Alec Weisman, Editor-in-Chief
Contributions by California Review Editorial Board
Below is our uncut video footage of the two hour long “Black Student Union Press Conference and Rally.”
Unfortunately, midway through the teach-in, the Black Student Union rudely stood up and instigated a walkout because they weren’t the center of attention. UPDATE: According to the La Jolla Light: “Fox agreed immediately to providing solid funding for the African-American studies minor and ethnic studies programs. Some of the other more complex demands, such as creating a ‘diversity sensitivity requirement’ for all undergraduates, Fox delegated to vice chancellors for further study.”
As the walkout was occurring, many students and faculty kept out of Price Center West because of the overflow moved into the main room to participate in the teach-in. One of the students who stood up to speak was the Chairwoman of the College Republicans at UCSD. Her comment during the teach-in was: “There’s so many things I’d like to say. First off I think that the vast majority of people in this room would come to the starting point that the Compton Cookout was disgusting. I don’t think a lot of people support. I think most people in this room find it absolutely disgusting, many of us find it racist, including me. However I’d also like to say that I appreciate this forum, the fact that I do feel that this is starting becoming more of a dialogue, and that everybody can get up and get up say what they think about this, so I do appreciate that and the administration for providing that. But what I don’t hear is, I guess my problems with this are the solutions. I read the list, the thirty three demands from the BSU, and it doesn’t seem to be in line with what Dr. Martin Luther King dream for this country would have been. I think that Dr. King represented a dream, and eloquently put forward a dream to this country of a united culture, and a united, he spoke about sitting down at a table of brotherhood [Applause] And I’m not seeing that. I think it’s cool if you want to have these centers and to have programs and stuff like that, but the coercion that is going on, ok we are going to force people to take certain classes, we are going to force people, and I don’t think the message of the classes, I think learning history is really important, but I don’t think the message of those classes are necessarily uniting. Martin Luther King said his dream is deeply embedded in the American Dream, deeply embedded in those words ‘That All men are created equal’ not that all end up with exactly the same outcomes or exactly the same percentages in every university for every particular group of people, and I think to do it that way makes a mockery of ‘judging people by content of their character rather the color of their skin.’ [Applause] Furthermore, I think that the most important kind of diversity, is one that I’m not hearing anybody talking about these days, and that’s diversity of thought. The University was supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, and it’s supposed to be the place where people come to learn to exchange ideas and to have a civil dialogue which once again I appreciate the University for providing a place to have a civil dialogue, because these problems, and these racial tensions are never going be resolved if one side is making demands on the other. I think its much more important that we sit down and talk about it, and we understand there are really high emotions running through these types of instances, and yea they were pretty disgusting and racist; they don’t represent the entire community at UCSD, or even the majority of the community at UCSD. [Applause] Alright I’m just going to wrap it up. I just want to say, I also don’t think it’s fair to generalize and say that oh yea because of the color of your skin you have a certain amount of privileges. My parents risked their lives to come to this country, and they came here with three hundred bucks, [breaks down] three hundred dollars, and they didn’t receive anything, as even a gift, based on the color of their skin.”
Other great statements were made during the public commentary portion of the teach-in. Here’s video coverage of that.
P.S. Thanks to Vercingetorix who left a concise report about the teach-in on our blog. Below is his comment:
“Let’s examine some of the ‘Facts’ and arguments put forth at the televised ‘teach-in’ (I would love to see if anyone has a recording or info on what went down at the ‘spontaneous’ event too).
‘I was offended when the administration said there was nothing they could do because it was an off campus event…It is clearly stated that the vice-chancellor of student affairs has power over off-campus events’ [2nd to last student to speak]
This is entirely wrong and unlawful. The UCSD administration has no power over unofficial events hosted by students that take place off campus, particularly if no crime is committed. This is a First Amendment right.
