To: University of California, Irvine Administration, its affiliates, and the general public
My name is Dominic A. Dickinson and I am a currently a first year at the University of California, Irvine. On January 18, 2013 the offenders by the name of Joseph Baek and Tracie Martinez committed an act of violence in the form of Racial Harassment. The Words “Nigger/Nigga” where said around me multiple times. I have asked both of the offenders to stop using the n word at one point, however it has continued for a whole quarter. As a result of this, I had to move out of my freshmen dorm in middle earth and have been tossed around by the UCI administration more than 30 times. I believe that every person regardless of gender, race, national origin, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation or disability should feel safe and comfortable wherever they choose to live because we all should get the same opportunity to succeed without any acts of discrimination. I, Dominic Dickinson believe that the UC Irvine Student Housing be held accountable because these incidents happen every single year and they refer to these racial harassment incidents as “rare”. During winter quarter, several black freshman students had to move out of their dorms in both the Mesa and Middle Earth communities. Often times, freshman students have nowhere to go because their RA’s (Resident Advisors) have limited training. Resident Advisors are hired to carry out Chancellor Michael Drake Pillars of Excellence (academic excellence, research excellence, leadership excellence and character excellence). If racial harassment incidents are happening every year in the housing communities than it is the housing staffs responsibility to reslove these issues.The housing staff says that they are “investigating” these incidents; however they are swept under the rug. In conclusion, I Dominic Dickinson will continue to work with the Black Student Union at UC Irvine to help end Anti Blackness incidents on the UC Irvine Campus.
Dominic Dickinson (05/19/13)
“While there is Racism, We will not Rest.” (UC Irvine Black Student Union 12-13)
1) While we definitely should not be empathizing with the perpetrators, we should also be very cautious about focus on the victim. You’re only making it worse when you share the leaked videos or graphic details of the crime. It is wholly unnecessary - why do you need to know the visual evidence?
2) Don’t forget to interrogate the structural conditions and societal causes that enabled the crime, and enabled the horrible reactions to the trial from mainstream media. Interrogate patriarchy. Don’t forget that Ma’lik’s life will be ruined ten times worse than Trent’s. The criminal black man is one of the most reviled labels in the US; Trent will likely still be able to find a decent job after he has served his sentence.
3) Don’t forget that the punitive policies of the “criminal justice” system do little to actually solve societal issues. Once these two are locked up and serve their sentence, the community and the world at large do not move forward at all in reducing sexual violence and attacking the roots of patriarchy. The community will be left with anger and confusion; and truly needs to come together and look inwards, reflect on their actions during the course of this crime and trial and why they acted the way they did, and why it was so problematic.
This past weekend, I was lucky enough to go to a student conference in New York City. Overall, it was a fantastic and very well put together conference with very educational workshops, mind-blowing performances by talented artists, and opportunities for Asian American leaders and students to meet and bond.
Tumblr user gabrielarising wrote a really good piece on MAASU a couple years ago and Traphik’s performance. And just as they said, as with any large event there are bound to be a couple problems. I’ve been to ECAASU before and know that the conference board who put this year’s conference together worked very hard and diligently to ensure the success of this year’s ECAASU. I know they had the best intentions and most likely vetted the speakers so nothing like what happened at MAASU would occur at ECAASU.
However, no one could have expected one performer, David So, to veer in the direction he did. This is a video of his performance, the problematic jokes start at around 12:30 and peak at 12:50.
“I dated a Latina girl once. Mexican chicks are by far - they’re like the aphrodisiac. There’s something about those girls that, I just can’t get over it. The problem with you guys is: every time you date a Mexican chick, they always involve you in their fights. Like I don’t appreciate that at all.”
I went with my first instinct and yelled “RACIST” at him. My friend next to me joined for a second time, where David So then reacted by saying “Shut up, that’s all over.” and continued on to his next joke.
This is an entertainer who made his name mocking racism and racists with his parody song of Alexandra Wallace’s infamous video about “Asians in the library”. He opened explaining that joke and slowly moved into more and more problematic humor.
Like gabrielarising, I felt something as soon as he said that. Racism within the Asian community is notorious. Anti-blackness is notorious. Anti-anyone-but-white-people is usually the most common. I know this from personal experience. This is wrong though, very very wrong. The speakers before David So came on talked heavily of coalition building. To me, coalition building is more than just a set of buzz words thrown together when talking about social justice. It’s about realizing that oppression is connected and what strikes one group of people down is related to our own lives. That means standing with my Latin@ family, my black family, my Native family, etc against comments and humor that reinforce white supremacy. That means speaking up when stereotypes like the “sexy Latina” are reinforced and fat jokes are wrapped up in a clusterfuck of “Youtube humor”.
