Archive for March, 2010

UC Regents Meet to Discuss Campus Racial Emergencies

March 24, 2010 Leave a comment

So you might have heard that the UC Regents are meeting to discuss recent campus racial emergencies and how these relate to the atrocious lack of diversity accross the system. For more on that, click HERE.

UC Regent Live is providing excellent liveblog coverage of these proceedings. For more on that, click HERE and HERE.

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Call for Extending the Asian American and API Coalition to International Students

March 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I am Yin Wang, a graduate student of Literature. The past few weeks have had transformative impacts on me. Like everyone here, I was saddened at first hearing the racist events broke out in our university. Within only a few days, I found many among my friends and colleagues a deep, intimately shared rage and pain, which erupted not just for the events, but for the inertial bureaucratic machine and a large number of apathetic onlookers. I have never felt more connected with them, and people in the rallies that sharply dissect institutional injustices on race. For this meeting, I wish to make the call that the current coalition we are now making should extend to international students.

First of all, our shared feelings thus far have proved we are all involved in the struggle against white supremacy, which has dominated US history long enough. Experience with racism is known to be unavoidable to people of color and underrepresented minorities. It is as unavoidable as to first-generation immigrants and foreign residents, when they are at vulnerable positions, when they are not sheltered by privileges of class and skin color. This is a struggle against discriminations that non-white peoples in this country have endured for centuries.

International students need your support, now and always. In any society, marginalized groups are not only underrepresented at all times, but disrepresented and misrepresented at moments of crises. This has happened several times to African Americans and Chicanos, to Japanese Americans after World War II, and to Muslims after 911. No one can foretell who will be the next target when another crisis comes, but we know the “foreigners” are prone to be singled out in those times. Indeed, I wish to underscore the point that most foreign students live multiple senses of the word “alien.”  They are removed from their immediate family, community, language and culture. Their right to stay is dependent on their commitment to work and study, but they are easily forgotten, oftentimes left out by most resources and organized activism. If the past few weeks have taught us that no one is alone in being turned to “aliens” at certain unexpected points, we also learn no one can afford to be alone in fighting such fights.

Racism today is operated not simply through skin color, but frequently through nationality. Stereotypes of nations are imposed upon people, usually by branding them as culpable individuals and attacking them on personal levels. Foreign students are not alone in being treated as permanent outsiders, and yet, once they are assaulted, it is most likely that such incidents will never become an issue. We should work together now to prevent such things happening, because they are wrong, and because they practically concern everyone who shares the danger of being excluded from the racialized US national body.

The coalition will be much stronger when it is extended to international students. It is the time to recognize the political presence of foreign students, who constitute more than 5% of the undergraduates, and more than 20% of the graduates. Adding them to the coalition will add the weight on pressuring the administration. For one thing, a racist image of UCSD will harm the university’s future recruitment of students and faculty, nationally and internationally. Since now out-of-state students and scholars are seen as a promising source of revenue and labor, we believe the high will truly hear us. For another, racist violence will continue to happen if the university does nothing at present. We have to stand united to tell the university that we do not allow it to happen to anybody, and the united powerful presence of us will effectively push the administration to do its work to save itself from complicated legal and even transnational implications.

This statement was first presented by myself at the Meeting for Asian Americans and Asian Pacific Islanders of UCSD in Support of BSU, March 8, 2010. For thoughts and discussions before penning the earlier version, my heartfelt thanks go to fellow graduate students Chien-ting Lin and Ling Han. For advices and comments graciously given in the process of revision, I am most indebted to Yu-Fang Cho, Shih-szu Hsu, and Su Yun Kim. I am grateful for the inspiration and encouragement from teachers at Department of Literature, UCSD, and warmest support from friends in California and Taiwan. All responsibility for this statement is mine. -Y.W.

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LA Times Op-Ed: Don’t sweat the buffoons

March 16, 2010 2 comments

Buffoons on college campuses are not heavyweight racists. The real villains — far more subtle — are those who believe in their own superiority.

bv: Gregory Rodriguez, 3.8.2010

News flash from UC San Diego: Party-animal frat boys sometimes engage in stupid, offensive and even racist stunts!

