Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

70 Years Later

This past Sunday marked the 70th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which authorized the forced internment of Japanese American citizens living on the Pacific coast of the U.S.A. This often-ignored part of our country's history speaks volumes about how racism and xenophobia have been commonplace within the U.S. government, and frankly the country seems to have not really changed all that much in this regard in the past 70 years. Although the federal government formally apologized more than forty years after the fact, admitting that the order was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership," the reparations offered did little to remedy the fractured lives of the citizens when they needed it most. It also did nothing to really address how the government has systematically attacked racial and ethnic groups for sometimes awful, more often irrelevant reasons as a solution to a perceived problem (I.E. the Chinese Exclusion Act, forced Native American removal, Jim Crow laws, to name a few).

In the present day, the new group being targeted is people of Latino heritage as part of the hysteria over "illegal aliens." From laws like Arizona SB 1070 which requires police officers to attempt to determine if someone is an undocumented immigrant based on what essentially amounts to racial profiling, to presidential candidates saying they would build an electrified border fence to keep out immigrants and receiving thunderous applause in response, it is clear that Latinos are the new scapegoat for government policies and a target for people to project and vent their problems onto rather than addressing the root causes of the issues the United States is facing today.

The U.S.A. has often created an "Us vs. Them" mentality that allows for the passage of laws that are racially biased and negatively impact large portions of the population. Although that phenomenon is not unique to the United States, for a country that calls itself the land of the free to continue to have such policies is unacceptable and a betrayal of its core principles, and it shows we have not yet learned very basic lessons from the past.

We can be better than this.

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