Monday, July 27, 2020

CSU Channel Islands Chicana/o Studies Dept. Statement

The Chicana/o Studies Department of CSUCI affirms our support for AB 1460
July 24, 2020

Statement Rejecting Chancellor Timothy White’s White Washed Requirement adopted by the California State University Board of Trustees

Systemic racism is alive and well in the Chancellor’s Office of the California State University and Board of Trustees by the passage of a so-called “Ethnic Studies-Social Justice” requirement, essentially ignoring Ethnic Studies Faculty across the CSU system. His move to preemptively undermine the passage of AB 1460, continues the legacy of white supremacy in education. A close analysis of the final vote reveals that the majority in favor of Chancellor White’s watered-down, white-washed proposal were majority white trustees. Those who voted against the measure were Latinx and Black trustees.

Since 1492 to the present, European settler colonists and their progeny have not only occupied and stolen the lands, freedom, and liberty of people of the Americas, Africa, and Asia but also nearly destroyed their histories to indoctrinate the young and old with a sanitized past to suit their racist interests. In this tradition of white supremacy, Chancellor Timothy White’s paternalistic and Orwellian double-speak substitution of his diluted Ethnic Studies-Social Justice requirement, adopted on July 22, 2020 by the CSU board of trustees, is attempting to thwart AB 1460 Ethnic Studies soon to be on the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom to be made law, is another example of how people of African, Asian, Chicanx/Latinx, and Native American ancestry are being told by European settler colonist, “We know what’s best for you little brown brothers.”

Chancellor White’s alternative proposal diverts students away from genuine Ethnic Studies courses by allowing them to take pseudo, undefined social justice classes in their place to graduate. This is like telling students that “All Lives Matter” instead of Black Lives Matter.” Ethnic Studies is rooted in the critical examination of racism, white supremacy, anti-racism, racial equity, unlike Social Justice that has its origins in theology, philosophy and criminal justice (a contradictory place to examine the Black Live Matter movement) and calls for the abstract ideal of “equality.” Whereas Social Justice advocates for equality by treating everyone the same and giving everyone the same opportunities, Ethnic Studies strives for equity, which refers to just and proportional representation (by race, class, gender, and other intersectionalities, etc.) in those same opportunities. Another problem with Chancellor White’s notion of “Social Justice” is that it advances colorblindness in a society replete with institutional racism. In fact, the editors of Seeing Race Again: Counterblindness across the Disciplines argue that social justice discourse has been ineffective in pushing back against colorblindness.

We are concerned about what kinds of courses will count towards fulfilling a "social justice" requirement at CSUCI. We already have a watered down Multicultural Perspectives (MP) requirement that can be fulfilled by such courses as “The Beach” and “What is Art?” and “Musical Theatre.” Like the MP requirement, the Social Justice requirement continues the cosmetic and ineffectual approach to a deep understanding of the histories of the four historically racialized groups (African Americans, Native Americans, Chicanas/os- Latinas/os and Asian American). Additionally, by what metric will that social justice pedagogy be measured if we extract a critical examination of race from out of that equation? How will we know what is being passed as "social justice"? That requirement is incredibly vague and will lead to a non-critical, non-racial general education. For example, will classes that examine Plato and Aristotle count as "social justice" courses?

They would technically be examining these issues but would be devoid of any contemporary applications. We demand a curriculum that addresses the current rise of white supremacy along with anti-Black, anti- Latina/o, anti-Asian, and anti-Indigenous sentiment in our country; we demand a curriculum that provides our students with the tools to critique and dismantle these dynamics and ensure that we keep something close to a democracy in the future of this country.
Furthermore, Chancellor White is hiding behind the veneer of local autonomy, allowing campuses and their GE committees to determine the Ethnic Studies requirement, without having to defer to Ethnic Studies faculty experts, who are predominantly people from underrepresented communities, in this academic field. Where is the disciplinary deference? Would we ever pass the GWAR requirement without input  from English Faculty? No. Would we also allow the quantitative reasoning requirement without input from Mathematics? I don't think so.

Chancellor White’s requirement is an example of a racist policy. A “racist policy” according to Ibram Kendi is as “any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups.” A racist policy uses euphemisms and vague and dishonest language (eg. social justice) around naming specific groups that leads to generic strategies, usually coming from a Whiteness perspective. AB-1460 is an anti-racist policy because it avoids vagueness and names four historically racialized groups (African Americans, Native Americans, Chicanas/os-Latinas/os and Asian Americans) and identifies the CSU policy (Generation Education) as institutional racism as the reason for inequality in the outcomes experienced by historically racialized groups.

