Author Archives: DCG

Minnesota university encourages ‘respectful’ Halloween costumes, student told Pocahontas is ‘offensive’

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Campus Reform: The University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) has become the latest school to urge students to be “respectful” while celebrating Halloween.

“The office of Academic Affairs is encouraging students to celebrate Halloween with respect at UMD, referencing goal two of UMD’s strategic plan,” UMD’s student newspaper, The Statesman said. “Goal two is to create a positive and inclusive campus climate for all by advancing equity, diversity and social justice. This applied to Halloween as students decide on what costumes to wear.”

UMD’s strategic plan was created in 2011 to outline the university’s goals and values.

“Students often strive to come up with creative and witty costumes. However, this sometimes leads to a costume that, intentionally or not, can make someone feel disrespected or stereotyped,” the article went on to say.

According to The Statesman, one UMD student was planning to dress up as the Disney princess Pocahontas for Halloween until a Native American peer informed her that that costume was “offensive.”

UMD is not the first university to follow the politically correct trend, as students at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and the University of North Dakota received similar warnings in the last few weeks.

Cody Symes, a senior at UMD, told Campus Reform that as long as the university is not telling students they cannot wear offensive costumes and is just telling them to be mindful, it is not doing anything wrong.

As for what is offensive, Symes said he does not have a clear answer and it is “completely subjective,” but if anything could be it would be racial stereotypes. “Everything is going to offend someone at some point,” Symes said. “If you’re okay with people being angry with you, go ahead and do it.”

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DCG

Disturbing Video Shows What It’s Really Like to Be Street Harassed

Cosmopolitan: No matter where you live, if you’ve ever walked around your neighborhood as a woman (or queer person) for any lengthy amount of time, you’ve been subjected to catcalls, whistles, stares, you name it.

Still, there are plenty of idiots out there who claim it’s no big deal, or that it’s not that bad, or that women are exaggerating. Obviously, those people are wrong, but sometimes it helps to show naysayers actual, real-world evidence of how pervasive street harassment is in our culture, which this video absolutely does.

It’s fairly excruciating to watch, but that’s only because it’s so realistic and all too familiar.

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The “disturbing harassment”? “How you doing today?” “What’s up beautiful have a good day.” “God bless you mami.” “Hey baby.” “Hey beautiful!” “How are you this morning?” “Have a nice evening.” “Nice!”

Don’t like the cat calls or comments? Ignore them or tell the boys to blow off! You really think you can control the behavior of everyone on the street?

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Bet a feminazi would demand the same respect even if she walked around like this.

DCG

Higher Education: Students hold ‘Shit In’ to demand more gender-neutral bathrooms

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College Fix: As students walked through the main thoroughfare at San Diego State University on Tuesday they were greeted by students with their pants down sitting atop a row of toilets.

Such an appearance in the middle of a college quad is sure to raise questions, and that was the hope of the Transgender Action Advocacy Student Coalition with their “Shit In” protest.

Five toilets – sometimes adorned with students – set along Campanille Walkway had newspapers with the words “Gender Neutral Bathrooms Now” written in bold letters. Students were encouraged to sit on a toilet and take selfies with the hashtag #SDSUShitIn.

The protest aimed to raise awareness about what some deem is the limited number of gender neutral bathrooms on campus.

There are only six specifically gender-neutral bathrooms at SDSU, the protesters told passersby, and one of the six is in a faculty area, so transgender students who are not comfortable in traditional men’s or ladies’ restrooms only have a few options when going to the bathroom.

The protestors handed maps of SDSU with each of the gender-neutral bathroom locations circled to show how the bathrooms are spread around the far ends of campus, in locations that are often inconvenient for trans students to access.

PottyPrivilege-251x400The Transgender Action Advocacy Student Coalition is asking that every building have one bathroom that is gender neutral. The advocates argue that, depending upon class location, trans students have a difficult time making it to one of these bathrooms if they only a 10-minute break between classes.

The choice is often between holding the urge and being late to class, they said, adding that having more bathrooms throughout campus would eliminate the need to choose wither of those less-than-pleasant options.

Using either the men’s or women’s bathrooms can be an uncomfortable or even scary experience for a trans person, especially for those still transitioning.

Paul Rhodes, an LGBTQ activist who attended the Shit In, explained why to The College Fix: “When I was transitioning, the choice was often between going into the women’s bathroom and getting yelled at, or going into the men’s bathroom and getting beat up.”

A woman transitioning to becoming a man, Rhodes looked too manly to comfortably go into a women’s restroom, and too feminine to feel safe in a men’s restroom. Many trans people have similar experiences, which is why they prefer gender-neutral options, Rhodes said.

Part of the campaign is also the Gender Neutral Bathroom Challenge, which asks the campus community to avoid using gendered bathrooms for a week. Gendered bathrooms are designated for “men” or “women” by a sign. A follow-up discussion is slated for students to discuss their experiences with the challenge.

I knew it would happen – now bathrooms are a right.

