"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Racism Under Inspection by Students at U. S. Campuses

The progress over the past 20 years in establishing the rights of gay citizens has been gratifying to all who seek universal legal justice and social justice.   At the same time, the expansion of institutional racism and "color blind" policies, the embrace of intensely-segregated schools, and the creation of the world's largest and blackest prison and criminal injustice industry have left many of us wondering when the civil rights movement might spread to include black and brown citizens oppressed by corporatists masked as liberators.

So the current challenge to racist practices and do-nothing administrators and board members on college and university campuses is a welcome development.  The fire in the hearts of justice-seeking students has spread from Missouri to Yale to Ithaca and beyond, as this story in the NYTimes indicates.

Below in the video clip is a prime example of the kind of blithe racism by a white elite (note the pink pants and no socks cool of 1970) that can be encountered on any campus on any day of the week across the country.   From the Times:
At Ithaca, one of the issues is the on-campus panel on Oct. 8, in which Tatiana Sy, a 2009 graduate, said she had a “savage hunger” to do everything in college. Another panelist, J. Christopher Burch, the chief executive of Burch Creative Capital who is also an alumnus, responded, “I love what the savage here said,” according to YouTube clips of the event. The moderator, Bob Kur, a former NBC News correspondent, joined in, pointing to Mr. Burch, saying, “You are driven,” and pointing to Ms. Sy and saying, “You’re the savage.” The men are both white, and Ms. Sy describes herself as Afro-Cuban.

When Ms. Sy objected, Mr. Burch said, “It’s a compliment.” Mr. Burch later apologized.

Ms. Sy, the special events director for the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, said in an interview on Wednesday that she had been uncomfortable because Mr. Burch had continued to refer to her as “the savage” even after she reminded him what her name was. “You could sense that there was an energy in the room that everyone was uncomfortable with,” she said.

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