Sep

11

Quick Spec

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24 Comments

  1. the staff edit  

    talks about "the self-segregation problem". Thoughts?

    • I liked  

      the staff editorial. a call to action on self segregated ethnic groups is entirely warranted...if sadly futile...I also think though that more people should sign up for other ethnic clubs. ex: black muslim? join the augustine society! latino catholic? join the hindu students association! all these clubs claim to be for those interested in said cultures; it's just as much the reluctance of those who do not take them up on this as their capacity for self segregation that results in the current situation

  2. good day  

    today's issue read well and looked pretty good.

  3. agreed  

    beautiful issue. redesigned opinion section is awesome.

  4. soo  

    lisa lewis actually wound up arguing against herself...the shock therapy of having a black roommate inculcated the spirit of diversity in her to the point at which she's advocating training for the rest of us as if she's a SHOCC member. she didn't need it, and neither do we.

  5. that sanchez piece  

    is ridiculous.

    my favorite quote: "Can't we assume the average Columbia student-regardless of race-is a decent individual, and treat him or her fairly until proven otherwise?"

    do the hate crimes on campus not make people think maybe we could use diversity training? how about barnard girls afraid of living in cathedral gardens because it's in "east harlem"? how about OL's telling their students (as mine did, two years ago) never to go above 121st st? and the fact that columbia is a college in the middle of harlem with a 10% black enrollment? or that we live in a city with some of the most segregated public schools in the nation? or the constant tokenism that nonwhite students complain of in CC? maybe if our society weren't racist, we could ASSUME the average columbia student to be completely enlightened as of the first day, but that's simply not the case.

    the diversity training folks diserve props for the work they're doing, not this nonstop harassment under the guise of balanced journalism or whatever....

    • factman  

      1. morningside heights is clearly not harlem...read its history or even, um, look around it. we're separated by a 100 foot cliff, and are arrayed along avenues that form the spine of the UWS. the vernacular architecture is more similar to the UWS, and certainly the demographics are. the fact that columbia is "in harlem" has been exploited by those who have never studied local history to make an erroneous point about its supposed obligations to a neighborhood that has always been culturally distinct from it.

      2. anyone who has ever seen manhattan crime statistics would know why it's perfectly legitimate to be more fearful of the area around cathedral gardens or above 125th...here, check out this map, which makes the distinction pretty clear:

      http://www.morningside-heights.net/crime.htm

      • ugh  

        #1, I grant you. #2, no, it's not legitimate. You have a much higher chance of getting killed every time you get into a car than of getting shot for daring to venture above 125th Street. As those of us who spend time there regularly can attest, it's not scary. Those of you who don't have no basis for judgment and should, respectfully, shut up.

      • Harlem  

        is in fact a historical designation. Read the plaque about the battle of Harlem Heights (wonder what Harlem replaces?) on the wall by the upper west gate of the main campus.

        If you want to make 'Harlem' into a sociopolitical designation, fine. But keep in mind that until about ten years ago, Harlem proper extended down to about 96th St. along Broadway, and if you walk down much further than 106th on Amsterdam, you will find yourself smack in the middle of a Spanish-speaking Harlem crowd.

    • Waitaminute  

      Since when does New York have the most segregated public schools in the nation? Having grown up somewhere (the suburbs) with ZERO black kids (the five at my school were bussed in from the city) makes me feel like the NY schools, which go to great lengths to encourage merit and are, by and larged, drawing from large, diverse neighborhoods, are a far cry from "segregated."

      When will people notice that Columbia and New York aren't, and probably never will be, the problem when it comes to racism? Yes, there's still institutionalized racism in New York -- no doubt. But why attack your successes? Shouldn't we be engaging in activism in the neighborhood and in the metropolitan area?

  6. also  

    re: the staff editorial: what an idiotic attack on ethnic organizations!! classic blaming nonwhite students for segregation/lack of diversity in the student body--when they've joined those groups at least in part because there IS lack of diversity/segregation in the rest of campus life! or was the spec refering to the White Students Organization?

