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Sorting Through Race Relations At UCSD

Editor’s note: It was the Associated Students of UCSD who have suspended Koala, a student media outlet. The UCSD website for information on the issue of diversity is The “Compton Cookout” did not take place on the campus of UCSD. We regret these errors.


Aired 2/25/10

The now infamous "Compton Cookout" has become a catalyst for a broader discussion on the climate at the UC, San Diego. Some student leaders are describing a toxic environment for African-American students on campus. We'll explore what's happening with race relations at UCSD and beyond.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. Just when some in politics and the media were happily pronouncing America with its first black president as moving beyond race comes the Compton Cookout. UC San Diego has been roiling in the aftermath of publicity about an off-campus party which mocked black history month. The Facebook invitation urged student party-goers to indulge in some revolting racial stereotypes, including wearing gold chains, using poor English, and eating watermelon. And then a broadcast on UCSD's student TV station, criticizing the outrage over the party, reportedly included the use of the 'N' word. Some black students at UCSD are pointing to these incidents as merely the tip of the iceberg. It seems in this post-racial, post affirmative action world of ours, we still may have a lot to learn about injustice and prejudice and when the joke stops being funny. We’ll be hearing from many voices during the next hour as we discuss the fallout from the Compton Cookout, including yours. Call us with your reactions and comments. Were you surprised to hear about this racially offensive party? Were you surprised at the anger it triggered among black and minority students at UCSD? Our number is 1-888-895-5727, 1-888-895-KPBS, or you can post your comments online at My first guest is the KPBS reporter who’s been following this story, our education reporter Ana Tintocalis, and good morning, Ana.

ANA TINTOCALIS (KPBS Education Reporter): Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: Tell us, give us a rundown of what’s happened this week at UCSD in response to the Compton Cookout party.

TINTOCALIS: Well, the fallout from this party has been quite dramatic, very fast moving. It seems like there’s a new development every day. But this has been a very emotionally charged and draining week for the students and for the administrators in terms of dealing with all this. And so what you saw this week, though, was the Black Student Union coming together and bringing minority student groups together and saying this is – an injustice to one is an injustice to all. So let’s organize and let’s really put pressure on the university to force itself to take a look at itself and deal with these racial inequalities and inequities that they say students and professors have been calling out for for many years. So the students got together and planned a series of marches and protests and rallies which culminated yesterday. The administrators, on the other side, have been really trying to do damage control and they themselves formed this teach-in, and I think the administrators were hoping this would be kind of a healing moment for the university but that actually fell quite short.

CAVANAUGH: What happened at the teach-in?

TINTOCALIS: Well, so, the entire university was invited to come to this teach-in and it was supposed to be this kind – academic in nature, like how can these incidents happen on – in today’s society? And I think they were hoping that the students would fall in line with that, you know, let’s all get together and talk about this. And the students did, they actually let their presence known (sic). They marched in, they were wearing black tee shirts that said ‘real pain, real action.’ They were holding their fists in the air. And they sat down and they listened to what folks had to say for about an hour and Black Student Union leaders were invited to talk. And they got up to the podium but once they did, they took the opportunity to, again, criticize the university for what they say has been a long time practice of shutting out students of color. And I wanted to give you a sense of what that was about. One of the Black Student Union leaders, her name is Jasmine Phillips, she got to the podium and she said a teach-in is not going to solve the problem. We want real action. And this is what she had to say before she escorted several hundred students out of the auditorium.

JASMINE PHILLIPS (Black Student Union Member, University of California San Diego): A teach-in, a teach-in organized by and controlled by the administration reflects the hierarchical approach the university is taking to address the issues – to address the issues of racism and misogyny on campus and their failure to take the experiences, needs and demands of the students seriously.

TINTOCALIS: And with that, they said let’s walk out, we have our own teach-in on campus, follow us. And then everyone pretty much filtered out. And I did notice the only people remaining were pretty much white administrators and students left at the teach-in.

CAVANAUGH: Where did they go? Where did the group of black activist students go?

TINTOCALIS: They congregated a few steps away from this ballroom. It’s the – a teach-in took place kind of in the center of campus and they moved everyone out to the steps of the Price Center and they held their teach-in there.

CAVANAUGH: And does the university, I mean, have you asked, do they look at that teach-in as being a failure then?

TINTOCALIS: Well, I think – I don’t think they’ll call it a failure. And I don’t even know if you can say it backfired because they still held it. But they – I think they were hoping to get the buy-in of the students and the students defiantly said no, what we want is real action. And they referenced this list of 32 demands and they say we won’t be satisfied and we’ll keep on putting pressure on this university until we get a detailed report of their implementation.

CAVANAUGH: How are students on campus responding to the suspension of the student-run media, the newspaper and the TV?

TINTOCALIS: Well, I think students are happy. This particular group of students who have really incited a lot of the racial – racially inflammatory language and sit-ins, the Koala, it’s an alternative newspaper and they have – the Associated Students Government has frozen media funding so – to take a closer look at the situation. And I think students would rather just have the university shut down the Koala. This alternative newspaper is known for its provocation and its race baiting in the past, and they say it’s unfortunate that media funding has been frozen for all, you know, student media organizations because that’s not fair to them. They’re practicing in line with the student code of conduct. This particular one is not. So, university, [Editor's note: It was the Associated Students of UCSD who have suspended Koala, not the University] just shut down the Koala. So they’re upset about that.

CAVANAUGH: And I’m wondering when you speak with students, the black students who attended the teach-in and walked out, there’s a lot of talk about feeling threatened. And I wonder if you could expand on that. Did you talk to any students who said that they don’t feel comfortable on campus?

TINTOCALIS: Yeah, I talked to two students in particular, Bijon Robinson and Eliz Diop and, you know, this was after a very heated exchange between students and administrators. They were angry. They were hurt. But they say aside of all that, they are afraid. You know, there was one note found on campus that said ‘Compton lynching,’ referring to the Compton Cookout. And that really shook them to the core. And this is what they had to say. They say, you know, we’re getting this from fraternity members and we’re getting this from this, you know, alternative, fringy newspaper. And it speaks to a larger issue, and this is what Bijon and Eliz had to say.

UNIDENTIFIED: Being that they know where I live and they’ve been to my house before, I’ve been called a nigger by them before, yeah, I’m feared for my life, exactly.

UNIDENTIFIED: It’s real and this is a tense situation. I’m walking around campus and I’m getting stared at and I know the people who are staring at me, they’re not polite stares.

TINTOCALIS: And so I think there is a sense, you know, there is a sense of fear on campus although I think students are rising above that and they’re calling for collective action with other student groups, saying we’re not going to tolerate this. So I think the mood now is much of determination that we’re going to get some type of structural change done.

CAVANAUGH: Now you mentioned a 32 point manifesto basically, or changes that are being urged by the Black Student Union. What are some of the main points that they’re asking the administration at UCSD to change?

TINTOCALIS: Well, the list ranges from really basic things like, you know, let’s have a safe place for black students to organize on campus, to other things like we need significant funding directed toward the recruitment and retention of black students, Latino students, Native American students. They’re also calling for other kind of admission policy changes. And so those will take some time, I believe, to kind of be sussed out. When I spoke with Vice Chancellor Penny Rue, she’s a Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, she says, you know, a lot of these things, a lot of the demands, have been put in place but students are saying, well, double your efforts because we’re not seeing any real impact. And she says that they’re looking at the demands. Some of them have cost, you know, questions around them and we’re in a budget situation so they’re trying to figure it out that. She did say that they’re working on this kind of project template, you know, they’re itemizing all these demands and figuring out how long it might take, what’s already been done, how can they double their efforts, and they’re expected to come back with a report but student leaders say they haven’t heard anything yet. But Vice Chancellor Penny Rue, you know, she says we realize we have an issue with diversity on campus. We’ve been trying to work on this. And she says she – they remain dedicated to fixing the problem. This is what she said about the whole situation of what’s taking place on campus.

PENNY RUE (Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, University of California San Diego): I guess I’m a student affairs educator so I’m a glass half-full person, so I’m seeing this as an opportunity for the institution to get its story out there and to work with members of the community. We had a wonderful educational summit in November with some key leaders where we named this problem ourselves and asked for their help and said what can we do?

TINTOCALIS: But students will say, well, you’re not doing enough. The university has created two websites for folks to know what is happening. One is called, they’ve also – or dot-org, [Editor's note: website is] and they have also created this public outreach campaign called “Racism, Not in our Community.” They’re looking to meet with more community members in San Diego, community members of color, and they say they’re continuing to look at this issue.

CAVANAUGH: And just my last question to you, Ana. Is there anything else planned? Are there any more rallies or teach-ins planned on campus that you know of?

TINTOCALIS: I would expect there will be. The last I heard is that, you know, the students are reaching out to alumni of the university and bringing them in. They’re also reaching out to other student groups at other universities. Yesterday, we saw a lot of students from UCLA, USC, UC Riverside, who are equally upset because they say this is not a UCSD situation, this is a UC problem. You know, there’s this feeling that there’s – there – UC is this defacto private school posing as a public school and something has to change.

CAVANAUGH: Ana, thank you so much.

TINTOCALIS: You’re welcome.

CAVANAUGH: That’s Ana Tintocalis, KPBS Radio’s education reporter. We are going to take a short break and when we return, I’ll welcome my new guests and we’ll continue to talk about the fallout of the Compton Cookout on the UC San Diego campus [Editor's note: the Compton Cookout did not take place on the UCSD campus], and start taking some of your calls. You’re listening to These Days on KPBS.

CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS, and we’re continuing our hour-long discussion about the fallout on the UC San Diego campus from the Compton Cookout. And we are – have a whole new panel of guests to welcome. Glynda Davis is Assistant Chancellor of Diversity for UC San Diego. Glynda, welcome.

GLYNDA DAVIS (Assistant Chancellor of Diversity, University of California San Diego): Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: Sara Clarke Kaplan is professor of Ethnic and Gender Studies at UCSD. Sara, welcome to the program.

SARA CLARKE KAPLAN (Professor, Ethnic and Gender Studies, University of California San Diego): Thanks, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: And Andrea Guerrero, is U – I’m sorry, ACLU San Diego Field & Policy Director, author of “Silence at Boalt Hall: The Dismantling of Affirmative Action.” Andrea, welcome to These Days.

