Things That Matter

Students Of Syracuse University Are Left Angered As Their Campus Is Rocked By Anonymous Acts Of Racism

It’s no secret that we’re living in a time that’s marked by the fear of domestic terrorism. Not only did hate crimes reach a 16 year high in 2018 according to the FBI, but according to the Gun Violence Archive, as of November 17th, there have been 369 mass shootings in the U.S. These two factors combined make the threat of mass violence a daily reality in the U.S. And that threat is the most acute for young adults going to school in the U.S.

And it’s no wonder that students on both college campuses and in high schools live in fear of an act of domestic terror being perpetrated against them. In a generation where 96% of American schools practice “active shooter” lockdown drills, young generations have been conditioned into being constantly on-guard for possible violence. And with the uptick in hate crimes, it’s understandable that students of color feel that they might be the target of a random act of domestic terrorism. Recently, the fear of mass violence has permeated the campus of Syracuse University.

Syracuse University has been making national headlines after a series of anonymous racist incidents rocked the central New York campus.

The panic at Syracuse began to build in early November, when, according to Vice, students woke up to “the n-word scrawled across the walls of both bathrooms on two floors of the residence hall”. Additionally, students of color had their name tags ripped away from their dorm room doors and torn apart. 

Things escalated further when a white supremacist manifesto infamous for its part in the Christchurch mosque shootings was uploaded to Syracuse’s page on the popular social media platform, GreekRank. And the fear reached a fever pitch when the Christchurch mosque shootings manifesto was allegedly anonymously air-dropped to a number of phones in the University library (the latter which has since been branded a “hoax” by the University chancellor). 

According to accounts, students are afraid to leave their dorms, go to class, and for students of color, draw attention to themselves in any way. Many are fleeing the campus altogether, opting to go home early as the semester winds to a close. Their professors, for the most part, have been understanding of their students’ fear. Professor of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition, Dr. Rebecca Moore Howard took to Twitter to address her students. “I have just canceled my classes tomorrow,” she said. “Too many students  messaging me that they’re scared to go to class….No class I teach is so important that my students—esp black, brown—should risk their safety”.

Students and faculty are angry at the administration for what they believe is a lackluster response to what they perceive as direct threats to minorities and marginalized groups on campus. 

Quickly, a movement that called itself #NotAgainSU formed, organizing a sit-in to protest what they believed was a lackluster response to the blatant racism happening on the university’s campus. The organization drew up a list of demands that included️ the expulsion of anyone involved in racist incidents and the hiring of more counselors the identify with marginalized groups.

But students and faculty are still disappointed at the action (or lack thereof) that the administration has taken. “There is a tension where it seems the administration is fearful of being sued by frats or affecting the University’s reputation,” said assistant political science professor Dr. Jenn M. Jackson to New York Magazine. “Meanwhile Black, Latinx, Asian, Jewish, and international/immigrant students are afraid to leave their rooms.” 

As inspiring as the student activism is, it didn’t stop the racially-motivated petty crimes from continuing to happen across campus. According the University’s Department of Public Safety, there were already 14 hate crimes reported during the length of the sit-in, one of them being a large swastika drawn in the snow. Another was an incident of derogatory graffiti aimed at Asians.

Although some progress has been made with Chancellor Kent Syverud recently admitting that there “are things that have not been handled well enough during this series of recent events,” many believe their words aren’t enough.

Students claim they won’t be happy until radical action is taken by the school’s administration.

Students of color are visibly fed up with living in fear.

Students are calling for the University’s chancellor to agree to their demands or resign.

Joe Biden, who went to Syracuse as an undergrad student, even chimed in on the conversation.

This observer makes it pretty clear what she thinks of people who won’t take a stand against hate:

https://twitter.com/MsEntropy/status/1197460596226174978?s=20 It’s moments like these that remind us that there is still so much work to do in the fight for racial, cultural, and religious equality.   