‘Only two courses on Africa or Race and Ethnicity were offered in the History Department this quarter’ [I think this is what she said, but I’m not sure; in any case, she implied that the History department did not offer enough race and ethnic history courses- this was the last speaker]
UCSD’s history department already offers an entire introductory course every quarter on race and ethnicity to go with its 2 other introductory courses in US History and East Asian History (that sounds like plenty of emphasis on race to me). This quarter, the History Dept. is offering 3 courses on Africa, a course on African American legal history, a course on Mexican-American History, a course on women in America, a course on gender in antiquity, and a course on race and sexual politics in addition to the intro course. I count 9.
‘Our demands are not at all for separation.’ [BSU students]
Read their demands. They’re all about separation and special ‘privilege’ (not in the abstract, theory sense either- very specific privileges with ethnically disproportionate results!).
‘When I think about my gender and I know that I’m male, I know that gives me a lot of privilege…I have had entirely too many conversations with people who don’t understand because they haven’t first thought about their own privilege.’ [Director of the LGBT Center]
This is a classic argument used to shift the nature of any debate involving race, sex, age, size (yep, size-ism), disabilities, etc. from a discussion about the facts of the case to the identities of the people involved in the case. ‘Privilege’ is a vague term bandied about quite often in the post-modern academic literature that acts as a catch-all term for any perceived inequality in outcome; graduate from a university? You’ve got privilege! Have a job? You’ve got privilege! Were born with above-average intelligence? You’ve got privilege! Their reasoning goes that if you have privilege, you simply cannot understand what other people without that privilege are thinking and thus any arguments you make are invalid. Despite being logically deficient, this is one of the most common arguments used to defend why nobody except ‘the oppressed’ has a right to speak on these issues. (For the logical conclusion to some of the efforts made to ‘correct’ privilege, see Harrison Bergeron)
‘Real Pain, Real Action’ [T-shirts of BSU members]
Like Abraham Lincoln did, I would like to introduce some ‘spot’ resolutions: can you point me to the exact ‘spot’ where people were ‘hurt’? Provide examples of how exactly people’s rights were violated? Show me where laws were broken? Prove to me how ‘pain’ was a direct outcome of a Facebook event posting?
‘It’s not about you. It’s bigger than you.’ [someone explaining why this incident was a big deal]
This is a pretty blatant attack on individualism and ties many of these arguments into larger Marxist/socialist theories. According to this view, individuals don’t matter; it’s large groups, in this case ethnic groups, that do. Thus UCSD shouldn’t make admissions decisions about each individual student, they should look at all AA and Hispanic students as part of the same group and make admissions decisions about the group. Ironically, I’ve heard many anecdotes from ethnically minority students complain about how they’re always called upon to be the ‘ambassadors’ for their group’s point of view in classes. The point of affirmative action and ‘diversity’ is that those points of view could not possibly be represented by other non-ethnic students in the class, so the university needs to admit students to provide those points of view. If someone can actually logically explain how these two points of view can be reconciled, I will tip my hat to you.
‘Take classes on these issues if you don’t see anything wrong’
Yes, take these classes and find out what? That you’ll fail the class if you don’t agree with the professor? This is the problem with trying to defer to academia on this issue; you’ll only get one side of the story because the whole point of having these classes is that there is only one ‘true’ side to the story. If you disagree, you’re a privileged racist. The best way to avoid this would be to study these issues in regular sociology, anthropology, and history classes as parts of larger issues, but sadly that doesn’t seem to happen enough.
‘You’re allowed to have a white trash party, you’re white…so long as someone is being hurt, then something you’re doing is hurtful’ [Visiting Professor who spoke]
So is this the same line of argument addressing why the n-word is cool if you’re AA, but a sign of evil racism inside you if you’re white? I strongly disagree with the idea that people should be limited in their speech by their skin color (even informally; if you say something, it shouldn’t matter what your ethnic background is). Also, people get ‘hurt’ by many things, and it’s their own right to be offended but NOT a right of other people to be forced to change their behavior to avoid that if it does not violate the laws of this nation. It’s like if I’m grading a paper and I comment that you failed to understand the argument, you have a right to feel ‘hurt’ if you want, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad that I told you that you were wrong.