  7. quiqui  

    "or. the constant tokenism that nonwhite students complain of in CC..."
    Fine, criticize the Sanchez piece, but you can't very well believe that the Lisa Lewis "counterpoint" is any better, especially if you bring up "tokenism." Her precious story of the shock of having a black girl (a beautiful, smart black girl of course, since patronizing, syrupy compliments seem to be required when a white girl talks about her colored peers) as a roommate isn't justification for why we all need diversity training, but rather why we white kids need to stop expecting our peers of color to be our instructors and guides on the rainbow-colored path to diversity. Her poor black roommate probably just wanted a potential friend, or at least someone quiet and respectful. Instead, she gets a goody-two-shoes white-guilt martyr who expects her to transport her out of her milquetoast upbringing into communion with "the other." And that's the problem. It's still us, and the other. Sure, now we say the other can teach us, the other's culture is sooooo much cooler than ours (how boring white people are! How awesome Lisa Lewis got a black roommate! Imagine her calling her friends back in Colorado to gush).
    Rather than expecting her school or any person of color she finds herself in close quarters with to teach her about diversity, how about Lisa Lewis, and all the other SHOCC-ers just learn about diversity the way most of us do: by not living with our heads firmly enclosed within our asses. Didn't Lisa Lewis ever...watch TV? See a movie? Go outside her town? READ A BOOK? Use the rational brain she must have in order to have gotten into Columbia to understand that non-white people do indeed exist in the world, and to come up with rational, normal ways to interact with them? Most of us simply don't need this kind of remediation because we're rational, intelligent kids brought up in world where wholesale racism is simply unnatural and unheard of. At least I did.

  8. i agree

    that the lisa lewis counterpoint is pretty bad--but then again, why get a BC firstyear to write about why we need diversity training? why not someone who actually led the trainings who could speak intelligently about them? or someone familiar with the race politics of columbia, at least? she was set up to look ignorant--and i think it's fair to say that she's probably not the target audience for the trainings. yeah, OBVIOUSLY she could benefit from them and maybe not have such simplistic views re: black roommates or whatever, but she's (hopefully) not the person who would commit a hate crime, be totally unaware of her privilege, etc etc.

    also, i think the point is that, yeah, wholesale outright racism is rare in a lot of places in the US. but we've let this fact lead us to believe that we have equality, that race is no longer an issue, that colorblindness is the answer. that, i think, is what the diversity training is trying to combat--to make people see the degree to which they PROBABLY INADVERTANTLY can contribute to institutionalized racism.

    also, factman, it's no coincidence that a lot of the darker red areas on your map are populated predominantly by people of color, right? so there is still racism going on somewhere.... i fail to see why we should consider the university somehow a magical haven from that.

    • sorry  

      the fact that high crime levels on the map happen to be in neighborhoods with larger minority populations doesn't strike me as some kind of racist conspiracy...nor do I think the spec is "setting up" diversity training to fail. there's too much inference going on in your analysis, most of it unsupported. we're not going to get anywhere, "diversity training" or no, if its advocates continue to insist that there's a vast white conspiracy with a grip on the world with no concern other than the maintenance of its power, and that no member of the "oppressor race" could ever objectively measure his or her "inadvertant racism"- an idea which either leads to suspicion and reinforcement of polarizing biases in perpetuity OR wholesale acceptance on the part of "oppressors" of the fact that they just ought to be judged by those who "know better"...oh wait, that sounds familiar, doesn't it?

  9. well

    i dont think it's a racist conspiracy that high-crime rates often accompany neighborhoods with larger minority populations, but i do think that it reflects the institutionalized racism in this country. what else could explain it? why are poorer people in the city mostly not white?

    also, i think the point is not at all that no member of the "oppressor race" (which seems kind of a simplistic thing to say in itself, since there's all different types of oppression, right, not just racial) could ever measure his or her 'inadvertant racism.' the point is that such a person COULD be made aware of the privilege he or she has and act in a way that would reflect that awareness, you know? if there was no hope and this were just about making white people conscious of their HORRIBLE INEVITABLE RACISM, then why have the trainings? i think it's much more about how people can be aware of privilege and then act responsibly in regards to that...

