Eastern – Western: What?

Why is this part of the world eastern and this other part, western?
via http://xkcd.com/

The use of western and eastern to describe certain parts of the world has not always bothered me. In fact, I drank the social studies Kool-Aid just like most of my peers in elementary, middle and high school. We were part of “the western world” and that was that. I wasn’t bothered…I wasn’t even apathetic. Critical thinking of this nature didn’t reach my cranial hemispheres until my mid twenties. So the world is a sphere. It’s round. West and East are sort of arbitrary directions that we use in order to reign in some control of our spinning globe.

Continue reading Eastern – Western: What?

Racism as treasured tradition

While searching for the identity of a racist, homophobic, pro-chief hate e-mailer, I came across this gem of a statement from the University of Illinois Alumni Association’s President:

Statement from UIAA President Loren R. Taylor

The University of Illinois Alumni Association is supportive of the Board of Trustees in light of its difficult decision concerning the Chief Illiniwek tradition. We recognize the board’s responsibility to act in what it believes to be the best interests of the University as a whole. At the same time, we respect the emotional impact this announcement is having on the alumni and friends who treasure this longtime University tradition. Illinois loyalty has never been constricted to one issue or dependent on any one activity, and, as a community, I believe we will emerge from this period stronger, closer and more committed to our shared fundamental values.

Loren R. Taylor
President and CEO
University of Illinois Alumni Association

Translation: The University of Illinois Alumni Association respects the longtime racist tradition of chief illiniwek at UIUC and is sorry for the emotional turbulence that losing the mascot has caused to the dominant majority at UIUC. Our white privilege, racism, and othering of Native folks will continue to make us closer and more committed to our shared fundamental values.

Hierarchy of Oppressions Redux

Once again, oppressions are all bad. Classism, racism, sexism, ableism are all oppressions. A new book by a University of Illinois at Chicago scholar: “The Trouble With Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality” attempts to place classism as the worst of the worst oppressions.

It makes me nervous when a white professor says that class trumps race:

“We must shift our focus from cultural diversity to economic equality to help alter the political terrain of contemporary American life.”

Why can’t “we” focus on both cultural diversity and economic equality?

Oppressions are interconnected. The “isms” feed off of each other. Eliminating class inequality would be great, but what about all forms of inequality? Fixing one problem (classism) while furthering marginalization (in this case, racism) just creates more injustice.

Professor Michaels, diversity is not troublesome.