Tagged: racism

Soccer player leaves racism on the field

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

Screenshot of Twitter search for #noalracismo illustrates the support Alves has received. Taken on April 30, 2014.

Screenshot of Twitter photo search for #noalracismo illustrates the support Alves has received. Taken on April 30, 2014.

When life throws racist innuendos in the form of bananas your way, what do you do? Barcelona’s Dani Alves picked it up and immediately took a bite during a soccer match at Villarreal last Sunday.

Alves is a Brazilian, playing for Barcelona. Evidently, someone in the stands didn’t appreciate Alves’ presence. At the time, he was about to take a corner kick when the banana flew from the stands and landed at his feet. With no hesitation, Alves picked up the banana, took a bite, and proceeded to go through with the kick.

In the past, racism has been dealt with by walking off the field, like then AC Milan’s Kevin Prince-Boateng in 2013. However, utilizing humor to belittle the culprits while still bringing attention to the problem has appeared to be a better option.

After the match, Alves posted a clip of the incident on Instagram with a caption joking about how his father always told him to eat bananas to prevent cramps.

He later told reporters, “We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humor. We aren’t going to change things easily. If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective.”

Justice was served when Barcelona won 3-2. Also, Villarreal located the perpetrator and withdrew his membership as well as banning him from the El Madrigal Stadium for life, stating the club “deeply regrets” what happened.

The world was quick to stand in support behind Alves. His teammates, as well as fans and celebrities, sent tweets of praise as well as pictures of themselves with bananas, using hashtags such as #noalracismo and #weareallmonkeys. Even the president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association tweeted, “What @DaniAlvesD2 tolerated last night is an outrage. We must fight all forms of discrimination united. Will be zero tolerance at WorldCup.”

Still, racism is a problem in the world of soccer. CNN reported that not many Spanish authorities or media have addressed the incident, saying this sort of behavior is not accepted but tolerated as part of the game. Let’s learn this lesson Alves imparted with his phenomenal response and do our bit to end the ridiculous reality that is racism.

Student project aims to combat racism on campus

By Jacob Carter, Staff Writer
@jacobca1995

I am too, NYU aims to combat racism on campus./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user DryHundredFear

Despite better efforts, racism still exists./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user DryHundredFear

Nine students at New York University recently banded together to form the “I, too, am NYU” project. The organization’s goal is to bring a voice to the campus’ many racial minority groups and illuminate the discrimination that such students frequently face.

The inspiration for the project originated from similar actions taken by students at universities such as Harvard and Oxford. Involvement in the mission came after the college’s president, John Sexton, proclaimed in a university-wide speech that “there is no racial majority ” on the campus. Needless to say, many students felt insulted by such a remark, as it minimized the importance of race and glossed over prejudices that still exist today.

The project’s most powerful element comes in the form of photos that have since been publicized by means of various social media outlets. In the pictures, each individual holds up a whiteboard on which he or she has written some of the racist or stereotypical remarks that have been addressed to them.

One black female student wrote down a comment made by her white male roommate, which reads “There’s no such thing as a black pretty girl.” Another student wrote down the words of a concerned parent who didn’t think her daughter would get into the school because the school was “letting in a lot of foreigners.”

Along with the photographs, the organization crafted a proposal asking the university’s administration to be more open in regards to issues such as race. Though their efforts are quite recent, the group has been met with large amounts of both support and criticism.

Most of the disapproval comes from those who claim that racial tension has been the only result of this project. Others are upset at how the project represents certain racial minorities better than others. On both accounts, I find these criticisms to be quite wrongheaded.

In regards to racial representation, the group itself wisely pointed out that the project is still in its early stages. Hopefully, as it continues to expand with new participants, it will not be long before a full spectrum of racial diversity is expressed.

However, it is the comment concerning racial tension that I found most disconcerting. By unveiling the discrimination that still exists in our current culture, these students have illustrated a problem that is often thought to be antiquated or irrelevant. Though prejudice is not as blatantly malicious as it once was, it is still an issue that demands to be addressed. Therefore, these students are not causing racial tension. They are simply uncovering an aspect of society that is all too often ignored by many people.

I was deeply moved by the project, and I hope that their efforts are rewarded by the presence of a more racially harmonious campus environment.

Are video games actually linked to aggression and racism?

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

Just how much do video games affect us?/ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Just how much do video games affect us?/ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Here we go again: a new scientist, a new study, and a not so new debate has caught the world’s attention. Scientist Craig Anderson, director for the study of violence at Iowa State University, recently published a study about the link between violent media exposure and aggression in children.

His team followed over 3,000 children in the third, fourth, seventh and eighth grades for two years and asked questions measuring aggressive behavior. The team found that children who play violent video games for an extended time displayed an allowance and propensity towards hostile behavior.

So, kids who see and partake in violence become aggressive? What a novel idea!

But really, was this something that time and money needed to be spent on to figure out? In 2013 when President Obama called for an increase in research on violent video games and violent behavior, did he mean this?

Of course violent video games desensitize to an extent, making someone a bit more aggressive. However, this aggressiveness does not equate to murderous tendencies. What research really needs to focus on is the role of violent media and the tipping point between aggressive behaviors and violent behaviors, a link that very well may not exist and is moreover influenced by personal matters of home or mental illness.

There have been a myriad of other studies that try to pinpoint the criminality of violent video games. One study tried to show how high-stress gaming situations lead to higher sensitivity, or how they help suppress empathetic feelings, or even how they promote racism.

In terms of empathy, Anderson and his team found no evidence of such a connection. According to an earlier lab-based study, whether someone was in the group who played violent video games or non-violent ones, they were equally likely to help the scientist pick up a dropped pen.

A recent study done by Ohio State University shows how picking avatars of different races affected the gamer’s stereotype of that race, proven through the Implicit Association Test (which basically tests subconscious racist tendencies). But this study was done only through a few select games and situations. Yes, some games may have racism laced in, but this problem extends far beyond the virtual world.

Today about 90 percent of children play video games, and over 90% of these games involve mature content like violence. If violent video games lead to violence in real life, shouldn’t there be an upward trend of violence to go with this data? Research shows there has been no increase in real-life violence, especially in adolescents where the target of these inquiries lies.

People will never cease to ask questions, target, and study the impact of violent media in connection to violent behavior. Yet, maybe it’s time to let go of this search for excuses and focus more on the known, direct causes for violence and work to fix the problem itself.