ANDREA GUERRERO (Field & Policy Director, ACLU San Diego): Thank you, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: I want to let everyone know we made repeated efforts to invite a leader from UCSD’s Black Student Union to be part of this discussion but for one reason or another that did not happen. And we are taking your calls, 1-888-895-5727. If you can’t get through online, you can post your comments at Glynda, I want to start with you. As Assistant Chancellor of Diversity at UC San Diego, when you heard about this off campus party involving UCSD students, Compton Cookout, what was your reaction?

DAVIS: Well, since we’re on the radio, I can’t really speak to my first reaction. But it was one of I – I cannot believe that somebody in this day and age, after these kinds of themed parties have occurred coast to coast for a long time, how somebody could think that it would be okay. I mean, the outcry, wherever it happens, is real. But, still, somebody would think that it could be okay and even funny.

CAVANAUGH: Now, many people are linking, however, what happened at this party with the very low admission rate of black students at UC San Diego. And as – in the diversity party for – in the diversity section of UC San Diego, you must know this, you must know that there’s a problem with this very low enrollment of black students at the school.

DAVIS: Absolutely. We are well aware of this and we immediately felt that this party was going to compromise the efforts that the campus had been engaged in for the better part of a year to increase the yield of not only African-American students but all under-represented students.

CAVANAUGH: Let me ask you, Sara, because you teach Ethnic and Gender Studies at UCSD. Tell us your reaction, if you would. I don’t even know how to phrase the question right now. Just tell us your reaction to not only the party but also what’s happened on campus this week.

KAPLAN: Absolutely. And I just want to clarify one thing and, Glynda, correct me if I’m wrong. But I actually believe that UCSD’s admission rate of African-American students is, in general, according to the 2006 Yield Report, about on par with some of the other top UCs. The problem I think that UCSD has is not one of admission but one of acceptance, and that’s the sort of question of yield. It’s not that students – that there aren’t tons of very qualified if not over qualified young African-American students who are being accepted to UCSD, about at the same rates as at Berkeley or UCLA, it’s that we actually can’t seem to get them to come.

CAVANAUGH: Exactly. I read a statistic where there’s about a 13% acceptance rate among black, qualified black students who are accepted to UCSD, as opposed to about 44% up at UCLA.

KAPLAN: Absolutely.

CAVANAUGH: So what’s – why is that?

KAPLAN: Well, and I think, you know, this is interesting, Maureen. I haven’t been on KPBS for a year, onThese Days for a year, and the last time I was here we were talking about Black History Month, and we were talking about whether there’s still a need for Black History Month post Obama.

CAVANAUGH: Yes, indeed.

KAPLAN: And at the time, I said I think that, of course, you know, I do still believe in Black History Month but I think the bigger question is not Black History Month but what does it mean that we don’t learn the history of African-Americans and other people of color in the United States the other months of the year outside of the classrooms like Ethnic Studies, outside of the classrooms like African-American Studies. If this was, in fact, part of what we think about as part of what makes up America every day, we wouldn’t need Black History Month. And I guess I would say about both the student reaction on campus and I think, more broadly, the faculty reaction and staff reaction is that like Black History Month, this is not about the Compton Cookout. The problem is not that the Compton Cookout happened, though that is a problem, or even that the Koala then used campus resources and campus television to directly violate the code of conduct and principles of community, I think the broader problem is that we have a longstanding campus climate which the students, faculty and administration have been well aware of for at least, you know, this administration since Chancellor Fox, with all due respect, came into the position, that has yet to be fixed. And that the incredible sense of hostility and alienation toward African-American students and other students of color is what made this kind of event permissible. So when we say how could this happen? How could they think this is okay, I think honestly as teachers and as administrators, we have to look at ourselves and say they think it’s okay because we have not created an educational climate that tells them that it’s not.

CAVANAUGH: That it’s not. Andrea Guerrero, I’m in no way going to put you here as apologist for the people who created the problem on campus with the cookout and with the broadcast, but I do want to get some sort of idea on where free speech enters into this question of what’s going on at UCSD.

GUERRERO: Free speech is a serious concern in the way that the university has reacted to the incident. The ACLU absolutely abhors what was said and we stand with the students and with communities of color in asking the university to change its climate to become more welcoming. The incident of the Compton Cookout was tragic, and unfortunately, it seems like that’s led to other race baiting and other abhorrent behavior. But that in no way should be an excuse for the university to violate the free speech rights of the students at that campus. The freedom of expression is embedded in our Constitution, it’s essential to the way we govern ourselves, the way we live. It has been critical to protecting abolitionists, suffragists, labor organizers, pacifists through the years and we need to protect it for all people regardless of the point of view. What the university has done is use the Compton Cookout and the TV appearance to shut down the media outlets at the university. This is absolutely unacceptable and, we believe, illegal behavior.

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm. Let me stop you there because I know that we want – are going to get involved in a larger conversation that’s going to encompass some of the points that you made. I want to let everyone know that we are soliciting your comments, most especially online right now at Let’s take a phone call, though, right now from Pablo calling from Tijuana. Good morning, Pablo, and welcome to These Days.

PABLO (Caller, Tijuana): Hi. Thank you. I just want to say that the people who organized this, they think they’re being funny. They’re comparing themselves like to people like Dave Chappelle and Stephen Colbert although they have no understanding or use of sarcasm or irony. The Koala has printed stuff like how to rape women. And then the culture of victimization that these frat boys have used, I mean, notwithstanding the ascension of Barack Obama that there is no – there is no question that African-Americans are the most vulnerable citizens of our nation still today. And this incidence speaks to UCSD’s culture of lack of appreciation of African-American culture and there’s a very – yeah, we have to distinguish between free speech and hate speech and so this is a cultural problem. So I just wanted to put that out there.

CAVANAUGH: Well, thank you. Thank you so much, Pablo, for that. And, Sara, you want to comment.

KAPLAN: Pablo, thanks so much for your comments. And I think, you know, a few things I do want to say that I’m always, you know, a little nervous when we start talking about the most vulnerable versus other vulnerable students. I have, you know – so many of the communities of color and underrepresented communities, the poor, you know, women in general, I think, find themselves very vulnerable. And I think that, you know, you do bring up a good point when you talk about the limits of free speech and I, of course, am a huge advocate for free speech but I also think that it is always interesting when the racial dynamics around constitutional law break down in such a way that the First Amendment right to free speech is given primacy over, say, the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection. And part of the way that that works out on campus is, is that students, faculty, staff are guaranteed a workplace and a place to get an education that is free from hostility and harassment and where they can experience equal protection. And one of the things that we do have to ask in the question of the Koala in particular is whether, in fact, students of color and particularly women students of color on this campus have been experiencing equal protection. And I should just sort of clarify because I was actually at the meeting when campus news was shut down, when SRTV was shut down, and to be clear, there were many options put on the table for the Associated Students who, in fact, are the ones who run SRTV and were the ones who closed it down rather than the administration, and I’ve been having tense conversations with the administration but we should note that it was not the administration that shut down SRTV, that, in fact, SRTV was shut down because all funding for it was cut off while Associated Students took a step back to reassess how they give out funding. And they’ve made it very clear that it’s a temporary freeze in order to decide how to negotiate precisely the issues of free speech at hand that made it possible for students who were not given approval to be doing the show, who did not legitimately gain access to that space, which is a campus resource in which students are supposed to go through AS to get, then used that space and did not follow basic protocol like always recording the show as it is being aired so now there is no evidence of what happened and what was said. So, you know, or the fact that those students, before they went on the air, used the opportunity as a way to harass students from the parking lot, to call them the ‘N’ word, to call them the ‘B’ word, to threaten them, to…


KAPLAN: …make jokes about them. So I think we’re really actually entering an area that hits the limit of where free speech hits equal protection and I think that’s always important to remember.

CAVANAUGH: Andrea, you wanted to comment.

GUERRERO: Yes, I think it’s important for people to understand what that dynamic is and to talk about how hate speech fits into all of this because there’s a lot of confusion about hate speech versus hate conduct. Hate speech is protected speech under the First Amendment. Why is it protected? Because we don’t want the government deciding what is hateful because history has taught us that the government is more apt to use its power to prosecute minorities, numerical minorities…

CAVANAUGH: Right, right…

GUERRERO: …than to protect them. So – But hate speech is different than hate conduct. Hate conduct is not protected and absolutely should be prosecuted to the fullest.

CAVANAUGH: So it’s a different thing from leaving a swastika somewhere and saying something to someone. There’s a big – two big differences in that, is that correct?

GUERRERO: Well, hate speech, or speech in general is not protected when it’s intended and likely to produce imminent harm to a specific person or…

CAVANAUGH: I understand.

GUERRERO: …or group of people. So speech that intimidates, speech that harasses, speech that threatens is not protected speech and it should be investigated. Our concern is—and we are only seeing the information that’s appearing in the news or that’s being reported out to us directly so we don’t have complete information about what’s going on on campus—but what we’ve seen on the university website are declarations of investigation of content of speech, which is problematic because speech, regardless how hateful it is, is protected under the First Amendment.

CAVANAUGH: I want to tell everyone that we are talking about race at UCSD and in the UC system as a fallout from the Compton Cookout event that happened off campus last week. And I’m speaking with Andrea Guerrero from the ACLU, Sara Clarke Kaplan who is professor of Ethnic and Gender Studies at UCSD, and Glynda Davis, Assistant Chancellor of Diversity for UC, San Diego. Glynda, part of our reporter Ana Tintocalis’ report was about the fact that some students that she’s been talking to see the UC system as a sort of a glorified private school system where there is no real outreach, no real diversity, and it’s just, especially UCSD, sort of like just almost a whites-only school. And I wonder, first of all, if you could give me your professional reaction to that and also tell me what that makes you feel like when you hear somebody say that as a person who’s working for diversity on campus.

DAVIS: The students are responding to what they see. A lot of what they can’t see is the people who are solidly behind them, administrators, faculty and staff who are doing what they can to meet the concerns of those students and bring more students of color in. The problem that we’re having is there are not enough people who see the concerns of the students as valid and are willing to work at all levels to effect a change that is going to create the kind of climate that will be better for everybody, the educational as well as work environment for everyone.

CAVANAUGH: Tell us what kind of resistance you’re meeting from other areas in the school to make that kind of climate that you’re talking about.

