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February 26, 2014 0

Stereotyped Theme Parties Are Way More than a Joke on College Campuses

retrocollege

It hap­pened again. Col­lege stu­dents dressed up like mem­bers of a “cul­ture” for a stereo­typed theme party.

In the most recent exam­ple, soror­ity stu­dents at Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity were pho­tographed wear­ing som­breros, thick mus­taches, pon­chos and hold­ing mara­cas. They also por­trayed other nation­al­i­ties. What’s worse is that these types of par­ties are not anom­alies, but com­mon occur­rences on col­lege campuses.

African-themed par­ties; “thug,” “hood” or “ratchet”-themed par­ties; and Asian-rager par­ties all tend to fol­low a sim­i­lar for­mula. They are fueled by the per­cep­tion that stereo­types mock­ing racial or cul­tural groups are fun and funny.

On the sur­face, some may say, “What’s the harm? They are just col­lege stu­dents hav­ing fun.” But is this really humor? The answer is: not when the “humor” dehu­man­izes and mar­gin­al­izes real peo­ple, and not when it per­pet­u­ates harm­ful stereotypes.

These par­ties reflect a per­sis­tent neg­a­tive atti­tude about peo­ple of color that is cen­turies old. It’s more than a joke; it’s an expres­sion of prej­u­dice against groups of peo­ple.  And these instances have a long-lasting effect by cre­at­ing an envi­ron­ment that tells stu­dents of color they are not wel­come or respected at that college.

Accord­ing to FBI sta­tis­tics, 48 per­cent of hate crimes per­pe­trated in the United States were moti­vated by race, so there is much work to do. The U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice also reports the third most com­mon loca­tion nation­wide for a hate crime to occur is on a school or col­lege cam­pus and 60% of known hate crime offend­ers are under the age of 24.

Col­leges have an oppor­tu­nity to chal­lenge over-simplified, stereo­typ­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tions of peo­ple by con­sid­er­ing the fol­low­ing steps:

  • Speak out and con­demn every instance when racist or other dis­crim­i­na­tory lan­guage and images are used
  • Edu­cate social Greek orga­ni­za­tions and other stu­dent lead­er­ship groups that they have an oppor­tu­nity to uplift the school’s rep­u­ta­tion and val­ues on diversity
  • Edu­cate about stereo­types, and chal­lenge their use in casual and for­mal set­tings. Work with stu­dents to unpack their biased beliefs and under­stand the poten­tial impact of those beliefs
  • Invite stu­dents to take respon­si­bil­ity for cre­at­ing a bias-free school campus

For hand­outs and infor­ma­tion on “Chal­leng­ing Your Biases” and “Cre­at­ing a Bias– Free Learn­ing Envi­ron­ment,” please visit our Web site for anti-bias resources.

 


 

Las fies­tas con temáti­cas de estereoti­pos son mucho más que una broma en los cam­pus universitarios

Ocur­rió otra vez. Los estu­di­antes uni­ver­si­tar­ios se vistieron como miem­bros de una “cul­tura” para una fiesta temática de estereotipos.

En el ejem­plo más reciente, los estu­di­antes de una her­man­dad de Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity fueron fotografi­a­dos luciendo som­breros, grue­sos big­otes, pon­chos y soste­niendo mara­cas. Tam­bién rep­re­sen­taron otras nacional­i­dades. Lo peor es que este tipo de fies­tas no son algo raro, sino even­tos comunes en los cam­pus universitarios.

Las fies­tas con temática africana; fies­tas  con temáti­cas de “matones,” “rufi­anes” o “gol­fos”; y las par­ran­das con temática asiática tien­den a seguir una fór­mula sim­i­lar. Son ali­men­tadas por la per­cep­ción de que los estereoti­pos que se burlan de los gru­pos raciales o cul­tur­ales son diver­tidos y graciosos.