‘There is no trust on this campus…The atmosphere is toxic and hostile…It has become unbearable’ ‘Unless the demographics change… I don’t know how much longer I can take it… the faculty and administration have fostered a toxic environment.’ [Theater professor who spoke]
All this without one actual example of a ‘toxic’ environment, much less how the faculty and administration are at fault. I really would like to hear about what the administration has done ‘wrong’ in the eyes of BSU (I personally think they erred by sending out emails that blew the whole thing out of proportion).
Finally, a few good things that came out of the event:
-The self-proclaimed ‘white guy’ who offered a very earnest point of view that was completely ‘underrepresented’ at the event.
-The high school teacher from Compton at least provided facts about how Compton is majority Hispanic now.
-The guy who got up there and said, ‘UCSD is institutionally racist. They sponsor the Che Cafe. I’m Cuban. Che killed my family. Thank you.’
-The moderator was as a whole very fair and strongly encouraged students to respect the speakers and not pull a UCI. I respected her for that, even if she clearly seemed to sympathize with the ‘spontaneous’ protest.”
* BREAKING NEWS: A California Review staffer discovered that many of the individuals at the rally were in fact bussed in to the event. It was also overheard that either UCSD or their own school paid for the busing. If anyone can find further information on this we would be extremely grateful.
The press continues to weigh in on this matter, most of whom have thrown their journalistic integrity to the curb in order to jump on the bandwagon of “tolerance” and “diversity.”
NBC San Diego quoted me: “They want to insult and offend everyone; that’s fine,” said UCSD senior Alec Weisman, editor of “California Review”, a political magazine whose ASB funding is being withheld pending the further tweaking of policies governing student media. “But they’ve never advocated to harm or hurt an individual.”
For the record, I was misquoted in their article, as during the interview I said that as far as I knew, the Koala has never advocated PHYSICALLY harming or hurting an individual. It’s also interesting to note that I was the only free speech supporter mentioned at all.
Other media outlets have covered this story as well. They include the San Diego News Network, which has covered the petition to shut down the Koala; the Los Angeles Times, which outlines the controversy and cites The Guardian’s editorial article; and KPBS, which claims that the Compton Cookout is a symptom of broad changes in popular media and culture, and analyzed the new generational trends. Earl Ofari Hutchinson also weighed in, arguing that the UCSD partiers’ behavior, while troubling, distracts from the real problem: “the endless parade of gangster rappers, some black filmmakers, and comedians [who] routinely reduce young black women to ‘stuff,’ ‘bitches’ and ‘hoes’. Their contempt reinforces the slut image of black women and sends the message that violence, mistreatment and verbal abuse of black women are socially acceptable.”
The Daily Aztec, San Diego State University’s student newspaper, has joined the mob favoring censorship over free speech.
A poll was taken by SurveyUSA regarding the controversy at UCSD. Every demographic surveyed believed that the party was an expression of free speech, though only young people aged 18-34 and blacks believed it was not offensive.
The Koala has become so popular that American Dad showed covert solidarity with them by introducing their own C.I.A. Koala, Reginald. To watch the show and their own “offensive” little Koala,tune into this Hulu video at the 3:25 mark.
Does anyone want more proof that the BSU only cares about limiting the rights of those who disagree with them? Well, they refused to allow TRTV to film their “Honest and Open Dialogue on Campus Climate” last night. Watch the video and listen carefully at the 20 second mark to hear someone in the background say that filming is not allowed. It was very clever of the BSU to rephrase the question in the end and then go on with their meeting.
According to the TRTV, their “goal was to record the event from a purely historical viewpoint, and to give voice to the members of the BSU and the attendees of the dialogue … We have approached the BSU multiple times about broadcasting an interview or providing an outlet for their voice, yet despite our efforts we have been met with hostility and a negative attitude.”
For the record, it is legal to film on a public university in almost all cases, and most prohibitions of it are just attempts to intimidate you into stopping and leaving.
