ETHS 100 Week 2: Ethnic Studies Then And Now

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NPR Code Switch: The long, bloody strike for ethnic studies at SF State

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The strike at SF State

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On Strike! (At SF State)

  • Post your reaction to this film: what did you find interesting? alarming? relevant for today?
  • Your response should be a minimum of 6 sentences.

It’s both stunning and unsurprising to see how little progress has been made at SFSU in half a century. I heard a professor during covid say that all of her black students and most of her Latin students dropped when classes went online. This was because of the digital divide which this school has failed to address in any meaningful way for students who have been forced out. As this film shows, black students have always been an institutionally acceptable target for collateral damage and structural violence at SFSU. It seems like progress that the outright, outspoken, proud kind of antiblack racism has mostly disappeared. But that just underlines the fact that this institution of white moderates is proving MLK and Malcolm X right when both argued that white moderates are actually worse than clansmen, because they pretend to be on the side of black people while actually giving power to the same systemic antiblackness.

Write

  • Reflect on the images of the protests you saw in this unit (SFSU Strike, George Floyd Protests). What reactions do you have to these images/ sounds/ perspectives? How did you feel seeing them? Have you attended any protests?

It’s hard to put into words. It makes me so angry to see militarized state violence and individual right-wing extremists terrorizing and murdering innocent people because of racism. It makes me angry that this is so normalized in our fascist society that it’s considered a radical political position to believe that extrajudicial state murders should not happen, or that these murderers should be held accountable for the racist violence they perpetrate on the people.

Yes. Without getting into too much detail, I have spent a great deal of time dismantling neo-nazi cells throughout the Sierra foothills in my previous capacity as president of the Sierra Rainbow Alliance. We also provided security in partnership with IWW to vulnerable events and groups, including walking QTBIPOC and other people from marginalized groups between classes or to their cars if they felt unsafe.

  • What is your reaction to the police’s use of violence, both at SFSU and in the recent Black Lives Matter protests?

Violence from fascist imperial ethnostates is never surprising but always infuriating.

  • Can activists make a real impact on society? For example, can they be instrumental in changing laws or policies on issues they care about?

Yes absolutely. The fastest way to accelerate social change is by modelling it. It takes a very small subset of society to create a critical mass to affect widespread social change, and it’s working. From Kingdon’s Three-Stream model, to simple direct action, to creating spaces for QTBIPOC to exist and thrive, all of it makes a huge difference in the lives of individuals, for the overton window of the society as a whole, and for the long-term trailing indicator of the state and its policies.