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‘Racist Bruin’ stickers used hashtags to bring light to oppression

On Monday, many editions of the Daily Bruin and their respective newsstands were emblazoned with a sticker titled “Racist Bruin” which was splashed across half the front page. The sticker contained visual and stylistic references to many of The Bruin’s normal sections, but instead of focusing on the paper, focused on what the authors argued were instances of inherent, normalized oppression at UCLA as a whole.

In the sticker’s manifesto, the authors said they stand in solidarity with a variety of movements, denoted by their hashtags. Below is an explanation of those hashtags.

#UStired2

The #UStired2 hashtag refers to a movement created last year in response to the disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teacher’s College in Guerrero, a state of Mexico. The movement has taken particular interest in the perceived callousness of Mexican officials toward the disappeared – most poignantly represented by an incident in November, when Jesús Murillo Karam, the then-attorney general of the country, responded to a question about the students with “no más preguntas, ya me cansé” (Spanish for “No more questions, I am tired”).

The group has called on the U.S. government to cease international aid to Mexico, and to end the “Mérida Initiative,” a joint drug patrol and security agreement between the countries. The protesters – who dub this “Plan Mexico,” invoking a similar initiative undertaken in Colombia – claim that this agreement has done little to curb drug violence and smuggling, and instead props up a dishonest and corrupt Mexican government.

Activists have continued to coordinate acts of protest and demonstration throughout the U.S., including in Los Angeles. The search for the missing students is still ongoing.

#RhodesMustFall

Students at the University of Cape Town in South Africa have called for the removal of a Cecil Rhodes statue since the 1950s, but the #RhodesMustFall movement began when an activist threw human feces at the statue, and initiated a protest with about a dozen other people who performed a Southern African dance around the statue. Rhodes was a prime minister of the Cape Colony during the late 19th century whose effigy some say is a symbol of racism and colonialism.

Reactions to the protest indicated that several other students and faculty felt the university had failed to progress past institutional racism. One lecturer told the Cape Town Times in March that only five out of 200 senior professors at the university were black. Students said they wanted the university’s curricula to focus less heavily on Europe and the United States.

The university removed the statue and announced a new black studies program in April, but #RhodesMustFall initiated a string of other actions calling for the “decolonization of education” in other South African public universities, including the Open Stellenbosch movement at Stellenbosch University and the approval of a task force at Rhodes University to consider changing the university’s name and moving away from colonial traditions.

#CarnesaleMustFall

This hashtag evokes images of past protests against former UCLA chancellor Albert Carnesale, whose failure to speak out against Proposition 209, which prevents universities from considering race, sex or ethnicity in admissions, was interpreted by many as a failure to promote diversity. More than 300 students protested his inauguration as chancellor in 1998 and about 20 protested the naming of Carnesale Commons in 2013.


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