Berkeley community here to fight, here to stay

NATIONAL ISSUES: A look at Berkeley one year after the November 2016 election.

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Kelly Baird/Staff

One year ago, Berkeley erupted. The rage in the air was palpable. After all, America had just voted in a president whose campaign repeatedly and aggressively framed women, disabled people, undocumented immigrants and many others as subhuman.

A year later, the atmosphere is unrecognizable: marginalized students and Berkeley residents face unabashed bigotry. White supremacists stalk through the city. Racist, sexist, homophobic slurs are hurled at passersby. The campus is often choked by a heavy, and expensive, police presence.

Donald Trump sailed into the White House on a campaign that condoned hate speech: White nationalists have become empowered, and with their rhetoric has come a real and present threat to the livelihood of thousands of people. Phrases such as “Illegals, ICE is coming,” and “build a wall, deport them all,” were chalked on Sproul Plaza in September. A photo of Milo Yiannopoulos, who harrasses transgender students and says “feminism is cancer,” leered from a bus stop by Cory Hall.

The conversation about free speech that has exploded once again on college campuses since Nov. 8, 2016 often misses the point: Just because the first amendment protects hate speech doesn’t mean hate speech should be considered normal or accepted.

Beyond ushering in a regressive social and political culture shift, the Trump administration enacts policies that deeply harm members of the Berkeley community. He announced the repeal of DACA, throwing thousands of undocumented UC students into limbo. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rolled back Title IX protections for survivors of sexual violence. Trump’s new travel ban, which discriminates based on national origin, is now on hold after a judge’s ruling, but students fear an uncertain future.

One year ago, The Daily Californian editorial board wrote that the Berkeley community must “rally behind communities in any and every way possible.” And it has. The Undocumented Student Program helps spread information related to DACA renewals and appeals, as well as direct students to legal counsel. The local NorCal ACLU chapter is offering funds for groups to host speakers that better reflect the values of this campus.

In September, Berkeley High students formed a human chain to support DACA, and Berkeley residents of all ages have continuously stood thousands-strong in the face of blatant white supremacy.

Administrators like Carol Christ and Oscar Dubón need to follow the lead of student leaders who have set an example in standing up to bigotry. City officials, too, like Mayor Jesse Arreguín and City Council need to drive our city to live up to bold, compassionate standards.

The bigotry, discrimination and hate that has launched into the mainstream is not normal. It  cannot be normalized. But if any community is positioned to fight back, it’s Berkeley. In the words of the Berkeley High students rallying on the steps of Sproul Plaza the day after the election: We’re here to fight, and we’re here to stay.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.

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  • Herbie Hanwell

    Migawd what an utter hoot. Speaking as an alum (but not proud of it these days) and outsider, you pretentious posturing “students” if that’s what you’re still calling yourselves, and your enablers the “faculty” and the “Administration”, continue to make a ridiculous laughingstock of yourselves.

    Together you have severely lowered the prestige of Cal. The only satisfactory departments left are in STEM, and it seems all of you are hellbent on imposing Diversity on STEM.

    Nobody gives much of a hoot what you think, or what Judith Christ thinks, or what Janet Napolitano thinks. You’ve run out your string. And shortly, you and the whole state of California are going to be clean out of money.

    You are in a playpen now. When you graduate, with a tainted degree from Big PC U formerly known as Cal your will find out the worth of your pretentions.

  • Man with Axe

    You wrote: “White nationalists have become empowered, and with their rhetoric has come a real and present threat to the livelihood of thousands of people. Phrases such as “Illegals, ICE is coming,” and “build a wall, deport them all,” were chalked on Sproul Plaza in September. A photo of Milo Yiannopoulos, who harrasses transgender students and says “feminism is cancer,” leered from a bus stop by Cory Hall.”

    The threat to the livelihood of thousands of people? (Did you mean lives?) Your evidence is pretty weak tea.

    “Illegals, ICE is coming.” That is to say, “If you are in the country without permission, the government agency tasked with ensuring that only people with permission should be here might catch you.” Is that a threat, that the government might actually enforce the laws? The horror.

    “Build a wall, deport them all,” was chalked on the plaza. Now, saying that is one thing, and doing it is something else. One guy with a piece of chalk is not a threat to anyone. Why would you feel threatened by that? Everyone knows “they” are not going to deport “them all,” and if they do, it won’t be because of some guy and his chalk. Just as your editorial won’t save them.

    Milo Yiannopoulos harasses transgender students. So? They harass plenty of people. I have seen videos of transgender people, i.e., men who mistakenly believe they are women, using real violence against people who merely refuse to use made-up pronouns. I have read of transgender individuals going into women’t locker rooms and making the women there very uncomfortable. Why shouldn’t Milo be allowed to criticize them right back?

    What’s your objection to saying “feminism is cancer?” It if obviously a metaphor, not to be taken literally. It seems to mean that feminism is a bad thing and it spreads wildly if it isn’t opposed. You might not agree, but that doesn’t mean that the position is untenable. Not everyone loves every stripe of feminism. Perhaps you didn’t know.

  • California Defender

    If this article said anything it’s that the left is in a full panicked retreat. Screaming nonsense at the top of their lungs as they run every which way.

    Humorously, there isn’t even anything to panic about. Except that the curtains have been pulled back and they must now confront the reality that they supported the globalist establishment all along.

    Scary stuff.

  • lspanker

    Do tell us, snowflakes, how your life has suddenly become unbearable in the year since Trump was elected. We could all use a good laugh…

  • Tim

    This is satire, right?

  • Killer Marmot

    The rage in the air was palpable. After all, America had just voted in a president whose campaign repeatedly and aggressively framed women, disabled people, undocumented immigrants and many others as subhuman.

    When an article starts off with such an absurd proposition, you know you can safely ignore the rest.

    I never even considered voting for Trump. I consider him egotistical and ill-informed. But keep your feet on the ground. Such over-the-top rhetoric is only going to convince those who are already convinced, and that serves little purpose.

    • lspanker

      These fools still haven’t figured out that Trump wasn’t elected because a bunch of people thought he was a great guy, but because the alternative was unpalatable. They need to concentrate on picking a better candidate next time instead of making excuses for, and floating [email protected] conspiracies as to why the G-d-awful one they picked, lost…

      • Killer Marmot

        I agree. The Democrats are floundering not because of the Republicans but despite them.

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