This month, students at Miami University are making the distinction between humor and discrimination. A student-created Twitter account called "Oxford Asians" attracted nearly 1,000 followers using language that some called "benign humor," while others found it a "form of cyber racial bullying." In response, the university's Asian American Association turned the hurtful incident into an opportunity for learning by launching "The Real Oxford Asians," which rewrites offensive tweets, transforms them into positive messages and defies stereotypes. In this guest post, graduate student Suey Park discusses the impact of this atmosphere of intolerance and the need to speak up. By Suey Park
In early February the Memphis, TN City Council voted to rename three parks whose names are associated with the Confederacy and the Ku Klux Klan. Renaming the parks would be a victory for racial equality nationwide, say local activists. Memphis resident Kennith Van Buren told The Huffington Post. “How can we have unity in the nation when we have one city, right here in Memphis, which fails to be unified?” The Ku Klux Klan protested the University of Mississippi's efforts to ban a racist chant in 2010. Not In Our Town covered this protest and response here. In response to the park renamings, the Ku Klux Klan has applied for a permit to hold a protest in Memphis on March 30. A representative told Action News 5, a local television station, that he was expecting “thousands of Klansmen from the whole United States” to descend on the city in protest.
Hate Crimes Charges for Woman Who Abused Mentally Disabled VictimsFor the first time, federal hate crimes charges have been filed in defense of the disabled after a Philadelphia woman was indicted for kidnapping four adults and keeping them in “subhuman” conditions, according to The Grio. Linda Weston, 52, and several accomplices allegedly duped severely mentally disabled people into having her declared as their caretaker. Weston then kept one woman and three men, who ranged from 29- to 44-years-old, chained up in her basement with little food. Weston pocketed $212,000 over a decade from similar schemes. Due to the shocking nature of the crimes, writers like Kristina Chew for Care2.com have reacted strongly and called for greater scrutiny of the way we take care of the disabled.
Video: New Yorkers Gather for Silent March to End Racial Profiling Imagine, if almost the entire population of San Francisco were stopped by the police and patted down, and 88 percent of the time these innocent people were released with no charges. An entire group of New York city residents, whose numbers are greater than the populations of many large cities, has had this experience. In 2011, the NYPD stopped and questioned more than 685,000 New Yorkers. Eighty-seven percent were Black or Latino and 88 percent of those frisked were innocent and walked away with no charges, according to the NYCLU.
"There is a cure against racism. The deep wounds can be healed but the healing process is intricate, deliberate and will require involvement from those who have previously remained silent." On April 27 YWCA Greater Cleveland hosted a screening and discussion of Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness to a large and engaged audience. The event--and this piece below--is part of YWCA's national Stand Against Racism campaign. By Margaret Mitchell, President & CEO, YWCA Greater Cleveland
By Becki Cohn-Vargas Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director This article originally appeared in Edutopia on April 24, 2012. Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas is a veteran educator as well as the director of Not In Our School.
"This history of slavery, segregation, discrimination, and racism has been so well hidden that it has allowed the university community to isolate itself from the continuing legacy of that history, even as elements of the past continue to shape the university, neighboring communities and beyond." With a rich history that dates back to 1819, the University of Virginia (UVa) in Charlottesville, VA was founded by Thomas Jefferson and is one of the oldest universities in the nation. While the founding father's legacy is the shining testament to the university's success, it also veils a troubled history of racism and intolerance that, since university policy changes led to the enrollment of the first African-American undergraduate student in 1950, continued to resurface on the campus more than half a century later.
From ColorLines: Read article, "Hate Speech Flourishes Online" Being an upstander is not easy. Just ask J. Ryan Leach, a student at the University of Virginia, who has been a rare voice in online forums to speak up for tolerance. In his hometown of Mechanicsville, VA, crime stories in the news attract racist comments.
Watch the opening scenes to Class Actions by clicking on the image above. "Bullying, racism, discrimination, hate. You know it's out there. It makes you cringe. But what are you gonna do about it?" --MTV post on Not In Our Town: Class Actions KQED will broadcast Not In Our Town: Class Actions on Monday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. The broadcast is an opportunity to open the conversation about how to stop hate and bullying. Join us in getting a Bay Area discussion going in your schools and communities.