Scientists Calling for True Diversity in STEM.

SACNAS social media team member and University of Wisconsin-Madison SACNAS Chapter Secretary Nik Santistevan says he’s going to SACNAS 2016. Courtesy Facebook/SACNAS.

SACNAS social media team member and University of Wisconsin-Madison SACNAS Chapter Secretary Nik Santistevan says he’s going to SACNAS 2016. Courtesy Facebook/SACNAS.

Thousands of Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists will gather at the Long Beach Convention Center for the largest multicultural and multidisciplinary diversity in STEM event in the country from October 13 to 15.

Hosted by the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), some 4,000 students and science professionals of color and their allies will spend three days in California discussing cutting-edge science.

“To maintain a globally competitive STEM workforce, we need to achieve true diversity in STEM,” said SACNAS Executive Director Dr. Antonia O. Franco, in a press release. “The sheer number of attendees proves that not only does STEM diversity matter, it is possible.”

This conference serves as a training ground for the next generation of STEM professionals, and aims to level the playing field for first generation college students of color through mentoring, professional development, and networking.

The keynote speakers are listed in the full article.

Facebook, Oh Facebook XI.

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“This poor Gorilla. How is she going to function in the real world, by not having all of her luxurious vacations paid for anymore? She needs to focus on getting a total make-over (especially the hair), instead of planning vacations! She is a disgrace to America!”

Jane Wood Allen, a Chestatee Elementary School teacher in Georgia just couldn’t stop herself from being an obnoxious bigot all over Facebook. It seems that americannews.com (no, I’m not linking), an alt-right sewer, is Ms. Allen’s favourite reading. Apparently, they had a nasty story about the First Lady, and Ms. Allen couldn’t wait to get her 2cents in.

…The post was shared over 2,000 times after Houston Ph.D. student Roni Dean-Burren shared screenshots of Allen’s commentary.

[…]

A spokeswoman for the school district, Jennifer Caracciolo, told Forsyth County News that school officials were made aware of Allen’s posts on Friday, September 30, and were looking into the matter. She said, “Racism and discrimination are not tolerated in Forsyth County Schools.”

The post prompted Internet users calling for her to be fired. A Facebook page called, “Chestatee Elementary School Fire Jane Wood Allen, NOW” was also created and demanded her removal.

I strongly advise not reading the comments on that tweet.

In a statement released on Facebook on Monday afternoon, Forsyth County Schools wrote, “Effective Monday, Oct. 3, Jane Wood Allen has been relieved from duty and is no longer an employee of Forsyth County Schools. Racism and discrimination are not tolerated in our school district. We are committed to ongoing staff training on the acceptance of all individuals. As this is a personnel matter, the district will provide no further comment.”

I have to say, I’m pleased Ms. Allen outed herself as a vile bigot, because no children should be exposed to anyone with such festering poison, and I have no doubt whatsoever that Ms. Allen has not been able to make herself look at and treat children of colour as well as white children. Ms. Allen, you are no loss. It’s a shame you didn’t lose your job ages ago. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Via Raw Story.

Indoctrination! Political Fad!

White Privilege survey (Photo courtesy Jason Schmidt).

White Privilege survey (Photo courtesy Jason Schmidt).

Some parents in Aloha are concerned about a “white privilege” survey their children received as homework.

Jason Schmidt’s son, a senior at Aloha High School, was given the survey as homework. Schmidt said he’s not too happy about the form.

“I think he should be learning actual education and not be a part of some social experiment or some teacher’s political agenda,” Schmidt said.

Confronting implicit bias, the effects of stereotypical tropes, and learning how to be aware and think critically are actual education, Mr. Schmidt, a very good education. Your child’s teachers are providing a profound and valuable experience, one which will foster openness, acceptance, mindfulness, and empathy. And yet, you complain. I’d say your child’s school got to him just in time.

But Schmidt sees it differently.

“With the amount of money we pay for schools, they should be educating not indoctrinating our students about the latest political fad or political agenda a teacher wants to get across,” Schmidt said.

:snortchoke: Schools are not swimming in money, sir, and teachers are most seriously underpaid. The school in question is one of high diversity:

The school, located in the suburb of Beaverton, is ethnically diverse, according to statistics published byU.S. News& World Report. The student body comprises 34 percent Hispanic students, and 45 percent white students. Native Americans, blacks, and Asians and Pacific Islanders also attend the school, where approximately half of the students are listed as “economically disadvantaged.”

