Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Compton Cookout, and Isadore Hall III: McCarthy's New Age Revival

Wow. Last night I first heard about this from my friend Dayna. Today Seph posted this news article on twitter. The headline reads "Lawmakers Outraged Over 'Compton Cookout' Party." And I'm thinking, this guy is an elected official and he has nothing better to do? You can see a whole video of the press conference he had here

I personally found it pretty annoying that he said "racist and sexist" about 20 times. Clearly this guy didn't have much to say. From what I read, there was not a SINGLE incident of racial or sexist injustice perpetrated as a result of this party to which our state assembly is now "demanding full accountability for their actions." Continuing from Hall's website:

 “Today, I call upon UC San Diego Chancellor Mary Anne Fox, UC President Mark Yudof and the UC Board of Regents to launch an immediate and thorough investigation of the ‘Compton Cookout’ event to determine the names of those responsible for planning and participating in this act of racism and sexism, what university affiliated organizations participated in the event and what if any public funds or resources were used to plan or carry out the event. At the conclusion of the investigation, university officials should act swiftly to sanction all responsible parties including the revocation of fraternity or sorority charters, the full repayment of any public funds used to support these organizations and the individual suspension or expulsion of any student found responsible for planning or participating in this act of hate.” 

Which begs the question. Is Isadore Hall Anti-Racist? Has he criticized Dave Chappelle (Clayton Bigsby Skit), or Chris Rock (Black People -vs- Niggaz)? I don't think he should have. Actually I think that Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock were much more effective at dispelling racism through comedy than the showboat Isadore Hall ever will. What does this say about California? We don't tolerate same sex marriage, and we tolerate McCarthyist Assemblyman (and women)?

In his overridden veto of the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950, President Truman wrote, "In a free country, we punish men for the crimes they commit, but never for the opinions they have."

criticizing the Eisenhower administration, he later  said :"It is now evident that the present Administration has fully embraced, for political advantage, McCarthyism. I am not referring to the Senator from Wisconsin. He is only important in that his name has taken on the dictionary meaning of the word. It is the corruption of truth, the abandonment of the due process law. It is the use of the big lie and the unfounded accusation against any citizen in the name of Americanism or security. It is the rise to power of the demagogue who lives on untruth; it is the spreading of fear and the destruction of faith in every level of society."

Sounds right to me. This guy said nothing about a crime, or a trial, or due process, and still is demanding "suspension or expulsion" of students involved. I'm not intentionally racist, or sexist, yet I am still enlightened enough to know that EVERYONE has biases, opinions, and weaknesses. This kind of self gratifying, grandstanding behavior by politicians is the problem today, not the solution.

On June 1, 1950, Senator Margaret Chase Smith, a Maine Republican, delivered a speech to the Senate she called a "Declaration of Conscience". In a clear attack upon McCarthyism, she called for an end to "character assassinations" and named "some of the basic principles of Americanism: The right to criticize; The right to hold unpopular beliefs; The right to protest; The right of independent thought." She said "freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America," and decried "cancerous tentacles of 'know nothing, suspect everything' attitudes."[68] Six other Republican Senators—Wayne MorseIrving M. IvesCharles W. TobeyEdward John Thye,George Aiken, and Robert C. Hendrickson—joined Smith in condemning the tactics of McCarthyism.

And now so am I. I 'm glad you have the right to speak your mind Isadore Hall. But racism is not a platform for your politics. California has enough problems, and considering that not a single of your constituents was maligned by this activity, it doesn't appear you're doing anything but filling the world with hot air.

I know this will be a contentious post. I welcome all comments, and invite discussion.


1 Addition. I tried to submit this for comment to Isadore's Site. He won't accept comments from outside his district, yet he sees fit to comment on issues outside his district. I now consider him a hypocrite.

3/7/10 Update.
Since I wrote this, things seem to have escalated a bit. Somebody hung a noose on campus, and a kkk hood was also placed in an obvious public place. The NY Times has good coverage of the racial tension at the school.  Even system wide they say that 

although gains have been made in the numbers of minority students since then, the proportion of white (30.5 percent) and Asian (39.8 percent) students enrolled last year far exceeded that of blacks (3.8 percent) and Latinos (20.4 percent).