DAVIS: Well, as the students so eloquently put it in their talks over the last few days, we have faculty and staff who don’t see why this is important or don’t understand what their role in it should be. And that is our challenge today and for the next week and for the next month and, you know, for the foreseeable future, to get more administrators and more faculty, more staff and more students to understand what their role in this is if we’re going to have a campus climate that supports everybody in a meaningful way.

CAVANAUGH: Have you – you have probably looked over the 32 demands. Does any of them look – do any of them look as if you might want to go forward with them?

DAVIS: I know that, as we speak, there are people working diligently on those 32 demands to determine, as was mentioned earlier, what can be done today, where there are financial issues that have to be reconciled, who is responsible for the change that has to take place that is relative to the particular demand and who needs to partner around this in order to move it forward. And it’s complicated.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah, it sounds complicated. And, Sara, let me come to you. You know, several years ago when the UC Regents basically said no more affirmative action policies, you know, across these campuses, we were basically kind of told that we were in a different world now, that the playing field was if not equal at least more level than it ever had been. And yet we see this problem with diversity not only at UCSD but on campuses throughout California. So what happened?

KAPLAN: I think that’s a question that we’re all constantly trying to figure out. And I think that, you know, there’ve been many studies and there are some things that we know what happened. We know that, for example, that the guarantee of admission for the top 4% actually doesn’t take into account the fact that fourth and fifth quintile schools offer different courses which means that the GPAs of those students look very, very different, right? Because students get extra credit for taking APs, they get extra credit for honors, and so when you’re in low income schools, which tend to have higher representations of historically underrepresented minorities, what you will see is that they simply don’t have access to those kinds of classes, that there are many, many schools in the state of California where you can’t take the basic requirements you need to take to get into a UC. You actually cannot even apply. In fact, you can’t even apply to a Cal State with what they offer. You have to go to community college and transfer. And those, again, traditionally are schools with low income students and students of color. I think also what we have to recognize is that what we saw with Proposition 209, what we saw with Proposition 227, what we saw with Proposition 187 was, in fact, I think less of a claim that we were in a post-racial state and more a profound backlash by voters in the state of California against the perceived increased access and visibility of people of color in the state of California, anxieties about it becoming a majority-minority state and that rather than that being a sort of moment of propositional politics that said oh, few were done, I actually think it was a moment of profound racial backlash against people of color and their success and that’s why it had precisely the result you would imagine it had.

CAVANAUGH: And you would argue…


CAVANAUGH: …argue it had that ripple effect…

KAPLAN: Absolutely.

CAVANAUGH: …in even down to admissions at UCSD.

KAPLAN: And particularly, I think, down to campus climate. If you go online right now, you can find a Facebook re students of color and white students, not just – and I say this because I want it to be clear it’s not just white students…


KAPLAN: …saying that African-American students want a free ride, saying that they don’t work hard, saying that the reason that there aren’t more black students at UCSD or the other UCs is because, you know, they’re just not qualified to get in. So, clearly, there’s a problem.

CAVANAUGH: Let’s take a short break. When we return, we’ll continue our conversation, take some of your calls and also invite you to go online and post your comments at You’re listening to These Days on KPBS.

CAVANAUGH: Welcome back. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. And we’re continuing our conversation about the fallout from the Compton Cookout and what it says about prejudice and equality and race relations on UC San Diego campus. My guests are Glynda Davis, Assistant Chancellor of Diversity at UC San Diego, Sara Clarke Kaplan, professor of Ethnic and Gender Studies at UCSD, and from the ACLU, Andrea Guerrero. She is with the San Diego Field – she is San Diego Field & Policy Director for the ACLU. And let’s go to the phones right now and take a phone call from Rolf in San Diego. Rolf, welcome to These Days.

ROLF (Caller, San Diego): Hi. I think you just called me. Can you hear me?


ROLF: Okay, it is me. Well, I just called to say I honestly believe that this is a double standard. Earlier, I think his name was Pedro (sic) from Tijuana called and he mentioned Dave Chappelle and basically gave him a free pass for the stuff that they say about whites. You know, it’s not just Dave Chappelle. We hear it in the media all the time, black comedians making fun of white people, even using their derogatory term for whites, which is honky. Everybody laughs and so forth and just blows it off. You know, granted, I don’t – I certainly don’t agree with what these kids did. I think it’s kind of stupid but at the same time I think it’s overblown. And I think we’ve come a long way and I’m afraid that it’s doing more damage than good giving this issue so much attention. You know, I think that the blacks, the way they should – if they’re really so offended at this event, they should’ve responded. They should’ve hosted a hootenanny and making fun of the whites.

CAVANAUGH: Well, thank you for your comment, Rolf. I really appreciate it. You know, Rolf is talking about a lot of things that are out there, that are – people are talking about. Glynda, I want to go to you first, if I may. People, I think, some people, are very surprised at the level of anger among black students at UCSD. And I’m wondering if perhaps you don’t feel that some of this is a bit overblown?

DAVIS: No, I don’t feel that this is necessarily overblown because there is a back story here that helps to explain why the cry was so strong. As I had mentioned earlier, the administrators and the students and the staff and the faculty had been working for the better part of the year to enhance the yield or the number of African-American students and other underrepresented minorities who come to UC San Diego. They had been working hand in glove. We had recently announced that there had been increases this year in the number of applicants for underrepresented students and, in particular, a 20% increase in the applications from African-American students and healthy gains for other underrepresented student groups. There was momentum, there was a sense that we were really going to move forward on this, and then everything happened. And so the students had – the students, they are studying, they are working, they are working on this. It’s a tremendous effort, heart and soul, that they are putting into this to work with the administrators and the staff and the faculty who want to get this outcome. And it was a gut blow…


DAVIS: …and that’s what was felt. It is not overblown when you know just how hard people have been working in this direction.

CAVANAUGH: To try to increase the number of black students at UCSD.


CAVANAUGH: I understand. Sara, let me ask you a kind of an additional question to that, and that is, one of our producers, Angela Carone, wrote a blog on our Culture Lust blog, wrote an entry about how the larger culture, how pop culture has worked into the idea that there’s so much up for grab (sic) now that can be satirized, that can be made fun of, and that basically what we have here is a generation of kids who might’ve been completely desensitized to what’s proper in terms of historical context because they see all this satire and all this really hard-edged comedy all the time on television and online.

KAPLAN: I did actually read that and I think, unfortunately, the nerdy professor part of me just has to apologize and say it’s just simply – that’s always the argument that’s used, and it’s simply not true, and this is actually just a historical issue, is an issue of, you know, race and gender. And as a scholar of race and gender, I have to say that this is nothing new, that, in fact, the tradition of white Americans, particularly working and middle class white Americans, dressing up and throwing parties and having – experiencing certain kinds of illicit and enjoyable pleasure that’s frequently gendered, as, in fact, this party initially was, goes back to the early 19th century. It goes back to the very first form, as I think Nadine George said yesterday, of ostensibly authentic American culture, which was black-faced minstrelsy. And, in fact, this is where I think Rolf—and I was actually going to try to say this to you directly—was that, Rolf, this is, in fact, why we have to say, oh, this is actually very different than Chappelle and this is the big deal because the tradition of white Americans dressing up as African-Americans, as black people and making fun of them and particularly talking about the ways in which they’re ignorant, undeserving, animalistic, hypersexual, etcetera, was the primary form of cultural production that was used to justify African chattel slavery for the majority of the 19th century, was used to justify the massive lynching campaigns that went on after the end of slavery the beginning of – the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. And, in fact, was considered an anthropological sight for many years as well as a performance sight where people as esteemed as Mark Twain said that this was the most authentic example of African-Americans that he could imagine. And so this is a particularly loaded issue. I think that when we talk about Dave Chappelle in this—I teach this to my students when I teach Minstrelsy—when we talk about Dave Chappelle what we have to look at is his function as a comedian who seeks to take particular stereotypes that are about how we imagine that white people imagine blackness and push those to the point of exploding them to show how ridiculous and violent they truly are and that, in fact, when we look at Dave Chappelle’s videos and particularly the DVDs that were released after he stopped performing, he makes it very clear that the reason he stopped was because he felt that audiences could no longer tell the difference between what he was doing and the Compton Cookout.

CAVANAUGH: I want to let everyone know that we are getting an awful lot of online comments and we appreciate all of them at And one of our online commenters has asked what’s the difference between white trash parties and this? Aren’t they all offensive to groups of people? And that comes down to power dynamics, doesn’t it? I mean, really, Sara, if you could.

KAPLAN: Well, I – personally, I think that white trash parties are horribly offensive and I think that actually they’re classist. I think they often tend to be sexist, misogynist, I think they often tend to be incredibly homophobic. And that said, I think that part of what we often see is that I actually cannot think of a time when African-American students or other students of color have thrown a white trash party and so if middle class white students make fun of poor, white students, that’s offensive. If people with any kind of power use that power to both appropriate the sort of identity of others and then use that to degrade that identity and to strip it of dignity, that’s a problem and, in fact, I would argue it’s not simply offensive, it’s racist, it’s sexist, it’s classist, it’s homophobic and we all should be standing against this instead of trying to hierarchize who has been more harmed and who has been less harmed, who has the right to be upset and who doesn’t.

CAVANAUGH: Glynda, we’re getting into the final minutes of our discussion here although we do still have time to talk about a lot of things. I’m wondering, where do we go from here? You talked about the heartbreak suffered by the students on campus and some administrators, yourself included, working so diligently to try to get these dismally low numbers of black enrollment at UCSD to increase and to increase the visibility of students of color on campus and then comes this Compton Cookout and you wonder how many black students might even want to come here to UCSD. So I wonder, what are you going to do now?

DAVIS: That’s a very good question. There’s a lot of things that have to be done. Our very wise students yesterday started to talk out loud about how to bring in the new allies, the people that may now get it or the people that may not necessarily ever understand completely but know they have to do something now in support of not only the students but the entire campus in making this move, how to engage them. And so our very wise students have begun the process and now, you know, the faculty, the staff and the administration now have to locate the people who may have not known what their role in this was, what stake they had in it. The people now who see that they may not get it now and they may never really get it but they need to move and locate them and get them into activities that allow them to help people move this forward.

CAVANAUGH: And Andrea Guerrero, I know that you’ve done an awful lot of work about how – affirmative action and how schools can move in this climate that we’re in to have a more diverse population. What are some of the things UCSD might consider?