I’m going to take an excerpt from gabrielarising’s post on MAASU:
Misogyny within a space of empowerment for Asian Americans made the situation slightly contradictory. By starting the conference off with this performer, it reminded some women in the audience of their positions as sexual objects and their secondary status. One woman, after he performed, yelled, “SEXIST!” to assert her voice as an individual who refused to take the verbal abuse lying down. I stupidly yelled in conjunction, “FUCK YOU!” not knowing what else to say. He replied by acting like he did not hear her, and just laughed it off. Apparently, he has done this many times in other venues, and when womyn confronted him, he would disrespectfully ignore them. Discussions with other folks later made me feel defeated at how easily everyone acquiesced to this verbal abuse. One man said it was merely, “Fun and games,” and that it should not be a big deal.
This is exactly what happened here. I refused to take the verbal abuse as a woman of color and I’ve gotten quite a bit of backlash for what we did. Most people joined in him laughing when he told me to shut up, and most people still lined up to meet him during and after the conference. Some told me that it was the wrong place and time to publicly call someone out on this. Some told me that I’ve gotten too radical and use too much alienating language.
Maybe they’re right, but if they are I think I’d prefer to be wrong. My philosophy is that if I don’t speak up, who will? If I don’t call someone out right when they fuck up, how many of the 1200 conference attendees would have questioned that humor? My friends have a saying. That saying is “struggle with love”. I might be in this without the friendship and/or support of established organizations, but I do what I do with a passionate and undying love for my community.
And again, just as gabrielarising said in their post,
It is up to members of next year’s MAASU and event planners of other APIA events to understand the importance of finding real performers who work to positively contribute to the community. By simply finding any wannabe artist with the least bit of talent is counterproductive to the mission of these events.
We want to counter the structures that bring down marginalized communities, but we cannot do that if we do not recognize what is disempowering us. The first step is to transcend our internalized oppressions.
Recognize all forms.
No one has the right to oppress others based on race, genders, sexuality, ability, and beliefs.
This article on ECAASU and its current form is a worthy read, especially the last paragraph. Though ECAASU no longer receives funding from the military and is a stand-up organization that provides amazing resources and opportunities for Asian American students, I think that this post was a necessary post.
Again, props to ECAASU National Board for their continuous work and to ECAASU 2013 Columbia Conference Board for putting together one of the best conferences I’ve been to.
C’mon, Asian Americans. We can do better.
This is an amazing piece that every Asian American activist needs to read
Dear members of the Cornell community:
This afternoon, we were informed that an African-American student returned to his residence hall room yesterday evening and found a noose hanging from the bunk bed. Based on the information available to us at the time we learned of the incident, we took those steps that we consider of paramount importance—ensuring the safety of the particular student. More specifically, the student who found the noose has been able to work with residence life and campus safety to take steps to ensure his safety, and has also been advised to file a police report. We initiated an investigation, were able to determine who was responsible, and will be utilizing the student conduct system.
Based on conversations with both students involved in the matter, it now appears that this act may not have been maliciously intended. To be sure, the impact of acts such as this remains profoundly damaging all the same. Acts that harass or intimidate others are fundamentally in opposition to our closely-held values as members of a shared community; they raise troubling questions and concerns among many of us. I want to remind all members of the Cornell community that support is available through offices including the Rev. Catherine Quehl-Engel (Chaplain), Ken Morris, Jr. (Intercultural Life), Heidi Levine (Dean of Students), Julie Houser (Campus Safety), and the Counseling Center.
I hope this student presses charges and I hope even more that the name of the kid who did it is projected for everyone, including his family, friends, and black friends to see.
How do you put a noose on a black kid’s bunk bed and not have malicious intent.