A sim­ple vista, algunos podrían decir, “¿Qué tiene de malo? Son tan sólo estu­di­antes uni­ver­si­tar­ios divir­tién­dose”. Pero, ¿es eso real­mente humor? La respuesta es: no cuando el “humor” deshu­man­iza y mar­gin­al­iza a per­sonas reales, y no cuando per­petúa estereoti­pos perjudiciales.

Estas fies­tas refle­jan una per­sis­tente acti­tud neg­a­tiva sobre las per­sonas de color, una acti­tud de hace sig­los. Es más que una broma; es una expre­sión de pre­juicio con­tra gru­pos de per­sonas.  Y estos casos tienen un efecto duradero al crear un ambi­ente que dice a los estu­di­antes de color que no son bien­venidos ni respetado en esa universidad.

Según estadís­ti­cas del FBI, el 48 % de los crímenes de odio per­pe­tra­dos en Esta­dos Unidos fueron moti­va­dos por prob­le­mas raciales, así que hay mucho tra­bajo por hacer. El Depar­ta­mento de Jus­ti­cia de Esta­dos Unidos tam­bién informa que el ter­cer lugar más común a nivel nacional para que se dé un crimen de odio es una escuela o cam­pus uni­ver­si­tario, y el 60% de los crim­i­nales de odio cono­ci­dos son menores de 24 años.

Las uni­ver­si­dades tienen una opor­tu­nidad de desafiar las rep­re­senta­ciones exce­si­va­mente sim­pli­fi­cadas y estereoti­padas de las per­sonas, teniendo en cuenta los sigu­ientes pasos:

  • Opon­erse y con­denar cada ocasión en que se util­ice lenguaje o imá­genes racis­tas y discriminatorias
  • Edu­car a las orga­ni­za­ciones sociales grie­gas y otros gru­pos de lid­er­azgo estu­di­antil para que ten­gan la opor­tu­nidad de ele­var la rep­utación de la escuela y sus val­ores sobre la diversidad
  • Edu­car sobre los estereoti­pos y desafiar su uso en ambi­entes for­males y casuales. Tra­ba­jar con los estu­di­antes para desar­raigar sus creen­cias pre­jui­ci­adas y enten­der el posi­ble impacto de dichas creencias
  • Invi­tar a los estu­di­antes a respon­s­abi­lizarse de la creación de una escuela libre de prejuicios

Para fol­letos e infor­ma­ción sobre “Desafiar sus pre­juicios” y “Crear un ambi­ente de apren­dizaje libre de pre­juicios”, por favor vis­ite nue­stro sitio Web para obtener recur­sos con­tra el pre­juicio.

 

 

 

 

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March 15, 2013 9

“So What Are You DOING About it?”… How ADL Counters Anti-Israel Activity on College Campuses

Amer­i­can col­lege cam­puses con­tinue to be a prov­ing ground for var­i­ous anti-Israel cam­paigns, tac­tics and mes­sages. Last week, our blog reported on sev­eral dif­fer­ent ini­tia­tives we’ve seen recently, includ­ing non­bind­ing Boy­cott Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) res­o­lu­tions at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego, River­side and Irvine; Israeli Apartheid Week and, of course, uni­ver­sity spon­sor­ship of anti-Israel pro­grams.

So what role did ADL play to counter these mes­sages and advo­cate for Israel?

Out­reach to Uni­ver­sity Admin­is­tra­tors: ADL encour­aged the Chan­cel­lors at Irvine, River­side and San Diego to speak out against the non-binding divest­ment res­o­lu­tions that passed on these cam­puses and reas­sure the Jew­ish and pro-Israel com­mu­nity that the uni­ver­si­ties intend to fol­low the UC-wide pol­icy against divest­ment. The chan­cel­lors at all of these schools have com­mend­ably done so.

