A Group Of Students Burned A Latina Author’s Book Because They Felt Attacked For Being White

Amazing article by Brianna Sacks for Buzzfeednews: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/briannasacks/georgia-southern-burned-latina-authors-book

 

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A group of students at a predominantly white public university in Georgia burned the book of a Latina author who had delivered a lecture on campus after some attendees accused her of “dissing white people.”

Jennine Capó Crucet, a New York Times contributor and associate professor at the University of Nebraska, spoke about her novel Make Your Home Among Strangers at Georgia Southern University on Wednesday night. The award-winning book, published in 2015, tells the story of a Cuban American girl from Miami who gets accepted to a prestigious college in New York and struggles to fit into the privileged, predominantly white environment.

The book was required reading for some of Georgia Southern’s First-Year Experience classes, according to the university.

On Wednesday evening, the school hosted Crucet, who spoke to the entire first-year class at the performing arts center. When she opened the floor to the audience for questions, some attendees peppered her for criticizing white people, according to the George-Anne, the university’s newspaper.

“I noticed that you made a lot of generalizations about the majority of white people being privileged,” one student said to the author, according to the paper. “What makes you believe that it’s okay to come to a college campus, like this, when we are supposed to be promoting diversity on this campus, which is what we’re taught. I don’t understand what the purpose of this was.”

Responding to the student, Crucet said that she was invited to speak at the university and discussed white privilege because “it’s a real thing that you are actually benefiting from right now in even asking this question,” according to the George-Anne.

Her answer elicited more questions about race from the audience.

BuzzFeed News spoke with six first-year students, five women and one man, who attended the lecture, all of whom asked not to be named. The students were required to attend the lecture, along with hundreds of their classmates, and said that Crucet attacked white people “for an hour” and assumed that the entire audience was privileged.

“She came to our school and, the audience was predominantly white, and she came in and was attacking white people for an hour, putting all these stereotypes and generalizations on us,” said one 18-year-old attendee. “Like all white people are privileged and racist.”

Another student said the audience reacted when the author stated that most white people “needed to be removed from authority positions because two-thirds of people in high positions should not be white.”

“She wanted everyone to be equal and says she is against racism but she was shitting on white people the whole time,” the 18-year-old male student said. “I can understand the message she was trying to get out but I don’t know what reaction she was expecting when she comes to a school that’s 75% white. I agree there is such a thing as white privilege but the way she was saying it was not OK to our student body.”

All of the students who spoke with BuzzFeed News were born and raised in Georgia. One of the students said she is half-Dominican; the rest are white.

After the event, Crucet tweeted that there had been “aggressive & ignorant comments” during her Q&A and thanked “some very amazing, brilliant students” who stood up for her during the exchange.

“At the signing, we hugged & cried,” she wrote. “I‘m happy to know them and also legit worried for their safety.”

In her replies, several people who allegedly attended the event accused her of “bullying white people.”

“The only reason anyone showed up is because it was required and after the racist bigotry you displayed against the white race we should all be compensated for your book. I’m all for equality but not for hate which is what you displayed,” one user said.

Later that night, a group of students gathered on campus and burned her book, according to statements from the university and videos posted on Twitter. Some even gathered outside her hotel, the school’s department of Writing and Linguistics said on Facebook, writing that it is “dismayed and disappointed by the uproar against” the author.

“Last night’s discussion with the author devolved into accusations of her demonstrating racism against white people,” Dr. Russell Willerton, the department chair, said in a statement. “Some students burned copies of Crucet’s book and even gathered outside her hotel. We assert that destructive and threatening acts do not reflect the values of Georgia Southern University.”

A student in the class — who asked that her name not be used for safety reasons — was walking outside of the Eagle Village dorm complex when she said she saw a group of students burning something.

“I thought it was s’mores at first,” the first-year student told BuzzFeed News. “So when my friends and I went to see what it was, we saw the students yelling and laughing and throwing the books in the fire.”