For weeks now, outrage over a fraternity party that encouraged guests to mimic and mock ghetto culture has embroiled the campus in La Jolla in old-school political theater. Then, in a separate incident, a noose was left in a university library (a student anonymously took responsibility and apologized). And finally, a pillowcase made to look like a KKK hood appeared atop a statue of Dr. Seuss.

In a diverse society, such incidents — which draw cleavages between groups — should be taken seriously. But such antics really don’t signify our race problem today, and no one should think that indignation, marches, sit-ins and “days of action” against buffoonery constitute an effective struggle against racism. It might be satisfying to draw lines against the clowns, but it diminishes the difficulty of the real challenge before us.

Racism exists; it’s still a significant inhibitor of social and economic progress. And given the country’s majority-minority future,we simply can’t afford not to be preparing more minorities for positions of authority and leadership.

This isn’t the unsubtle, in-your-face racism of your imagination. The real bad guys aren’t the easy to caricature toothless hillbillies of television dramas or some overweight, tobacco-chewing Southern sheriff straight out of a half-century-old Life magazine. They don’t leave nooses as calling cards.

Somewhere along the line, the fight against genuinely entrenched racism — the kind that keeps millions from achieving their dreams — turned into a slapstick struggle against ill-behaved clowns like Michael Richards, John Mayer and foolish frat boys.

A few years ago, while I was in Mississippi, I met a prominent self-described white supremacist who didn’t need a Klan hood to do more than his part to oppress African Americans. During the height of segregation, he didn’t torch crosses in the dark of night; instead, he wore a suit and tie and put the economic squeeze on fellow whites who didn’t toe his racist line. In my presence, he never once cursed blacks or used the “N-word.” You can be a highly effective racist without all the obvious trappings.

Click HERE for the rest of the article.

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Trouble in Paradise: Welcome to Post-Racial California

March 15, 2010 1 comment

by: Prof. Jorge Mariscal (UCSD-Literature)

Counterpunch, 3.12.10

On April 29, 1992, an all white jury acquitted three Los Angeles police officers accused in the videotaped beating of African American Rodney King. Within hours, riots were raging across southern California.

At the University of California, San Diego, Chicano and African American students held a protest on the usually placid La Jolla campus, one of the wealthiest and least racially diverse communities in the nation.  In an unexpected and unplanned move, hundreds of students began to march eastward toward the I-5 freeway.  Suddenly, they moved on to the freeway itself blocking the southbound lanes for several hours.

When interviewed later that day, UCSD students explained that while the King verdict might have been the trigger for their actions the real impetus was their years of frustration and isolation at the La Jolla campus.  Many of them were student activists; most were students of color. One Chicano was president of the Associated Students.  All of them represented organizations that had proposed reforms to the university that would make it more hospitable and inclusive of minority students.  All of their proposals had fallen on deaf administrative ears.  The injustice of the King verdict, the students said, was a distant reflection of the injustice the students experienced every day on campus.

For a seemingly idyllic campus hidden away from working class communities, twelve miles from the urban core of San Diego, UCSD had produced its fair share of radical student movements.  The most famous began in 1969 when a coalition of African American and Chicana students proposed a Lumumba-Zapata College in an attempt to force the campus to address minority concerns.  Angela Davis was the best-known actor in that chapter of UCSD’s history, but there were scores of others who learned their organizing skills in, of all places, La Jolla.  Somehow, whenever the national mood was conducive to student mobilization, UCSD was in the vanguard.

Flash forward eighteen years from the freeway takeover.  The UCSD campus in 2010 was physically much different but its institutional character had not changed at all.  There was a new engineering corridor, a new business school, and in general corporate influence was more visible than ever before. But the percentage of African American and Chicano undergraduates remained the same—1.3% and 9% respectively–and most students continued to find the campus climate as drab and sterile as it had been for almost five decades.

