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Canada apologizes for past injustices

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Canada will apologize for a policy that forced native children into boarding schools in an effort over a century ago to “civilize” and assimilate the nation’s indigenous population into mainstream culture and religion, the Los Angeles Times recently reported.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will offer an expiation on behalf of the schools and will ask more than 150,000 students and their descendants to consider forgiving the country.

Sixty-year old Thomas Louttit was forced to attend one of the dozens of residential schools for eight years. He told the Times that children were assigned numbers for an identity, sexually abused and terrorized, thus leaving many scarred as adults. Many of Louttit’s friends committed suicide or battled alcohol abuse.

The federal government has already begun payouts from its $1.9 billion compensation fund for natives, the Times reported. Yet for many, monetary compensation is not enough. Dr. Roland Chrisjohn, director of the Native Studies program at St. Thomas University in Saskatchewan, said these schools and their affiliated churches must confront the truth.

“The important thing is that they own up to what they did, admit that it is unconscionable, and it was genocide,” Chrisjohn said.

The last residential school was shut down 12 years ago, decades after some of the first schools were built. In 1996, a federal commission determined that the schools were detrimental to the native population and outlined a program of healing and redress.

via Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Written by Eric Stoller

June 10th, 2008 at 9:56 pm

Life@Lane student blog

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Lane Community College Eugene Oregon Student Blogs
Life@Lane is a “student moderated blog” at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. I happened to stumble upon the site while checking out some summer classes at LCC. The blog is prominently advertised on the Lane Community College homepage.

I scrolled down through several posts and was intrigued by a post titled “Would The World Be Better With Women As Leaders?” The post basically says that women are emotional and therefore are not capable of being leaders. Jeffrey, the writer of the post and student at Lane, states in a response to a comment that “i don’t think my gender is superior i just don’t think women would be a good world leader.” Unbelievable. How can Lane Community College support this blog? How can Lane Community College stand behind this overtly sexist post/comment?

Here is the initial blurb about the blog via the LCC Marketing and Public Relations Office:

Life at Lane Student Blog

LIFE@LANE, A STUDENT MODERATED BLOG, launched from Lane’s homepage. Topics are generated by Lane’s Student Service Associates. Student blogs are common at four-year institutions. Lane is among the first community colleges to host a student blog. The purpose is to provide a communication tool primarily for current and prospective students and to increase “community” access.

How in the hell does this blog “increase ‘community’ access”? Student blogs are a common method of providing student insights into the student experience at a college/university. Student blogs are supposed to build community. They are not supposed to perpetuate stereotypes. It seems that Jeffrey, the student blogger at Lane, wanted to generate controversy and not build community. Marketing and Public Relations officials at Lane Community College should post an apology on the Life @ Lane blog, fire Jeffrey, and start moderating the commentary of the Life@Lane blog. I highly doubt that this is how they want life at Lane Community College to be represented.

Surveys, Race, and Banana Republic

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Banana Republic Survey

I received an email regarding a survey last month from Banana Republic stating that “The Banana Republic is looking for a select group of shoppers to become Insiders!” I clicked on the survey link. I was immediately struck by the fact that the wording of the survey epitomized white privilege. Caucasian is the first choice on the race/ethnicity section. Why is it that so many surveys place “Caucasian” or “White” as the first choice for race? The options on this survey are not in alphabetical order and where in the heck is Native American / Alaska Native? Why can we only select one response? Perhaps the folks at Banana Republic didn’t realize that race and ethnicity are not the same thing and that multiracial people do exist!

I guess it’s clear who Banana Republic considers a “select group of shoppers.” Unfortunately, it’s not a huge surprise given the fact that the Banana Republic’s website features 99.9% white models. The only people of color that I could find on the Banana Republic website were on the BR’s parent company, Gap Inc., “Social Responsibility” page in reference to employees and factory conditions. Yuck!

    Could you please tell us which of the following best describes you?
    Please select one response.

  • Caucasian – this is usually easier for White people to check, especially since it’s the first choice.
  • African American
  • Hispanic or Latino – yes, the Banana Republic does not know that race and ethnicity are not the same.
  • Asian – sorry, the Banana Republic does not recognize “Asian American” as an identity.
  • Other – as in the Banana Republic does not recognize your identity as being important enough to recognize.

Written by Eric Stoller

May 25th, 2008 at 9:48 am

OSU + discriminatory blood drives

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gay men should be allowed to donate blood. the FDA policy that bans gay men from donating blood is homophobic and it needs to be eliminated.

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.