GUERRERO: Well, I think some of these recommendations that are being put forth by the Black Student Union pick up on the idea of recognizing other factors that are important in the admissions process, including the socio-economic factors. The ACLU is working diligently to try to bring about structural change in the K-thru-12 system by making sure that schools offer the UC required courses to all students because right now they don’t. You could go to one school south of 8 and have half as many A-thru-G courses, half as many AP courses, twice as many JRTC courses, and you’re being put into a competitive admissions environment that doesn’t recognize that so I think there are a number of things that could be done. And, unfortunately, what I’ve seen over the last ten years since the dismantling of affirmative action is that universities used affirmative action as a crutch. They did not use it as the cast to heal the broken leg. They used it as the excuse for not doing anything else. Well, now we don’t have that excuse. There is absolutely no excuse for the university not to fix the structural inequities that exist in the admissions process, in the recruitment process, in the outreach process, in their curricular offerings process, in the faculty hiring process. There are things that they can do to be more sensitive, to – just to open up the process and eliminate the things that favor those who have come before. Eliminate the processes that are normed on the usual. The usual being predominantly white students of color, predominantly wealthier students of color, and then faculty as well.

CAVANAUGH: And, Sara, you wanted to comment.

KAPLAN: I do, and I’m hesitant to say this because I have so much respect both for – for the entire Diversity office at UCSD and the work that Dr. Daley’s been doing and, you know, that Glynda’s been doing that’s, you know, yeoman’s work but I do have to say that the notion that the university doesn’t know what to do, that the administration needs to think more about this, to be frank, asinine. The students, the faculty, administrators have issued report after report. There’s been task force after task force which students, faculty, administrators have spent their blood, sweat and tears producing, and they’ve come up with recommendation after recommendation, the same recommendations that the students then rephrased as demands and at this point, I think, as, you know, the Black Faculty statement and the statement of UCSD faculty in general states, the time for task forces and investigations and thinking about what we can do really has passed. We have a very active set of recommendations that would suggest what we need to do to increase yield, to improve campus climate, to improve retention, to increase our representation of underrepresented faculty as well as students, and yet the administration has had these recommendations for years and has failed to implement virtually all of them. And so I think at a certain point we have to ask where the administrative commitment is. I look at these students and I think, in fact, it’s easy for us as faculty or administrators or staff to say, oh, we do this work. But the fact is we do about a tenth of the work. The students at UCSD are doing 90% of the work to recruit and retain to make access for others on that campus, and they’re doing it for free and they’re doing it instead of studying. And that’s our failure as teachers and faculty.

CAVANAUGH: Well, we have to leave it there. That’s a powerful place to leave it. I want to thank my guests so much, Glynda Davis, Sara Clarke Kaplan, Andrea Guerrero. Thank you for coming in and taking part in this important discussion. I also want to thank our education reporter Ana Tintocalis for setting the scene for us earlier in our conversation. If you have comments, please go online, You’ve been listening to These Days. Stay with us for hour two coming up in just a few minutes right here on KPBS.

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Avatar for user 'jimvsmij'

jimvsmij | February 25, 2010 at 9:17 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

My wife is Greek and when she went to college she was highly offended by widespread Greek stereotyping were people regularly had parties with people dressing up in toga's and people had sex and drank in excess, not to mention using Greek alphabets which are commonly mispronounced.
Greeks do not walk around in Togas and always have wild sex and binge drinking parties. We need to end this racist negative stereotype of Greeks in all College and Universities!

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Avatar for user 'olsentm'

olsentm | February 25, 2010 at 9:32 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

You know, if I had a dollar for every time I have heard about, been invited to, and/or attended a "White Trash" party, I could probably put a huge dent in my student loans. I suppose those are equally as offensive, so why hasn't a White Trash party ever been a national news story?

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Avatar for user 'nbsandiego'

nbsandiego | February 25, 2010 at 9:42 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

I am a black graduate student at UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography and I attended UCSD as an undergraduate. Unfortunately, I am not surprised at the "Compton Cookout" event, or the response by members of the Koala organization. I attended the Teach-In yesterday in hopes of joining the community along with UCSD administrators to express and listen to concerns from the community and to generate solutions. I too am extremely angry, but I believe that it is my responsibility as a member of the black community as well as the UCSD community to work together. Even though I understand the anger that fueled the walk-out yesterday, I don't agree with it. I didn't walk out, and I would like for your radio station to inform the public that not all of the black people that attended the teach-in walked out. In fact, there were many people of color that chose not to walk out. By walking out I believe that was a missed opportunity to use these racist actions to truly bring the community together. We need to work together like our civil rights leaders urged us to do.

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Avatar for user 'mvblanco'

mvblanco | February 25, 2010 at 9:42 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

To Andrea on the intersection of the 1st and 14th amendment: How would you then assess the recent youtube rant of Jigaboo Jones (whose CD release was the alleged reason for the Compton Cookout) in which he actually names and cusses out specific students who were interviewed by local news media and who protested the party? Is this not a situation in which his right to free speech has compromised these students' right to be protected from retaliation? If you read the comments that follow his rant, you will not a frightening trend SUPPORTING his rant. Where do you draw the line?

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Avatar for user 'ucsdalum'

ucsdalum | February 25, 2010 at 9:46 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

I agree with olsentm--I don't understand the difference between this type of party & a white trash party. In addition, this was an off campus party put on by a group of college kids--why is it the University's fault?

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Avatar for user 'ucsd07alum'

ucsd07alum | February 25, 2010 at 9:48 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm concerned about escalating cultural double standards. Why, when Oktoberfest comes around, and everyone dresses and acts like Germans, is there not outrage over the "mockery" taking place? Yet when people act like Blank people they see on TV, or eat food commonly endorsed by Black culture, they are 'mocking' them? A viscous double standard!

As well, why is there no press on Jigaboo Jones, a Black individual from Compton, who publicly claims responsibility for this party? Everyone blames an allegdy "white fraternity" or "racist UCSD students". Mr. Jones publicly claims it was his party. Is he "racist" too for "hating" himself?

Also, why is there no outrage over this Web site, which is where the invite was copied? Maybe the organizers were ignorant that these aren't actual representations of Black culture, but they're not racist for coming up with it, because they simply copied a Web site:

I'm disappointed with all the finger pointing. If students feel targeted, they are justified in voicing their displeasure; but when everyone claims the organizers were intentionally "mocking" BHM, well that's just a blatant, untrue accusation! Has anyone considered that the organizers might have actually wanted to partake in Black culture? Why not let them? Why is acting Black reserved only for Black people? That sounds like a prejudice to me.

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | February 25, 2010 at 9:49 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

The fundamental problems at UCSD is ELITISM. Racism is just one form of elitism, and UC is by it's very nature an elitist school.

The premise that UC is built on is that some people are fundamentally 'better' than others, and so by its very nature it attracts elitists. Add the fact that UC schools are PUBLIC schools now populated not by the public of California or even the USA, but by the wealthy elite of the world, and you get a deep understanding of the nature of the problem.

The race is a secondary ignorance, because of underlying social structures in the US and elsewhere, the poor are disproportionally pigmented, and a PUBLIC school is the only place that many can 'afford'. LA JOLLA is an Elitist town, and the cultures of elitism, religious, intellectual, and financial, underly everything in that community.

To fix this problem you need to reach out to EVERY PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENT in CA, and offer them the chance to go to a quality university, but look at the underlying economic facts. UCSD alone has a $2.5-BILLION/year budget! 85% of that money comes from sources other than the State of CA. Private money has influence in a PUBLIC school, end that ignorance, leave private school money for the private schools. Return the private funding, and make UC a truly PUBLIC school again.

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Avatar for user 'cabbage'

cabbage | February 25, 2010 at 9:50 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

Ditto on the comments about the "white trash" parties. Isnt this really a class issue?

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ccj2002 | February 25, 2010 at 9:51 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

To olsentm - when a "White Trash" party is hosted by someone in the black community, encouraging their guests to act "stereotypically white trash", I'm sure it will make national news.

Until then, have some sympathy to those that were hurt by this terrible representation of the UCSD community. The description that the hosts of the Compton Cookout used to describe what they think of black people are like is incredibly ignorant and racist, and to post it on Facebook and continuing defend their position is shameful. Their defense that this freedom of speech is an excuse to spew hate.

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Avatar for user 'ucsdalum'

ucsdalum | February 25, 2010 at 10:07 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

philosopher3000 -- I paid my way through UCSD waiting tables. I went to a community college for the first 2 years to save $. I guess I should congratulate myself on climbing the ladder to elitism.

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Avatar for user 'tgustafson'

tgustafson | February 25, 2010 at 10:08 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

I'd just like to say a few words on the topic of affirmative action. Some of the guests on the programme discussed the bygone era of affirmative action almost with a sense of nostalgia. Citing Regents of the U.C. v. Bakke, they seemed to hint at U.C.'s new non-affirmative action admissions policies as disadvantageous towards minorities.

My uncle applied to Medical School several times, much as Bakke did, with above the required credentials. After being rejected time and time again, the admissions officer, off the record, of course, told him, "Look, your the wrong age, the wrong color, and the wrong sex."

Affirmative action is nothing less than a racist policy. Under affirmative action admissions policies, if applicant X and applicant Y apply, X having more academic credentials and higher test scores than Y, but Y being a person of color, Y will be admitted, and X's years of hard work will earn him/her nothing. Why? Because X has the wrong skin color. If that's not racism, then I don't know what is.

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Avatar for user 'MarkW'

MarkW | February 25, 2010 at 10:10 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

There's a larger issue at play here, namely: economic insecurity tends to breed scapegoating.

There's a line of reasoning out there right now that goes something like this: "My standard of living is declining -- therefore I'm going to blame and ridicule black people."

Its evident in the unprovoked attacks on ACORN, in the Tea Party's thinly veiled "Sambo" caricature of President Obama (a la "The Joker") and now in this Compton Cookout foolishness. And I hear business leaders in Del Mar oozing the same bitter poison as the writers of "The Koala", so don't dismiss it as just student buffoonery.

Keep in mind that black people did not ship jobs overseas en masse to make a fast buck and goose quarterly earnings. And black people certainly did not spend us into oblivion. And black people are not robbing you blind at the bank, at the gas pump and at the doctor's office. That President Obama, who inherited this mess, happens to be black is happenstance.