Spike Lee Is The First Black President Of Cannes Film Festival In Its 73-Year History

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Spike Lee Is The First Black President Of Cannes Film Festival In Its 73-Year History

James Gourley / Flickr

Spike Lee is returning to the 73rd Cannes Film Festival a couple of years after BlacKkKlansman debuted there, this time as the jury president. In over seven decades, the prestigious film festival has never had a black president overseeing the artists who decide which films will win an award. 

“In this life I have lived, my biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected, when they happened out of nowhere. When I got the call that I was offered the opportunity to be president of Cannes jury for 2020, I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time,” Lee said in a statement.

The 62-year-old director won Cannes’ Grand Prix for BlacKkKlansman which also earned Lee his first Academy Award. Prior to his recent release, Lee hadn’t participated in Cannes in 22 years despite having seven of his most beloved films like, She’s Gotta Have ItDo The Right Thing and Summer Of Sam, playing there. 

Lee releases a heartfelt statement about becoming the jury president.

Lee said this particular film festival is the most important in the world and that it significantly impacted his career.

“It started way back in 1986 – my first feature film She’s Gotta Have It, which won the Prix de la Jeunesse in the Director’s Fortnight. The next joint was in 1989 – Do The Right Thing, an Official Selection in Competition. And I don’t have the time nor space to write about the cinematic explosion that jumped off, still relative to this, 30 years later,” Lee said in a statement. 

Do The Right Thing might be Lee’s most well-known project. The film which uses building racial tensions in a Brooklyn neighborhood as an exploration of violence as activism was solidified as a part of history when it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry and Libray of Congress. 

“Then Jungle Fever 1991 – Official Selection in Competition, Girl 6 1996 – Official Selection out of Competition, Summer Of Sam1999 – Director’s Fortnight, Ten Minutes Older 2002 – Official Selection in Un Certain Regard and then BlacKkKlansman 2018 – Official Selection in Competition where it won the Grand Prix, which became the launching pad for the world theatrical release which led to my Academy Award for screenplay,” he continued. 

Many have felt that Lee has not gotten the respect he deserves as a filmmaker — at least not until fairly recently.

Despite being nominated four times across three decades, Lee wasn’t awarded an Academy Award until 2019 for Best Adapted Screenplay. 

“Spike Lee’s perspective is more valuable than ever. Cannes is a natural homeland and a global sounding board for those who (re)awaken minds and question our stances and fixed ideas. Lee’s flamboyant personality is sure to shake things up. What kind of president of the jury will he be? Find out in Cannes!” Cannes President Pierre Lescure and festival head Thierry Frémaux said in a statement.

In the New York Times profile leading up to his Oscar win, the paper examined the ways in which Lee has been relegated to the fringes of prestigious filmmaking: throughout his career, he has earned less money and received less funding than his white counterparts, and has had difficulty getting projects off the ground. 

Lee’s inclusion might be Cannes’ first big step in correcting its diversity issues.

“That’s the dilemma of a talented black artist in any field,” collaborator and author James McBride told the NY Times. “You have to recreate the genre, otherwise you don’t survive. Stevie Wonder is not a pop musician; Stevie Wonder is a genre. Michael Jackson is a genre to himself. Spike Lee has moved into that territory. Spike Lee is not short on talent. What Spike Lee is short on is friends in the industry, and the kind of space to fail. He has no room to fail.” 

While Cannes has struggled with diversity around black and women directors, Lee as a jury president could be a healthy step in allowing other perspectives in. 

“I’m honored to be the first person of the African diaspora (USA) to be named president of the Cannes jury and of a main film festival. The Lee family sincerely thanks the Festival de Cannes, Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux and the great people of France who have supported my film career throughout four decades. I will always treasure this special relationship,” Lee said.

Leaked Emails Show Stephen Miller Believed DREAMERs Would Replace White Americans

Things That Matter

Leaked Emails Show Stephen Miller Believed DREAMERs Would Replace White Americans

Win McNamee / Getty

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller is still in office, despite mounting proof that he harbors white supremacist’s beliefs and numerous politicians and activists calling for his resignation. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hatewatch” vertical published a series of Miller’s emails leaked by an ex-Breitbart news editor. 