Therefore, once again, the white supremacist power structure of the California State University, that Chancellor White leads, refuses historically underrepresented faculty the freedom to self-determine, design, and teach their own Ethnic Studies requirement to a majority people of color student body.

Chancellor Timothy White’s Whitewashed Requirement is Racist; AB-1460 is Anti-Racist.
Stop the white supremacy of Chancellor White and support self-determination and Anti-Racism by demanding that Gov. Gavin Newsom sign AB 1460!

Chicana/o Studies Department at CSU Channel Islands

(916) 445-2841

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Hey PAL!: Community Discussion on Racism and Policing

One reason why I write has to do with the influence such reflections have had on me as a student curious about the lives of people long finished. For example, in my study of archival material, I have been moved by the letters of persons composed decades before my existence, who, in one moment of time, by some vocation, expressed the frustrations and aspirations of not only themselves but also the communities from which they came. In such texts, there also lives a courage. There is little danger to express audacious, ephemeral views in the spoken amongst friendly company. But to cast durable perspectives in the written with the intention to sway the thinking of both ideological friends and adversaries requires moxie.

Furthermore, I germinate into the electronic ether perspectives and observations with the, perhaps vain, hope that after I have long stopped breathing that a similar person, another historian, maybe, into the future will read a meditation or two of mine to get a sense what my community struggled against.

Hence, the below.

On Saturday June 13, 2020, I attended an Oxnard community forum titled, “The Talk…Expression Dialogue and Change.” Subsequently, I watched the Tuesday July 1, 2020 television broadcast of the Oxnard City Council Special Meeting named, “Virtual Panel Discussion on Racism and Policing.” Both events responded largely, but not exclusively, to the merciless Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd on May 25th.

On both occasions, I hung on the words of African American residents of Ventura County—attorneys, a retired Oxnard Police commander, managers, and educators—as they reprised their experiences with racist law enforcement officers in and out of Oxnard. Several detailed questionable, if not outright bogus, police stops while driving— such pretenses included the driver “fit the description” sham. Their true trespass for being pulled over by police, however, was most likely driving while Black.

In being questioned by the police if they were either on probation or parole (not if they were), they all detailed being treated, first and foremost, as criminals not citizens who warranted equal justice under the law. Why not? Because they are Black people.

After listening to their testimony of being interrogated by the police, I sensed that they were all one step of way from arrest to be body-cavity searched in jail. That’s how cruel and humiliating they described their detainment.

I also heeded a particularly new insight as participants in both events referenced their experiences with the Police Activities League (PAL) of Oxnard. At “The Talk,” Kingsley Garrick, who worked with PAL for some fifteen years believing he was doing the right thing helping kids, described a culture less than positive for youth mandated to complete community service at his site. In fact, he stated, “We [the police and staff at the PAL program] would perceive them as bad kids.” Then Mayte Alonzo spoke as President of the Youth Directors Council of PAL. Despite her service with PAL, she stated that she always feared the police and continues to do so. This dread was recently reinforced as she was terrorized by the police at a Washington, D.C. demonstration.

This testimony struck me as I wrongly presumed that the two, as having worked closely with law enforcement, were going to present deferential perspectives on the police. After all, a goal of PAL is to improve police relations with the community. Instead, to my wonder, they, and other participants on both occasions, described an entrenched culture of racism in law enforcement. As a result, both discussions left me pessimistic that the present system of unwarranted deadly police force and the mass incarceration of people of color will be dismantled significantly any time soon. Especially by pusillanimous elected officials terrified of being politically targeted by police unions for imagining a updated financial model for public safety.

One other point that struck me was Oxnard Police Chief Scott Whitney’s July 1st public defense of the use of the carotid restraint (i.e., chokehold) in situations to defend the lives of officers and the community. As a former Division 1 NCAA wrestler, I can say without reservation, there are means to effectively control a person without the use of a chokehold to render a person unconscious, period. I especially oppose the use of the carotid chokehold when there is more than one officer at a scene.

In closing, Oxnard Police Department officers cut short the lives of Meagan Hockaday (d. 3/28/15), Alfonso Limon (d. 10/13/12), Michael Mahoney (d. 8/14/12), Robert Ramirez (d. 6/23/12), and Juan Zavala (d. 6/28/2014). Consequently, any City of Oxnard official, elected and appointed, who condemns the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police must also memorialize their deaths. Especially Robert Ramirez who, like Floyd and Eric Garner in New York, could not breathe as the medical examiner of Ventura County determined his death a police homicide from prone restraint asphyxia—choking.

Only then can we, as a community, have an authentic conversation on police violence elsewhere.

People against police violence established a local Black Lives Matter Ventura County Chapter. For more information visit:

“The Talk…Expression Dialogue and Change”

City Council Special Meeting: Virtual Panel Discussion on Racism and Policing