Racial and sexist stereotypes a reoccurring issue on campus

Here are a few thoughts on the latest controversy regarding race and gender that are rooted in the long history on this campus and in this country. 

On the one hand, I applaud that students know that they can challenge those in authority, if necessary. 

On the other hand, would these comments about race and gender have been hurled at Chancellor Phyllis Wise had she been a white man? What does that mean? 

It is easy to spot these sexist and racist stereotypes, especially in the media. Women are often seen as sexual objects. (How often does it happen to men?) 

But, when women deviate from what they are supposed to do (as defined by mainstream society), they are called nasty names or characterized as “little girls” to push them back into a non-threatening being, as what happened to Chancellor Wise. Domestic violence and sexual assaults, prevalent on college campuses and in society, are not far away from this reasoning. 

The historically persistent stereotype of “Asians” as foreign and non- or un-American is closely linked to threatening Asian countries such as China and North Korea.

Think about examples from the Japanese American Internment Camp during World War II, where a frequently asked question arises that we ask even today — “Where are you from, really?” — to Asian Americans who were born and grew up in this country. 

These students are learning and practicing some of America’s mainstream ideas. Even after the election of President Barack Obama, race and gender still matter in shaping people’s lives. Sadly, this is a recurring issue at this institution of higher learning. 

I hope there are going to be campuswide discussions in the coming days.

Taka Ono,

graduate student in sociology