In the emails, Miller expressed fear that DREAMERs would replace white Americans and suggested deporting immigrants on trains to scare them. SPLC’s Michael Hayden says Miller is a supporter of the “great replacement theory” championed by white supremacists who fear white people will become a racial minority. The theory has been echoed in the manifestos of mass shooters and prominent white supremacist leaders. 

Miller believes his fellow Republicans aren’t hard enough on immigrants. 

“Demanding DREAMers be given citizenship because they ‘know no other home.’ That principle is an endorsement of perpetual birthright citizenship for the foreign-born,” Miller wrote in an email.  “Not only will the U.S.-born children of future illegal immigrants and guest workers be made automatic U.S. citizens, but their foreign-born children will too because, as [former Republican House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor said, ‘Our country was founded on the principle.’”

Miller praised Florida’s very own former governor Jeb Bush for his use of moderate rhetoric to push extreme policies. The emails leaked are from around 2015, when Miller was an aide to Senator Jeff Sessions before being selected by Trump.

 “Jeb [Bush] has mastered the art of using immigration rhetoric to sound ‘moderate’ while pushing the most extremist policies,” Miller wrote in an email. 

Former Breitbart editor Katie McHugh provided over 900 emails to SPLC in which Miller expressed disdain for non-white immigrants. McHugh says she leaked the emails addressed to her from Miller to expose the hidden “evil” of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. 

“In a November 2015 email that Hatewatch has not previously published, Miller forwarded an interview with Phyllis Schlafly from far-right conspiracy website WorldNetDaily that argued undocumented immigrants should be shipped out on trains to ‘scare out the people who want to undo our country,’” according to SPLC. 

25 interfaith groups call for the resignation of Stephen Miller. 

Yesterday, 25 faith groups, among them many prominent Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders including the Anti-Defamation League, The Nation’s Mosque, and African American Ministers in Action, signed a letter calling for Miller’s resignation. 

“Stephen Miller authored many of these destructive policies and helped ensure their enactment via his network of anti-immigrant officials throughout the federal government. Further, these policies have been paired with heightened and unrelenting anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric coming from the White House,” the organizations said. 

The group also called out the Trump administration for allowing white supremacist views in the White House. 

“At one point in history, harboring a white supremacist in the White House could harm an administration. Today, President Trump appears unbothered by his close official’s ties to white supremacy. This cannot stand. As organizations of many faiths, who feel love and respect where Miller advances disdain and hate, we call for his resignation immediately,” the letter stated

Last November 100 lawmakers demanded Stephen Miller resign. 

Miller has been in the hot seat for a while. Last year 100 lawmakers demanded the advisor’s resignation, a couple of weeks ago 25 Jewish members of congress joined that call following Rolling Stone’spublication of a different set of leaked emails that further establish his support of xenophobic ideas. 

“A documented white nationalist has no place in any presidential administration, and especially not in such an influential position,” the 100 representatives wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump. “Miller’s white supremacist influence on your immigration policy, and it seems like that his perfidious adherence to extremist ideology has shaped your administration in ways that are not yet public.”

In the Rolling Stone emails, Miller called refugees “foreign-born terrorists” and expressed a fondness for a book called “Camp of Saints” which is a favorite of neo-Nazis.

“The dystopian 1973 novel is widely regarded as racist and traffics in fear-mongering about immigrant invasions. It is popular among white nationalist circles and has been invoked by former White House aide Steve Bannon and Iowa Congressman Steve King,” according to Newsweek

Other emails show Miller is using his influence in the White House to coordinate anti-immigration policies that reflect his views. 

“In the emails, [senior advisor at ICE Jon] Feere strategizes with Miller about how to use the federal government to amplify their anti-immigration message; tees up potential attacks on prominent Democratic politicians; directly briefs Miller in great detail about upcoming enforcement actions and policy changes in the works; and recommends to Miller people the administration should hire to expedite its immigration agenda,” according to Rolling Stone

While Miller has still not resigned, the pressure is continuing to mount in Congress and among activists.