RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
At Lewis & Clark College we have been dealing with a related but slightly different case. A Chicano student posted an anonymous poster that was meant as a critique a Hawaii club poster featuring what he thought was a racist caricature of a Maori warrior. The Chicano student's poster used a black face image to draw attention to what he perceived was the racism of the other poster.
Several people on campus were offended by the second poster, and when the student came forward to the administration, he was charged and found guilty of hate speech, harassment and disorderly conduct. The hate speech charge was dropped by the President when she found no evidence of racist "intent". And finally, six months later, as a result of pressure from faculty, his record was expunged.
In response to the expunging of his record, an African American student put up posters with an anti-semitic image on it, along with swastikas, and text that critiqued what he felt is the too liberal free speech policy at the school.
What these incidents show is that it is not always clear what is and is not racist. The use of racist images to assert anti-racist messages has a long and distinguished history. Nonetheless, the images hurt and offended people on campus even though they were misinterpreted. It is difficult for any policy to adequately address the complexities of interpreting images and speech. Hopefully these incidents become moments to have broader discussions about the real underlying problems of institutional racism in our society.
posted 2 years, 7 months ago
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