UCSD might be *lucky* to have 100 black students -- but I'd guess its more like 75 or 80. If you wanna pick a fight, pick it with the people who got you into this mess.

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Avatar for user 'DJerdee'

DJerdee | February 25, 2010 at 10:10 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

We all agree that we need to find a way to increase minority representation on campus. Hopefully, this discusion will inspire a fair and unbiased approach that will not require the University to lower any acceptance standards.

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Avatar for user 'olsentm'

olsentm | February 25, 2010 at 10:14 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

I agree with ucsd07alum, when Oktoberfest celebrations are filled with scantily clad beer-maidens and giant beer steins where is the outcry on behalf of the German community? Same can be said for St. Patricks Day. Next month I guarantee there will be plenty of corned beef and cabbage eating, binge drinking, and numerous other inaccurate Irish stereotypes all over town on March 17th.

To ccj2002 - I have personally witnessed, and reveled with, members of the black community participating in White Trash parties and singing at White Trash karaoke nights.

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Avatar for user 'rolph'

rolph | February 25, 2010 at 10:19 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm forty-two years old and, as far back as I can remember, I've seen blacks fully participating in the following stereotypical "holidays", and not one of them has complained:

St. Patrick's Day
Cinco de Mayo

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Avatar for user 'ucsdgrad'

ucsdgrad | February 25, 2010 at 10:33 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

all of the commenters who compare the compton cookout event to celebrations such as st. patrick's day and oktoberfest are missing a very huge difference -- people of those races were never enslaved in this country. they never experienced the wholesale degradation and discrimination that blacks did (and still do) here. they didn't suffer the equivalent of blackface minstrel shows. there is a very long, very ugly history of pain in the black community -- which includes whites "costuming" themselves as black in mockery -- that can't be simply compared to other races. you can't begin to understand why the black community is so angry if you ignore the history of race relations in america.

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Avatar for user 'jessicadiane'

jessicadiane | February 25, 2010 at 10:44 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

I am a recent UCSD Graduate and this issue is sensitive to me. First of all, I highly disagree with the students who lead and partook in this party. It is a disgrace, especially when many of UCSD's classes teach students about social issues like race and gender. As part of my general education through Sixth college I was required to take such glasses about culture art and technology that teach tolerance through education. Second of all, I am sad to see this issue become a "UCSD" issue, when in fact it is really the issue of a few "individuals." I don't believe this issue should be tied to UCSD. I agree that it would not hurt UCSD to lead some discussions and programs to increase knowledge about race, but I am sure that a majority of students, like myself, are very tolerant. UCSD is a very diverse campus, with a large amount of Asian and Caucasian students, as well as Hispanic, Latino, and Middle Eastern, and other people of color. On a typical walk through, campus I usually overheard friends or a group speaking in another language. In my classes there was a wide array of nationalities working together and getting along very well.

But, it was also apparent that students of African descent make up a very small percent. I don't think that just because they are not there, means that there is a problem with UCSD admissions.

Through my experience, there is no such thing as a "free ride" at UCSD. You have to work very hard to get there, and you have to work very hard to pass classes. When you are in a lecture hall of 200 students, you have to show up, pay attention, take very good notes, and study hard. It doesn't matter what race you are, you have to work hard. And I do not believe race should matter. I did not matter that my parents are Swiss Immigrants, that my Grandparents were poor farmers. My race did not make it any easier for me to get into school and I do not think it should matter much for others. What matters is hard work. Even someone who grows up in a poorer neighborhood with many disadvantages can still work hard.

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Avatar for user 'The0ne'

The0ne | February 25, 2010 at 10:50 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

Personally I think folks here that attend such parties are to blame themselves, regardless whether it's Irish, German, Greeks or what not. If you, as a person, can't determine whether joining such activities is "wrong" then please educate yourself because you are no better. If such activities does irk you the wrong way, then by all means leave and talk to your friends to share your feelings. More than likely they will agree with you.

I know these parties exist, through many schools. I probably know more than most of you here in fact. My friends and I have traveled throughout CA to the various schools to meet other students, promote the schools, educate the high local high schools by holding seminars, throwing parties, etc. Of people I've met, mainly Hmong/Asian, I know of one that attended such parties ONLY because he was in a fraternity. It was a show of face, even though it was wrong for him to do so. My point is that most students do know better but yet choose to do so for peer pressure, not matter how you look at it.

I cannot understand the notion of attending a "white trash" party or any "trash" type parties. It just doesn't make sense to someone like me who has friends from all cultures. One has to be aware and sensitive to others, even if you don't know or have friends. There is just no excuse.

It may be hard for some of you to understand, and I sincerely hope it isn't the case, but to give you an idea of the feeling I'll give an example. I attended Lincoln High here in San Diego. The whole junior and later senior class went on field trips to visit various colleges. It was great. At Redmond, our whole class had to trek through the student cafeteria. Needless to say, 99% of us had stopped and had to look around. That was because the cafeteria absolutely went silent with everyone staring at us. Now you may think this is because they haven't seen this happened before but it was actually because most of my class were african-american. I felt the same eerie feeling as well, as did my asian and spanish friends but we could tell that our black friends were suffering the most. Anger or fear show most on their faces. I think a riot would have started if the administration didn't rush us out of there.

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Avatar for user 'Stanley'

Stanley | February 25, 2010 at 10:54 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

In my opinion, the handling of this incident by Chancellor Fox and VC Rue was abysmally bad and did much more harm than good.

1. Information published on the net suggests that these UC top administrators did not diligently check their facts before reacting. They appear not to have known about the involvement of the above mentioned African-American entertainer in putting on the event, for example.

2. Fox and Rue were well-aware that the event had no official connection with the University, but decided to drag the University's good name into the matter anyway. On a YouTube video Rue can be heard saying they have "moral authority" in this matter. ? What makes them think they are so morally superior? Why did they choose to involve the university's reputation in this off-campus, non-sanctioned matter? What right did they really have to do that?

3. Fox and Rue then chose to react with total negativity. They chose to assume the worst about any UCSD students who were involved, giving no one the benefit of the doubt. The "morally" self-rightous UC administrators chose to make very negative judgments about the few young UC students involved in the party. Specifically, they chose to ASSUME these actions could only have been the result of blatant intentional racism on the part of the few students at the party. Fox and Rue ignored the possibility that the students may have been ignorant of the implications of their actions, or that the students may have different connection with this culture. (Remember that young people today purchase and enjoy popular cultural art created by African American entertainers who routinely use this culture as a expressive vehicle.) But rather than to try to understand the matter from the perspective of the few party-goers, Fox and Rue elected to subject the matter to the most negative interpretation possible.

(One thing which hasn't been reported is that the Koala event, (and the Koala is certainly a enterprise in its own right with no apparent good reason for existing), but in any event the Koala's show was probably in my opinion in part at least a reaction to the heavy-handed approach adopted to the party by Fox and Rue.)

4. Having decided to interpret the matter with maximal-negativity, Fox and Rue seem (to me) to have decided to foment the maximum amount of counter-negatively within the UCSD community, even going so far as to invite the broader public to the "UCSD community" teach in.

5. UCSD has done remarkable things to promote social justice, most notably through the Preuss School. (Thanks to the very hard work and very generous financial support of many individuals in our community.) But rather than to stress the positive, these two top UCSD administrators elected to take actions stressing the negative and which would only drag the university's name through the mud and ultimately do much more harm than good vis-a-vis promoting social justice on campus.

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Avatar for user 'gerold'

gerold | February 25, 2010 at 11:04 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

I was listening to the broadcast on the way to work today, and was very disappointed in the quality of the discussion. Maureen and all of the guests treated the subject with such gingerly kid gloves and ultra-cautious consideration. Listening to them tiptoe around was offensive. I expect intellectual honesty from KPBS, even on controversial topics - especially on controversial topics!

The UC system is MERIT based. That is precisely why it has maintained such a level of excellence for all these years. How do you think it happened that UCSD is majority Asian?! I haven't seen the statistics lately, but when I walk around UCSD, I see more Asians than whites. Race is not the issue there, however. Merit is the issue. If we want UCSD to remain an excellent school, then merit will have to continue to be the issue.

I think most everyone agrees it would be great to have more "minority" students at UCSD. (Where "minority" means "minority minus Asian", of course). As soon as more qualified minority students apply, they will be admitted. But that issue will have to be solved outside of the UC system. The UC system has the task of providing an excellent university education, let's not dilute that mission (which is hard enough already).

There was a decent discussion of the conflict between free speech and equal protection. It's not a simple question. But at a university, the balance needs to rest on the side of free speech. If people misuse the right of free speech, the answer is right at hand: education. And, if people are overly offended by the exercise of free speech, the exact same remedy should be applied: education. Satire and parody must be given free rein to expose dishonesty and ignorance. People will be offended: Grow a Pair.

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Avatar for user 'jmstevenson'

jmstevenson | February 25, 2010 at 11:10 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

My own hopefulness for long term positive changes to the UCSD campus community comes as one who has enjoyed a two-year period as a volunteer facilitator of Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops in prison chapels, half-way houses, and schools, and for AmeriCorps Team Leaders. AVP workshops, developed over the last thirty years, are experiential in nature. They are not lecture-driven; the learning occurs as the participants interact with each other in both serious and light-hearted exercises.
In the weekend prison workshops particularly, I have observed men come into our initial (Basic) workshops from a racially-segregated living environment, estranged from each other due to their differences and histories within the prison system, and barely able to look at or speak with each other. By the end of our workshops, these men have begun to share with each other openly, formed the beginnings of friendships across racial lines, and have new understandings about effective communication and nonviolent conflict resolution strategies. All of these positive changes are enhanced when they participate in a second (Advanced) workshop; some even become inside facilitators after a third (Training for Facilitators) workshop.
My workshop experiences with AmeriCorps Team Leaders, most of whom were college graduates, confirms my belief that AVP workshops are effective outside the penal system, allowing participants to develop the attitudes and relationships needed to build a positive community, based on communication skills, trust, compassion, and empathy.
I have a dream that AVP workshops will become commonplace events on college and university campuses, starting with UCSD. I believe that the outcomes would include a profound unifying effect on campus life.
When faced with “REAL PAIN,” the appropriate “REAL ACTIONS” called for can be summarized with the following: “DEMONSTRATE EMPATHY. ENCOURAGE EMPATHY.”