It would be wonderful if OSU President Ed Ray would do what San José State University President Don W. Kassing did at the SJSU campus. President Kassing suspended all campus blood drives in protest of the FDA’s homophobic policy citing that the policy violates SJSU’s non-discrimination policy.

Oregon State University’s Institutional Policy on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action states that OSU as “an institution of higher education and as a community of scholars, is committed to the elimination of discrimination and the provision of equal opportunity in education and employment.”

I hope that part of our institutional commitment to the elimination of discrimination would include prohibiting campus blood drives until the FDA removes their current policy.

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Arizona State Legislature

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The Melting Pot incinerates every culture except for white culture

The state legislature in Arizona seems to be under the control of a white supremacist group. A recent proposal targets race-based groups (note that groups that are all or mostly white are not mentioned) that largely consist of students of color.

Arizona public schools would be barred from any teachings considered counter to democracy or Western civilization under a proposal endorsed Wednesday by a legislative panel.

Additionally, the measure would prohibit students of the state’s universities and community colleges from forming groups based in whole or part on the race of their members, such as the Black Business Students Association at Arizona State University or Native Americans United at Northern Arizona University. Those groups would be forbidden from operating on campus.

via The Arizona Republic

The creator of this racist, Euro-centric measure is Republican Russell Pearce. Pearce who was formally the Maricopa County Deputy Sheriff, sneaked the measure into a state senate bill on homeland security.

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San Jose State bans blood drives

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San Jose State University bans campus blood drives

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.

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Written by Eric Stoller

February 5th, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Reparations for Housing Discrimination

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Study: Black Americans Should Get Reparations for Housing Discrimination

Historic housing and lending discrimination against black Americans has created a significant discrepancy in their overall wealth – a gap that may take reparations to close, according to research published by two Oregon State University faculty members.

Jonathan Kaplan, associate professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy, and Andrew Valls, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, published their study in the July issue of Public Affairs Quarterly. In the study, they argue for a shift from viewing reparations in the framework of slavery to emphasizing relatively recent housing discrimination practices which continue to put people of color at a disadvantage.

The average black American has only about 15 percent as much wealth as the average white American, even though black Americans earn about 60 percent as much as white Americans. And at every income level, white Americans have much more wealth than black.

Written by Eric Stoller

January 16th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Post = Book Chapter

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Issues that Concern You Discrimination - Chapter 16 by Eric Stoller
My blog post on affirmative action was recently included as a chapter in a book. The book, “Issues That Concern You: Discrimination,” was published by Greenhaven Press in December, 2007. It is the first time that something that I have written has been published in a book. The book has a hardcover and yes, it is on my desk at this very moment! I am giddy with excitement.

The post (and now book chapter!) was originally written for an assignment in a philosophy class at Oregon State University. The class, Ethics of Diversity, was/is taught by Lani Roberts. I am grateful for everything that she has taught me. Thanks Lani.

More photos of Issues That Concern You: Discrimination are after the jump…
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Blackface and the Barometer

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Update: I dug through a recycling bin and found a copy of the Daily Barometer with the blackface photograph:
Daily Barometer blackface photograph

The Daily Barometer is the student-run newspaper at Oregon State University. A recent front page article showed a photograph of a white student in blackface. The article encouraged OSU students to “blackout” the football stadium.

Renee Roman Nose, an OSU student and frequent Daily Barometer columnist, wrote a column in response to the Barometer blackface photograph/article.

Unfortunately, the Barometer editorial staff/advisory board took umbrage with Renee’s column and have banned that column and any of her future columns from being printed in the student newspaper.

I found out about Renee’s column and sent her an email asking if I could post it on my blog. Renee’s response: “Please feel free to post it. It’s nice to know that there is freedom of speech at ericstoller.com! :)

Renee’s column entitled, Blackface: It’s Just for Racists, is after the cut…

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Torii Mor Winery

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Torii Mor Winery

The Torii Mor Winery is located in the hills outside of Dundee Oregon. The scenery is perfect, the wine is tasty, and the service is atrocious (translation: Torii Mor was More Terrible).

There were six of us who entered the tasting room at Torii Mor a couple weeks ago. Posted near the entrance was a sign stating that groups of 6 or more would need a reservation. We hoped it would be okay if we inquired within to see if it was okay for our group to enter the premises. I was the last member of our party to enter the tasting room foyer. (To protect the innocent, I will provide nom de plumes for all of the parties involved sans myself.)

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Written by Eric Stoller

September 10th, 2007 at 5:34 pm