In a few days, Naim Ateek, the direc­tor of a “Pales­tin­ian Lib­er­a­tion The­ol­ogy” orga­ni­za­tion called Sabeel, is sched­uled to speak at Grand Val­ley State Uni­ver­sity and West­ern Michi­gan Uni­ver­sity. Ateek fre­quently uses Chris­t­ian imagery to demo­nize Israel and Zion­ism, includ­ing claims that Israel is engaged in a “cru­ci­fix­ion” cam­paign against Pales­tini­ans. Sim­i­larly, he has accused Israel of com­mit­ting a Holo­caust against the Pales­tini­ans. His appear­ances are spon­sored by aca­d­e­mic depart­ments at the two uni­ver­si­ties. ADL has com­mu­ni­cated to both uni­ver­si­ties that the school’s spon­sor­ships of Ateek are inap­pro­pri­ate and that the uni­ver­si­ties should con­sider host­ing pro-Israel speak­ers as well.

In the past few months, ADL staff has also met with high-level admin­is­tra­tors at a vari­ety of cam­puses to talk about how Jew­ish stu­dents expe­ri­ence anti-Israel activ­ity on cam­pus. We have brain­stormed with them about ways to make the col­lege cam­pus a true “mar­ket­place of ideas” where all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict are ade­quately rep­re­sented. Over the past 100 years, ADL has devel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion as an hon­est and cred­i­ble voice for the Jew­ish com­mu­nity. ADL is there­fore uniquely posi­tioned to edu­cate uni­ver­sity offi­cials about the Jew­ish and pro-Israel community’s per­spec­tive and encour­age them to speak out against extreme anti-Israel activ­ity and anti-Semitism.

Expres­sions against Divest­ment: ADL responded to a non-binding Asso­ci­ated Stu­dents Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion urg­ing divest­ment at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego, by sub­mit­ting a state­ment against divest­ment to the stu­dent sen­a­tors con­sid­er­ing the res­o­lu­tion. The state­ment, read dur­ing the pub­lic dis­cus­sion on the res­o­lu­tion, described how BDS doesn’t advance the cause of peace because it “deep­ens the divi­sions between Israelis and Pales­tini­ans” and places all the blame for the con­flict on Israel. The state­ment also warned that the res­o­lu­tion tar­geted com­pa­nies that help Israel bet­ter pro­tect its cit­i­zens and that a call for divest­ment would illus­trate the UCSD stu­dents’ lack of com­mit­ment to Israel’s legit­i­mate right to self-defense.

Expos­ing and Edu­cat­ing: In this week’s edi­tion of J., a Bay Area-based news­pa­per, the regional direc­tor of ADL’s Cen­tral Pacific office con­tributed an op-ed about how the three stated goals of the BDS move­ment demon­strate that the movement’s objec­tive is to iso­late Israel, not cre­ate the con­di­tions for peace. ADL reg­u­larly exposes anti-Israel activ­ity through op-eds, as well as our blog, web­site and other platforms.

Train­ing Stu­dents: In San Diego, ADL runs a pro­gram called I-Pitch for Israel which helps train pro-Israel stu­dents on cam­pus to lobby against divest­ment and other anti-Israel cam­paigns. Train­ing also includes infor­ma­tion about free speech rights and the myths and facts of the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. Sev­eral I-Pitch par­tic­i­pants spoke out against divest­ment at the pub­lic dis­cus­sion as well.

As anti-Israel cam­paigns con­tinue to play out on col­lege cam­puses across the coun­try, ADL will stand with our part­ners in the local Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties and with stu­dents to counter these ini­tia­tives and advo­cate on behalf of Israel and the Jew­ish peo­ple. Do you have any other ideas for respond­ing to anti-Israel activ­ity? Use the space below to let us know!

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March 8, 2013 1

Anti-Israel Activity Reached Fever Pitch This Week

Anti-Israel activists took a multi-faceted approach to attack­ing Israel in the pub­lic sphere this week. In the span of 7 days, divest­ment res­o­lu­tions were con­sid­ered at three col­lege cam­puses, ten anti-Israel bill­boards were put up in Atlanta, over 30 col­lege cam­puses hosted Israeli Apartheid Week pro­grams and two day­long BDS con­fer­ences were scheduled.