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Avatar for user 'momotron'

momotron | February 25, 2010 at 11:50 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

I can see why people are angry, but this issue has been blown way out of proportion. I understand that minority student organizations would be put off, but that's no reason to simply walk away from a useful dialogue, which is what the teach-in was SUPPOSED to have been. You can't just walk away from an opportunity to work things out like that. It's detrimental to the process. Additionally, I can't help but find the list of "demands" somewhat of an overreaction, especially the accusation that UCSD is not a "safe" campus for black students. Nobody in their right mind would come to UCSD to be in a "fun" or "accepting" environment: we come here because we all share the sort of masochistic tendencies that can only be satisfied through the special kind of academic insanity this university offers. In short, social life here sucks for everyone, without regard to their ethnicity. There isn't some sort of unspoken conspiracy to make people feel threatened or uncomfortable, so far as I am aware.

The response by the campus administration has been a bit overboard as well, albeit well-intended. The fact is that the Cookout was apparently not a sanctioned event, nor was it even on campus. It may have been distasteful, but it is in no way the responsibility of the administration, nor does it fall on the administration to punish the students involved. And Utsav Gupta's recent decision to freeze funding to all student media organizations was even more absurd. It's a knee-jerk reaction that not only impinges upon the free expression of UCSD students, but if left unreversed for any amount of time, stands to deny students a viable method for conducting civil public dialogue of their own initiative, as a paper or television channel with no funding can no longer function.

The problem now is that everyone who was hurt by these recent events, the administrators who are scrambling about in damage-control mode, and even the news media covering it all need to take a step back, calm down, and come back ready for rational and civil discussions on the issue rather than protest rallies, demands, and knee-jerking. Otherwise it's just going to get in the way of all the uninvolved and uninterested students at UCSD who want to go to our classes, grab a bite to eat, and chill in our dorms without being beaten about the head by a race debate.

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citydweller | February 25, 2010 at 12:12 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

Whatever one thinks of the Compton Cook-Out, it has created a teachable moment, and the one fact that caught my attention is that while UCSD accepts African-American applicants in proportions similar to UCB and UCLA, fewer of those accepted choose to go there, resulting in a student body with a paler complexion than at its sister schools in LA and the Bay Area.

One can invent any number of hypotheses to explain the differential "harvest rate." I hope that the notoriety generated by this kerfuffle will spur UCSD to do the kind of quality research on which it prides itself.

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CaliforniaDefender | February 25, 2010 at 2:03 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

It is time for UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and her administration to step down!

The overt and institutional racism exhibited by Fox and the Black Student Union is appalling and truly shameful. Caucasians are a minority at UCSD and to accuse them of discrimination based on the actions of frat boys off-campus at an unsanctioned event is a terrible injustice.

UCSD Demographics:

What is more of an injustice is to alter the admission practices to put one race ahead of another. That is the DEFINITION of racism! Sadly, this practice has been utilized by universities for decades now and it looks like UCSD will now accelerate such discrimination.

The only thing this event sheds light on is the vitriolic hatred and racism espoused by the Black Student Union. If Chancellor Fox had any sense of justice, respect, and compassion for the students at UCSD, she would condemn the Black Student Union and remove funding for all race-based organizations to create a truly color-blind university.

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DBF | February 25, 2010 at 3:14 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

As an alumnus ('93) of UCSD (and African-American) I am disturbed by the lack of sensitivity displayed by those who organized and participated in the Compton Cookout and later by the alleged use of the "N" word on a UCSD TV station. Shame on them and their abuse of the First Amendment.
However, I am also disturbed by the disrespectful and sometimes irrational and hoodlum like conduct of certain members of UCSD's African-American community. Do they really think creating "safe haven" zones for African- Americans is appropriate (or any of their other demands under the circumstances)? What about the multitude of other ethnic groups attending UCSD? Should they also have designated zones of segragation, tutors, etc? Extortion, anger and disrespect toward UCSD's administration is unproductive, immature, and does little to further the cause. They should remember the same First Amendment rights they exercise in protesting also protects those they are protesting against.
To this end and most importantly, I am disturbed by the apparent attempt to trample on our Constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression. It is a slippery slope. Today the protestors target the conduct of immature and insensitive college students who engaged in conduct off campus. Tomorrow, religious organizations who believe and express certain views not necessarily held by others could be the target. I hope this email is not censored.

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fastlife | February 25, 2010 at 7:21 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

I completely support the Black, Brown and common sensible White students, who voiced there outrage over a problem that has plagued this nation virtually since its inception. Minstrelsy should be fought every step of the way no matter who commits it. We also need to stop using the term "post-racial" as the host and many others have done, assuming this the new reality since Obama's election. "Post-racial" ? There is no such thing until White privilege is completely and resoundingly eliminated.

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expat | February 25, 2010 at 7:41 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

Dear olsentm,

Since you are addressing us directly, here's my response as a member of UCSD's German community:

If people want to dress up in a bad imitation of a regional German folk outfit as an excuse to drink as much beer as they can I have no problem with that.

Why, isn't that exactly what you are saying? No, and I'll tell you why:

because Germans have not been enslaved for centuries, tried to be killed in genocides, held in segregation, turned into a highly vulnerable, exposed minority, attacked at every turn, and discriminated against to this very day. White people were never the enslaved, but always the enslaver. If Germans showed outrage at being stereotyped, I would panic, because that would mean that the ugly snake of white pride may be back. The closest we have come to any serious stereotyping, however, is the constant barrage of GB-Germany battles in the yellow press, and that I qualify as inter-European stereotyping and accept it when another Sun article shows German soccer players as Nazi officers.

I am, however, outraged and disappointed in my American neighbors here who refuse to see how hurtful and wrong this is, and who seem incapable of accepting that if you mess up like that you deserve a slap on the wrist. Period. Man up, accept responsibility, and that's the end. And yes, this would also go for the scenario ccj2002 painted.

(For further detail on my position regarding party, video, and campus climate I refer to my earlier comments on ) I'd rather not repeat myself.

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currentgrad | February 25, 2010 at 10:31 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

The issue is NOT the so-called “Compton Cookout” party that took place. The outcry over the incident has been so loud because it was basically the boiling point for many minority students who have experienced on-going covert racism on-campus in many forms since they first set foot on-campus. The outrage is about the underlying racial tensions that exist on a daily basis which this event brought to the fore.

What is at heart here is institutional and structural racism as well as the PRIVILEGE that those unaffected are fortunate enough to experience. The question that so many have asked, “What’s the big deal?” in itself reveals inherent privilege in the ability to even ask that question. Because students of color directly affected by racial bating and slurs have NEVER been in the position to ask what the big deal is when it comes to race. Those enduring daily covert racism do not have that privilege.

To gerold and jessicadiane: It's not about race, it's about socioeconomics, and unfortunately race and socioeconomics are deeply intertwined. Yes, you have to work hard to get into UCSD and acceptance to a competitive university should be based on merit, but the problem is one of access and inequality of resources and funding. A large portion of the African American and Latino population come from a lower, working-class background, growing up in historically underprivileged communities whose schools receive less funding and who are therefore unable to offer the rigorous type of coursework (like AP, IB classes) that would allow students to earn a GPA high enough to get into a competitive university like UCSD. And the same goes for Asian minorities; yes, there is a very large Asian population at UCSD but it would be interesting to see a breakdown of their socioeconomic background. I’m willing to bet that a large majority come from middle to upper-middle class families. There are still certain Asian minority groups that are less represented at UCSD; what about Vietnamese or Hmong? Socioeconomics definitely come into play within the Asian American population; those who have the resources and those who don’t.

To ucsd07alum and Stanley: The fact that African American individuals were involved in the planning of the “Compton Cookout” or that they attended the party does not magically make it OK. It is an example of internalized racism as well as of racism against one sector of the African American population which these particular individuals dis-identify with. And additionally, one or two African American people are not representative of the feelings and opinions of the entire African American community. The fact that they don’t see what the big deal is points to the lack of historical consciousness of all individuals who attended this event in that they failed to recognize the deep painful history of the African American community in the U.S., a community whose suffering and cannot easily be compared with that of any other race in this country.

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Stanley | February 26, 2010 at 10:03 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

To currentgrad: I think you may have misunderstood me.

Your suggestion that I said the "Compton Cookout" was "OK" was a misreading of my views. I think the "Compton Cookout" was completely wrong and disgusting.

Actually I find a very large part of what is generally accepted in popular culture to be completely wrong and disgusting. I have not owned a television for many years. I see maybe one or two selected movies per year. I will not watch a boxing match because it strikes me as inhumane. And I certainly did not think the "Compton Cookout" was "OK", as you put it,

However I think UCSD is being unfairly used here. UCSD cannot be held accountable for the actions of a few kids at a non-sanctioned event where the U. really had no moral or legal jurisdiction.

Of course, if you have specific allegations of UCSD wrongdoing, you should vigorously pursue them.

Instead you make the "boiling point" argument, and drift insensibly into a fuzzy rant about economic injustice in general.

I agree.

Life is unfair.

Good luck with your crusade.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité,

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currentgrad | February 26, 2010 at 11:02 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

UCSD may have had no jurisdiction in an off-campus party but once again, that is NOT what we're talking about here. We're talking about race-bating, slurs and blatantly racist threats and actions that take place ON-CAMPUS. The program aired by the Koala on the campus-run television station on-campus is one example.

There was a NOOSE hung at the campus library last night (for a picture and details, see This is a direct THREAT to the safety of students on-campus and is being treated by the police as an "intent to terrorize." UCSD does have a responsibility for people feeling physically safe on-campus and the hanging of the noose has caused many to fear that violent acts will follow.

The administrators have yet to respond directly to this event despite many faculty and community members requesting that the campus be shutdown today. Since they have failed to take action, we are taking action ourselves and have canceled classes today in solidarity with those in fear on a public university campus. There is currently another demonstration underway at library walk.

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expat | February 26, 2010 at 12:56 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago


Look into it some more and you'll find the same things happening over and over. The UC has been promising increased diversity for years, and not one thing has changed. Fox was handed a similar list by black students five years ago, nothing has happened. This isn't a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing.

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jlagos | February 26, 2010 at 2:12 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

It’s amazing to me that we’re having this problem at an institution of higher learning…. When there have been so many studies that have shown that education is the answer to intolerance and hatred….

