In a recent newspaper article for DePauw University’s student newspaper, Madison Dudley interviews five DePauw seniors about their decision to begin a petition. This petition implores certain members of DePauw’s Board of Trustees to end their support of politicians who “support laws that can be interpreted as regulating women’s bodies, fail to protect DACA students, and support the recent Republican tax plan.” The petition campaign was accompanied by posters hung in women’s bathrooms in every stall of every academic building on campus. Each poster pictures a conservative politician’s face, with information about the petition and the expression “He might as well be watching you pee.”
DePauw’s student of color community is incredibly unique, in the sense that each and every individual hails from a myriad of backgrounds. However, their diversity can call for major adaptation when coming to DePauw, a predominantly white institution (PWI). The process of adaptation can be made even more difficult if a student of color’s identity is tested through negative interactions with their white counterparts, as well as negative forces that push into DePauw’s campus.
Throughout the month of March, crowds of thousands will gather in Houston, Boston, and other cities around the United States to celebrate the Indian festival of Holi. Called the Festival of Colors, this holiday celebrates the arrival of spring, and is chiefly known for its tradition of participants throwing brightly colored powder on the crowded streets of India. However, there’s a cultural history that might be lost in the crowds of Americans eating Indian food and drenching each other in colored water. Is celebrating Holi in American festivals a victory for diversity, or is it cultural appropriation?
Hello, White Allies.
I honestly do not expect every white person to know when they are offending me, but when I say that you are offensive, just accept and apologize. When you do not accept it, you are silencing my experience. My experience is important as it highlights the inequalities in America. It allows for other people from different backgrounds to interpret and understand that certain racial injustices do exist. As people began to understand these injustices, they are able to find proper ways to fight against them. This battle is bigger than any single person on this campus. My point in addressing Kappa Alpha Theta’s decision to wear Afros was not to shame them, but use them as an example of why the perpetuation of Black dehumanization still exists. The importance of highlighting this fact is to draw to all of your attention to the meaning of dehumanization: “the psychological process of demonizing the enemy, making them seem less than human and hence not worthy of humane treatment.” Perpetuating dehumanization normalizes issues such as police brutality, structural racism, and other injustices in America. If this continues to be normalized, then how do you expect our race to make progress?
I understand that some of the women apart of this fraternity may indeed fight for Black lives and claim themselves to be allies, but unfortunately, sometimes white allies make mistakes. You all do not know the complete history of Black culture. You are not able to identify things that you do not see on a daily basis. So, when I am telling you that Black Afros and White Afros are two different textures – just as curly is to coily; when I am telling you that the texture I witnessed on white women’s head at Greek God and Goddess dance was too close to Black texture, believe me. One would not know the difference unless one is Black and being oppressed for having this hair type every single day — so I forgive your ignorance.
A real ally would take full responsibility, apologize, and raise awareness that appropriation is real. White allies are important because they are the ones who hold privileges that I do not have. You all can easily sway the opinions of this university simply because you make up the majority. You all can easily change the laws that were created to oppress me because you have the same skin color as the group that is empower. But, in order to make changes and fight with me, you have to humble yourself. White allies must admit to being wrong when wrong, do some research, and stand behind Blacks. As you can witness from the rebuttal I received from my last article, Blacks’ experiences are easily silenced and swept under the rug. So, instead of saying things such as “I helped fight for you before,” say “I apologize” and support me as I decide what is best for me and my community. I should not have to challenge my white allies to make you understand that you are hurting me.
When you arrive on DePauw’s campus, or any college campus for that matter, it is assumed that within your next three summers, an internship will occur. Usually students utilize internships to break into an industry they want to pursue post-graduation or to test the waters to see if they like that type of work. But it appears that our work culture mandates that in order to be successful later in life, students must work as interns, even if that means that you work for free or for very little money.
UPDATE: This article has been altered to include more eyewitness accounts.
