Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Drumpfs in training

Well, so much for staying silent. Who was I kidding? I feel duty bound to share to what is going on around me, on my very campus. I attended both college and grad school here. On the steps of the main library, I shared my first kiss with the man I would later marry in the campus chapel. I raised my children here, cared for my aging mother here and buried my much loved aunt here. I have now lived in various apartments around this neighborhood for going on forty years.

Our current apartment is within the radius of Columbia University. There are campus buildings all around us, and students coming and going on the street outside my house at all hours of the day and night. I know this school, both from the inside—as an undergrad at Barnard and then as a grad student at the Journalism School—and from the outside—as a neighbor whose children played on College Walk when they were young, and whose daughter, now that she is grown, often walks to the campus and sits on the steps by the fountain, reading or just thinking.

This has always been a very progressive and racially diverse neighborhood. I never thought twice about being a woman of color as I moved around it, and indeed as I moved around all of New York City. I have taken for granted that I live in a socially conscious community. Columbia students took part in Civil Rights and Vietnam marches in the sixties, apartheid rallies in the seventies, and Black Lives Matter protests now. It's why the whole time I was growing up in Jamaica, I was angling myself toward this city, and this school. I wanted to be where movements of change were actually happening. I wanted to be a journalist.

And now this, reported on the Columbia University student news website Bwog:

Bwog recently received screenshots of a Class of 2017 Wrestling Team GroupMe. The... men in the group message mock women’s appearances, make jokes about rape, use homophobic and racist slurs, and engage in other distasteful interactions...

The messages show a lack of respect for women—even those with whom they interact regularly. In the screenshots we received, the wrestlers sent each other numerous photos of female Columbia students and mocked their appearances. One of the men said a female student looked like “a dude in a wig.” Another woman was referred to as “fish pussy.” The wrestlers in the GroupMe also mocked female students as a whole. In one message, a wrestler refers to female Columbia students as “ugly socially awkward cunts” who feel “entitled.” Just messages before, another member of the team expressed frustration over how their team would “run the town of any state school” where “every girl begs for the cock so hard.” It appears these team members don’t realize the irony in referring to women as “entitled” for wanting to control their own bodies.


Among the misogynistic messages is a shocking proliferation of racism and racist comments. Their comments about black women come across as especially distasteful and cruel. The wrestlers’ usage of the n-word is flippant, too, and they use it to refer to women with whom they’ve hooked up, workers at businesses around Columbia, and protesters in Ferguson, MO.


Here are some of their messages:




Columbia has suspended the wrestling team's season pending an investigation. Of course, the students'  names have been redacted from all reports to protect their futures as Masters of the Universe who might one day run for president of the United States of America—and win.



24 comments:

  1. Reading stuff like this everywhere it seems...makes me feel sick...Make America Great? We never were and certainly aren't now...

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    1. e, this kind of ugliness really is pervading our lives. and it wasn't nearly this blatant before, so i place the blame directly at the feet of trump. he has given the nation permission to act on its most hateful instincts. with impunity. take care of yourself now, friend.

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  2. Oh, Angella. I feel like someone just kicked me in the stomach. I have nothing. Nothing. Feeling so sad and hopeless. My heart aches for you.

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    1. Birdie, NOLA, e, we will get through this time the best way we can. What choice do we have. Strangely, I am not hopeless. The macro view is horrific but I am trying to focus on the micro views of goodness all around, even as I keep the horrific in sight—so we'll know when and how to act. Hugs.

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  3. Disgusted and rising up to march.
    I love you.

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  4. We've come a long way, haven't we baby?

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    1. Mary, a long way, *not.* To think a president as sublime as Obama will be followed by such buffoonery.

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  5. I was going to say "unbelievable" but Trump has legitimized this and now it's almost normal. Ugh.

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    1. Expat mom, and this sort of thing is happening everywhere now, at Harvard, Babson, UPenn, all over. Aren't college campuses supposed to be the place where people are at their most open minded? Maybe I'm deluded in that thought.

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  6. Sickening is right. It's bad enough reading about these things around the country but to have it strike so close to home-I can't imagine. Hugs. Sighs. Hopes.

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    1. HBF, it was very striking to me that this could be happening in my front yard, when I thought all was well there.

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  7. What's the harm? The president elect talks like this...That is among the collateral damage of the election tragedy. This country as a whole just condoned this kind of behavior. The pervasive attitude that this kind of depravity can't be stopped is what in the end condones it.

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    1. Lisa, the good thing is people are not taking this lying down. Social media is shining a bright light on all of it. I hope that helps somehow.

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  8. Sickening, isn't it? We just had publicity about the same kind of thing on a nearby supposedly respectable university campus. It's not confined to the US but having a person in such a position of power will make it seem more and more okay.

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    1. jenny_o, I'm starting to see that trump himself might not even be the worst person on his team, just the empty suit who can be flattered into any position desired by whomever has his ear. some of the people around him are so vile that nobody wants to work with them. which means the next administration is going to be the most hateful common denominator, so to speak.

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  9. Absolutely shocking, but racism and misogyny are everywhere and now it's been legitimized. I grew up in Long Island during the 60s and early 70s and racism was alive and well there then, just not as overt as in the south. What a sad time, I fear for our future.
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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    1. Barbara, everything bad in human nature had been legitimized it seems. talk about appealing to our worst angels.

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  10. Black freshman at UPenn were invited via Groupme to a "meeting" entitled "Daily Lynching" and had graphic images of lynchings sent to them. I am so afraid for my son's safety I don't even know what to do. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2016/11/philly_penn_racist_texts.html

    -invisigal

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    1. invisigal, I saw the UPenn story. I so understand your mother concern. I am holding your son in light, along with my own children. Along with all our children. xo

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  11. Ug. Gross. When the 60's happened, I was a teenager. I marched against the war, was shocked by all the killings, watched the unvarnished truths on the nightly news because there was real news back then.

    I'm hella older now and the sorrow I feel is immense; for our world, for children, for all of us who are not white, or male, or wealthy, or straight, or able bodied. For the dear Earth herself and all her creatures.

    The hell that is about to be unleashed has been lurking, all the the dark forces like a sick Marvell comic.

    My home is a sanctuary. I'm vigilant in my city. I interrupt hostility and harassment. I witness. With the rest of my life, I will act with courage, knowing that there is no other choice. We can be asleep or we can be awake.

    An army of lovers cannot be wrong.

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    1. beth, i love this comment so much! yes! i read your second to last paragraph several times, because it is a very fine manifesto. and you're right: an army of lovers cannot be wrong.

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