Which to me actually seems pretty diverse. It may not be proportional to the population as a whole, but there's a LOT about UCSD, and the UC system for that matter that isn't representative of California. The numbers will equalize with time, of course, but to me it points more to  providing resources at a younger age that make people ready for a place like the UC System. 

Letting people in who will just fail out is a lame way to try to change this (i.e. affirmative action). I bet a more equal number of minorities would come to UCSD if they could get in because they learned a lot in high school and before. To me this means that we need to work to provide a better quality education to people who are raised in less privileged areas.  It's a TOUGH environment, and somebody who wasn't exposed to academic challenges for years beforehand.


Mack said...

I think it's crass... but in no place do the party throwers single out *black* people. They target ghetto compton peeps. I'm just sayin.
Also, if we're going to condemn stereotype themed parties, then how about we condemn the 2010 Black Student reunion that was once dubbed "Kool-ade and Chicken" but was renamed after the Compton Cookout publicity.

Gabe said...

Funny how these things spread with all the ridiculous posturing. I received this letter from the chancellor of UC Berkeley today:

Dear Students:

We are distressed by the recent event involving UC San Diego students that mocked the commemoration of Black History Month. We have zero tolerance for deliberate acts that discriminate or demean others based on race, gender, national original, sexual orientation, or any other personal characteristic, and know that all UC campuses share that view.

Inclusion and equity are core values of Berkeley - they lead naturally to excellence through diversity. We are the first campus in the UC system to have a Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion, who has recently completed a comprehensive 10 year plan for promoting these values among our faculty, staff, and students A healthy and engaging campus climate is one of its pillars. A student and staff team was already meeting with the Vice Chancellor to plan a Climate Forum later this semester. They expressed their outrage regarding the UCSD event and are working to discourage/prevent such incidents at Berkeley. An excellent step in this direction was the early response by the CalGreeks community deploring and distancing themselves from the actions at UCSD.

We continue to hold firm to our Principles of Community We ask all campus community members to join us in affirming these principles and in creating and maintaining an environment where all can feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued.


Robert J. Birgeneau

Gibor Basri
Vice Chancellor-Equity & Inclusion

Harry LeGrande
Vice Chancellor-Student Affairs

Anonymous said...

You real can’t take these uneducated UCSD white trailer trash anywhere. This is what happens when more than one of these guys puts their minds together.

Oh, where exactly was a speech going on? Thats right, no where, but keep plucking that chicken.

Or as carri said "It’s a plot by the fundamentalist rightwing party of tyranny called Republicans. They foment hate, they sneer, they make excuses for their behavior and blame everyone else. They advocate the supremacy of their America – a lily-white America. They are scared and frightened becuase (gasp) a black man has been elected to the White House. They are losing conrol and like cornered animals, they are lashing out. This is the national leadership from whom these studants take their cues."

Benito Juarez said...

I will tell you what I have seen these last few days, I saw people from different backgrounds, my children, my brothers and sisters come together in solidarity, and got the message heard.

This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn't stop to help him. Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the "I" into the "thou," and to be concerned about his brother.

You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?"

But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"

That's the question before us. The question is not, "If I stop to help my brother in need, what will happen to me?" The question is, "If I do not stop to help my brother, what will happen to him or her?" That's the question.

God bless all my brothers and sister that stood side by side with our brothers and sisters in need, when you saw a wrong you tried to correct it, you may argue the methods but not the reasons. I know God will not discriminate by country of origin, our sex, our orientation, color of our skin, or our religion as men do.

Tom Gal said...

Hmmm. Thanks to several of you for comments. I note that the link that Mack posted has even been removed from the web, and is unavailable now. Probably didn't want to get stuck in the mud.

I will leave "Anonymous" comment, despite poor grammar, spelling (even BROWSERS have spellcheck now), and a complete lack of coherence. People like this are the problem. Not bored UCSD students.