DCG

Wednesday smiles!

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DCG

Liberals are such party poopers: How To Enjoy Halloween Candy Without Worrying About Ruining The Planet

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Think Progress: This year, Halloween candy sales could top $2.5 billion this year across the United States, with chocolate being the heavy favorite for most consumers. The problem, apart from tooth decay and the consequences of high-sugar diets, is that many of the candies Americans will be consuming in large quantities contain a little-known ingredient that may not be flashy, but can have serious consequences for the climate.

Palm oil, the world’s most-used cooking oil, is cheap and versatile, trans-fat-free, and found in everything from food to makeup, biofuels to candles, cleaning agents to candies. In 2013, the world produced 50 million metric tons of the stuff — in comparison, it produced less than three million tons of olive oil.

Ordinarily a useful industrial and food product that could grow back and renew itself would be a climate boon, but palm oil has a problem. It can only grow in tropical climates, and palm plantations require a great deal of clear-cut land to produce the oil — most current cultivation is in Indonesia and Malaysia. This means deforestation and the massive amounts of carbon released into the atmosphere that comes with it, but also the loss of peatlands, a far less sexy but just as significant climate problem. As Harrison Ford discovered in this year’s big climate documentary series, “Years of Living Dangerously,” peat contains much more carbon than tropical forests do, so when plantations drain peatlands, that carbon gets released into the atmosphere.

So there are plenty of ways to unsustainably produce the palm contained in millions of pieces of Halloween candy. Does that mean kids should be limited to trick-or-treating at houses that offer locally-grown fruits and veggies? While there are plenty of health reasons to cut down on candy consumption, fortunately there are resources to help pick good palm oil candies from the bad.

Rainforest Foundation U.K. has a palm oil product guide, which rates chocolate manufacturers on a one to twenty “ethical score.” Ethical Consumer, which did the research for the guide, says that top scores either mean the company uses no palm oil or 100 percent Fairtrade palm oil. Italian confectioner Ferrero bottomed out with a score of one while Mars only reached a seven. Nestle was rated a bit better with a twelve, Lindt hit 14, and Booja Booja and Divine Chocolate aced the guide with perfect “20″ ethical scores.

The El Paso Zoo lists a few dozen candy brands that contain palm oil and several dozen more than contain none. If you aren’t sure, go by the ingredient list, but it’s not enough to look for “palm oil” there. Often companies use different names or derivatives, but the Cheyanne Mountain zoo’s palm oil webpage contains a comprehensive list of possible palm oil ingredient names. Some of the most common ones are “vegetable oil,” “stearate,” or “stearyl.”

The sure-fire winners either skip palm oil altogether or deliberately source it from sustainable producers. Diana Donlon, the Director of the Center for Food Safety’s Cool Foods Campaign, writes in Huffington Post that parents and other candy consumers can vote with their wallets this year. She details four chocolatiers who use ethical palm oil or no palm oil at all:

  • Endangered Species Chocolate: uses a high certification for its chocolate and donates 10 percent of net profits to conservation groups
  • Justin’s: uses palm oil from highly-ranked climate- and conservation-friendly palm oil producer Agropalma
  • Equal Exchange: doesn’t use palm oil at all, and works with small farmer co-ops
  • Alter Eco: uses organic, fair trade coconut oil

Eating other kinds of junk food may still clog your arteries, but it doesn’t always have to be bad for the climate. Last month, both Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts announced they would be committing to sourcing the palm oil they use from distributors that don’t worsen deforestation. This followed sugary breakfast cereal-maker Kellogg, as well as chocolate giants Hershey Company and Nestle, who made similar demands of their palm oil suppliers.

Keep calm and get your candy on!

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See also:

DCG

Boxer and Feinstein: Redskins racist! What about Negro Bar State Park?

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Boxer (l) and Feinstein (r)

In May, California senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein were part of a group of senators calling for “the National Football League to change the team name of the Washington Redskins, declaring that “racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports.”

Imagine my surprise when I happened upon this article in the Sacramento Bee:

“Bumpy Negro Bar bike trail to get fix”

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“Portions of the bike trail through Negro Bar will be undergoing some much-needed smoothing thanks to a non-profit group and California State Parks.

Walkers, bike riders and joggers will appreciate the trail fix along the north shore of Lake Natoma when the work on the trail is completed. Much of the area suffers from bumps from tree roots, potholes, poor drainage and sand build-up.

Friends of Lakes Folsom and Natoma (FOLFAN) and state parks will repair about 1,300 linear feet of trail in three areas. Work will be done on both trail pavement and shoulders.” Read the rest here.

There is no history on the state park Negro Bar web page. There is no entry on Wikipedia for Negro Bar State Park. From Wikimapia:

Negro Bar was a mining camp, but it was not the lively mining town so often portrayed in motion pictures. Like many other mining camps in 1848, Negro Bar was little more than a cluster of tents and shacks thrown up to shelter men working along the river.