south asian muslims in pakistan getting wiped out with drone strikes, shot in their own homes, blown to smithereens at weddings and funerals
a man opens fire at a sikh child’s birthday party because he thought they were muslim
a woman pushes a hindu man in front of a coming train because she thought he was muslim
and we still have to go to the movie theater and see movies about how, apparently, we’re the violent ones killing your beautiful white heroes
isnt that the hypocrisy of white supremacy though? that south asian men are somehow, simultaneously, pithy lil dick emasculated mathlete goofy big-bang-theory ass fidgeting engineering students and scary hairy barbarians, hypermasculine terrorists out to skin you alive
i still have to sit in my family violence + criminal justice class and hear someone talk about their pakistani friend who is sexist and likes controlling women, as if that shit don’t happen in amerikkka
if you blame violence against women on the abuser’s otherized culture and not the abuser himself, you are not only being a racist (and islamophobic) fuck, but you do a grievous disservice to the victim
because you take away the abuser’s agency, the fact that he chose to batter and mutilate becomes a non issue
the abuser is not on trial, islam is on trial, south asia is on trial
only select privileged victims/survivors actually get the benefit of sympathy and comfort, while i have to tiredly and achingly fight and fight and fight to defend myself not only against my abuser, but also violence from our legal system, violence from academia, violence from police, violence from every day people who know about my abuse, violence from classmates, violence from strangers
we’re going to be talking about religion’s role in perpetuating and upholding systems of violence and abuse next week, and i just don’t think i can do it any more
you know, being the only visible muslim
having to shoulder the burden of correcting everyone on their misconceptions about islam for the sake of my own safety, but at the same time endangering myself by being forward and public about my thoughts
i’m gonna be honest, it revictimizes me
i’ve suffered abuse and violence and continue to suffer abuse and violence
and being a pakistani muslim girl makes it 100x times harder
because essentially, i reinforce stereotypes about islam and pakistan simply by being alive and a victim
and so i have to have that typical prepared speech about how all cultures perpetuate systems of abuse and systems of violence, not just mine, not just islam, not just pakistan
and everyone will give their patronizing mmmmm hmms and nods of agreement while still tenaciously holding on to their racism and islamophobia, while still never recognizing my victimhood, never recognizing my abuse
and yes, i call myself a victim, not a survivor
because there isn’t a single person on this earth besides myself who will actually legitimize and recognize the fact that yes, i have suffered yes, i have been abused, i have been tortured, i’ve been assaulted, i’ve been battered, i’ve been mutilated, i’ve been beaten, chopped up, and thrown to the dogs (unless it’s to reaffirm a racist and islamophobic agenda)
it’s so fucking hard and it makes me just cry typing this out because i will, forever till i die, be brutalized more and more and more simply because i was born into abuse, because i was assaulted, because i continue to be assaulted
When we talk about Obama’s foreign policy, as if it is unimaginable that someone Black would be involved in the killing (i.e. drone strikes) of brown bodies abroad, I have to take a step back and wonder if some Black people’s surprised attitude comes from some place of…moral superiority? Because…Black and brown people have been killing Black and brown people in the name of internalized White supremacy for a long time. In our families. In our communities. As members of the military. Obama is doing it from a seat of presumed power. Presumed. Because ultimately, this White supremacist capitalist patriarchal society is bigger than any one office, and can use any vessel to do its bidding, including a man that most Black thinkers have a complex relationship with, emotionally.
I’m speaking to the ones who might love Obama as a social icon for Blackness, a man, a husband, a father, an author, a professor, a lawyer, a speaker, a conversationalist, and a past legislator, but are outraged and dismayed by this foreign policy as President. Be outraged and dismayed by this foreign policy! For real! (I tweeted about this dichotomy before, how he simultaneously challenges and upholds White supremacy domestically and foreign, respectively.) But this…”how could he do this” response is ahistorical and honestly comes off as phony. In fact, it reminds me of how Whites will often say to Black homophobes “Whites oppressed you, so you should ‘know better’ than to be oppressive…” as if some sort of superhuman power outside of a society ultimately shaped by White supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy no less, has been bestowed on all Black people so that they are no longer capable of enacting the same behaviors that other races of people do, including Whites, for the purpose of White supremacy in the first place.
Theoretically = vote for whomever you chose.
Practically = Obama: vote for violent foreign policy + domestic policy more beneficial for marginalized groups vs. Romney: vote for even moreso violent foreign policy + domestic policy that destroys marginalized groups; with not voting for Obama or staying home = a vote for Romney.
I’m not saying that I’m happy about this. I’m just saying that this is what it is at the moment.
I saw a great tweet earlier:If any debate could use minor-party candidates, it’s the foreign policy debate.
Great point. However, I don’t want to romanticize third party candidates either because power corrupts. They, just like the major party candidates, could speak a good game and get into the Oval Office and do the bidding of a White supremacist capitalist patriarchal society just as well. Just like I don’t believe planting White women in any space where White men are will automatically benefit Black women or other minority women, I don’t know for sure that a third party candidate is the “answer.” I do know that structurally, more than two dominant political parties are needed. I do know that this imperialist, White supremacist capitalist patriarchal violence being marketed as foreign policy needs to stop.
Oh, and by the way, I know why Obama can’t mention Black people, I even wrote about it before, but damn, can’t ever mention Black people? Women. LGBT. Immigrants. All important groups, but all involve Whites. When he mentioned civil rights the other day, not mentioning Black people was like…are you serious?
We can discuss the financial discrepancy racism causes but how many people really sit and engage in dialogue concerning the psychological destruction racism can cause to one’s psyche.
Lynching is often given a brief description as murder but what isn’t nearly discussed as often is the barbaric acts that followed a lynching. After lynchings witnesses would remove parts of the body to keep as souvenirs, ears,fingers, photos of the bodies were sold as postcards. A small business was was funded by the defiling and demeaning of black peoples bodies
When given this account of history and of police officials participation in these crimes is it a surprise that blacks hold general negative feelings towards the judicial system. When police brutality is still an issue and unarmed black men and women are being murdered is it a surprise when blacks have no faith in the police? What is considered paranoia by whites is really a defense mechanism against the continued assault of police on blacks.
The answers are there but people would rather hide by broad blanket
statementslies rather than comprehend that perhaps this country is not as removed from it’s past as it would have you beleive