The protesters of two weeks ago have sparked significant campus discussion. At the forum held in the late afternoon after the initial day of protests, many of the students in attendance expected to talk through the issues of the hate group that came to campus that day. These students were then confused when the forum went in a different direction. Some of the confusion may have arisen as a result of the fact that many students weren’t aware that there were two major events that took place on that day, not just one. A full picture of what happened on that first day of visits may help to explain why the forum took the direction it did.
What appears to be one issue (the protests led by Brother Jed and his group) is actually two. The first issue is the hateful message promoted by the visiting group that caused emotional distress for many on campus. However, there is an important second issue: the response by Greencastle and Indiana State police to some students of color who took part in the counter protest movement against Brother Jed’s group.
Brother Jed’s group, Campus Ministries USA, spoke prejudicially against many different groups. They called female students “whores” and said the following: “blacks are still slaves,” “blacks and gays worship a different God than us,” “it is not natural to put your penis in a rectum,” “carpet munchers keep your tongues to yourself,” and “militant feminists are ruining the world.” Their messages targeted almost every student on our campus, and every student has a right to be upset about them.
The second issue began after six women from Feminista! began a peaceful counter protest and were eventually joined by many other groups including: Omega Phi Beta, AAAS, Student Government, Lambda Sigma Upsilon, Sigma Lambda Gamma, etc. Individual protesters also came to show support.
The police, in an effort to protect students from lawsuits and jail time if they were to commit an act of violence against the protesters, eventually detained one black student. He was protesting peacefully and had not committed any such act of violence. Soon after, a white student threw hot coffee at the protesters. The student was taken away with a hand behind her back and escorted back to her dorm room.
Shortly after, a black student was angered by one of the protesters. When the student became visibly agitated, a group of staff stepped in to support him. One of the staff members involved, Yug Gill, stated, “[The student] had already begun to calm down and wanted to be left alone when the police officer entered the staff bubble around the student. [The student] did not resist the police officer.” The policeman slammed the student to the concrete followed shortly after by a staff member of color who was trying to de-escalate the situation. The police officers used their knees to pin them down and the student was placed in handcuffs. Neither of the detained men had committed a violent act.
The disparity between the police’s response to the detained men of color and their response to the white student who threw the coffee is a one clear factor in the outpouring of anger, grief and confusion at the evening forum. It is also clear how this issue is uniquely a racial one.
With this picture of the events it is reasonable to see how students present at the protest and who witnessed the detaining of their classmates and friends understood the forum to be on the subject of the unfair detaining of people of color by the police. It is also reasonable to see how students not present would have expected the forum to be regarding Brother Jed’s group and their hateful messages. Neither expectation of the forum was wrong.
What is wrong is accusing students who wanted to discuss racial disparities in policing that day of “hijacking” the forum and arguing that it wasn’t the time or place to discuss race issues. It is wrong to pretend that we only have space in our campus discussions for one issue at a time and to continuously prioritize whichever is more comfortable.
I hope that we can create a culture of listening at DePauw where we stop and listen when we are faced with something uncomfortable rather than shutting it down. I hope we can create an intentional community where we listen and trust each other’s experiences. Learning these skills is essential to healing divides that exist on campus.
Greisy Genao, Yug Gill, and Vivie Nguyen helped write this post and provided all firsthand account of the protest on 9/23/15.
DePauw prides itself in being one of the top liberal arts colleges in the Midwest and throughout the country. With this ranking, students on DePauw’s campus experience rigorous courses and many also choose to be involved in numerous clubs, organizations and activities on campus. Because of our busy schedules, students on DePauw’s campus are forced to manage each aspect of their lives carefully in order to be the best student, teammate and peer as possible. Even with a carefully managed schedule, there seems to be one major problem on this campus and the majority of campuses around the country: lack of sleep.
Continued education, especially college, has long been seen as a positive and transformative experience, changing those who enroll and readying them for the world after graduation. But what happens when unhealthy competition enters the mix?