Here’s another example of the self-centered blindness of the “distressed students.” From a speech made in Solis Hall: “And to all of you who think it’s funny, it’s not funny. And for freedom of speech. Where’s my freedom of speech? I feel so silenced at this University.” What freedom does he think he’s taking advantage of at that moment? Is anybody preventing him from speaking?
We had agreed to permit the Koala to break this story on administrative hypocrisy at the “Teach-In” today, as it was just too comical. Unfortunately, they were unable to attend the “teach-in”, so they broke it on their website instead. We’re now joining them. The “UCSD Black Alumni: Down Home Reunion,” called the “UCSD Black Alumni Reunion: Kool-Aid ‘n’ Chicken” until a recent hasty name change (see the Google cache result below), is scheduled for February 26.
The menu includes such stereotyped foods as “Collard greens, macaroni & cheese, roast beef, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, sweet tea or Kool-Aid.” Is it just me or do I see a strange resemblance to the foods from the “Compton Cookout,” which included such delicacies as “40’s, Kegs of Natty, dat Purple Drank – which consists of sugar, water, and the color purple, chicken, coolade, and of course Watermelon” (although, due to its satirical nature, DJ Jiggaboo Jones did not bother to compose a real menu). This event is sponsored by the Black Alumni Council, UCSD Alumni Association, 2010 Black History Month Planning Committee, and other campus sponsors.
Finally, we were sent a statement from the College Republicans at UCSD, the Young Americans for Liberty, and the Young Americans for Freedom at UCSD. Read it below:
Institutionalizing Segregation and Racism at UCSD
Dear Fellow UCSD Students,
Undoubtedly, the UCSD students who went to the “Compton Cookout” party and the organizers of the party showed poor taste and insensitivity. Even more obviously, The Koala, a publication that exists purely in order to offend people with standards (no need to be standards of decency, it offends just about any standards), circulated an incredibly offensive response on their TV channel. But the explosive response to these actions is the worst part of the whole affair.
Among the BSU’s demands are: that UCSD change its admissions policy from a comprehensive to a “holistic” review system – we all know that means affirmative action; that UCSD pay for everything from stipends for BSU members since they are “doing the work that should be done by the University,” to a new African-American Resource Center, to cultural murals; that all UCSD students take three “diversity requirement” courses from the ethnic studies department to graduate; and finally that the “campus climate” become UCSD’s “number one priority” – excuse me, isn’t that supposed to be all of our educations?
Are you kidding me? The University is supposed to shell out what looks like millions of dollars, in the middle of its fiscal crisis, to pacify people offended by some students’ behavior at a distasteful off-campus party? Worse than the monetary issue, however, is the insidious idea that the way to heal these alleged racial divides is, naturally, by institutionalizing those divides. It seems that the BSU’s dream of racial harmony is significantly different than Dr. King’s, whose dream was to see people of all different races sitting down together, at “the table of brotherhood;” a dream he said was “deeply rooted in the American dream” and the creed espoused by our Constitution – that “we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” Instead, the University’s response to racial tensions has been to segregate us, to create isolated spaces that separate us, separate educational programs that drive us further apart, and separate admission standards that make a mockery of the idea of judging candidates by their character and their achievements, and not their skin color.
Out of respect for Dr. King’s principle, we have a few demands of our own:
• We demand that the University stop supporting racist and segregationist policies by funding a separate resource center for every aggrieved population’s personal use.
• We demand that the UC system no longer tolerate “separate but equal” graduation ceremonies for racial minority groups.
• We demand the UCSD administrators reject all future attempts to extort money and special privileges from this esteemed University on the basis of a controversy caused by a just a few students.
Let us judge those who have created these offensive situations on campus and off by the “content of their character” – they’re childish attention-seekers with poor taste. Let’s not glorify and give power to their attempts by clamping down on free speech. Instead, let’s laugh it off and move on with our lives, united by the American creed and our American values of freedom and equality of opportunity. Wouldn’t that be a more fitting tribute to Dr. King’s dream?
Inez Feltscher, Chair of College Republicans at UCSD — Joined by Young Americans for Liberty at UCSD & Young Americans for Freedom at UCSD & College Republicans at UCSD