A silent protest against the FDA policy that prohibits gay men from donating blood was held at Oregon State University this week. Several students and faculty members stood in silence in front of the Memorial Union.
San Jose State University has banned campus blood drives to protest the FDA policy that prohibits gay men from donating blood. I hope this type of campus action takes place nationwide and that the FDA will eliminate this homophobic policy. I am not an ethicist, but I do feel that unjustly harming the dignity of gay men is no less an ethical issue than that of supplying donated blood.
Sometimes there are moments at OSU that are so amazing that they give you chills to your fingertips. The recent OSU Drag Show took place in a massive tent structure in front of the Memorial Union. (The tent was part of the kickoff event for the OSU Capital Campaign and the coordinators/participants for the Drag Show got to use it the day after the fundraising event.)
I’m not going to tell you her/his name, but this gal/guy, who majors in science, is amazing!!! I cheered until my throat hurt.
For the record, I believe that writing about white privilege and patriarchy is a positive thing to do. I feel very positive when I write about these particular barriers to social justice.
I feel that working towards the elimination of racism and sexism is a positive thing. It’s not an easy thing to do. It often hurts. There are comments that make my heart pound as I attempt to digest scattered remnants of thoughts that have been buried beneath piles of words. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night as I try to negotiate how to respond. It hurts to see comments from friends who say that I only talk about negatives. It is challenging.
TOWARD A PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSOR by Michael Kimmel
THIS BREEZE AT MY BACK
To run or walk into a strong headwind is to understand the power of nature. You set your jaw in a squared grimace, your eyes are slits against the wind, and you breathe with a fierce determination. And still you make so little progress.
To walk or run with that same wind at your back is to float, to sail effortlessly, expending virtually no energy. You do not feel the wind; it feels you. You do not feel how it pushes you along; you feel only the effortlessness of your movements. You feel like you could go on forever. It is only when you turn around and face that wind that you realize its strength.
Being white, or male, or heterosexual in this culture is like running with the wind at your back. It feels like just plain running, and we rarely if ever get a chance to see how we are sustained, supported, and even propelled by that wind.
I’ve been mulling over a few subjects that have been making appearances on my site as of late. The subjects are white privilege and the meritocracy myth a.k.a. “pull yourself up by the bootstraps and inequality vanishes as soon as the laces are tied.”
In addition to D’s encouragement, I received this comment/email today (which actually encouraged me to create this post):
…yes, I am white, and no nothing was given to me. The scholarships I had in college – academic (i.e., merit-based) based, not because they were promised to white people. The grades I earned – because of hard work, not because the professor favored white people. The job I hold now, I earned because of my experience and background, not because I am white.
…And if you do not believe in pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, then perhaps you should more attention to the people who have achieved success in this country by their own hard work.
In response to that sentiment, I present the following comic, excerpts and links regarding the meritocracy myth…
“8 per day…
4 for you.
4 for your partner.
40 each week.
Not enough? Maybe you should go to the library or I don’t know maybe you could study or even take a nap…”
This was part of my Wellness Center spiel during each first year student orientation at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Wellness Center provided free condoms for UIC students. I think we gave out more than 20,000 in 2003. Trojans, LifeStyles, and Durex were our usual fare. Handing out condoms was just a tiny part of the sexual wellness education that came out of the Wellness Center. However, our free condom program was probably the most publicized piece of our sexual wellness educational efforts.
I think I have a social justice crush on Angela Davis. More than 1,000 people attended her talk at Oregon State. Two professors from OSU had the privilege of being her students at UC Santa Cruz. Angela Davis could have talked for a week and I think we all would have listened.
Angela Davis‘ talk covered many topics including: historical memory, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Condoleeza Rice, George Bush, Affirmative Action, Diversity, Marriage, Activism, Racism, Critical Awareness and Prison Systems.
Davis talked about the importance of “historical memory” and the Civil Rights Movement. “The figure of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been set aside and isolated and represented as the lone historical figure, so everyone else who participated in the Civil Rights Movement falls away.”
Davis mentioned that she took umbrage with the term “diversity.” She said that “Diversity is difference that doesn’t make a difference.” Her comments were extremely relevant for institutions of higher education. Enrolling students of color, women, students with disabilities, lgbt students, and students with high financial need does not mean that racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia/heterosexism, and classism will simply disappear. However, “diversity” is thrown around as if it’s a magic anti-oppression elixir. Without social justice oriented, anti-oppression oriented, anti-racist oriented educational efforts, diversity cannot affect change amongst members of the dominant paradigm.
Apparently, both Condoleeza Rice and Angela Davis grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. Davis mentioned that people often attempt to refer to Rice as her “homegirl” (cue laughter from 1,000 people) because they share the experience of growing up in the Jim Crow south.
According to Davis, “Rice narrates her life as triumph over racism.” Davis said she needs to constantly “disassociate her story” from Rice’s story. “How can I claim my story is a triumph? We’ve won some victories..some important victories…, but from the time I was quite small, I learned from my mother that it was about collective victory…community triumph, not about an individual rising above the rest. Affirmative action was a strategy designed to enable communities to move forward, collectives to move forward.”
I attempted to record her entire talk, but my pda wasn’t working correctly so I have over an hour of audio that I pieced together from 40 audio snippets.
The fidelity isn’t the greatest but the message is amazing.
“The victories that we win are not always the victories for which we fought.” — Angela Davis