So it’s significant, teaching about privilege, and how that privilege affects all facets of life for people. As for “latest political fad”, FFS, Mr. Schmidt. I think you need to take your child’s class, you’re in need of an education. This country is founded on colonial racism, the whole infrastructure of this country is racist. The very least white people could do is confront their own privilege.

According to the Beaverton School District, this class deals with a number of topics affecting our country today including race, sexuality and religion. The hope is to get students talking civilly with one another about challenging topics.

All the cheers for the school, and the teachers, you’re doing a great job! As for Mr. Schmidt, I won’t place money on his getting a clue or three, but there’s hope for his child.

Via KATU.

Indigenous News Round-up.

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The Immortal Mr. Plastic.

Excerpts only, click links for full articles.

barack_obama On My Final White House Tribal Nations Conference, by President Barack Obama:

This week, I hosted my eighth and final White House Tribal Nations Conference as President, a tradition we started in 2009 to create a platform for people across many tribes to be heard. It was a remarkable testament to how far we’ve come.

It was just eight years ago when I visited the Crow Nation in Montana and made a promise to Indian country to be a partner in a true nation-to-nation relationship, so that we could give all of our children the future they deserve.

winonaladuke-e1336873224811  Slow, Clean, Good Food, by Winona LaDuke:

In an impressive fossil fuels travel day, I left the Standing Rock reservation and flew to Italy for the International Slow Food gathering known as Terra Madre. A world congress of harvesters, farmers, chefs and political leaders, this is basically the World Food Olympics. This is my fifth trip to Italy for Slow Food. I first went with Margaret Smith, when the White Earth Land Recovery Project won the Slow Food Award for Biodiversity in 2003, for our work to protect wild rice from genetic engineering. This year, I went as a part of the Turtle Island Slow Food Association- the first Indigenous Slow Food members in the world, a delegation over 30 representing Indigenous people from North American and the Pacific. We have some remarkable leaders, they are young and committed.

It is a moment in history for food, as we watch the largest corporate merger in history- Bayer Chemical’s purchase of Monsanto for $66 billion; with “crop protection chemicals” that kill weeds, bugs and fungus, seeds, and (likely to be banned in Europe) glyphosate, aka Roundup. Sometimes I just have to ask: ‘Just how big do you all need to be, to be happy?’

tribal_chairman_jeff_l-_grubbe_agua_caliente_band_of_cahuilla_indians_main_0  Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Donates $250,000 to Standing Rock Legal Fund:

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is donating $250,000 to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s legal fund, citing the need to keep pushing for proper consultation even after the Dakota Access oil pipeline issue is decided.

“We support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s effort to ensure the United States Army Corps of Engineers, or any other agency or department of the United States, strictly adheres to federal environmental review and tribal consultation requirements prior to authorizing any projects that may damage the environment or any sites that are of historic, religious, and cultural significance to any Indian tribe,” said Agua Caliente Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe in a statement on September 27, calling on President Barack Obama to make sure consultation is thorough.

3-fiesta-protest-woman-with-sign_dsc0508_widea  Natives Speak Out Against the Santa Fe Fiesta – The Bloodless Reconquest:

A loud group of about 50 mostly Native protesters disrupted the Entrada kickoff event of the Fiestas de Santa Fe. This is the annual reenactment of Don Diego de Vargas’s “peaceful reconquest” of Santa Fe in 1692 as produced by Caballeros de Vargas, a group which is a member of the Fiesta Council, and several current and past City of Santa Fe Councilors are members of the Fiesta Council or played parts in the Entrada over the years. So these are layers you must wade through when people ask questions and protesters demand changes. And changes or outright abolishment of The Entrada are what the groups “The Red Nation” and “In The Spirit of Popay” are asking for.

climate_news_network-binoculars-flickr-aniket_suryavanshi  Dire Climate Impacts Go Unheeded:

The social and economic impacts of climate change have already begun to take their toll—but most people do not yet know this.

Politicians and economists have yet to work out how and when it would be best to adapt to change. And biologists say they cannot even begin to measure climate change’s effect on biodiversity because there is not enough information.

Two studies in Science journal address the future. The first points out that historical temperature increases depress maize crop yields in the U.S. by 48 percent and have already driven up the rates of civil conflict in sub-Saharan Africa by 11 percent.

big-pix-rick-bartow-counting-the-hours ‘Counting the Hours’ By Rick Bartow:

Rick Bartow, a member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot, walked on April 2, 2016, and had suffered two strokes before he passed. The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts reports that those events affected his work, and it can be seen in his collection as “exciting examples of Bartow’s production since his stroke… that evidence a new freedom of scale and expression.”

