makes you look like an uneducated fool. what else are they in this situation? I applaud the BSU and all other orgs trying to do something about this situation.

    • Nikki
      March 2, 2010 at 10:37 pm | #7

      Racism isn’t just covert, blatant acts and comments, either. Read a previous post in this blog on understanding your privilege and examples of overt racism: http://stopracismucsd.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/it-doesnt-take-a-noose-understanding-how-your-privilege-affects-others/

    • Mariah
      March 2, 2010 at 10:46 pm | #8

      Kim, I understand your grief over the situation and it is indeed a shame that UCSD is being generalized as the result of singular acts. I respect your honesty. However, it is unfair to say that the BLACK student union is not the victim of these acts, when each of these hate crimes point directly to the BLACK race. The only way that the BSU can be considered to be the manipulators of these acts is if we are blaming them for being black, and for refusing to be silenced by the obvious oppression. With a 1.3 percentage of black students on SD’s campus, it is far too easy and quite understandable for them to feel VICTIMIZED by what’s going on.

  6. Kim Vu
    March 2, 2010 at 9:08 pm | #9

    In Response to previous blogger Kim:

    I do not think that BSU point is that these individual acts are occurring by isolated ignorant individuals, however their main concern is that the campus administration is not taking action to penalize these acts of racism.

  7. James
    March 2, 2010 at 9:23 pm | #10

    Kim,

    How did you arrive at the conclusion that UCSD is not racist? What led you to the conclusion that everything here is, to use your own words, “perfectly fine”?

  8. March 2, 2010 at 10:06 pm | #11

    I called the university about an hour ago, and they couldn’t confirm or deny the story. They say an official statement on the issue is coming “shortly.”

  9. Elisa Rodriguez
    March 2, 2010 at 10:26 pm | #12

    PLEASE! The BSU are manipulators?! These symbols of racial oppression that had a formative effect upon our nation’s history; these were symbols of a mindset that took hundreds of years of legislation and constitutional reform to eradicate. And yet, in the 21st century there are still people who remain ignorant to the painful significance these symbols hold. These images recall the many hundreds of years of segregation, racism, and the denial of civil rights that African Americans had to overcome. The happenings at UCSD set us back in the movement towards equality. It doesn’t matter if it was only 2 or 3 or a single frat house’s worth of individuals who think this way; hate shouldn’t be tolerated, on any level.

  10. Amadeus
    March 2, 2010 at 11:10 pm | #13

    @Elisa Rodriquez
    Hate will always live and if its not to be tolerated what do you propose? You cannot forget they have rights as well even if their beliefs don’t coincide with yours. I personally consider myself a misanthropic but to dislike someone for their color is just plain absurd.

  11. wtf
    March 3, 2010 at 12:33 am | #14

    It’s dr. seus’s birthday. Why would you call him a racist and link to a site that showed his PROPAGANDA work when his widow purposefully didn’t celebrate his birthday on campus today in respect for what is happening.

    Also a person of color put the noose up in Geisel just so everyone here is clear on that. Who is to say the KKK style mask isn’t also another pitiful attempt for attention.

    This has all gotten too far out of hand, it has degraded a school’s reputation that is trying its best to fix the problems.

    UCSD is not a racist institution. Where else are you going to find a chancellor that walks straight into a protest to help work out the demands.

    FIND A MIDDLE GROUND PEOPLE!

    There are so many of us who want to help the BSU meet some of their demands and who want the campus to feel safe for everyone! But when people start making ridiculous claims and throwing in ridiculous demands it ruins everything.

  12. Maitria Moua
    March 2, 2010 at 5:16 pm | #15

    This is abosultely ridiculous that racism still exists in this century! We’ve worked so hard to integrate ourselves into the “American” society–and yet, this is the result.

    No fear my friends–we shall take this as a challenge to just try even harder.

  13. Montana
    March 2, 2010 at 6:27 pm | #16

    (1) UCSD: A group of dumb white frat guys hold an event called a “Compton Cookout.” This pisses people off as it used Black History Month as a reason to mock black people with racist stereotypes. Also involved is some idiot who tries to use this opportunity for shameless self-promotion, who also happens to be black. To say the least, the guy is basically a wannabe Flavor Flav.

    (2) UCSD: Another dumb white frat guy gets mad that blacks are offended of being relegated to a bigoted stereotype. He tries to hold another racist event.

    (3) UCSD: Meanwhile, a terrible student media publication (which, after viewing their website consists of all white staff, nudity, staff wrestling each other, and well, not much else), pushes their limits calling black students “ungrateful n——” – not just that word, but also that apparently the black students owed them something. They have a reputation of being trashy, and at this point, administration and faculty rush to condemn racism by students of the campus and various protests begin. Funding is also cut from all student media at UCSD, creating an extra bitter controversy.

    (4) UCSD: On Friday of that week, a noose is found in the library. Everything gets worked in a frenzy and – something I’ll address later – a large amount of white commenter’s on the internet begin claiming that is was probably a black student who planted it in order to gain more sympathy. In addition, there are rumors of a threatening note sent to the Guardian and a second noose, there was no second noose, and the threat seems to be just a rumor.