Columnist and mother Lucy Clark knows all too well. In her piece, strikingly titled, “My daughter, my beautiful failure,” Clark details just how damaging a competitive and results-driven atmosphere was for her daughter, who struggled to graduate high school. Contrary to popular narratives, though, Clark argues that this is hardly a personal failure, but in part the result of an educational system focused on winners and losers, where personal achievement and class rank dictate the behavior of those involved.
Soulja Boy CDs, broken office chairs, flip phones, jean shorts, used plastic forks, Capital One junk mail, and homemade Christmas gifts from ex-girlfriends. What do these items have in common? No one wants them.
Technological advances, fashion trends, and the allure of the “new” banish some of these items to discounted bundles on eBay and spots on nostalgic Buzzfeed lists. Unfortunately, though, most of them are simply thrown away, tossed in a black garbage bag when Dad decides that it’s time to clean out the basement, or a high school locker is cleared out, or a dorm room is packed up in May.
But where is “away?” What will happen to the items purchased by many of us on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Where will iPhone 6s, black leggings, and Hunger Games tote bags be five years from now? Where do toothpicks, Gatorade bottles, and receipts go now, and why should we care?
The answer to these question matters, and it’s why DePauw’s theme for 2014-15 is “Envisioning Zero Waste.” Most of these items end up in a landfill or incinerator, creating more greenhouse gas emissions and harming air and water quality. The production of these items is not benign, either, often involving unethical extraction of resources in other countries with assembly in unsafe factories. The scenario is much more complex than a glossy Best Buy advertisement.
What is zero waste? We define the term as an ideal, where everything that could be reused, repurposed, or recycled would be kept out of a landfill or incinerator. The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, Facilities Management, Environmental Fellows, and others are partnering with the Office of Sustainability to consider zero waste this year.
DePauw students are leading the way. Many of DePauw’s 20 Eco-Reps—students who gather weekly and work on small group sustainability projects—are taking on various initiatives related to zero waste. Mary Satterthwaite ’18 and Anna Muckerman ’15 are doing a recycling audit of campus, and Nick McCreary ’15 and Eric Steele ’15 have worked tirelessly with members of the Campus Sustainability Committee and Facilities Management to implement recycling at home football tailgates. The juniors in Environmental Fellows are considering a parternship with Bon Appetit and local farmers on compost efforts too.
We invite the DePauw community to participate in our “Envisioning Zero Waste” theme year. Reduce, reuse, and recycle, at the office and at home. For a more complete set of goals and context to the theme year, please check out a recent DePauw web story on the project. And please consider coming to any of the What a Waste! Reclaiming the Value of People and Things events, led by Professor Jennifer Everett. On November 17th at 4pm, we will be screening Terra Blight in Watson Forum, a documentary about the harmful effects of “recycled” electronics sent abroad. You can watch the trailer below.
It’s issues like these that we should consider as we prepare for the upcoming holiday season, for Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. When you make your purchase, please consider: where will this item be in five years?
DePauw Philosophy professor Erik Wielenberg has recently published his third book entitled Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism. In his latest work,
“[Wielenberg] draws on recent work in analytic philosophy and empirical moral psychology to defend non-theistic robust normative realism and develop an empirically-grounded account of human moral knowledge. Non-theistic robust normative realism has it that there are objective, non-natural, sui generis ethical features of the universe that do not depend on God for their existence. The early chapters of the book address various challenges to the intelligibility and plausibility of the claim that irreducible ethical features of things supervene on their non-ethical features as well as challenges from defenders of theistic ethics who argue that objective morality requires a theistic foundation. Later chapters develop an account of moral knowledge and answer various recent purported debunkings of morality, including those based on scientific research into the nature of the proximate causes of human moral beliefs as well as those based on proposed evolutionary explanations of our moral beliefs.”
Wielenberg, who specializes in ethics (including moral psychology) and philosophy of religion, is also the author God and the Reach of Reason: C.S. Lewis, David Hume, and Bertrand Russell, and Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe, and is the co-editor of New Waves in Philosophy of Religion.
The Prindle Institute is excited to welcome Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black, to campus in February as part of the Ubben Lecture series. Stay tuned for programming that we are putting together to lead up to her visit!