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

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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.

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

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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?

Race And Technology: A Discussion With Dr. Bruce Hoskins

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As a part of their “Tech N’ Color” race discussion series, Ithaca College’s Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity invited Dr. Bruce Hoskins to give a lecture on his own experiences regarding race and technology.

The event offered Ithaca College students a chance to get an inside look into Hoskins’ journey as an educator and an activist. Mainly with the help of his own students, Hoskins was able to branch out across various technological mediums and “amplify the activist voice in [his] scholarship and teaching.” Through the use of slam poetry and a discussion of his own research on multi-ethnicity, Hoskins challenged Ithaca College students to think about what it really means to be a minority in today’s society.

Hoskins, who is a professor of Sociology at MiraCosta Community College in Oceanside, California, also emphasized the importance of starting from home. Being from Oceanside himself, Hoskins believes that the only way to induce change is to start from the roots, which is why he chose to become a community college professor in his hometown.

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‘Freedom Of Speech’ Is An Excuse To Allow Racist Comments To Exist

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The disturbing video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity members singing a racist chant has gone viral within the past few weeks, shedding light on the ever-growing issue of race and diversity in universities.

Since the viral outbreak, the Oklahoma chapter of SAE has expelled two of its members seen in the video and has banned the fraternity from the university. The fraternity also issued a national apology and has announced that it will begin a mandatory diversity and education program in addition to appointing a national advisory committee on diversity and inclusion.

In light of this recent scandal, however, a recent CNN op-ed piece brought up a different angle to this story.

The post, entitled “What we risk when we ban racist speech”, talks about the importance of our First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The theory here is, essentially, that it’s unfair for the SAE brothers to receive punishment for saying what they wanted to say. Here’s an excerpt of the article:

“Forget whether you like the speech or not. That is not relevant. These boys got kicked out of a public school for singing a song, on their own time, in a privately rented bus, simply because the government didn’t like the content of their song. Censors overstepping their bounds is no surprise. What surprises me is how readily the public supported the expulsions, and how many supposedly intelligent people were willing to turn the First Amendment on its head, because of nine seconds of video.”

Is the content of the speech relevant? Does it matter that a bunch of students were alluding to lynching in a “harmless” song?

What needs to be focused on is the fact that these students thought this was merely a fun act. The perpetuation of racist ideologies is seen constantly within social media and our society’s culture. Rape culture, racism, sexism…it’s all clearly there, yet there are people willing to turn a blind eye rather than accept the fact that it’s really happening.

Bottom line is that these things are learned behaviors. How can we expect to change the future if we won’t take the time to educate ourselves and reflect on what we are perpetuating?

UVA Student Left Beaten And Bloodied 3 Blocks From Campus

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Earlier this week, University of Virginia student Martese Johnson was violently beaten and left bloodied by agents of the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) unit near the campus. Johnson’s arrest was captured by onlookers of the incident and posted online, going viral in a matter of days.

The video shows the 20-year-old being beaten to the ground by the state agents as blood gushes down his face. An onlooker is also heard yelling at the state agents, pleading them to stop.

“What are y’all doing? Yo, his head is bleeding,” can be heard throughout the video.

Johnson himself is also heard repeatedly screaming at the police officers, seemingly shocked and in disbelief that this is even happening to him.

“I go to UVA! I go to UVA!” he says. “How did this happen, you f–cking racists? How does this happen?”

Johnson’s roommate, Joshua Kinlaw, believes the dispute started when the ABC officers checked his ID as he was attempting to enter one of the bars.

“I am aware that Martese does not own a fake ID,” Kinlaw said. “So the ID that he actually showed to both the bouncer and to the ABC officers was his real ID. Now because the age on that ID shows him to be 20 years old, I think that’s when dispute and discrepancies came in.”

The incident has caused an uproar throughout the school, resulting in various protests by UVA students. The Twitter hashtag #JusticeForMartese has also gone viral, with many users accusing the police officers’ intentions as yet another racist brutality case.

Virginia’s governor has ordered an investigation into Johnson’s arrest.

Featured Topic: Solutions Grassroots Really Gives A Frack About The Environment

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What do banjo playing, slam poetry and solar energy all have in common? On their own, not a lot. But when you put them together, you get The Solutions Grassroots Tour.

Solutions Grassroots, created by Oscar-nominated director and environmental activist Josh Fox, is an educational workshop whose goal is to motivate people across the country to adopt renewable energy solutions. With the help of the International WOW Company, Fox and his team of environmentalists travel from town to town in order to produce an “interactive music, theater and film event” that helps “develop renewable energy through culture and grassroots democracy” and “campaign for pro-renewable energy legislation.” Previous guest hosts have included Mark Ruffalo and Phylicia Rashad.

The tour swung by Ithaca College this weekend, giving environmental activist groups from Tompkins county the opportunity to participate in the ongoing discussion of environmental safety.

One of the main groups present at the tour was GoGreenNY, the state’s leading organization working toward a sustainable future. The organization, which hosted the event, started out as an effort to protest against hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking“, but has since expanded to advocate for innovative strategies for renewable energy.

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Teaching Moment: The Benefits (And Setbacks) Of Citizen Journalism

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In January of 2009, a picture of the US Airways airplane that landed in the Hudson River went viral after Janis Krums posted it on his Twitter. It was the first shot of the incident recorded, and soon enough Krums was getting phone calls from news station after news station to ask him about his first hand experience witnessing the crash.

Later that same year, an Iranian philosophy student named Neda Agha-Soltan was fatally shot during the Iranian protests against the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. An anonymous video (WARNING: extremely graphic) recorded by a cell phone went viral online, eventually becoming one of the most-watched deaths in the world. Her death became iconic in the struggle of Iranian protesters of the opposition, and the video earned the George Polk award for videography.

Along with the prevalence of mobile devices that can record videos and pictures, the rise of social media sites have allowed for people to produce and share information at a remarkable rate. Now more than ever, citizen journalists are reporting their personal experiences and sharing it as hyperlocal news.

Revolutionary technology, especially, has changed the way we look at user generated content (UGC). Montreal television director Jean-Francois Desmarais captured the 2012 student tuition riots using a mobile Wi-Fi connection to broadcast the protests via Google Hangouts using Google Glass.

But when looking at UGC, it is important to be cautious of what’s really out there. For one, citizen journalists don’t have proper training. The ethics of the newsroom don’t apply when Harry from down the street decides to share a picture of a local car accident. What’s real, and what’s fabricated? Most importantly, what’s newsworthy?

News broadcasting companies have opened up citizen journalism sites that allow users to report hyperlocal news, such as the CNN iReport. This way, UGC can be used as a supplement to traditional news reporting in order to get all aspects of a story.

For more information on citizen journalism, check out this video by The Digital Journal.