All posts by Steven Glick

Steven Glick is a senior at Pomona College studying economics and math. Originally from Chicago, IL, Steven’s hobbies include swimming, playing baseball, and making balloon animals.

Anti-Racism Protesters Segregated Themselves by Race

On Thursday night, protesters descended upon the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum at Claremont McKenna College (CMC) in order to prevent Heather Mac Donald, a political commentator and author, from giving a lecture scheduled for that night. The protesters were ultimately successful, as Mac Donald’s speech was cut short.

The protest was organized on Facebook by a group called “ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists,” and over 250 people—including students at the Claremont Colleges, students at other colleges, and non-students—attended. The Claremont Independent obtained a screen shot from the ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists group describing instructions for the protest.

The page states, “For white accomplices: Please keep in mind that your role at this protest, aside from acting in solidarity with POC students at the 5Cs, particularly Black students, is to serve as a buffer between students of color and the police. That means, if the police come, it is imperative that you stay at the protest with fellow accomplices and engage with cops should it come to that.” Outside the Athenaeum, protest leaders shouted, “White students to the front!”

ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists also discouraged protesters from speaking with the media, stating, “We ask that participants do not engage with CI [Claremont Independent] reporters or anyone else who is trying to derail this action.” When correspondents from the Independent, including this author, sought information from protesters, they were met with silence and often had hands, clothing, or signs pushed in their faces.

The instructions also describe an “accomplice meeting” at Scripps College where protesters can learn more information about how to handle themselves in various situations. “There is a high likelihood that campus security and police will be present,” states the Facebook page. “[S]o please attend the accomplice meeting at the Scripps Student Union today at 3:30 pm to act given that situation or one where counter protesting is taking place. It is very important that there are white bodies at the action – please show up yourself for the entire duration of the event or if not have friends who can be trusted to go in your place.”

Claremont Students Plan to Protest ‘Anti-Black Fascist’ Heather Mac Donald

Students at the Claremont Colleges plan to protest and “shut down” a speech by prominent political commentator Heather Mac Donald tonight. Mac Donald, a member of the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal, is scheduled to give a speech at Claremont McKenna College’s Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.

A photo of the students’ call to protest.

According to the event’s description on the Athenaeum’s website, “The Black Lives Matter movement holds that the U.S. is experiencing an epidemic of racially-driven police shootings, and that policing is shot through with systemic bias. Contending that the central Black Lives Matter narrative is not just false but dangerous, Heather Mac Donald will explore the data on policing, crime, and race and argue that policing today is driven by crime, not race, and that the movement has caused officers to back off of proactive policing in high crime areas, leading to the largest spike in nearly 50 years, disproportionately affecting blacks.”

Student protestors plan to “shut down” the event. “Anti-Black ‘scholar’ Heather Mac Donald has been invited to speak at Claremont McKenna College,” states the protest’s Facebook page. “Join the action with students of color at the Claremont Colleges to shut her down!!”

A Facebook event titled, “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascist Heather Mac Donald” and hosted by “ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists” encourages students to protest the event because Mac Donald “condemns [the] Black Lives Matter movement,” “supports racist police officers,” and “supports increasing fascist ‘law and order.’”

“Heather Mac Donald has been vocally against the Black Lives Matter movement and pro-police, both of which show her fascist ideologies and blatant anti-Blackness and white supremacy,” the Facebook page adds. “Let’s show CMC that having this speaker is an attack on marginalized communities both on campus and off. Together, we can hold CMC accountable and prevent Mac Donald from spewing her racist, anti-Black, capitalist, imperialist, fascist agenda.”

The protest organizers do not state specifically how they plan to “shut down” Mac Donald’s lecture, though they do urge students who attend to carry posters, wear black, and “Bring your comrades, because we’re shutting this down.”

Follow the Claremont Independent on Facebook for live coverage of the protests.

 

Claremont Students Say Masculinity is Hazardous to Mental Health

On Monday night, 5Cs Thrive hosted an event called “Masculinity + Mental Health.” According to the event’s description, the workshop focused on the mental health problems caused by masculinity.

“Masculinity can be extremely toxic to our mental health, both to the people who are pressured to perform it and the people who are inevitably influenced by it,” state the event’s organizers. “We would like to encourage discussion on how to openly talk about our emotions and our wellbeing, and how to engage in masculine identities in a healthy way. Relevant to this discussion is how masculinity can harm our relationships with people and one’s ability to cope when relationships are difficult or end. We want to create a safe and open space where we can talk about masculinity and its various intersections with our identities and experiences.”

5Cs Thrive describes itself as “A safe space for students at the 5c’s to talk about mental health,” and the “Masculinity + Mental Health” event took place at the Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity (The Hive). The Hive’s stated mission is “to accelerate the creative development of students across the 5Cs. We do that through Exploration – by creating a safe space to experiment and play, Collaboration – by bringing people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives together to be in the ‘intellectual muck’ together, and through Experiential Learning – thinking by doing.”

The event received some positive feedback on Facebook. One woman, Lizbeth Ramirez, posted, “THANK YOU from the fullness of my heart for having this available for my fellow brothers.”

Miles Robinson (PO ’18), who attended the event, told the Independent  that there was “a common consensus that masculinity is harmful both to those who express it and those affected by it” among attendees. “It was all talk through personal experiences,” stated Robinson. Robinson added that all of the organizers of Thrive—as well most of the attendees of Thrive’s weekly functions—are female, and the group hosted this event in the hopes of getting more men to come.

It seems Thrive’s efforts were not entirely successful, as some students avoided the event out of concern that it would alienate men. “If masculinity is described as something negative—a mental illness—then this is sexism against men,” stated Will Gu (PO ’20) in an email to the Independent. “Safe spaces… are supposed to make everyone feel comfortable. Criticizing masculinity makes males who adhere to traditional gender norms uncomfortable.”

Update: October 4, 2016

Sabine Scott, a leader of the “Masculinity + Mental Health” event, issued the following statement in an email to the Independent:

“Our ‘Masculinity and Mental Health’ event was created with the goal of providing a space to examine to effects of masculinity on mental health. In order to preserve the confidentiality of the space I’m not going to disclose what was discussed, but it was a productive conversation that helped people explore how masculinity impacted each person’s individual experience with mental health. Participants were able to find support in other people who have had similar experiences, and the meeting empowered both the men and women in the meeting to realize how the pressure to conform to stereotypical masculinity can have harmful effects on being able to share emotions and maintain healthy relationships.”

Correction: October 5, 2016

An earlier version of this story stated that 5Cs Thrive was part of the The Hive. A representative from Pomona College stated in an email to the Independent that 5Cs Thrive is not affiliated with The Hive, they just used the venue for their event.

Speedo Hike Canceled Over ‘Body Image,’ ‘Bro-iness’ Concerns

Yesterday, On the Loose (OTL), the outdoors club of the Claremont Colleges, announced the cancellation of their annual speedo hike due to concerns regarding body positivity. The event, which had previously been one of OTL’s most popular of the year, involved over one hundred students from the Claremont Colleges hiking up Mount Baldy in speedos.

“By having the Speedo Hike as our official welcome event each year, we unintentionally sent the message that to participate in OTL, you must be fit and comfortable with your body image,” OTL wrote on its Facebook page. “The name ‘Speedo’ itself inherently implies bro-iness. OTL is so much more than just that, but many potentially interested students get turned off to our club each year because of Speedo Hike.”

Clarissa Worcester, a staffer at the Outdoor Education Center, added, “the publicity/legacy surrounding that of the speedo hike is immediately and inextricably ostracizing. Not to mention how it directly excludes individuals with religious dressing practices. No matter what work you do, the ‘speedo hike’ will manifest itself as OTL taking out and funding a group of students that is nearly guaranteed to be almost exclusively outdoor-experienced, fit, and heavily swayed in the direction of outdoor—and otherwise—privilege that OTL is trying to work against.” Worcester added, “OTL’s decision to not put many folks’ organizational effort and time into an event that is widely associated with bodily shaming/exclusion just seems to make a lot of sense.”

Not all students agreed with the decision. “I want to express my profound disappointment in your decision to cancel the speedo hike. This decision is, in my opinion, a mistake that goes decisively against your responsibility as the heads of the club to enable transformative experiences in the outdoors,” wrote Jeremy Snyder, a Pomona student. “OTL should strive to serve as many people from as many backgrounds as possible, but this should be an additive process, not a reductive one. In terms of enabling outdoor experiences, taking the speedo hike off the docket is a net negative. No progress is made by its cancellation. If the hike is cancelled, every individual and group that would have opted not to participate will stay on campus that saturday just the same. The sheer absence of the Speedo Hike will not propel them outdoors, so it is not productive to that end. What does change, however, is that now every person who would have partaken—for whom the speedo hike could have been a fun, challenging, and socially transformative experience as it was for my friends and I—will now spend their saturday on campus as well, sedentary. The decision to cancel the hike has not propelled anybody new outdoors, it has merely erased the chance for students to have a new and singularly memorable experience.”

Samuel Breslow (PO ’18) pointed out that attendees of Speedo Hikes in the past were never forced to don speedos. “I think it’s important to note that wearing a speedo was not a requirement for participation in the speedo hike,” noted Breslow. “I can also speak to it from personal experience: I decided to keep my clothes on (for comfort/in order to lessen the sunburn), and no one ever pressured me in the slightest to take them off.”

“This has been a difficult decision for us to reach. We know lots of our beloved members will be disappointed that Speedo Hike isn’t happening this year,” states OTL’s Facebook page. “In an effort to make the club more inclusive and accessible to everyone, we didn’t want to advertise a trip that our staff felt like wasn’t representational of the full OTL mission and purpose.”

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Image: Flickr

 

Pomona College Poster: ‘Everyone is Problematic’

New students at Pomona College were welcomed to campus with posters all over their dorms giving instructions for “How to be a (Better) White Ally.” The signs state that white people should “acknowledge your privilege” and “apologize if you’ve offended someone,” adding that offensive language includes words like “sassy” and “riot,” which are “racially coded.”

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 11.31.16 AM

“Everyone is problematic and even the most educated and well-intentioned people will screw up,” the poster states. The sign then gives three steps for white allies to follow:

  1. Be prepared to make mistakes.
  2. Listen and apologize.
  3. Make sure to change.

“Remember, just because POC [person of color] #1 isn’t offended by something, does not mean that POC #2 will not be offended by it either.”

The poster goes on to states that “social justice is about BOTH elevating oppressed groups and simultaneously unpacking the privilege of dominant groups. These aspects are equally as important!” Additionally, the sign claims that all white people are racist. “Understand that you are white, so it is inevitable that you have unconsciously learned racism,” states the poster. “Your unearned advantage must be acknowledged and your racism unlearned.”

Further, the poster claims that white people should “just listen!” rather than explaining their own perspective. “Comparing a POC’s situation with some experience of your own is not helpful. You do not & can not understand our oppression!” The guide recommends that white people should “listen to a diverse selection of marginalized voices” and notes that “POC will always understand racism in a way that you cannot—you need to listen to them!”

Pomona College had several events last year that white students were not allowed to attend. Pomona College’s website states that “Pomona College seeks to maintain an environment of mutual respect among all members of its community” and that discrimination on the basis of race “destroy[s] the foundation for such respect and violate[s] the sense of community vital to the College’s education enterprise.”