Letter from Chair of Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego

This letter began circulating this past weekend.

Dear Chancellor Fox:

As a Full Professor who has spent her whole 20-year career at UCSD, as Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department, and as a woman faculty of color who has faced many indignities over the years, I write to ask you to exercise your leadership today to declare a state of emergency and close down the campus–in recognition of the shattered state that the campus is in.

Since the “Compton Cookout” incident, many students and faculty of color and their allies have devoted countless hours to do your/our job of teaching about racism on campus and of ensuring that UCSD lives up to its mission as a place of learning–in the most profound sense of that word. Their labor–physical, mental, emotional, intellectual–goes uncompensated, unrecognized, and even mocked by the largely apathetic UCSD community. Because they have had to put aside their study, their teaching, their research, their writing, to do the university work, they will again bear the brunt of the costs of being at a university that views “diversity”, at best, as a benign celebration of multiculturalism and “economic empowerment.”

As many of us face down today in the shadow of a noose, we ask that you share in this labor and that you ask the ENTIRE community at UCSD to share in this labor. To not do so will be to benefit, once again, from the labor of the marginalized and maligned at UCSD.

Every crisis can bring forth great change. You have an opportunity to participate in this movement of change in a real and fundamental way. Please do so, or we risk a campus that will be deeply divided for years to come. The campus will be shut down, one way or another. It’d be in our best interest that you are the one to shut it down.

Yen Le Espiritu
Professor and Chair
Department of Ethnic Studies
University of California, San Diego

2 thoughts on “Letter from Chair of Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego

  1. Instead of an apology there has been steady escalation and now the noose. So, what exactly will the excuses be for this cowardly act that brings up memories of the confederate KKK of the South in their attempts to keep slavery and the non-whites in fear? Is it that are uneducated, is it that their parents planted these seeds of hate, is it that they are live in fear because our President in the white house is not 100% white. This is what the republican party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” have brought you. These kids follow what their dullard leaders say, they listen to Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush and Savage and the rest of the Blowhards, they are young and dumb. Are you surprise at what they do when you know what they think?

  2. Racism begins with our families, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, people we admire, respect and love.

    However, as we grow and mature we come to the realization that what we were told by our family when we were children were slanted lies base on their prejudices. We realize that most people are like ourselves and not so different and want the same things, like a home, steady work, a Medicare plan and schools for our children (if you travel you will see this). We realize that most people are of good hearts and goodwill.

    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 fellow man.

    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 our fellow man in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help our fellow man, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

    This current climate of blaming, mocking or demeaning others for our own short comings, We have had this before and we have conquered it.

    Remember “Evil flourishes when good men (and women) do nothing”. Raise your voices with those of us who believe we are equal and we can win this battle again.

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