Born in Oregon in 1946, Bartow was never formally trained in the arts, though his artistic nature was encouraged and he did graduate from Western Oregon University with a degree in secondary arts education in 1969. Right after that he served in Vietnam from 1969-1971, and it was demons from that war that he spent his early years in art exorcising. He says he was “twisted” after Vietnam and his art can be described as disturbing, surreal, intense, and visionary; even transformative.

harney_peak_renamed_black_hills_peak_-_ap_photo  Celebration of Forgiveness at Black Elk Peak:

On a recent Autumn Saturday in the Black Hills, a handful of men and women gathered at around 9 a.m. at the Sylvan Lake trailhead just below Black Elk Peak. By 10 a.m., they numbered close to 80.

“The focal point of our gathering was to have family members of General Harney have an opportunity to apologize to members of the Little Thunder family,” said Basil Brave Heart, Oglala Lakota, an organizer of the event. Brave Heart initiated and led the effort to change the name of this highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains from Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak.

Among those standing in a circle that morning was Paul Stover Soderman, a seventh-generation descendant of General William Harney, known as The Butcher of Ash Hollow, and to the Lakota as the architect of the same conflict, known to them as the Massacre at Blue Water Creek. Soderman had come to apologize to Sicangu descendants of Chief Little Thunder, the Brule leader of those murdered in that conflict, and to seek forgiveness and healing.

All this and much more at ICTMN.

BE WHITE.

Alt right fliers were found littered around the University of Michigan campus. The university responded swiftly and well, and the fliers have been removed, but this is yet another sign of the supremacist cancer eating away at all decency here in uStates. Deplorable is too light weight of a description. The outright lies, old and new, are disgusting, repellent, and appalling. People who believe such shit or are willing to believe such shit are barren, empty beings, devoid of any good human characteristic.

Several racially charged fliers were found in buildings in the heart of the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor on Monday, causing outrage among students after images were shared on social media.

One reads, “Euro-Americans! STOP

— Apologizing

— Living in fear

— Denying your heritage

. . . BE WHITE.”

“Denying your heritage.” Right. I find this as profoundly stupid as people who insist on referring to all Indigenous cultures and traditions as “Native American”. There’s no such thing, any more than there is something known as “White heritage”. That sort of lumping is moronic and meaningless. If you’re a white person, and you want to embrace your particular cultural heritage, customs, traditions, and language, I’m all for it! I don’t know anyone who is against that, or why they would be. When you want to lump all white Americans into one bucket, that’s where it all goes wrong. And colonial whiteness is not a thing to be celebrated, and colonial whiteness wasn’t just the genocidal madness against Indigenous people and the enslavement of Black people – it was a wealth of bigotry, hatred and mistreatment of many other white cultures, such as Irish people, and Jewish people. The list goes on. There’s nothing prideful in that.

Another lengthy flier advised white women not to date black men, with lines such as, “Your kids probably wouldn’t be smart.”

Michigan was one of many campuses to start the school year with images and messages that offended many, at a time when racial tensions are high across the country with protests over race and police violence. At the University of North Dakota, four women apparently posted a photo of themselves in blackface with the caption, “Black Lives Matter.” At Eastern Michigan University last week, a professor found the wall of a building on campus spray-painted with “KKK” and a racial slur. And a racial slur and image at Kansas State University earlier this month went viral.

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“White people exist. White people have the right to exist. White people have the right to exist as white people,” the flier added.

Has anyone been going around advocating that white people don’t have the right to exist? Has anyone been demanding that white people cease existing as white people? This isn’t just disgusting, it’s remarkably stupid, too. Quite honestly, the very last thing white people need is an exhortation to ‘be white’. Talk about being the worst person you can be.

Full story at The Washington Post, but whatever you do, seriously, don’t look at, read, or even allow the comments to load. BuzzFeed has more visuals.

Spot sobre la situación educativa y laboral de las personas trans.

Argentina’s trans community, as is the case in many countries, faces an extraordinary amount of discrimination, from education and employment opportunities to violence. Animator Virginia Gilles, writer Stephanie Santoro and sound designer Thomas Corley decided to put some facts about the community’s Argentine experience into stark relief in an experimental short, which features hypnotic animation, motion graphics, music, and voiceover.

“The spot is not part of any campaign,” Gilles tells The Creators Project. “Our objective is to demonstrate the problems of employment and educational discrimination against trans people. As for aesthetics, we wanted to create a powerful but cool effect, mixing the character of the words with experimentation in image and sound.”

