November 14, 2008

Intercultural Resource Center!

The Intercultural Resource Center

As some of you may have heard, the new Intercultural Resource Center is up and running!

Why is this important at Stonehill? Stonehill has been in need for an intercultural center for some time now. Until the IRC opened up, Stonehill didn’t have any place where students would have access to information and material dealing with Intercultural Affairs. With this new center open, students now have another valuable resource available to them, and one that is easily accessible.

Where is it located? It is located on the first floor of the Roche Dining Commons (near the mailboxes) and will be staffed by work study students from 10am-4pm every day. The center is a place where anyone who is interested in learning more about different cultures and issues such as race, gender, socio-economic diversity, etc, can come and find some resources.

What can I do there? Students can do a variety of things at the intercultural center. Right now we are in the process of moving stuff in, but once that is complete there will be many books and videos all available for student use. From watching a video on “George Lopez and the New American Dream” to maybe taking out a book on a culture that you’ve been curious about, The Intercultural Resource Center is a place that is here to serve you, the student. We are also in the process of ordering some books and interesting material, so be on the lookout for that!

For Faculty, there are a number of books on diversity of teaching and ways to include underrepresented groups into your curriculum.

Who are YOU? My name is Antonio Lebron. I am a freshman from the Bronx, NY, and I am majoring in psychology. At Stonehill I am involved in DOC (Diversity on Campus), the Martial Arts Club and the Swim Club. During the day when I’m not in class or attempting to stay afloat at the Y, I am one of the people who will be staffing the Intercultural Resource Center. So far, not many people have stopped by. However, we hope to change this in the future and turn the office into a place where everyone feels welcome to come and see what’s going on!

When can I visit?
The Center is open every day from 10am-4pm, but we are hosting a big Open House, too! Come by on Monday, December 8th from 10am-1pm, and we’ll have some good food (not that you’d only go for the food, right?).

Hopefully we’ll see you there!

- Antonio '12

November 9, 2008

Really? Really.

I'm trying not to let some of the bummer antics of people who are saying "racism is over" or "people need to stop whining now" dampen my post-Obama high. So, I hope this is the first and last post I really need to write about this.

But, writing it allows me to explore issues of race, which, after all, is my job, right? So, here goes. 

Here are some of the interesting comments I'd like to highlight from people who have commented post-11/4. As a note, I think these are interesting comments to look at regardless of who you voted for or who I, the writer, supported. They are an interesting lens into race in America. These are actual first hand quotes gathered from things like Facebook comments, website comments that some of us moderate, and face to face interactions. None of these are made up.

1. "Now that Obama is President-elect, people of color have no more reasons to whine." - McCain supporter
My eye catches 2 phrases in here: "people of color" and "whine". I think it's interesting that folks think that Obama's election affects and is meaningful to only people of color. Because I work in a predominantly white environment, I couldn't help but see more white people celebrating than people of color. If you were to walk around my environment the next day, you'd see white people being moved to tears, cheering, celebrating, etc. So, I think his success was a great day for people who voted for Obama, and not just people of color. Is there huge significance for people of color - particularly black men? Yes. 

"Whine". What were we whining about? Is it whining to be treated like Americans in the same way that other Americans are treated? Is 'activism' being confused as 'whining'? When I actually pushed this back on someone who wrote this, they responded with, "I'm sick of hearing successful and respected black people whining about the race card when they already make more money than I do and get more respect than I do." 

My response is that people of color are often treated with respect in certain places -- it's that we want to be respected all the time, not just in situations where we are there because of our positions. So, while my black male friends who have dreadlocks and dark skin are respected when they wear their suits to work, they are still followed in stores by security guards or avoided by people clutching their purses. Is that respect? Is it "whining" to not want people to assume you are going to rob them just because of the color of your skin?

2. "Just because my candidate, McCain, lost doesn't mean that I won't support Obama as my President. Can you actually say the same?" -McCain supporter
As a Democrat living in a country ruled by Republicans for over 8 years, yes, I can. I did. I have. I didn't agree with George W. Bush and his policies. But, I still supported our countries. More importantly, I supported the men and women who chose to leave their families and fight overseas so that my family could be safe. 

3. My Facebook status read: "I am waking up with a new love for our country." Some responded with "Well, I have always loved our country and have always been proud to be an American." I thought it was interesting that a few people read that as saying I DIDN'T love my country. In fact, it says, I am waking up with a NEW love ..." I voted for Obama AND I love my country, support with deep humility and respect for the men and women risking their lives overseas, and for the families who are left behind waiting, mourning, or celebrating the return of their loved ones. And, I have always been proud to be an American. Why was there an assumption that I, or other Democrats, don't love my country? 

So, chime in! What are some of the things you've heard and had to deal with -- from either side??

November 5, 2008

Obama's Victory: Celebrate, but don't forget...

Donna Vivar

I woke up this morning still in shock. Barack Obama, a person of color, is our country’s next president! Along with many fellow Americans, his words last night brought me to tears. For the first time in awhile, I have hope. We have a president that once again is for the people. He is a voice and an ally to marginalized communities. And it does not stop there! We also have a nation of people that are ready for change, that rallied together to make this happen. The crowds of people full of passion and hope had me waking up feeling different this morning. All the patience, heartaches, joys, challenges, and hard work are paying off as a person fighting for social justice in this country. This is definitely a time for celebration as we recognize history being made.

In addition to pausing for a moment to enjoy the breaking of a glass ceiling for folks of color (do you hear the beautiful shatter?), I also want to recognize the voices of various media commentators implying that Barack Obama’s victory is proof that we have reached racial equality, that now anything is possible, and there is equal opportunity for all in this country. It is true that history has been made and change is in the making, but I would also like to urge people to remember that this is just the beginning. Racial equality has not yet been reached, equal opportunity is not yet for all (NOTE: As I am typing away, Prop. 8 Banning same sex-marriage again is California is close to passing), but yes, I believe anything is possible.

For all of us with fire in our bellies who believe in basic values of equality and respect (regardless of political affiliation) need to keep going! There is still so much work to be done. Whether you are a grassroots organizer, a student, a family man or woman, or just someone that speaks out when someone makes a racist comment or phrase like, “That’s so gay,” we need to keep working for a just society.

So…enjoy the day, celebrate, and rest up from all of the excitement because we still have work to do.