    (6) UCSD: Protests basically happen at all schools in support of the students. There are various sit-ins, and teach-ins, and what have you. School administrators become pushed to be more active in fixing what’s going on. I have not seen this noose person, but most of you blame her and conveniently forget wear this all originated.

    I have not seen this noose person, but most of you blame her/him and conveniently forget wear this all originated. Dear Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush and Savage your chickens have come home to roost.

  14. Benito Juarez
    March 3, 2010 at 10:14 am | #17

    June 4, 1977: An original poem composed for the 99th Commencement of Lake Forest College by Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a Dr. Seuss). Eugene Hotchkiss III was president of Lake Forest College from 1970 to 1993.

    On Dr. Seuss’s piece of paper were these words:

    My Uncle Terwilliger on
    the Art of Eating Popovers

    My uncle ordered popovers
    from the restaurant’s bill of fare.
    And, when they were served,
    he regarded them
    with a penetrating stare…
    Then he spoke great Words of Wisdom
    as he sat there on that chair:
    “To eat these things,”
    said my uncle,
    “you must exercise great care.
    You may swallow down what’s solid…
    BUT…
    you must spit out the air!”

    And…
    as you partake of the world’s bill of fare,
    that’s darned good advice to follow.
    Do a lot of spitting out the hot air.
    And be careful what you swallow.
    —Dr. Seuss

    http://www.lakeforest.edu/alumni/spectrum/spring04/seuss.asp

    Dr. Seuss Keeps Me Guessing
    A Commencement story by President Emeritus Eugene Hotchkiss III

    As Theodor Geisel (a.k.a Dr. Seuss) stepped forward to join me at the podium on a bright spring day in 1977, I began nervously to read the citation accompanying the degree the College would be awarding him on this occasion. Although he was listed in the program as the Commencement speaker, I was uncertain if he would accept his degree with anything more than a thank you. And thereby hangs a tale.

    The search for a Commencement speaker that year had been unusually frustrating and unsuccessful; one after another of those recommended by the seniors declined. I recall to this day the visit from a reporter of the Stentor, who was preparing copy for the final issue of the year. He pled unsuccessfully with me to give him the name of the individual who would address the graduating class. Alas, at that late hour not even I knew who he or she might be. Suddenly I recalled that a trustee of the College, Kenneth Montgomery, had once told me that should I ever need a speaker he would be willing to approach his good friend Ted Geisel and invite him to the campus. “Green eggs and ham,” thought I. “Why not?”

    A phone contact was made by Trustee Montgomery, who told me that Mr. Geisel would be pleased to be honored at the Commencement ceremony. I quickly informed the Stentor, and the word was out: Dr. Seuss would be the Commencement speaker. The seniors were elated, but I was told that some faculty expressed the opinion that my choice just proved that the Seuss books were likely the last ones I had ever read!

    Still, I relaxed…until, responding to a formal invitation I had written describing the nature of Commencement and his talk, Mr. Geisel called to say that there must have been a mistake. He thought he was being asked to receive a degree, not to talk. “I talk with people, not to people,” he declared, and if, he continued, I was proposing that he give an address, there had been a grave mistake. No, he reported just days before Commencement, he would not agree to speak.

    As I pondered my choices I grasped onto his statement to me, and I urged him to arrive early Friday afternoon so that he might talk with the graduates at the senior reception. And then, talking with him in person, I would attempt to persuade him to talk to the graduates, albeit if only briefly. He agreed to come to the campus as early has he could on Friday, although because he lived in California and would be flying against the clock, the odds of a timely arrival were slim indeed.

    The events on the day preceding Commencement were several, and each was surreptitiously extended so that the reception would be delayed, anticipating Mr. Geisel’s late arrival. Happily, shortly after the now-delayed reception began, he joined my wife, Sue, and me in the receiving line and did indeed talk with the graduates and many others, even autographing some well-loved Dr. Seuss books. Still, I wondered, would he be willing to say anything from the podium the next day?

    Both before and after dinner that Friday evening, I talked with him informally, hoping the influence of good wine might soften his resolve as it strengthened mine. I urged him to respond following the awarding of his degree, but he did not waiver. Perhaps the best that could be made of a desperate situation, thought I, was to announce at the Commencement that, as he requested, he had indeed talked with the graduates on Friday and to thank him for his cordiality. The evening came to an end — well, almost, for I did not sleep well that night, and I could hear the seniors partying and, undoubtedly, discussing the talk their much-liked Dr. Seuss would give.

    On Commencement morning, as the honored guests robed in their academic regalia, I again asked Mr. Geisel if he would be willing to say but a few words, acknowledging his degree. Still his silence was penetrating. Finally the time came to read his citation. As I reached its end and as Faculty Marshals Rosemary Cowler and Franz Schulze stepped forth to place the hood over his head, I spoke these penultimate words, for which I must credit my wife, Sue: “We proclaim you not the ‘Cat in the Hat’ but the ‘Seuss in the Noose’.” And then I awarded him the College’s degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

    At that moment, fearing his response, I shook his hand in a whisper and asked him if he would be willing to say a few words. He reached under his academic gown, announcing loudly for all to hear that it was “a bathrobe,” pulled out a piece of paper from his shirt pocket and turned to the microphone. And the rest, as they say, is history.

  1. March 2, 2010 at 8:34 pm | #1
  2. March 3, 2010 at 12:08 am | #2

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