Month: April 2015

Ithaca College Holds First Diversity Town Hall Meeting

Posted on Updated on

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In light of Michael Brown, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and the ongoing national debate regarding institutionalized racism, students at Ithaca College held the school’s first diversity town hall meeting. Student leaders gathered this afternoon to discuss and brainstorm ideas to work toward a more diverse campus, focusing primarily on diversity issues related to the college’s African, Latino/a, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) community, but also including topics such as gender and sexually.

Instead of just talking about the issue, students were asked to come up with specific solutions to problems in which they feel are directly related to a lack of diversity on campus. Maybe someone of color was given odd looks as soon as they stepped into a room full of white people. Maybe someone received microaggressive comments from a peer and didn’t know how to handle it. Maybe there aren’t enough professors of color in a school. How can we address these issues, and, more importantly, what are we going to do to prevent these things from happening again?

School administrators sat in on the meeting and took note of the various suggestions that students had for diversifying the campus. Students also participated in a series of discussion-based activities, such as filling out an identity worksheet in order to share the most salient parts of their identity.

The town hall meeting today served as the infrastructure to a future of possibilities. The idea here was to start planning a course of action–what can we do as students to help make the campus a more inviting place for students of color? We’ve had endless discussions about the problem, so now it’s time to actually do something about it.

Bring Out Your Inner Scientist With Week of the Young Child!

Posted on Updated on

Curious eyes glisten in the sunlight as tiny hands experiment with kinetic experiments and plan out a Mars Rover mission. Slimy reptiles and colorful fish glide within their bright exhibits, inviting those eyes into the world of exploration. If that doesn’t spark your inner scientist, then a visit to Ithaca’s very own Sciencenter sure will.

This week in particular is a special time to dust off those lab coats and dive into a world of inquiry and imagination as the Sciencenter helps celebrate the national Week of the Young Child. From April 13th-17th, kids across the country will join the initiative to provide learning opportunities for young scientists. The Week of the Young Child, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), gives “early childhood programs across the country an opportunity to bring awareness to the needs of young children” with a series of fun, creative and educational events and activities.

Read the rest of this entry »

Givenchy’s “Chola Victorian” Show Celebrates The Chola-Glamor Aesthetic

Posted on Updated on

Givenchy’s Fall 2015 show stirred up the fashion scene, arousing many bloggers and self-proclaimed fashionistas to rave about creative director Riccardo Tisci’s “bold” accessory choices. “Beautiful! Scene-stealing! Those bright colors and beautiful textures!” were some of the phrases used to describe the show.

While the intricate designs of the clothing itself accentuated Tisci’s sleek style, the theme of the show, “Chola Victorian”, raised some slicked-down eyebrows.

Givenchy Fall 2015 show
Givenchy Fall 2015 show

The term chola first originated in the gang-ridden parts of Southern California throughout the 1960’s and 70’s. It describes a “working-class, young Mexican-American female from the barrios of the southwest with a very distinct aesthetic, style, and attitude.” The history of this lifestyle, however, dates back to the early 20th-century Mexican Repatriation, where millions of people of Mexican descent were pressured to leave the United States and suffered from internalized racism and oppression. As many as 1.2 million of those forced to leave were United States citizens.

Being used first as a derogatory term, Mexican-American youths of Southern California began to self-identify as cholas/cholos (male version of chola) as a method of self-empowerment and identity. Most teens who identified as chola came from impoverished backgrounds full of gang warfare. The term became a way for Mexican-Americans to express the “strength and creative independence it takes to survive in a society where your social mobility has been thwarted by racism.”

Nowadays, chola culture is celebrated and perpetuated mostly throughout the music and fashion industries. The term is associated with gang violence, big hoop earrings, pencil-thin eyebrows and slicked-down baby hairs and is used more as a costume than to represent the specific Mexican-American subculture. Pop singers like Lana Del Rey and Rihanna romanticize the chola aesthetic, donning stereotypical accessories to look “bad-ass”.

Singer Rihanna wearing a stereotypical chola costume
Singer Rihanna wearing a stereotypical chola costume

In recent years, fashion moguls like Givenchy have incorporated ethnic looks into their designs to bring an air of “edge” to their looks. However, when a person of color is seen with that same aesthetic, it is deemed “low-class” and “ratchet”. At what point, then, does cultural exchange turn into appropriation?