November 8, 2001

Anti-Racism Teach-In to Spark Debates

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This fall marked the rebirth of the University teach-in.

“The last time there was a minority summit the administration had to make public statements about issues brought up during the summit,” said Anton Asare ’02.

This Friday, members of the Cornell community will gather for the third teach-in this semester, called “Organizing Against Racism.” Unlike the previous two, this weekend’s discussions will focus on the various forms of racism, and it will run Friday through Sunday.

“The teach-in is mainly directed at student organizers, with a general goal of dealing with racism and creating a forum for fighting racism on campus, within our organizations, and within our selves,” said Lisabeth Carlisle ’03, organizer of the teach-in and president of the Committee on United States- Latin America Relations.

The committee is charging $15 for general admission and $10 for students and low-income participants. Sixty people have pre-enrolled for the event. 11/8/01 The conference will feature such topics as sweatshop labor, racial profiling, and challenging white supremacy.

There will also be a vigil held for Sept. 11 victims and the victims of racist backlash following the attack. On Sunday there will be a panel entitled “Patriotism Without Demons — Does it Exist?”.

“We will have students address anti-Arab sentiment on campus,” said Asare

“An incredibly diverse group of students have come together to fight the oppression that effects us all,” said Carlisle.

“[The teach-in] isn’t just to discuss racism, although that’s important, but to learn about incorporating anti-racism into the way we organize for change,” said Christina Ingoglia ’02, organizer of the teach-in and President of COLA.

The teach-in will focus not only on racism at the global and national level, but also on a local and university level.

“We will discuss the experiences of different racial minorities on campus, and bring those issues to the surface,” said Asare.

“The hardest part was ensuring that all groups were represented. Racism is an enormous topic with broad implications, Given that we only had a weekend and limited funds we couldn’t do everything we wanted,” said Carlisle.

“We see problems with what the administration does. We see them as sometimes- not all the time, as part of the problem,” said Ingoglia.

“We’ll talk about institutional practices at Cornell such as hiring, program houses, minority recruitment and retention. We’re also trying to address the lack of communication on campus,” said Asare.

The teach-in was organized by the students, not the administration. The conference is unique on not only because of its subject matter, but that the event was coordinated by a wide array of groups, according to Carlisle and Ingoglia.

“The planning of the conference itself was a means to its own end. We brought together radical student groups and minority student groups, which is no small feat. We out aside our differences and our own agendas,” said Carlisle.

“Our coalition is extremely diverse, and not just “racially”. We have a wide range of viewpoints,” said Ingoglia.

“It took a lot of work to get everyone on the same page,” said Asare.

Although planning for the teach-in began a week before the Sept. 11 attacks, the teach-in has been able to adapt to current events by incorporating the effects of the terrorism into the weekend’s itinerary.

“All of a sudden there is a target group that seems to have been born out of this patriotism,” said Asare.

“The Arab Club has been one of our key organizers,” said Ingoglia.

Archived article by Christen Eddy