    • the problem  

      is when to say "alright, your inadvertant racism is gone, you're free to go now"...as well as who is able to tell. if the most genuinely accepting, "aware of privilege" individuals can still be called "inadvertantly racist" (as has been suggested), where is the line drawn? how is it determined where this inadvertancy ends, in what it consists, and what methodology would "cure" it? many people feel upset that they cannot individually resolve not to be racist, classist, or whatever, but have to be subjected to others' judgments (who are somehow more qualified to evaluate them) in this regard, and may, given their ostensible rejection of all such pejorative "isms," still be called inadvertantly racist forever given the phenomenon appears to have no defining criteria.

  10. umm  

    yes, you have a higher chance of getting killed driving than pretty much anything. that does not address relative safety in morningside heights proper vs. those areas, nor anything to do with petty violence...

    walk down 110th to cathedral gardens late at night (let's say after 2 when their shuttle bus stops running). there are lots of blank walls and poorly lit areas...not a lot of streetlife. ditto the area around the grant projects, with the shadows of the elevated one train and the dark lawns of the projects...there are a lot fewer eyes on the street and potential for danger...it has less to do with the socioeconomic composition of those specific areas than their urban design (read jane jacobs for more on this).

    • Waitaminute  

      Also, smart (and kudos on the Jacobs) -- the projects in Harlem are pretty nasty, but so are the projects in Chelsea, with the exceptions of the ones that have been built in an intelligent manner (i.e., they look like buildings). The area west of Lincoln Center isn't so hot, either, because the buildings discourage pedestrian life. I can't think of a single block of Washington Heights I'd be scared to walk around, even if I was the type of person to worry about petty crime and race -- there's witnesses everywhere!

    • not really  

      "Higher" and "high" are not the same thing. You have a miniscule chance of being the object of random violence regardless. Rationally speaking, the fact that you have a slightly-higher-but-still-miniscule chance outside morningside proper is not a reason to avoid those areas, especially when we all engage in much higher-risk activities every day. And I really doubt that Columbia students who choose not to go north of 125th sat down and analyzed crime statistics before making that decision. Use them to justify it after the fact, sure. And yeah, I've read Jacobs--as #18 points out, the same principle applies to Lincoln Center, and I doubt many of us avoid that because it's "dangerous."

      • Waitaminute  

        Huh? I meant Tenth and Eleventh Avenues... Lincoln Center has enough major institutions and shops to make it work, but the Far West Side is another world.

        If the chance is so miniscule as to be trumped by day-to-day life, what's the point of arguing about it?

        • the point...  

          It's really not worth arguing about, but if people are going to use that miniscule chance to justify blacklisting entire neighborhoods, I'm going to point out that it is, in fact, miniscule.

          I think a recent Spec piece put it well:

          "Harlem is dangerous. Nope. Wrong. Your parents/friends/mentors are neurotic, confused, or quite possibly racist. The Harlem of the '80s and early '90s was not a welcoming place, but gentrification and Manhattan's real estate bubble have pushed most serious crime into the boroughs and left Harlem habitable. Harlem, like any urban environment, operates on this guiding principle: if you don't do stupid things, stupid things will happen to you less frequently.

          Just as you can walk through Morningside Park and live to tell a very uneventful tale, so too can you stroll along 125th Street, the lively yet trashy artery of Harlem, with little concern. Do not display large quantities of cash, do not sell or buy drugs, do not flash diamond jewelry, and do not go for solitary walks at odd hours of the night with your iPod headphones gleaming in the moonlight."

  11. to add to that  

    really, it's absurd at the point when crime statistics are deemed politically incorrect...the FACT is that one has a statistically higher chance of encountering crime north of 121st, south of 110th, or east of morningside park. that crime may not be murder, it may have a lot to do with institutional racism, but it exists. those areas are relatively more dangerous, and statistics bear this out. period.

  12. echoing  

    this was a really good spec issue

  13. photo  

    the front page 9/11 stuff was really good

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