Sunday, May 11, 2008

White Privilege At Its Finest

I was enraged to hear so much news coverage about the murder of Chris Wootton, a white fraternity student at UC Berkeley. Why? Because last fall, a dark-skinned Latino student, Rod Rodriguez, was confused for a gang member and murdered. He too was a UC Berkeley student. He and Chris were high achievers in school. Chris, however, was killed in a Saturday night drunken brawl, whereas Rod was visiting home and had been closing up at the barbershop where he worked. He often provided free haircuts to locals because they could not afford hair-cuts. He also was heavily involved in the Berkeley community, advancing racial justice through volunteer work.

Not only did the Chancellor of the university write a detailed email to all of the students about Chris Wootton's tragic murder, my mother called me all the way from San Diego saying she heard about it in the news. It was also significantly covered on the internet. Rod, however, was virtually unnoticed except by members of the ethnic communities on campus and in his hometown.

As enraged as I was, I only made a few comments to fellow students in my classes. Adrienne Johnson, however, wrote a piece to the main campus newspaper--The Daily Californian--who heavily covered the Chris Wootton murder in several detailed articles, and who had only given Rod a passing glance.

Adrienne succinctly puts it all into perspective:

Like many students, I was shocked and saddened by Chris Wootton's tragic death.

However, may I comment on the articles devoted solely to Wootton's death? I have counted no fewer than five full-length, prominently placed articles detailing this tragedy. I attended the forum on Sproul Plaza and found myself sandwiched between NBC reporters, TV crews and photographers.

May I also comment on your coverage of another, very tragic death of a graduating senior killed in very similar circumstances-Rodrigo Rodriguez Jr.? This past September, he was killed by a gunman who mistook him for another person. This story received little coverage; there was no community outpouring. I remember only one of very few articles, from Sept. 19, "Student Gunned Down in Hometown." Why, do you suppose, this is? Why would the Daily Cal cover Wootton's death-involved in a fight on frat row -and ignore Rodriguez's tragic victimhood? Could it have something to do with favoring a white frat boy over a child of immigrants? Favoring a science student over an American Studies major?

"Student Gunned Down in Hometown" is an inappropriate, insulting title in comparison with Wootton's article "Community Mourns Shocking Loss of Senior."

It is the Daily Cal's responsibility to inform the community when something of this measure occurs with fairness and equality. Just because Chris may have been more popular should not be reflected in his death's coverage. I feel that this is a grave error on part of the Daily Cal and this letter or a formal apology should be published apologizing to Rodriguez's friends and family.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Image of Irony

I admit it, I like to browse "lol" pictures. Here's a great one.

You'd think that a lack of historical knowledge would be the only thing wrong with these people. You'd think that the irony of this ideology would end at race, ethnicity, culture, xenophobia.

...but no, I am proven wrong, it's much more than that. As much as I despise her hatred and ignorance, I have got to thank that lady for pushing the envelope of senselessness.

Political Picture - Protester
see more politics and fun!

Tongue-in-cheek, I can't help but say that it sounds like "...fecal." Might seem a bit forced to you, but it honestly jumps out at me.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Late Night Thoughts

I'm in the middle of finals, and this weekend is going to be crazy full of work. It's a time when I'm writing so many essays and doing so much research that I become a trasnocheando, twitching, mate-drinking hermit. I'm sitting here right now with my big earphones on, listening to beats as I drink my mate to stay awake and write away. Yet here I am drifting away from my work and engaging in my long-time affair with the, myspace, facebook, google news, reuters, wikipedia...It is at this time when a million different insights hit me all at once--a product of my thoughts, internet browsing, and texts all mixed up into a ball of nonsense. Here it is.

Barack Obama. Black man with a mission, trying to hold him back.'s all the same. Puhleese, he's electable, the problem is when people say he's not electable that they create division, doubts, and difference. Hey, I am not making an argument for a pure and glorious politician--but Obama is my man. As a conciente cyborgic feminist, Obama is my choice.

As I was walking to turn in a rhetoric final, I crossed a white woman that weirdly looked like Donna Haraway. The hair, the age, it was all there. It was weird because my final was about Cyborg Manifesto. I had read Cyborg Manifesto more than a year ago, but reading her this semester for a second time, and writing about it again for my rhetoric final, and seeing her on my way to turn it in...I was forced to bite my tongue and keep walking...I wanted to say "Donna?" and I wanted to say "thank you." Very weird feeling.

Speaking of Haraway, I've been re-evaluating my sense of identity lately (which I love to do, my identity is never stagnant) as a Latina, woman of color. I really don't know what I am anymore. I love the image of the cyborg, because it's so hard to understand myself wholly or categorically. Woman of skin is very light, I am not indigenous, but I am culturally and spiritually Latina. But what is Latina? As Haraway says, there is nothing that naturally binds women. I am not naturally bound to other Latinos or Latinas.

So what is my identity at the moment? Well earlier I would have said, eh, I'm a Californian Latina--I identify with California the most as my "land," since I have no country (as Anzaldua says)...yet I don't want to try and attach myself to a land of right now, my identity, no, identities, are the ones I've assumed throughout my life from the people I love. I am "Sarita." "caracolito." "sorete" (yes, sorete, don't ask). "patita." "tiny."

It's funny, when it comes to my English name, meaning Sara as pronounced like the English "Sarah," it feels so formal. So official. It is a name I assume, it is a hat I put on and take off.

I also had a good chuckle walking back from turning in my rhetoric final, when I saw a sign near the art/architect buildings on said "brush yo teeth." Don't know what it was about, but the phrase just hit me in the funny bone.

Ha, okay I need to get back to work.

brush yo teeth!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Straight People Are Not Gay? It's Less Obvious Than It Sounds

We define "gay" as "not straight," but never the other way around. It seems silly to say this, but by admitting that straight people are not gay, one can easily embrace a form of double consciousness.

Double consciousness is about understanding that anyone who is "different" is different from something that has been accepted as normal. What is accepted as normal in Western society is the white, male heterosexual. I say "accepted as normal" because it is only an idea that has been accepted as true in our society--but it is not a truth. It is not normal.

This is a picture worth a hard look:

The story behind this image hit me as a great way to illuminate the burden of double consciousness. This is the car of a homosexual white female, Erin Davies, whose car was originally silver. One day she found that someone had vandalized it by spraying the homophobic slur in red paint, and rather than have it removed, she left it on. Now you can follow her on her website

Her decision to sport the hate crime was met with strong opposition and strong support as she journeyed across the country to document reactions to her car. She had even re-painted the hateful words after several people have anonymously attempted to remove the bright red message. Recently, she had the entire car professionally painted with the rainbow colors and the name given to her by the original vandals.

This car makes obvious the identity of difference. You would never find someone's car vandalized with the word "straight" because the straight identity is widely accepted as natural...which leads to the logical conclusion that gay is unnatural; false even.

What is normal? There is no normal, because when you say someone is different, it goes both ways. The "gay" is different from the "straight," yes. But the "straight" is different from the "gay" too.

I cannot end without emphasizing the importance of recognizing that double consciousness involves many differences all at once. In this case, we're only looking at a homosexual, white female--who is different from the straight white male and the homosexual white male. But it gets even messier when you look at a homosexual, black female for example.

We can't get stuck on singular terms. We've gotta see that everyone is made up of endless differences--we are all intersected by differences in class, race, gender, and more.