You say hispanic, I say latino

Most use the words interchangeably these days, but the “hispanic” identity originated from an initiative in the 1970s to give Latin American’s in the United States a more unified voice in politics. UC Berkeley sociologist Cristina Mora talks about the positives and negatives of this distinction in her new book:

You have the person whose great-grandmother came from Argentina, but has never visited Latin America, and does not speak Spanish, lumped into the exact same category as a Guatemalan who just crossed the U.S. border.  One argument the book makes is that in order for all these government, market and political interests to come together, the category had to become broader in order to fit in all these ideas about Hispanics being consumers, or Hispanics being disadvantaged people.

Over time, the Hispanic identity has become based on cultural generalities such as ‘We all love our families. We are all religious and we all have some connection to the Spanish language however far back that may be.’  That’s a weakness and a strength. It was because of that ambiguity that we have the large numbers who identify as Hispanic and who have made advances.  But when you have such a broad and opaque category it’s hard to elicit and sustain passion and commitment.

Read more in her interview here 


I was walking through Sproul Plaza today and had some time to kill between classes when I saw a guy with a “free poems” sign. All you had to do was give a word or prompt and he would write you a poem about it right then and there. When I asked him why he was giving out free poetry, he replied: “I just like writing and wanted to be able to share my passion for it.”

Needless to say, I love my school.

Good Look panelist and Girl Code’s Nessa shares how she’s experienced microaggressions. Read what she had to say and tell us what you’ve heard. 

I used to always hear, “Oh wow, you went to UC Berkeley on a scholarship? What sport did you play?”

 No, I didn’t get there playing sports, I worked my butt off and got there on a full ride academic scholarship. I was always offended because the assumption was that all minorities got a scholarship to UC Berkeley through sports.  

My way of dealing with these types of microaggresssions were to correct whomever was saying it to me and kindly explain how I got the scholarship - through hard work. I had to take a step back and realize they were unintentionally putting me down.

I learned it was best to approach them by not giving them attitude but instead teaching them what was right so they wouldn’t make that mistake again. I think that’s the most important part in dealing with these [microaggressions]; you have to help people understand that microaggressions are wrong and how to learn from them. -Nessa

Want more advice on dealing with bias? Go here!  


The National

We went to The National’s gig last night. 
Experiencing the live performance of your favorite band is always amazing but something about this band was magical! 
I’m still singing in my head:
"Leave your home
Change your name
Live alone
Eat your cake
Vanderlyle crybaby cry”
p.s. Fujifilm XT1 is small enough that they allow you take in inside, amazing!

Watch on thepeoplesrec.com

UC Berkeley Students Arrested, Tackled for “Walking while Black” and Copwatching

We really need to get this video out there!

Building robots to land on Saturn’s moons

Landing an unmanned robot on another planet can be quite a feat and can end up being quite a complex process.  Scientists want to make this process easier but also allow us to explore worlds that are currently too difficult to land on.

UC Berkeley professor Alice Agogino is working with doctoral students to build what are known as tensegrity robots.  Essentially, these are robots built with a series of rods and tension wires that protect the delicate scientific instruments in the middle.

The structure allows for both flexibility and strength while navigating a rugged environment — for example, landing on a planet’s rocky surface. These robots can explore places that are currently inaccessible to wheeled rovers such as rocky cliffs, which are rich in geological data due to the exposed rock.

Currently, NASA researchers are working on a prototype to one day land on places such as Titan - one of Saturn’s moons.  Scientists are interested in this moon because it has a thick atmosphere with flowing liquids on the surface and is often referred to being the most earthlike world in our solar system.

Read more about this technology


GAME OF ALLOPHONES: A Cal alum turns an obscure hobby creating fantasy languages into real success.

by Shelby Pope for CaliforniaSummer 2014, Vol 125 No. 2

For two months [David Peterson] worked on his entry for 14-16 hours a day, occasionally pulling all-nighters. His entry ran to 300 pages. “I believe I gave them so much material that they would have felt bad not to select mine.” 

Weiss, the showrunner, insists pity had nothing to do with it. “It was clear from his presentation that he had really thought through Dothraki, and taken a truly anthropological approach to the language—taking into account the history, geography, and culture of the language, and making sure the language adequately reflected their reality. And probably influenced their reality in some ways—or co-evolved with it, at least. David was extremely smart and extremely methodical, and we knew his Dothraki was the one very early on.”

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Watch on itsnotironicanymore.tumblr.com

"21" by Patrick Roche

A student at UC Berkeley at 2014 CUPSI.

It’s really emotional and it hit me so unexpectedly.