The community of Negro Bar was called “under the hill” after Folsom replaced the old mining camp along the river. Today it is under the water of Lake Natoma. Only the name remains on the opposite side of the river from where African American miners first started mining gold in 1849-1850. Negro Bar State Park is a reminder that a mining camp once bore a similar name.

James Meredith built a store and later a hotel at Negro Bar. A store could have been anything from a tent with a plank laid across two barrels to a rough lean-to with a few shelves. Hotels were usually large dormitories with bunks stacked in tiers against the walls. Almost anything that could serve as shelter for a large number of men was designated as a hotel.”

From the California Department of Education:

“Although a few African-American miners continued to mine the Negro Bar diggings as late as 1852, the majority of African American miners on the lower American River at that time were mining claims located roughly four miles north at a mining camp known as Negro Hill. Located near Mormon Island, the claim is alleged by some early sources to have been first mined by Mormon miners as early as 1848. A man named Kelsey, an African-American from Massachusetts and a Methodist minister along with other Black miners, rediscovered the diggings in 1849. Together, these men established a community of African-American, Caucasian, Chinese, and Portuguese miners that were to grow as large as 400 persons by 1855.

The success of the diggings near Negro Hill prompted settlement of a nearby hill that became known as Little Negro Hill or Negro Flat. Both of these mining camps and their nearby claims yielded enough gold to keep them going well into the mid-1850s. The riches, however, were not enough to prevent racial tensions from boiling over at least once at Negro Hill. Historian Rudolph Lapp notes in his book Blacks in Gold Rush California (New Haven, 1977) that physical confrontations between Caucasian and African-American miners resulted in injuries, deaths, and arrests in 1855. A court in Coloma, despite the fact that an African-American miner was killed, later released the Caucasian miners involved in the incidents. Lapp also states that Caucasian miners at Negro Hill were also supportive of pro-slavery candidates in the presidential elections of 1856.

Despite these problems, Negro Hill and Little Negro Hill/Negro Flat were the home to a Black-owned store and boarding house and a church headed by a Caucasian Methodist clergyman. The camps were described by contemporary sources as being the home to “sources of hardy miners that made good wages.” Negro Hill, like many placer mining camps in the Sierra foothills was non-existent by the 1860s. The placer diggings that were so plentiful in the 1850s were exhausted by this time.”

The term “redskin” is considered offensive by some (although some have found the actual origin of the word is entirely benign and reflects more positive aspects of relations between Indians and whites), as is the term “negro” (African American leaders say that they associate the term with the long history of slavery, segregation, and discrimination that treated African Americans as second class citizens, or worse).

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One could argue both sides of whether these terms are racist (or not, if you are white). But shouldn’t the white gals Boxer and Feinstein show some consistency? I know, that’s asking for too much.

DCG

Monday Chicago shooting report: Same story every weekend…

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MyFoxChicago: Two men were killed and at least 20 other people have been injured in shootings on the South and West sides since Friday night.

About 11:40 p.m. Friday, a man was killed in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side.

Charles Wright, 39, was shot in the abdomen about 11:30 p.m. in the 5300 block of South Hoyne, authorities said. Wright, of the 3100 block of West 71st Street, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:35 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

A shooting at 10 p.m. that night left one man dead and another wounded in Austin on the West Side.

The two were standing in a yard in the 5500 block of West Corcoran when multiple people fired shots from a sidewalk, police said.

Denzell Franklin, 23, was shot in the face and armpit and was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:43 p.m., according to police and the medical examiner’s office. The other man, 24, walked to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park with a gunshot wound to the arm, police said. His condition had stabilized late Friday night. Two people were taken into custody in connection with the shooting, but their ages and genders were not immediately known.

A man was critically wounded in the most recent nonfatal shooting early Sunday in Chicago Lawn on the South Side. The 31-year-old was shot in the neck about 4:25 a.m. in the 2200 block of West 69th Street, police said, citing preliminary information. He was taken in critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, police said. Details on the circumstances of the shooting weren’t immediately available.

Two men–including an off-duty Cook County sheriff’s officer–were shot within ten minutes in the neighboring South Side communities of Gresham and Auburn Gresham.

At 3:40 p.m., someone tried to rob the 34-year-old sheriff’s officer in the 7900 block of South Paulina and shot him in the hand, police said. His condition was stabilized at Christ Medical Center.

Ten minutes later, officers found a 21-year-old man lying on a sidewalk in the 8900 block of South Carpenter with gunshot wounds to his leg and shoulder, police said. His condition was not immediately known.

A 42-year-old man was shot and critically wounded about a half-hour earlier in West Pullman on the Far South Side. The man was walking in the 11900 block of South Eggleston about 3:20 a.m. when he heard shots, felt pain and realized he had been shot in the left side of his chest, police said. He was taken in critical condition to Christ Medical Center, police said. A police source said the man has documented gang ties.

At least 15 other people have been hurt in separate shootings since 8:40 p.m. Friday.

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DCG