I wish I only had good news to share today, but the following matter occupied most of mind the week, and because of its gravity I am compelled to share it. There was an incident not too long ago in a Southern California Campus: a Greek fraternity organized a party mocking Black History Month at UC San Diego (UCSD). As if that wasn’t insensitive and immature enough, they videotaped the event and broadcast part of it on a university channel. That ignited a protest on several campuses throughout the state. These type of actions are not protected by the right to freedom of speech. The event, referred to as Comtpon Cookout, has been condemned by the chancellors and faculty of several campuses, as well as by Mark Yudof, the President of the University of California (he basically oversees all UCs). The Black Student Union (BSU) implemented a list of thirty-two demands, which have finally been met by UCSD. As soon as the incident was denounced, faculty in several campuses held special teach-in classes promoting cultural diversity, as well as cross-cultural understanding and respect.
Better late than never? To read about this is painful and outrageous, especially because that behavior is showcased by young adults, people who in a few years if not tomorrow, are expected to hold various positions in society and to work in a multicultural environment. Let’s be honest for a minute, and this starts to sound like a broken record: the world we live in is more and more global. Our kids have classmates, if not friends, from over the world. Our colleagues represent more than one culture. When we watch the news, it is not all about one culture or one country anymore. Trying to promote understanding or to broaden the horizons of a college student by exposing him to what makes this world what it is, meaning its cultural diversity, is great; but are we doing enough? Most importantly, I can’t help but wonder how the guilty protagonists grew up and what they read when they’ve been reading… Books cannot be forced upon children, but I maintain that in today’s climate, multicultural books matter more than ever. It’s not necessarily about talking about race, meaning having books dealing with racial tensions. Simply having great adventure of fantasy stories with main characters that are as diverse as the populations of the United States already makes a difference. I hope that such books enjoy a great deal of publicity as well. All it takes is for readers to know about them to pick them off a shelf.
To read an account the Compton Cookout with the latest updates, click on the following Huffington Post’s article.
Reading the World XII has been canceled. The annual multicultural conference was scheduled for March 6 and 7. Unfortunately, the organizers took the difficult decision to cancel it this year, due to a lower than usual number of registrations. It’s too bad. It would have been a terrific celebration of our favorite books as well as some of the best MC authors out there. The University of San Francisco, host and organizer, is already making plans for next year. If you are interested, please join their mailing list for updates and to receive an invitation for 2011. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Multicultural Literature Advocacy Group will hold its first annual conference on March 19-21 in Mobile Alabama. Can you make it? The conference itself is affordable, and so are the hotel rooms, all within walking distance of the Mobile Convention Center. For more information and to register, visit http://mlag.web.officelive.com/2010Conference.aspx.
This concludes today’s post. I wish you a wonderful weekend, filled with lots of happy moments with your favorite multicultural book. 🙂