In 1993, as a music teacher at San Diego City Schools, I was involved with a number of San Diego folks – Jerry Sanders, who had just become police chief, Marty Emerald, who was a regular on Channel 10 news, and we went to the mountains for a week for an event called “Camp Anytown” with 63 high school kids who were chosen for their leadership skills. It was probably the most powerful experience I’ve ever had in my adult life – I was 40 at the time, and I can say that The 63 kids who left the mountain at the end of that week were not the same ones who had arrived.

Therefore, I would like to see the University have a mandatory general education requirement which includes a human relations course.

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flagwaver | February 26, 2010 at 2:13 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

would this be so funny if it was a "Beverly Hlls" party and everyone walked around with fake long noses, and talked about how they were going to screw their gentile neighbors with big interest rates on loans at their pawn shop or jewelry store? Should we say, bring your women, and have them whine and cry all evening and act like a "chosen person"? Should we say, act rude and obnoxious and have no manners, and be loud. Make sure you talk "show business" and discuss the fact that it helps being Jewish in order to get ahead in this arena and laugh and laugh.

. It goes both ways my friends, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
If we allow such poor taste and "hate" to denigrate one group, why should't this type of "hate" and poor taste be allowed for all ethnic groups. Wouldn't this be a wonderful society? You guys are in college, act your age.

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Frankie | February 26, 2010 at 2:20 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

The piggy off-campus party was, well, piggy and reprehensible. It had nothing to do with the University. That the UCSD-supported radio station amplified the piggy party behaviors was reprehensible, and the station was subsequently properly sanctioned by UCSD's sponsoring student government organization. That African American students at UCSD are so few they could convene in a phone booth is an unfortunate fact that should be remedied. Which isn't easy when CA Proposition 209 was floated and passed, ruling out the validity of explicit racial parity at UC campuses -- thanks to two former members of the UC Board of Regents, African-American Ward Connerly and then-owner of the San Diego Padres John Moores. The real problem is that too-few African-Americans are enrolled at UCSD, not that "Compton" partiers are knuckleheads or that Koala people are jerks or that black kids on the campus are "not safe." The population of that public university needs to be more representative of American society. today.

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gerold | February 26, 2010 at 8:07 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

We seem to be losing sight of something important in this discussion.

In a free society, people are free to speak their minds. If the society is large enough, there will always be somebody who is going to say something you don't like. The US has a population over 300 million, which is bif enough that there are thousands of people, many living near you right now, who will say things that you find unpleasant, distasteful, and even infuriating.

The only thing worse than living in a society where people are free to say unpleasant things, is living in one where they can't.

Freedom isn't free. One of the prices we pay is hearing some of our dumbass fellow citizens speaking their mind. Deal with it. Grow a pair. Have the guts to stand for your beliefs, and at the same time, recognize that different people will see things differently.

That is true for society, but even more true for the university community. This event should have been treated as a Teachable Moment, not a public relations damage-control exercise.

Not only did UCSD fail miserably, but so did KPBS. Maureen Cavanaugh and KPBS had a great opportunity to take advantage of this teachable moment, and instead they chickened-out. They played it safe with a complete CYA rearguard action instead. Sad.

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expat | February 26, 2010 at 9:47 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

"Deal with it"??? "Grow a pair"??? Dear Lord, what do you tell victims after a car crash? Seriously, there are plenty of very thoughtful and complex considerations on these comment boards--as opposed to youtube's disgusting troll-heaven and the U-T's crazy playground--so let's keep it like that, shall we?
Nobody is asking you to feel threatened, but you don't have the right to tell others how to feel, and if minorities at UCSD have felt unwelcomed, excluded, even threatened for years (again, this is not a new thing), then perhaps you might want to stop and listen for a second before passing judgment and blaming the victims.
It is a teachable moment, but when it is taught, many students shrug because it doesn't concern them personally. Well, the civil rights movement didn't concern many folks, but it was still the right course of action.
KPBS have done just fine. Yeah they are not perfect with the details, but seriously, do we expect it with their funding and resources? They had a nice, considerate discussion on the radio, more than I can say for any other news outlet in the county. Just because what they are saying doesn't coicide with your views doesn't mean that they are wrong.
It's like the motorist driving against traffic on a highway and yelling that everyone is driving the wrong way except for them.

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gerold | February 27, 2010 at 12:29 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

Expat - you claim to want "thoughtful and complex" discussion of this topic - but that's not what I'm seeing from you. I'm seeing simplistic and unidimensional victimology.

Academic freedom is vital to the intellectual health of UCSD. These kids come to school to learn. Their education consists of more than academic lessons however, most of them are also learning how to be responsible adults. The originators of the Compton Cookout were a little boorish, but the students who reacted with tears and outrage were hyper-sensitive. Neither is good, but both behaviors should be expected from children.

"Grow a pair" is an entirely appropriate response, both to the students who had a meltdown and the "adults" who are acting as enablers. UCSD administration and the KPBS commentary afterward (just read the transcript above - craven pandering) are not teaching these young people the appropriate lessons.

To the callow Cookout crew: have some consideration for the feelings of others. Mockery is best directed at those in power, not the vulnerable.

To the "under-represented minority" students who felt "threatened and excluded" by the Compton Cookout: if you can't take a joke, stay out of the kitchen.

And to expat, who thinks I'm "blaming the victim": there is no victim. The Compton Cookout may have been tasteless, boorish, or rude, but there was no threat involved. Encouraging the victim mentality isn't helping anyone, unless it enables you to feel morally superior. Just keep in mind, you're buying that smug feeling at the cost of crippling the self-reliance of the poor "victims" you're creating.

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expat | February 27, 2010 at 8:32 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

--check all my statements, not just what refers to you:

Nobody has the right to tell those who feel hurt that they shouldn't be hurt. You are not in their shoes and unless you believe that they exploit the situation and lie, I would recommend you listen to them for a second.

"Grow a pair" is never an appropriate response. This is not the Daily Show, you are not Jon Stewart. To command African American students to become obtuse to racist discrimination by way of a metaphor that equates strength with testicles, power with men, equating any vulnerability, honesty, and open discussion to an implicitly negative feminine realm is NOT helpful. It is shorthand for a patriarchal system of oppression that goes hand in hand with racism.

Are you even aware that a noose was found in the library? How is any of this in the realm of "a little boorish?" (Irony: this term assumes agriculture workers display a lack of culture and refinement...just like poor blacks, right?) Who are you to tell these students what their reality looks like and how they should feel about it?

"Stay out of the kitchen?" What? Unless students are willing to put up with discrimination and racist threats, they ought not to attend one of the leading universities in the world??? Oh yes, a good lesson to teach them, indeed. Unless you "children" "can't take a joke," and white people will be the ones to tell you what is a joke and what is not, then you have no place in hihgher education. Unless you don't accept that we can discriminate against you and tell you who you are and what your culture is whenever we feel like it, and then declare any resistance on your part as an inappropriate reaction, don't consider going to college. Nice job.

Oh, and unless you are actually hurt or people corner you and threaten you, nothing that happens is a threat. , yeah, that must be why the FBI got involved, apparently they don't know what constitutes a threat, either. Maybe you should email them and explain it to them, no?

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expat | February 27, 2010 at 8:32 a.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

What I saw yesterday on campus was a wonderful display of civic responsibility and free citizenship: the BSU and its allies adjusted the deadline at which they demanded a reaction from the administration to their revised demands. Yeah, totally immature. They occupied the offices, sang songs, and debated. Yeah, total victims crying in the corner. Don't you see that they empowered themselves and that this is a wonderful process? They are victims of discrimination, one of the weakest groups on campus by far, who have been systematically excluded and ignored for years now. It was only the last straw when a strong group made fun of them, turning them collectively into a pop culture stereotype, a commodity to be appropriated without second thought. Guess what: there are people in Compton, and they disagree with the way they are portrayed.

If you, gerold, want to be nostalgic for days when all these minorities just had to shut up and get with the (white) program, then do that, but how dare you push your retrospective understanding of diversity on others!

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LC | February 27, 2010 at 9:52 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

expat: "Nobody has the right to tell those who feel hurt that they shouldn't be hurt. "

yes. offensiveness is, authentically, in the mind of the offended, and as such, no one call tell others not to be offended or hurt. The question is the extent to which one can demand to be protected from being offended or hurt. There are people all over the world who hate you, who hate me, and who hate all sorts of other people. There's a much larger group of people with blinkered, stereotyped, ignorant, and tasteless ideas about other people, ideas that are offensive and hurtful to many. Accepting these realities is the very "growing a pair" that is called for. This doesn't mean that all offensive activities have to be tolerated, nor that there shouldn't be responses, attempts to educate, even derision. But there is a scale and matters of degree, and if you predicate a sense of safety on the absence of offensive actions and gestures, then you will never feel safe, whether you are an African American UCSD student or a working-class white middle-American terrified by Islamic fundamentalism.

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expat | February 27, 2010 at 10:15 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

LC, do you accept the tone gerold uses? The attitude it expresses regarding women and minorities?

Do you take me for a child that I don't know that many out there would rather have me be gone? Do you think I had never stones thrown at me as a child? And yet I refuse to "grow a pair," to shut up and shut down in the face of discrimination and hate.

I personally believe a noose to be just about the harshest symbol you can use in the U.S., the most offensive, the most violent, the most racist. That a student sees nothing wrong with even considering this symbol, let alone producing it is another symptom of what the problem at UCSD is.

UCSD has a proud history of civic dissent, and we should take a sec, suspend judgment and try to listen.

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LC | February 27, 2010 at 10:49 p.m. ― 7 years, 1 month ago

expat, the line I would draw is between the party and the noose. the party was in bad taste (and a minor affair attended by few, etc. i am quite willing to expound on the relative unimportance of the party.) the koala tv remark was very offensive, yet still on the range of speech (the ACLU agrees) - the speaker should be roundly castigated as a racist fool. We all have to put up with analogous garbage.

But the noose is fairly read as a threat of violence, and if it were an act of hate or meant to be read as one (as a hoax) one that should be prosecuted. I am not against the idea of hate crimes and hate speeches: symbolic actions meant to terrorize should be condemned, criminalized, and play no part in campus life.

However, I have learned a lot about who is actually responsible for the noose. I think you are going to be somewhat taken aback when you learn more, too. I wonder what you will think should be done to her when more is revealed.