In the video, the group is gathered around a grill filled with copies of Crucet’s book, and they’re laughing.

The student, who is majoring in nursing, said that when she asked her peers why they were burning the piece of literature they said, “because the book was bad.”

elaina⭐️@elainaaan

so after our FYE book’s author came to my school to talk about it… these people decide to burn her book because “it’s bad and that race is bad to talk about”. white people need to realize that they are the problem and that their privilege is toxic. author is a woman of color.

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When asked about the book burning, the group of first-year students who asked to remain anonymous told BuzzFeed News that about 20 to 30 of their classmates had gathered to burn the novel in a fire pit.

In a statement provided to BuzzFeed News, Crucet said that after the event her campus hosts had moved her from her original lodging accommodations to another hotel in a different town.

It was only when she read the statement from the department chair that she learned students had gathered outside the hotel she had previously planned to stay at.

“During the event, and afterward during the book signing, many students remarked on how much the story of the novel’s protagonist mirrored their own,
and expressed gratitude for the book—both to me for writing it, and to GSU for selecting it as their FYE read,” Crucet said. “To think of those students watching as a group of their peers burned that story— effectively erasing them on the campus they are expected to think of as a safe space—feels devastating.”

Crucet tweeted several times about the experience, writing, “This is where we are, America.”

Jennine Capó Crucet@crucet

Students at @GeorgiaSouthern literally burning my novel. This is where we are, America. https://twitter.com/camyafeel/status/1182129125907222529 

In now-deleted tweets, first-year students replied to the author with ripped up copies of her book and footage of people lighting the pages on fire.

Other students, however, rallied behind Crucet, thanking her for coming to their campus and apologizing for what she went through. A Georgia Southern junior, who is studying history, emailed BuzzFeed News and said that many students on campus are “disappointed with these book burning students.”

“We are also disappointed with our administration, as racial tension events have occurred in the past (what seems like an almost yearly occurrence now),” she wrote. “The admin of the university never really disciplined those involved, which leads there to be little consequences to deter those events from happening again.”

While several of the university’s departments have condemned the book burning, John Lester, vice president for Strategic Communications and Marketing, said that they are “not planning any actions against any of the students involved in this incident.”

“While it’s within the students’ First Amendment rights, book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values nor does it encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas,” Lester said.

In an email to faculty, GSU President Kyle Marrero described the evening’s events as an “example of freedom of expression.”

“Specific to the reported events of that evening, while it’s within the students’ First Amendment rights, book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values nor does it encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas,” Marrero wrote.

He continued that he wished students “had engaged in a reasoned discussion” and that “these discussions had not deteriorated or led to broad generalizations that paint an ugly picture about our university.”

A professor who provided the email to BuzzFeed News said faculty members were “extremely dissatisfied with this response.”

Crucet was supposed to deliver another lecture on Thursday at the university’s Armstrong campus, but the school canceled it “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

Although Georgia Southern is 63% white, nearly a quarter of students are black and 6% are Hispanic. In a statement, the school’s counseling center said it has a “diverse staff of clinicians who are prepared to support students’ emotional needs.

“We recognize that such incidents can be traumatizing to Latinx/Hispanic students and other marginalized communities,” the center said.

In her statement, Crucet called on the university to support students who may feel unsafe as a result of the incident.

“This book began as an act of love and an attempt at deeper understanding,” Crucet said. “I hope GSU can act from the same place and work to affirm the humanity of those students who might understandably feel unsafe in the aftermath of the event and the book burning, and that the campus continues the difficult and necessary conversation that began in that auditorium.”

The student in the class who said she saw the burning said she was shocked and disheartened by what transpired during the lecture, which she called “good and informative,” and the fact that students burned the author’s novel.

“Students wanted her to talk more about the book over the white privilege stuff but I think that talking about that looped in perfectly because the book was based on her life and her experience with white privilege or lack there of,” the first-year student said. “She’s a Latina woman.”

