Thursday, March 11, 2010

History Repeats Itself: Racial Issues at UC San Diego

I typically don't do any news not directly related to current events at the University of Cincinnati. I feel embarrassed at how slow I was to find this story. Regardless of both of those, I want to highlight what's happened and is happening at University of California San Diego. Those familiar with RAPP's history may find the story sadly familiar.

The second weekend of February, members of a campus fraternity held an off campus "ghetto-themed Compton Cookout." The party was held to "celebrate" Black history month and the invitation included a wealth of offensive racial stereotypes about Black people.
After the party, student activists mobilized a campus-wide response urging the administration to respond to the party. This involved student-led protests and support from their allies among university staff and faculty. Students led a walk out during a university organized teach-in, stating that the meeting was unproductive and not hitting at the core issues.
UCSD's Black Student Association has been leading a rally call for the creation of a truly inclusive environment at their university. They have successfully worked with the administration to create and sign an action plan. UCSD has also launched the website Battle Hate.
Twenty-four years ago our campus was in similar turmoil in response to a fraternity party called the "MLK Day Trash Party," with similar advertisements despite the limited media of the day - flyers with comments like "bring your father, if you know who he is." Coupled with the student body president's public dismissals of the need for ethnic-specific student groups (particularly, the United Black Association and the Society of Black Engineers), our campus exploded into student action. From this was born the Committee for Dialogue on Racial Awareness, who created RAPP.
Please keep UCSD on your radar! They're also looking into intergroup dialogue as part of a long-term solution. They also show that, sadly, RAPP's history isn't part of long-gone history - it's still relevant and happening today.

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