I would agree that it is a failure of K-12 education in this country that someone graduate without learning the meaning of the symbol: I'm quite sure that the central role of racism in the history of the United States was part of the curriculum. But my disappointments in K-12 education in the US are legion, and where I used to blame hegemonic, I now put the blame on well-meaning but misguided measures (the "self-esteem" effort, the role of the unions in protecting ineffective teachers) at least as much, if not moreso.

There is another matter, too, that has disturbed me. During the Prop 8 campaign, I saw a lot of signs on campus and in campus housing advocating Prop 8. Marriage equality is, I believe, the most clear-cut civil rights issue of our time. To me, these Yes on 8 signs were more clearly a demonstration of hatred coupled with a very specific agenda for denying the civil rights of a minority. Yet, there was no outrage at these signs, no protests, no demands that gay and lesbian students have a right to study without being confronted by anti-gay political messages, no demands on the administration from the GLBT groups on campus. Perhaps there should have been - but I think the fact is that true racial suprematists are more or less a phantom menace, that there isn't an organized group of students who advocate the removal of civil rights for African Americans, has a lot to do with it. When there really are organized groups - the Mormons, Catholics, Muslims, Fundamentalist Christians - that explicitly deny basic civil rights to a minority, suddenly, a lot of the fire for the fight disappears.

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expat | February 28, 2010 at 8:58 a.m. ― 7 years ago

LC, I draw a line FROM the party to the noose, not between them. They are symptoms, not the problem. The Koala can be endured, I believe, but it is sad that a once-funny publication now is so disgusting...and that these kids don't even seem to get why it isn't funny to watch them roll around in their own feces.

Ignorantia legis neminem excusat--that goes for the ignorance of hate symbols, too. I am very sorry for the individual who crosses the line, but I believe that there are zero-tolerance spaces. If they don't get the message, then that is a tough break, and I believe in public service and re-education more than incarceration and capital punishment, so I wouldn't propose locking whoever did it up in a hole where they'll meet real white supremacists. However, there are things I will never tolerate under any circumstances, including ignorance. I don't say it's not a rough world, but theses kids already entered it when they left their parents' back yard pools, and they must understand that rules apply to everybody.

I concur largely with your views on K-12 but also have few practicable ideas how to fix it all. It is simply depressing and will certainly widen the achievement gap further in the future.

Hmmm, interesting. Wasn't that during summer break, though? You can do lots of things when school is not in session. I think LGBT should have reacted, but that's not my call to make. I agree with your view on the Prop 8 campaign, and although a different topic, it is related. Many of our students hold extremely confused notions on what they believe. They shlep around all this stuff their environment rewarded them for parroting, but they don't understand that they have no basis to back it up, that it sounds lame and preachy, and that they need to become independent. My hunch is that these signs go along with that, put there by students who hold very confused notions on religion, conservative social values, and family values. It is hard to make them understand that they have no idea what they are talking about and that they have to go hit the books--or at least websites--if they want to back up their talk. Again, something that is not at all supported by a campus run like a training facility for experts, but not like a university.

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LC | February 28, 2010 at 11:29 a.m. ― 7 years ago

expat, Prop 8 was during the presidential election, in November, during the school term. In the same breath that we voted in our first African-American president, we denied basic civil rights to the most violently oppressed minority in this country.

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gerold | February 28, 2010 at 11:50 a.m. ― 7 years ago

LC has this right, and expat has it wrong.

"Grow a pair" (whether ovaries or testicles doesn't matter) doesn't mean "shut up". It means take a stand based upon principles of fairness and justice, and apply them equally to all. In this case, it means defending free speech, and responding to ignorance with knowledge. We need to address foolishness with wisdom. The UCSD administration is trying to clamp a lid on a simmering pot, and that is what led to the escalating series of responses, culminating in the noose incident.

The students who reacted with fears and rage to the Compton Cookout were responding in a childish way. Not too surprising, since many of them literally are children. Expat doesn't have that excuse.

Expat, you don't like the "tone" of my response. That's fine, you have a right to your opinion, and I'm glad you're expressing it. But just because I point out the irrational petulance of your victimology doesn't imply I don't support full equality for women and minoroties. In fact, that's precisely why I support free speech for ignorant frat boys: free speech means free speech for all, and equal rights have to be applied equally.

One more thing: physics teaches us that every action produces an equal and opposite reaction. Human behavior is different, however. There actions often produce opposite reactions of increasingly greater magnitude. When the administration tried to clamp down, the situation blew up. The noose was a response to administration attempts to stifle discussion, rather than promoting the free exchange of ideas.

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expat | February 28, 2010 at 4:27 p.m. ― 7 years ago

gerold, come oooooon! Ovaries? You are seriously trying to sell me on the idea that "grow a pair" is short for "grow a pair of ovaries???" Really??? Who is being childish now ? (An insult that I choose to ignore for now but have indeed registered)
There is nothing wrong with the "long version" you stated above, but do you see why the one is perhaps a more appropriate statement than the other? OK, end of that formalist discussion, I know we both get it, no problem on this side of the keyboard.

I agree 100% with the image of the simmering pot. I would like to add, however, that I find the lip services on the administration's part yet another band-aid with which they tried to keep the lid down. Well, it didn't work and that is a good thing. This needed some air, and we got it. I have no issue with discussion, I (obviously) enjoy it here (a little too much perhaps, for which I apologize), but the party is just not a statement in an ongoing debate. It is a symptom of the problem that is being discussed, not a comment in that discussion.

Oh well, I know that my position isn't the American one and I accept that things are seen differently here. I am too much a product of the Second World War as to agree with 100% free speech. Several European countries tried it and failed miserably. But the United States have a different history that is complicated in its own right and that leads to different attitudes to the same problems. I don't claim to be right, I just say that I don't believe in unlimited free speech. Too costly for my taste, but again, it ain't my call to make and I understand and respect the American position.

LC, I know when the election was. But when did the signs appear? The whole disgusting campaign started WAY before November, no? You mentioned the signs, I merely asked because that seemed the most logical time to me. If that was smack during the quarter, then the worse for UCSD that nobody spoke out. They were all still busy with the Loft or some other nonsense. I wish they instead would project the People's History of UCSD youtube video onto the Price Center walls, so that these kids can learn where they are going to school.

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LC | February 28, 2010 at 11:11 p.m. ― 7 years ago

expat, about free speech and it exceptions: I already see it going bad in Europe, where the official ban on Nazi imagery has made the racist right appeal all the more strongly to angry, resentful youth. The implicit message is, "if the government doesn't even want us to think this, there must be something to it." Neo-Nazism is in fact now far more robust in Europe than in the US, where the reactionary Tea-Party movement is at least nominally non-racist: they are bad and ignorant, but they aren't the BNP, they aren't Haider's Freedom Party, they aren't the Front National or the Dansk Folkeparti, all of whom have much more racist platforms than the Republicans do (albeit often with progressive social programs - ie. universal health care for natives and police oppression for everyone else), and all of whom have had a number of major electoral victories in recent decades. While the Democrats are to the right of the Tories, the US has not elected anything like UKIP or the other hard-right politicos into power. At best, you can say that the "jury is still out" on the effectiveness of the EU approach to policing speech. As bad as the US has been, I'll take its record over the past 100 years - even 200 years - over Europe's, despite current American progressive idealism about European social nets. I say this while being very much not an American patriot and an overall anti-nationalist.

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expat | March 1, 2010 at 7:14 a.m. ― 7 years ago

LC, you are throwing a few things together. The rise of Neo-Nazism is not the direct result of the ban on free speech. For one, in many countries, and most imporantly to this topic in Germany, right-wing parties are still protected, but not the explicit link of Nazism nor the declared goal to abolish democracy. Austria and Germany have the same problem in not having dealt with the problem. The historical comparison closest to it in the U.S. is the KKK rising out of the lack of civic engagement of the state after reconstruction.
Also, the Tea Party is not a party, nor do they see themselves as one. They are an aggregation and accumulation of protest potential, something that happens in Europe constantly and that brought about the Green parties, thenew Left parties like in Germany, and the Pirate Party. The Pirate Party and the German Left Party are young, so their grassroots protest nature is still visible. Here, because of the two-party system, protest has to form itself outside the parties and then be taken in by them. The comparable parties to the Republicans wouldn't be the people's parties but usually the Chrisitian conservatives.
I don't think the jury will ever convene to pass a sentence, it is a matter of philosophy and personal choice.
Wow, we are way off-topic, huh.

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gerold | March 1, 2010 at 2:33 p.m. ― 7 years ago

I think the German ban on Nazi symbols and ideology is a good example of why free speech works better than censorship.

I do not believe there is any chance that the German people would ever be fooled by racist/fascist demagoguery again, they have clearly learned from that mistake. That is why censoring Nazi-speech is so foolish. The more those ideas are discussed, the more obvious it becomes how wrong they are. People who want to censor it seem to fear that it will appeal to their fellow-citizens; that is a very pessimistic and, I believe, misgiuded attitude. Nazi ideas should be openly aired, and refuted with appeals to both logic and human decency.

Censorship gives these rotten ideologies an underground cachet they don't deserve. Better to let the sunshine in.

And we're not that far off topic; it was the censorship and attempted suppression of this Wrongthink that led to the Koala and noose reactions. Fools have a right to make fools of themselves. How else can they learn what is foolish? This whole thing has been blown way out of proportion.

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expat | March 2, 2010 at 7:56 p.m. ― 7 years ago

Wait, so if nobody will ever be fooled again, then what difference does it make if it is public or underground? They won't buy it, no?

These ideas are discussed, from elementary school on all the way to university. People can discuss it, but it must be framed in an educational setting, guided by trained teachers. Not just any ass can spew out his hatred in the country that killed over six million. Do you want to look a Holocaust survivor in the face and explain to them why that would not be wrong in any way? The Weimar Republic hat total free speech and it failed. Nazis don't argue, they don't debate. They hate and spit poison in your face. And that, I believe, has left the ship of fools and is headed for a catastrophe that I would die to stop.

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ALINENASH24 | March 23, 2010 at 1:28 a.m. ― 7 years ago

I had got a dream to begin my firm, however I did not earn enough of money to do that. Thank heaven my close mate proposed to take the business loans. Thence I received the student loan and made real my old dream.

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