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Monday, November 28, 2016

Nation Not Treading Lightly in Unchartered Territory:

Without question, this country is in unchartered territory. People across the country continue to express themselves in despair. Others in fear. Some panic, while still others prepare. Of course, many have staged numerous protests from coast to coast.

In response to the aftermath of the elections, some 150 college and university presidentshave banded together to express their concern regarding the rise in hate crimes across the country. The unexpected presidential results have emboldened racial supremacists and misogynists across the country, including on the campuses of colleges and universities nationwide. 

For rest of column, go to Diverse Issues in Higher Education:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trump has Undocumented Students and Their Families Scrambling

by Roberto Rodriguez

By now a great majority of the country seems to have arrived at the stage of the worst political hangover any of us have ever experienced. Yet no one is feeling this hangover more so than the undocumented community. This election represents both the rise of fascism, and, literally, an existential threat to students and their families nationwide, including and especially the nearly 1 million college students that have been enrolled under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
It is this program which has afforded them the opportunity to enroll in college without fear of deportation. While they and their families are scrambling, they are also fighting back and are doing so within the context that a colleague, Liliana Patricia SaldaƱa, an associate professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, describes:
“The candidate who began his campaign with anti-Mexican hate, promising to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. The candidate who has a disturbing record of sexually assaulting women and allegedly raping women. The candidate who promised to ban Muslims from entering this country. The man who mocks our disabled brothers and sisters. The candidate who is queerphobic with his support of right wing homophobic right wing extremists. And the man who hates the Black Lives Matter movement and Black people in general. This is the person who was elected president in 2016.”
Part of the political climate necessitates also challenging the mainstream narrative that the GOP nominee won handily and thus has a mandate, especially in regard to his immigration policies. It is projected that, when all the votes are counted, his opponent will have won by some 2 million votes. Donald Trump’s rise to power will have been the result the Electoral College, and not the will of the people.
For the rest of the column, go to:

Friday, November 11, 2016


Historical Appreciation: Reflecting on the 2016 Presidential Election

On election night, I received hundreds of messages from friends and colleagues from throughout the country. Most seemed to be in utter disbelief. When I got to campus in the morning, I went into the student lounge where I came upon students who were crying.
All day, everyone kept asking me: “How do you feel?”
Strong and determined, primarily because I was prepared. In large part, because I come from peoples who were subjected to the worst genocide in human history (tens of millions) and thus, despair and hopelessness, which I initially have seen all around me, are not part of my reality.
“It is better to die on our feet than to live on our knees.” That was Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata’s admonition. This is the precise time we should be summonsing the wisdom and courage of our ancestors, whether they be indigenous, African or Asian, etc. Perhaps we will all soon be declaring: “We are all Zapatistas.”
Soy macehual and like millions like me, I come from the south, and I am related to all the original peoples of this continent, and I acknowledge that it is our ancestors who already have done the suffering for us.

While I have come across people who believe that the election was irrelevant and that both candidates were equally evil, most people I have come across appear to be genuinely horrified by the results. This is what caused me to remember that I come from peoples that have endured hundreds of years of efforts to exterminate us. As is commonly said in indigenous circles: “We were never meant to survive.” And yet we are here.

For the rest of the column, go here:

Monday, November 7, 2016

Election 2016 and Revisiting the New Jim & Juan Crow

As we all know, for probably three-fourths of the electorate ― between women and people of color ― the choice for president should have been a no-brainer. Essentially, the choice was made for us; that’s how many people one candidate intentionally insulted.

Along with that, promises by politicians don’t impress. For many, day-to-day issues matter more than slick propaganda. For example, this past semester I taught Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow.” The topic of her book ― the drug war and the criminalization of people of color, which has wreaked untold havoc on the country ― should be front and center in this political campaign. Yet it isn’t. Instead, it has been National Enquirerheadlines. 

For rest of column, go to:

Monday, October 31, 2016

Standing Rock Standoff Just Latest in Pipeline Crises

October 30, 2016
by Roberto Rodriguez

The historic battle over the 1170-mile Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL) has consequences far beyond the environmental danger posed by what is deep below the Earth’s surface — what is referred to as “zuzeca sape” or the black snake — or the millions of barrels of oil that are slated to move from North Dakota to Illinois. This includes Lakota, Dakota and Nakota lands.
While this black snake poses a danger to the Missouri River and to all its nearby residents, it is also part of a historic battle pitting unceded Dakota territory claimed by the Standing Rock Sioux Nation per the 1851 Treaty of Laramie versus claims to private property by Energy Transfer Partners. In one sense, that is what this is all about and it is one battle out of many hundreds in this country and on this continent, some of them going back literally to 1492.
For the rest of the column, please go to:

Monday, October 24, 2016

The 2016 Elections. Flirting with Fascism, Dancing with Apartheid:

by Roberto Rodriguez

As a lifelong writer, my journalist ethic has prevented me from ever endorsing anyone, yet, that has never stopped me from commenting on elections, especially ones in which a sizable portion of the electorate appears to be flirting with the twin evils of fascism and apartheid.
Having lived through the Nixon, Reagan and Bush eras, one could legitimately ask: is the current misogynistic and racial supremacist GOP nominee actually more dangerous than those previous warmongering presidents who caused the deaths of millions around the world? Arguably, the difference between him and his predecessors is that they limited their wars to proxy wars and against nations without nuclear weaponry. The reason people seem to fear this nominee is because he seems to be inconsistent, unstable and erratic, qualities no one wants in a leader at the controls of this nation’s nuclear arsenals.

For rest of column, go to:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Rodriguez: Nightmare Looms for an Original DREAMER

by Roberto Rodriguez
This is the story of Lizbeth Mateo, a young, bright Indigenous woman from Oaxaca, Mexico, and a recent graduate from the Santa Clara University School of Law, who today finds herself under threat of imminent deportation.
There was a time when young brown peoples lived in the shadows, avoided the light of the day, and avoided all manner of authority and government officials.
And yet they dreamt. They always dreamt.
This wasn’t just any kind of young brown people. These were young brown students who had been brought into the country as either infants or as children, without, according to the U.S. government, the legal right to live in this country.
One day, they got tired of living in hiding, lost their fear, they stepped forward and began to assert their rights as full human beings and began to fight back guerilla-style; Zapatista style.
And then one day in 2010, after Congress again failed to pass the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, they also got tired of fighting in the shadows and thus, one day, five of them made the decision to sit down and unmask themselves, proclaiming to the world that they were both “undocumented and unafraid.” This Act would have permitted students, who had grown up in this country and who had completed their schooling here, to go to college without the threat of deportation and at the same tuition rate as in-state college students.
Where they chose to sit down were the Tucson offices of Sen. John McCain (R). Lizbeth was one of the five. This historic action included telling the world, and demonstrating it, that they were also not afraid of the immigration authorities. And, sure enough, the authorities came, arrested them and took them away, though, in short order, they were released. That action was like that proverbial shot heard around the world.
For the rest of the column, go to: