I’m glad I worked on Columbus Day

One of my RAs mentioned to me that he wished Fall Break was longer and stated that he wished we had Columbus Day off like the banks do. I said we don’t get Veteren’s Day off either and that is a holiday that I’d be more willing to celebrate.

Celebrating Columbus Day means celebrating the death and genocide of the Native Americans, dubbed “Indians” by Columbus.

In fourteen hundred and ninety-three, Columbus stole all he could see. (Loewen, 2007, pp. 31)

The heroification of Columbus in American culture is also troubling for a number of reasons. He is lauded as the discoverer of the new world, but that marginalizes the people who came to North America prior to 1492. A chart of suspected explorers who came to America prior to Columbus can be found here on Google Books.

On the whole, I think that we need to examine whether America should continue to celebrate and honor the actions of Christopher Columbus. Let’s Reconsider Columbus Day.

Reference

Loewen, J. W. (2007) Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: Simon & Schuster.

#sachat – Stay Connected!

Working in student affairs is a great experience for professional development because there is so much of it. There a dozens of professional associations for the different functional areas that intentionally think of ways to engage their membership in discussions of current events and developments within the field.

Mostly, Student Affairs Educators think of conferences as the major way to gain professional development and I think conferences are fantastic! I always connect with the field in a way that energizes me and teaches me something new about how I can further my work. I also think that it’s hard to stay connected to the material that you learn because you come back to catch-up work at the office. It’s also expensive to travel to conferences. So, #sachat is an easy way to stay connected to the field and the knowledge that is being developed in an exciting way.

#sachat is held every Thursday at both 1 PM eastern time and 7 PM eastern time. There are also a few splinter groups for doctoral students (#sadoc) and masters students (#sagrad).

These conversations are always awesome because of the knowledge, both scholarly and practical, that people bring to the conversation. It’s also a great way to network across the field to understand how different institutions function. While I’m not the most active person in these chats, I’m definitely a lurker, I always get something out of them because of the knowledge that the conversation revolves around.

#sachat is a great alternative to staying connected to the field and learning in-between conferences and as an free alternative to conferences. So I suggest them to anyone who is looking for little something extra in their own development. And you can learn more at thesabloggers.org

P.S. They also celebrated their 1st anniversary a few weeks ago.

“Post-racial” America is a farce

This is an assignment for my Culture in Counseling Class.

The National Federation of Republican Women held a meeting in Charleston, SC  and Glenn McConnell, a white American Republican State Senator from South Carolina posed in confederate army attire with two African American people dressed as slaves. His place of power within South Carolina juxtaposed with the African Americans’ place of service highlights America’s deception of progress. We’ve got a black man from Chicago in the White House, but there are still black people dressed as slaves serving white men and women in the south. Congratulations America, we’ve fixed racism!

An immediate sense of outrage bubbled to the forefront of my consciousness when I first saw this picture. I can’t believe that a national organization around one of our two major political parties thought it was appropriate to celebrate what they call “A Southern Experience” and what I call a celebration of slavery. As a society, we need to recognize and move past the notion that racism is no longer a problem. This photo is explicit evidence that this is not the “post-racial” society that some claim it is. Understanding that the struggle is on-going is the first step to continuing the conversation and working towards real progress.

Life, Hijacked

RD Training started last Tuesday and my life has pretty much revolved around that and conferences. I haven’t had the time to sit, breath, and plan that I’ve been used to thus far in the summer, which is good because I won’t be so shocked when the year comes around.

I’m in the midst of putting together my plan for my social justice program, finishing RA training planning, crafting my internship projects, trying to get ResLifer.com off the ground (which has been seriously delayed), and planning all the usual stuff for the upcoming year.

I’ve also moved into the planning stages of which conferences I’ll be attending and presenting at and what I’ll be trying to present. I feel like I keep harping on how excited I am about the upcoming year and the opportunities that I’ll have, but it just seems to keep getting better!

Fresh

I’ve given the TwentyTen theme a little refresh here on aaronhood.net. I went with a minimal approach and worked out some of the colors based on some inspiration from Kuler.

Next on the to-do list with the site is update my resume and my portfolio to have it all available here. While also pointing to my LinkedIn account and other resources.

The banner uses Stone Serif font and the tower is the top of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA.

Adventures in Pro Dev

One of my new(ish) passion projects is a blog that is specifically for Residence Life professionals/para-professionals. I want to create a place where people who are currently in positions write articles (blog posts) about some of their best practices and passions while creating a community that talks about their own work. The planning of this project has been going well and I had modified a WordPress theme to the point where is was almost entirely mine when I realized that I didn’t have support for the new menu feature in WordPress 3.0. This new feature ended up being critical to a new way that I was going to organize the site and I couldn’t figure out how to integrate it as well as the TwentyTen theme that comes standard in WordPress 3.0…

So, now I’m modifying TwentyTen to my liking so that I can have the native WordPress menus. All the original work has been scraped and I’m trying to salvage the color scheme because I quite liked it.

In other Professional Development news, I’m planning on making a couple of presentation proposals for conferences about online (read: FREE) professional development opportunities. I hope to send in the proposals to the North Carolina Housing Officers conference and the South Eastern Association of Housing Officers conference.

Independence

While our history of 1776 should be celebrated and remembered, we should also remember the entirety of our history. The severe discrimination that many people have suffered at the hands of ignorance is just as important to our history as the meetings of the Continental Congress that shaped the ideas of the Declaration of Independence.

It is a day of celebration across the United States. Our entire country is thinking about the great things that occurred about 234 years ago and how the actions of those men shaped our country today. While there are many things within our country that we should cherish, appreciate, and celebrate,the founding fathers did not leave us with a perfect system or society. They left us with a framework and an ideal and we had to figure the rest out.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This is a beautiful sentiment and one that I imagine few people do not believe in. However, it is flawed. The men that are mentioned are white and own land. Women aren’t mentioned, and while this can be written off as a flaw of the english language, I think it is still telling.

Our republic was constructed to insulate the government from the unwashed, uneducated masses through elected representation and a electoral college rather than a direct popular election. The founding fathers wanted their freedom, but they wanted to maintain their status. As many of them were farmers, with slaves, preventing rights for the slaves extended their prosperity on the backs of an enslaved people.

There is no doubt that the founding fathers did great things. But, our system is not perfect and we should recognizethat. Slavery still existed until the 1860s. After that a system of discrimination was put into place to prevent all of the rights that were due to African Americans. It wasn’t until almost 100 years later in the civil rights movement that real progress was made past the post-slavery institutionalized discrimination.

Women could not vote until 1919 when the 19th amendment to the Constitution was passed. Even still, women were not welcome in the workplace and now there are still inequities in women’s pay.

While our history of 1776 should be celebrated and remembered, we should also remember the entirety of our history. The severe discrimination that many people have suffered at the hands of ignorance is just as important to our history as the meetings of the Continental Congress that shaped the ideas of the Declaration of Independence.