These ini­tia­tives are for­mally or infor­mally part of a global effort to advance the Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment against Israel. They demon­strate the anti-Israel movement’s com­mit­ment to employ­ing mul­ti­ple tac­tics and cam­paigns to attract sup­port for its positions.

A flyer adver­tis­ing the first pub­lic dis­cus­sion on the divest­ment res­o­lu­tion at UCSD

Here’s a closer look at what’s taken place this week:

  • Cam­pus Divest­ment Res­o­lu­tions: Stu­dent gov­ern­ments at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity, the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia (UC), River­side, and UC San Diego con­sid­ered divest­ment res­o­lu­tions tar­get­ing multi­na­tional com­pa­nies that work with Israel like Cater­pil­lar, Gen­eral Elec­tric and Northrup Grum­man. The results were mixed: the res­o­lu­tion at Stan­ford was voted down; UC San Diego did not vote on its res­o­lu­tion (after a dis­cus­sion that lasted until 2am) and will resume dis­cussing it next week, while UC River­side passed its res­o­lu­tion in a stealth man­ner rem­i­nis­cent of the recent res­o­lu­tion at UC Irvine. The divest­ment res­o­lu­tion at River­side was intro­duced with­out advance notice and seems to be part of an effort to ensure that pro-Israel stu­dents are left in the dark and are there­fore not present at the pub­lic dis­cus­sion to voice their per­spec­tive and advo­cate against the bill.
  • Israeli Apartheid Week: At least 35 col­lege cam­puses in the U.S. are par­tic­i­pat­ing in IAW this year, the ninth con­sec­u­tive year that the pro­gram has been held in cities around the world. Most of the events in the U.S. were for­mally sched­uled to take place March 4–8 but some are stretch­ing into next week as well (due to var­i­ous university-related sched­ul­ing con­flicts). IAW events this year have pri­mar­ily included anti-Israel speak­ers, mock “apartheid walls” and check­point dis­plays on cam­pus, and screen­ings of two crit­i­cal of Israel films,  the Oscar award-nominated “5 Bro­ken Cam­eras” and a more extreme film called “Roadmap to Apartheid.” “Roadmap to Apartheid” is nar­rated by The Color Pur­ple author Alice Walker and analo­gizes Pales­tin­ian refugees to Jews in the War­saw Ghetto and par­tially con­dones ter­ror­ism as a “symp­tom” of the conflict.
  • BDS Con­fer­ences: This past Sat­ur­day the Uni­ver­sity of Texas, Austin, hosted a day­long “BDS Con­fer­ence” that fea­tured extreme speeches by Nada Elia, a fac­ulty mem­ber at Anti­och Uni­ver­sity in Seat­tle, and Sherry Wolf, a Jew­ish social­ist and activist. Elia avowed that she would not reject Pales­tin­ian extrem­ism because Pales­tini­ans “have a right to resist” and com­pared Israelis to Amer­i­can slave-owners. Wolf used the plat­form to claim that the notion that Israel is the Jew­ish people’s home­land is “bulls–t” and accused Israel of “ter­ror­ism” and insti­tu­tion­al­ized racism against the Pales­tini­ans. She fur­ther described Zion­ist Jews as “white suprema­cist racist[s].” On Sat­ur­day, March 9, a sim­i­lar con­fer­ence will take place on the Auraria cam­pus in Den­ver. Par­tic­i­pants will “learn about the his­tory of both Pales­tine and the global BDS move­ment, hear what coali­tion groups are work­ing on, and par­tic­i­pate in BDS and coalition-building train­ing,” accord­ing to the event flier.
  • Anti-Israel Bill­boards: The Coun­cil for the National Inter­est, an anti-U.S. aid to Israel group based in DC, recently started a cam­paign called “Stop the Blank Check to Israel” which hopes to place bill­boards in cities across the coun­try. Ten such ads, which read, “$8 Mil­lion a day to Israel just doesn’t make sense! STOP The Blank Check.org,” have recently been erected in Atlanta. Ads with sim­i­lar mes­sages have appeared in the past year in Den­ver, Detroit, Los Ange­les, Chapel Hill and New York.

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