Friday, February 9, 2007

Below are two posts made by students at University High School, attacking my daughter, who is American Indian. They are attacks due to a program she started last fall, to advocate for African American, Latino/a, and American Indian Students. It is the Minority Advocacy Program, or MSA. The posts are anonymous.

They appeared on the school's newspaper website, and have been taken down by school administration. I am posting them here so that others can read them in their entirety.

Until it is taken down, too, the entire conversation during which these two posts occurred is available here:


Judith Estrada is yet another shining example of a seemingly illiterate commenter. Nobody commenting here is racist, Jude. In fact, most of us are from extremely diverse backgrounds (more so than Liz, who—shockingly—is only HALF Native American). Our ancestors were killed too.

For instance, Jono commented on his Jewish heritage—the Holocaust happened much more recently than the initial European colonization of the Americas. I’ve been told by various Muslim students at Uni that they’ve come across violence, just because of their origins.

These students have come across a much more tangible intolerance, from meeting remaining survivors, or even being treated violently themselves.

And yet, unlike the MSA founders, they haven’t used this (EXTERNAL) intolerance as a crutch. The MSA has met disagreeing viewpoints because the people who run it (i.e. Liz) fail to see that there are other people who have problems out there, and that they might even be feeling more pain.

The people here who are the most uncomfortable are the editors, who have been verbally abused and still haven’t backed down—they’re 16- and 17-year-olds who do not run a professional publication, and yet you’re calling them arrogant and ignorant racists.

Unlike Liz, they are not privileged enough to comment back—they’ll only be accused of being white supremacists once more. The irony is that, as Andrea Park pointed out early on in this onslaught, most of them could be seen as less privileged than Liz: out of the 10 of them, 8 are from non-White Anglo-Saxon Protestant origins, and of those 8, none of them are less than 1/2 ethnic.

Of the Uni High students, I’m sure Ms. Patton or Sue Kovacs could give you an accurate number of economically underprivileged children, and most of them would probably be white (especially considering the previous implications that Uni is comprised of all whites—I suppose the massive percentage of Asian, Indian, and Arab kids doesn’t count for anything else).

If Liz and the gang were truly so underprivileged and mistreated, they wouldn’t be able to carry on this ideological battle, and Liz wouldn’t be getting paid for causing unnecessary dissent; if you all represent an underprivileged culture that’s been so suppressed by the mainstream, then how come you’re employed by a highly-regarded university, such as the U of I? How is it that you all are members of middle class America? If you were truly so underprivileged, you’d be living in the inner city in the slums, or in a hovel on a reservation somewhere (and to those people who do live in such terrible conditions, I extend my warmest sentiments, as well as my hand for aid—I realize that there’s such a thing as racism, but I don’t see that The Chief trumps an example of genocide such as the Holocaust).

Disagreeing with you and pointing out the flaws in your argument isn’t racism—painting a picture of Uni as a breeding ground for racism and intolerance…that’s another story.

And one more thing: Latina/Latino only refers to a certain demographic; Hispanic is a broader term that applies also to Spanish-speaking Europeans—you obviously know what you’re talking about, Judith.


Ok. Well let me ask you something. You say:

“Some people are mistreated because their skin pigment is darker (an otherwise irrelevant trait, thus proven by biology).”

I agree. Now I ask you, is Liz Reese darker skinned than Arabs? I don’t about you, but my eyes tell me no. Is she darker than other races (i.e. Some asians, Indians, etc.)? No. So is she being mistreated because of her skin color? Not as far as I know.

If the MSA program comes down to skin color, then there is no excuse for it excluding so many groups. And ultimately, skin color is what its coming down to.

Liz Reese is Native American. Or 1/4 Native American rather. I respect that, I truly do. But she is just as privileged as any other person at Uni. There are people MUCH less well off than her. And her skin color is not darker than a white person with a tan. So where is her mistreatment coming in?



Judith said...

I just want to clarify that I didnt call the editors "ignorant and arrongant racists". What I was refering to is the institutionalized ignorance and arrogance people bring when refering to different peoples histories in disrespectful ways (i.e. found in annonymous postings).

Also-- my plead to use the terms Latina/Latino or Chicana/Chicano opposed to Hispanic are due to my own lived history of resistance and struggle.

Bint Alshamsa said...

Judith, unfortunately, that person who wrote about "Hispanic" being the better term probably has no idea how outdated it truly is. Latin@s/ Chican@s are OUR people. Their struggle is my struggle. Every group should be free to define is most respectful.

--In solidarity