As the artists note in the voiceover, quoting Argentina’s Fundación Huésped (Guest Foundation), “Six out of ten transgender women and seven out of ten transgender men failed at completing their secondary school education.” Half of these individuals failed because of discrimination against their gender identity. The artists are also attempting to raise awareness about the various forms of violence suffered by transvestites and transsexuals.

“The policies implemented by the Argentine government and the expansion of their rights through laws that generate greater inclusion are insufficient,” they write. “We believe that in order to reverse this painful reality requires a real commitment by the whole society, to eliminate social hatred and generate inclusion and actual acceptance of all trans people in various fields, which will enable them to develop a equally dignified life without being discriminated against because of their identity.”

“As people, we have the right to be treated in accordance with our self perception and this should be respected,” the artists say. “Education empowers you and gives you tools to stop discrimination. The doors are open. You have to take impulse and go through them.”

Via The Creators Project.

Tribal Photography.

© Jimmy Nelson.

© Jimmy Nelson.

How often do you learn a valuable lesson from pissing yourself drunk, besides, “never drink that much again?” While traveling with a Central Mongolian tribe, photographer Jimmy Nelson learned lessons both in reindeer psychology and humor after downing too much vodka and wetting his tent. As the story goes, he woke up to reindeer charging into his bed (apparently they love human urine). Nelson tells this and more stories, accompanied by his majestic portraits of the customs and trappings of indigenous peoples from accross the world, in a new video from the Cooperative of Photography. Like Aesop’s fables, Nelson’s anecdotes have lessons touching on knowledge, vulnerability, and pride. Young photographers can also learn a lot about how to interact with subjects respectfully and purposefully.

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© Jimmy Nelson.

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© Jimmy Nelson.

 

Jimmy Nelson currently has a show at Gallery KNOKKE through September 18. See more of his work on his website. Visit the Cooperative of Photography for more tips, tricks, and interviews with photographers.

Via The Creators Project, where there are more photos.

I didn’t know that was racist! #512.

Shutterstock.

Shutterstock.

A Texas teacher claims she had no idea she’d chosen a misspelled racial slur to nickname one of her racially mixed classes.

The white teacher gave each of her sixth-grade classes a nickname and laid out a set of goals for students at Bell Manor Elementary School in suburban Fort Worth, reported KDFW-TV.

A parent said he learned his son’s class had been nicknamed the “jigaboos,” although the teacher misspelled the racial slur for black people, when he asked about his child’s day at school.

So the father, who asked to remain anonymous in the TV report, went to school and photographed the laminated sign, which read: “Mrs. _______’s Jighaboos are at school today to achieve our 6th grade goals and prepare for 7th grade.”

“She makes them recite that out loud,” said the father, who is white.

[…]

Officials from Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District said they had apologized to the father who photographed the sign, which they agreed was not appropriate for school use.

“[We] would like to extend an apology for the inappropriate actions taken by one of our elementary teachers who failed to vet a class name,” district officials said in a statement. “We take this situation seriously and the issue was immediately addressed with the principal and classroom teacher. Both the principal and the teacher have apologized to the parent reporting this concern.”

Officials told the father the teacher was unaware she’d chosen a racial slur to nickname some of her students.

Ignorance can be corrected, but I have trouble buying the ignorance claim when it comes to teachers, who, generally speaking, tend to be a bit more knowledgeable than most people. Okay, I’m an old woman who has definitely heard ‘jigaboo’ and is aware of the racism inherent in that term. I don’t know how old the teacher is in this case, and I also don’t know if most younger people, say 20 to 35, are aware of it. That said, this teacher had to pull this term out of somewhere, it didn’t just magically pop into existence. Even misspelled, I expect a few moments of searching on the net would have let this teacher know it wasn’t appropriate. I can only hope against hope that this isn’t a case of a deeply bigoted teacher, who will find ways to introduce bigotry and stereotypes into young minds.

Via Raw Story.

Oh, Canada, For Effing Shame.

Jennifer Dorner posted this image after dropping her kids off on the first day of school in Montreal. (Courtesy Jennifer Dorner/Facebook).

Jennifer Dorner posted this image after dropping her kids off on the first day of school in Montreal. (Courtesy Jennifer Dorner/Facebook).

A picture posted by mother Jennifer Dorner has started yet another conversation about why not to wear costume headdresses. She took the image while dropping her children off for their first day of school at Montreal’s École Lajoie on Monday, August 29. The image shows a Grade 3 teacher in a headdress in front of the children, and according to Dorner, smaller headdresses were being handed out for the children to wear.

Sarah Dorner, Zoe’s mother, told thestar.com that her daughter refused to wear the headdress.

“We have been teaching our children that costumes like that are inappropriate,” Dorner also said. “The other kids in the class were all wearing them.”