13 Young Latina Artists Changing The Contemporary Art Landscape

An oldie, but a goodie by Priscilla Frank for Huffington Post: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/young-latina-artists_n_5538321

 

When family tales are passed from generation to generation with no single point of origin, when history fails to document years of pain and struggle, when personal identity becomes too complex to describe in a single sitting, when memory and imagination mingle in the land of dreams, this is where art comes in very handy.

For young Latina artists, art is an invaluable tool to archive the past, understand the present and activate change in the future. Yet, as with many underrepresented populations, Latina artists and the work they produce are often silenced and overlooked. An exhibition entitled “Y, Qué? (And What!)” is here to change that.

Composed entirely of Latin artists under the age of 35, “Y, Qué?” presents a diverse array of multimedia artworks through which to navigate the past, archive the intangible, occupy multiple spaces and personas and unabashedly declare one’s existence. Exploring themes of race, class, gender, sexuality and cultural identity, the selected emerging artists don’t just tell us their stories, they show us.

“Y, Qué?” is the 19th edition of the “Young Latino Artists Exhibition,” a highly anticipated exhibition series at the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas. Guest curated by Más Rudas Chicana Collective, this year’s stunning exhibition showcases the bold future of female artists and the unrelenting power of art to make sense of the world around us. Behold, 13 young Latina artists changing the landscape of contemporary art.

