Sunday, September 18, 2005
opinions to nod your head to

Since my last few scourings of the newspaper world's opinion pages left me with a bad taste in my mouth, I thought it'd be nice to post some links to some opinions that I do actually agree with and whose eloquence in writing far surpasses mine.

A couple of WSU AsianAm students wrote an excellent reply to the Turnbull letter that got published in the NW Asian Weekly. It's right here:

"At Stake: The Safety of Future WSU Students of Color"

To the editor:

In response to Mr. William Turnbull, who commented on Ms. Nina Kim (�WSU student takes state report to task,� Northwest Asian Weekly, Aug. 27, 2005), it is indeed true that bigotry anywhere is wrong, and even within minority communities there is language and behavior that is offensive and hurtful to people from other communities. This is something that each of us must continue to address through education and personal accountability.

What Mr. Turnbull fails to understand is that the issues raised by Ms. Kim and the Asian Pacific American community organizations are not simply about the behavior of fellow students who taunted her repeatedly in the fall of 2004 and into 2005 at the Multicultural Student Center where she worked, but the re-victimization she endured through a flawed student conduct process and Washington State University�s institutional behavior, which focused on damage control instead of a genuine effort to seek out and eradicate core problems and find positive solutions. In addition, we questioned the short shrift given by the state Human Rights Commission (HRC) to critical, underlying issues, i.e. the campus culture around diversity and cultural competency and the lack of communication that led to a perception of inaction and bias.

APA community organizations remain convinced that Ms. Kim and others on campus experienced racial and sexual harassment by the accused white male perpetrators and that WSU needs to address deeply ingrained institutionalized racism and sexism. Let us not forget that WSU is an institution of higher learning and is supported by our tax dollars. At stake is not simply today�s incident, but the safety of APA and other minority students who attend WSU in the future.

The HRC did not become involved until advocacy groups contacted the governor�s office and elected officials and sent a letter to WSU President V. Lane Rawlins on March 18, 2005, a full six weeks after the core incident. This begs the question: If not for the action by advocacy groups, would the HRC have become involved? And would WSU have taken action by its own accord to implement the type of structural and procedural changes recommended by the HRC and community organizations?

The APA community reacted because we wanted a clear explanation of the follow-up actions and statements made by the university. In fact, we had not yet received a response to the March 18 letter when we learned that the Student Conduct Board had declared the accused students �not guilty.� Mr. Turnbull�s characterization of the APA community organizations� role � �What that means is more money and power for the organizations that are using Ms. Kim� � is unfounded and insulting.

Community advocates work on our own time and without compensation. No one can make up for the hours taken away from our families and personal interests, but the sacrifice is made because we will not sit back and quietly allow racial and sexual harassment to occur unchecked at a state-funded institution of higher learning. Nor will we allow the HRC to cast aspersions on student actions by labeling them �undergraduate penchant for revolutionary drama� without acknowledging the underlying frustration with the campus culture that prompted such action.

Mr. Turnbull states that the incident was not life threatening to Ms. Kim. Should we wait for a life-threatening incident to occur? The fact that the accused students � who are over 18 and considered adults by the courts � thought it was OK to continually taunt and mock an Asian female and say things like �That�s my girl� and �Asians take all the jobs� left little for one to imagine what other behavior and comments occur, publicly or in private, across the campus.

In his book 'Death on the Fourth of July', author David Neiwert wrote, �The lack of response (by the majority community) is always seen by the offenders as acquiescence � they see themselves as heroes, as people who are acting out the beliefs of the majority of people who live in the community.� The APA community will not allow this to happen at our tax-supported university.

Mr. Turnbull�s comment �It is now time for Ms. Kim to get off the celebrity mindset, get back to school and get on with her life� is supercilious and completely off target. To her credit, Ms. Kim endured and rose above injustice and institutional shortcomings while carrying 22 credits and earning a 4.0 GPA. She has not retreated in pain but remains a student leader committed to making her school, WSU, stronger and accountable to all of the students and communities it serves.

Already the advocacy of Ms. Kim and the APA community, which steadfastly refuses to have our concerns ignored or dismissed, is producing constructive dialogue and the seeds of a long-term working relationship with the WSU administration. There is no glory or personal enrichment, only the belief that this work must be done.

Nadine Shiroma
James Arima

Eastside Asian Pacific Islanders and ROAR (Raising Our Asian Pacific American Representation)


a columnist worth reading

Jerry Large, my favorite columnist at the Seattle Times has also written up some great perspectives on Katrina, race, and class.

"Same Scenes, Different Lenses" discusses the American white/black divide over how each group interprets events differently from the context of their experiences here in America.

"Katrina: Race & Class Seperate, Yet Connected" talks about the complex links between poverty, being poor, and being non-white.

Read, read... so many things to read.


cool. but they shoulda also took him to task on his dumbassed ignorance about the institutional/historical implications of racism. but i have a feeling at his age, and from what i can understand of his mindset, hes probably very fixed in his convictions. fucker.
dks - yup.
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in?scrip?tion (n-skrip-shun)n.
1. The act or an instance of inscribing.
2. Something, such as the wording on a coin, medal, monument, or seal, that is inscribed.
3. A short, signed message in a book or on a photograph given as a gift.
4. The usually informal dedication of an artistic work.
5. Jeremiah 31:33

the facts.
name. Gar AKA "that Chinese guy" "Sleepy.McSleeping"
ethnicity/nationality. Chinese/American, 4th gen.
location. Sea-Town, WA, USA Kawanishi, JAPAN
occupation. less-cynical poor grad student
age. younger than you think, older than you know



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