For many students of color, the climate was downright hostile. A relatively new feature of campus life was the growing presence of a Greek system of fraternities–some of them traced their origins to Reconstruction with founders who were disgruntled supporters of the Confederacy.  Many of the frat boys associated themselves with a student newspaper called the Koala that published a steady stream of sexist, homophobic, and racist screed designed to provoke and intimidate.  UCSD was a tinderbox waiting for a spark.

In the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the entire University of California system appeared to be entering the final throes of privatization.  State support had dried up and so campuses would have to survive on the backs of their students by increasing fees, cutting services, and increasing the number of non-residents (the so-called Michigan model).  The vision of an affordable college education for all, which San Diego Chicano and Black communities had always recognized as an illusion, was now receding from middle-class families of every color.  The push to find revenue in the pockets of out-of-state students meant that at least some California residents would be displaced.  Clark Kerr’s dream of accessible higher education seemed as faded as the photographs of him and President Kennedy at the 1962 Berkeley graduation ceremony.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article.

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Koala faculty advisor/sponsor gave the “newspaper” $120 to help publish its latest issue

March 14, 2010 8 comments

It’s hard to believe but the Koala has a faculty advisor. His name is Charles Fred Driscoll. He is a professor of Physics (click HERE for his faculty profile).

Prof. Driscoll doesn’t just “advise” the Koala. He loves this publication so much that he literally sponsored them by giving them a check of $120 to help them publish their latest issue (the Koala along with all other student media outlets were under a temporary  funding freeze after Koala editor Kris Gregorian called the BSU and their allies a bunch of ungrateful “n*$$#rs” on live UCSD television).When the SD Union-Tribune asked Prof. Driscoll why he donated money to the Koala, he responded: “I try to encourage diverse thought and exploration among students…Plus it’s tax-deductible; ain’t capitalism a bitch?”

For those of you that haven’t seen the latest Koala, I won’t post a link to it because I don’t want to contribute more “views” their page. Instead I have posted an excerpt  (see below) so that you can familiarize yourself with the kind of racially inflammatory speech that saturates this paper (esp. this latest issue which is the worst one I’ve seen in my many years here). Mind you that this was distributed to people in the midst of the racial emergency that offended so many in the last weeks. It was definitely aimed to provoke.

Prof. Driscoll: exactly how did the last issue of the Koala (that you partly paid for) encourage “diverse thought and exploration” among your students? We mean this as a sincere question. If you read this, we welcome your comments or corrections to this story. We want to hear from you. -J.F.

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Ward Connerly: Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

March 14, 2010 1 comment

reposted from the Student Activism blog:

Former University of California Regent and longtime affirmative action opponent Ward Connerly has attracted some attention recently by saying he wants to review an agreement that UC San Diego reached with the campus’ Black Student Union on March 4.

UCSD has been hit by a string of bias incidents in recent weeks, and the UCSD administration and the BSU have been working to craft a response. Connerly has expressed concern that their agreement may violate provisions in the California state constitution that ban racial preferences in college admissions.

There’s nothing out of line about this. Proposition 209 is the law of the land, and it’s legitimate for a Prop 209 proponent to try to make sure it’s enforced. But in attempting to explain why UCSD has such a low African American enrollment rate, Connerly made a false and derogatory claim about black students.

Here’s what he said, in an interview with a Southern California paper: ”There just aren’t enough black kids who are academically prepared to go to UC San Diego.”

This isn’t an opinion, it’s a factual claim. It’s checkable. It’s verifiable. And it’s wrong.

Emily Alpert of the news site Voice of San Diego has looked at UCSD’s applications and admissions stats, and come up with a bunch of good info. Her data show clearly that it’s not a lack of academic preparation that keeps UCSD’s black student population so low.

For full post, click HERE.

For info on who Ward Connerly is and why this is a really big deal, scroll down or click HERE.

Categories: Events, March 4

In the News

March 10, 2010 2 comments
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