    • 1. Natalia Anciso
    • Anciso a Chicana–Tejana artist and educator born and raised in the lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Her work "Pinches
      Anciso a Chicana–Tejana artist and educator born and raised in the lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Her work “Pinches Rinches” series examines the lost history of Tejanos along the Texas–Mexican Border, many of whom were lynched and killed by Texas Rangers taking the law into their own hands. Her work explores the rich memories of these traumatizing events, many of which history has forgotten.
    • 2. Daphne Arthur
    • Arthur explores ideas of embodiment in her work, navigating the human form's futility, impermanence and ethereality. Her chao
      Arthur explores ideas of embodiment in her work, navigating the human form’s futility, impermanence and ethereality. Her chaotic sculptures, blurring boundaries between interior and exterior, require viewers to move around them to fully digest them. According to the gallery, her fantastical piece “El Juego Del Tra Tra” is “about life and its incapacity to exist without the consequence or existent of death and decay.”
    • 3. Nanibah Chacon
    • Chacon channels the pop-like style of 1940s and 1950s illustrators, creating massive images that hit you as instantaneously a
      Chacon channels the pop-like style of 1940s and 1950s illustrators, creating massive images that hit you as instantaneously as an advertisement. Her piece above comments on women’s role in contemporary culture as well as the constant human desire to obtain and objectify natural elements.
    • 4. Alexis Herrera
    • The placard next to Herrera's piece wonderfully specifies how the artist, a "sexual deviant born and raised in the swamp of H
      The placard next to Herrera’s piece wonderfully specifies how the artist, a “sexual deviant born and raised in the swamp of Houston,” “can be found in her cave weaving madness into silk.” Her artwork explores monsters, memory and mythology using fabric, plastic, screenprints and more. Her piece on view incorporates monstrous forms from cautionary Texas folktales, inviting viewers into her own monstrous subconscious.
    • 5. Suzy Gonzalez
    • Gonzalez investigates marginalized identities through her work, in this case, using the language of feminized animal-based fo
      Gonzalez investigates marginalized identities through her work, in this case, using the language of feminized animal-based food products and beauty pageants. The piece explores the relationship between the female human and non-human between the inequalities of the female human and the female nonhuman, touching on aspects of fashion, advertising and gender performance.
    • 6. Linda Lucía Santana
    • Santana's work responds to the fading memory of Mexican narrative ballads, called <em>corridos</em>. Inspired by Magical Real
      Santana’s work responds to the fading memory of Mexican narrative ballads, called corridos. Inspired by Magical Realism, she accompanies corridos with fictitious portraits of their subjects, most of which were never photographed. In her work, “Santana plays the role of artist, archivist and a corridista ,” activating lost histories, living memories and the imaginative space in between.
    • 7. Annette Martinez
  • Martinez is a Mexican American Artist and Computer Science Instructor whose work was influenced by the hardships and discrimi
    Martinez is a Mexican American Artist and Computer Science Instructor whose work was influenced by the hardships and discrimination faced growing up with immigrant parents. based on gender and race. In her conceptual black-and-white photographs, Martinez explores the suffering and objectification of women.
  • 8. Fabiola Torralba
  • Torralba is "politically–grounded and spiritually–driven from a queer, feminist, and (un)documented immigrant perspective." H
    Torralba is “politically–grounded and spiritually–driven from a queer, feminist, and (un)documented immigrant perspective.” Her piece above, inspired by Mexican altares and Rasquache aesthetic, addresses the sexual violence undocumented women face on their journey to cross the border, exploring the understanding of home as a safe space.
  • 9. Cristy C. Road
  • Road is a Cuban-American artist whose graphic memoir "Spit and Passion" addresses coming out while maintaining her Cuban root
    Road is a Cuban-American artist whose graphic memoir “Spit and Passion” addresses coming out while maintaining her Cuban roots, alongside her budding obsession with the band Green Day. “Spit and Passion” addresses the years Road spent in the closet, due to the fact that, according to her, “salvaging her Cuban heritage was just as vital as owning her queer identity.”
  • 10. Senalka McDonald
  • McDonald, an artist of Panamanian descent, explores the relationship between pop culture and international war in "Songs of S
    McDonald, an artist of Panamanian descent, explores the relationship between pop culture and international war in “Songs of Surrender ’89,” a disk set and video performance. In 1989, in an effort to make Panamanian leader, general, and dictator Manuel Noriega surrender, the U.S. military played loud pop-rock music day and night. McDonald covers the 95 songs used, in a salsa-heay style reminiscent of her Panamanian youth.
  • 11. Audrya Flores
  • Flores' work addresses dreams, supernatural visions and her roots growing up in the border town of Brownsville, Texas. Creati
    Flores’ work addresses dreams, supernatural visions and her roots growing up in the border town of Brownsville, Texas. Creating assemblages and collage from found and recycled materials, Flores uses her family’s tradition of storytelling to weave narratives of personal identity and life along the Mexico-Texas border.
  • 12. Hermanas Iglesias
  • Made up of Lisa and Janelle Iglesias, the Hermanas Iglesias collaborated with their mother to knit "Nude Suits," reminiscent
    Made up of Lisa and Janelle Iglesias, the Hermanas Iglesias collaborated with their mother to knit “Nude Suits,” reminiscent of her upbringing on a Norway farm. The knit body suits, which contain scars, beauty marks and tattoos belonging to the sisters, were then photographed and documented at various landscapes.
  • BONUS: Hermanas Iglesias
    The sisters also installed an awesome piñata titled "Nothing Last Forever," a sugary jab at Damien Hirst's iconic diamond sku
    The sisters also installed an awesome piñata titled “Nothing Last Forever,” a sugary jab at Damien Hirst’s iconic diamond skull “For The Love Of God.” Footage from the striking ceremony is on view alongside the skull’s sparkly remains and insides. Who hasn’t wanted to bash open a Hirst skull before? Also, free candy!
  • 13. Awilda Rodriguez Lora
  • Lora is a queer performance artist who views her work as a form of therapy, constantly challenging her gender and sexuality.
    Lora is a queer performance artist who views her work as a form of therapy, constantly challenging her gender and sexuality. Using digital technology as a tool to recover memory, Lora explores autobiographical details while making the private public.

“Young Latina Artists 19: Y, Qué?” runs until September 7, 2014 at Mexic-Arte in Austin, Texas.