“A lot of children aren’t necessarily taught cultural sensitivity or have much awareness about indigenous cultures,” she went on to say. “But in our family we have many indigenous friends, so it’s a conversation we’ve had many times.”

Gina Guillemette, a Margeurite-Bourgeoys school board spokesperson, told news outlets that the two teachers seen sporting headdresses have backgrounds in anthropology and history and are introducing indigenous history into the curriculum. Guillemette also told CBC News the headdresses worn by teachers were a way for the kids to know which “family, or class, to go to.”

Guillemette told the Gazette that “the teachers decided to wear hats to symbolize that they were Native chiefs,” to separate their students from another Grade 3 class.

Right. So naturally, you could not be bothered, as educators, to thoughtfully choose a particular tribe, maybe one in your actual part of the world, find out what their traditional regalia might be, and actually ask members of that tribe if it would be okay to dress in a certain item. Oh, that would be bringing Indians into things, and I guess you can’t have that in a school, it might poison young minds with the truth or something. As Adrienne Keene wrote on Native Appropriations, this is not a lightweight matter:

Adrienne K of Native Appropriations writes that a non-Indian casually wearing an Indian headdress “furthers the stereotype that Native peoples are one monolithic culture, when in fact there are 500+ distinct tribes with their own cultures. It also places Native people in the historic past, as something that cannot exist in modern society. We don’t walk around in ceremonial attire everyday, but we still exist and are still Native.” She also draws attention to the deep spiritual significance of a headdress and maintains that when a non-Indian wears one “it’s just like wearing blackface.”

Getting back to the teachers at  École Lajoie, they seem to not only miss the point, they are determined to miss the point:

“No offence was intended—if any parents were offended, we apologize,” Guillemette told the Gazette. “We didn’t want to offend anyone. It was the opposite; we wanted to sensitize the students to the contributions of native communities.”

Oh For Fuck’s Sake! What about the children you offended, do they not count? And there’s that magical if – if you were offended, words of the classic notpology. You sensitize students to the contributions of native communities by appropriating a headdress unique to specific tribes, and mashing up all tribal cultures into one messy clump? You sure as hell don’t sound like educators to me, you sound like flaming assholes who live to perpetuate stereotypes.

“How can they possibly be teaching an authentic understanding of indigenous culture? Dorner asked thestar.com. “It doesn’t help their cause to say that. If anything, it makes it even more distressing.”

This isn’t the first time Dorner has addressed cultural sensitivity with the school either. In 2014, “they were doing a play where Santa goes to Africa and gets Ebola and gets sick and the local tribes are dancing around him and my daughter was going to be in blackface,” she told the Gazette.

“We managed to convince the school not to do blackface at the time, but they still kept the story line. Santa ends up being saved by scientists who come from the North Pole.”

She met with the school multiple times in 2014, according to the Gazette to discuss “cultural appropriation and this kind of insensitivity and was hoping that we had come to some kind of understanding, but apparently not. Which is why I’m particularly upset this time. The message doesn’t seem to be sinking in.”

Canadians, please, wake the fuck up. This school, and its staff, should be shamed into the ground by a whole lot of very angry people. Apparently, the open bigotry at this school strikes too many people as just fine, and that is seriously fucked up.

Full story at ICTMN.

Colleges: the best and the worst.

college-x750_0

The Advocate has a couple of good articles up about the best and worst campuses, so if you’re pondering where you might go, give them a read. First, the best:

The nonprofit organization Campus Pride — which advocates for more inclusive college environments — recently released its Best of the Best list of LGBT-friendly campuses. The list of 30 schools included some old standbys, like Tufts and Cornell, but newcomers too. Check out the universities that are new to this esteemed ranking below, and find the full Best of the Best list here.

Second, the absolute worst:

Campus Pride usually highlights the best colleges for LGBT youth, as expensive as they may be. But for the first time today, the advocacy group is calling out the worst campuses for queer students.

“Most people are shocked when they learn that there are college campuses still today that openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth,” said Campus Pride executive director Shane Windmeyer in a statement accompanying the Shame List released today. “It is an unspoken secret in higher education, how [schools] use religion as a tool for cowardice and discrimination.”

That secret has been spoken about more openly in the past several months, as the U.S. Department of Education announced in January that it was creating a searchable database listing every U.S. college and university that requested a waiver from the LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination protections outlined in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (including gender identity) in schools that recieve federal funds.

Click on over for the full articles. These considerations fully matter if you’re hetero, too, as a school that is accepting and open is likely to be a much more positive experience.