AntiBlackness and Greeks at UCI
HELP ME GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT WHAT IS OCCURING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE’S CAMPUS!
The above link goes to the most recent anti-Black tactic used by students on my campus. The linked video is a sort of extra to the original video that the fraternity LAMBDA THETA DELTA made in order to promote their frat. One of the Asian members wears Blackface in order to depict Jay-Z while singing Justin Timberlake’s ‘Suit and Tie’. Note, ignorance is NOT the “reason” here. They tagged the video with a disclaimer saying: “not intended to be racist”. Meaning, they knew it was racist and offensive, and didn’t give a fuck.
I am the Cochair of the Black Student Union at UCI. Since my cochair and I have had this brought to our attention, we have organized an impromptu rally which occurred only a few hours after we originally saw the video:
During the video we collectively shout “While there is racism, we will not rest”. This video is taking place when our group of around 60 entered into the meeting of the “Multicultural” Greek Council. During our intrusion, my cochair, two other prominent community members, and myself, shared a short list of grievances with the Greek community. Afterwards, we entered into another space which harbored the actual perpetrator. We did not speak to him or harass him, only entered the space and repeated the same actions to let him and everyone he’s working with that THE BLACK COMMUNITY AT UCI IS HERE! AND WE WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS ANY LONGER!
Administration on our campus has expressed that it seems difficult to establish any official punitive policy for racist and antiBlack actions such as this. Let me now direct you to other examples of Greek antiBlackness:
LTD: previous uses of Blackface and racism from the same frat
Pi Beta Phi: “Most Like to Go Black and Never Go Back” Award
Alpha Phi: “Big Slave Driver” and “Little Slave”
Chicken and Waffles SERVED BY THE SCHOOL for MLK Day:
The list continues on.
PLEASE! Bring awareness about UCI’s hesitation and historical failure to protect its Black students. Previous attempts to “educate” and “forgive” are not enough anymore. HELP US GET SOME SORT OF JUSTICE.
My cochair and I have been repeatedly harassed and demonized by both the Greek and nonBlack UCI community since our actions. I stand by what we have done. BLACK STUDENTS DESERVE TO FEEL PROTECTED WITHIN THEIR SCHOOLS.
While i know we will never put a total end to antiBlackness, we can make a statement and let our UCI community know that we will not stand for it. Not anymore.
Please spread the word.
We’re not the first, nor the last, campus to deal with antiBlackness and racism. But we will not tolerate it any longer. Resist with me.
The UC's Personified as Brothers
- Note: My friend and I wondered what the UC's (University of California) would be like in real life. This is the result.
- Berkeley: The eldest. Very "hip" and beatnik. Wears thrift store clothes, listens to vinyls and can quote anyone from Ginsberg to Vonnegut. Always carries a camera and hides his science books from his friends.
- Davis: Has so-so hygiene habits, mostly from riding bikes all the time. Is very hard working and loves to garden.
- Santa Barbara: Very laid back and chill. Surfs a lot and has a relaxed vibe all the time. Can throw a hell of a party.
- Los Angeles: Studies way too much. Always has his nose in a book and can come off as very intimidating. Hates Santa Cruz's hygiene habits.
- Riverside: The often forgotten, but very accepting brother. Everyone avoids him for his looks, but he is fairly intelligent and nice.
- San Diego: The "coolest" of the nerds. Wears glasses and has a calculator in his pocket, but he pulls it off. At night he's a party animal among his fellow hip-geeks.
- Irvine: Nobody really sees him much. He hangs out in the background a lot which causes his achievements to often go unnoticed (though he can sometimes be smarter than his older brothers).
- Santa Cruz: Into free love and long hair. Never wears shoes and is willing to accept anyone. Thinks LA is uptight.
- Merced: The runt little brother that everyone forgets about.
“Every time we came up with a new technology for processing food, beginning with fire and then pottery that allowed for us to cook in water over fires, and then bread making, cheese making -- all these technologies made food dramatically more nutritious, easier to digest, tastier…and then something happens. And I date it to about 1880, when food processing takes a fateful wrong turn.”—Michael Pollan on Science Friday: You Are What You Cooked
Silent Hill Fear.
Ever wanted to know why Silent Hill sends shivers up your spine? I heard this on the radio while I was driving home, and found it quite interesting. I felt I needed to share it with you all. For most who do not want to read the article below I’ll give you a short version.
Now scientists at the University of California are conducting a study to understand what causes us to fear: clowns, zombies, robots, or the creatures of Silent Hill. Things with a human like aspect. So far, the reason we fear these things are due to the fact they take on the look of any normal human being, but something is off. It’s the fact that our brain knows something is not correct about it, and working to tell itself exactly that.
This is called the ‘Uncanny Valley’, a point in the brain where something we see goes from normal, to creepy, back to normal as it tries to understand the human qualities. For example we will use robots, you see any robot like Wall-E and it’s quite normal. No physical human likenesses, just simple expression of emotion. Now we move to a human shaped robot striped of all surfaces exposing it’s wiring, this moves to the ‘Uncanny Valley’, having the brain know it looks human, but isn’t. Then we back out of the valley once the robot has a more human look to it.
Thinking about Silent Hill, each creature/monster is a result of that specifc protagonist’s subconsciousness. Each take on a certain human-like quality along with some sort of disfigured quality to it. Which puts that fear into the mind of the player.
The possibly outcomes of this uneasiness could come from a person’s deep fear of death itself. The brain is truly unaware if what is infront of us, is alive or dead. It’s a very interesting topic, and hope to see them post more on it.
San Diego (CNN) — What do zombies and androids have in common? They’re almost human, but not quite. That disconnect is creepy, in a way that scientists are searching to understand.
The uncanny valley is the idea that as a robot’s appearance becomes more and more humanlike, we don’t always respond to it more positively. Rather, there’s a point on the scale between robot and human where we are repulsed. If it’s mechanical but not entirely human, a robot seems disturbing.
Why would that be? It would make sense that as human likeness increases in a robot, so would our comfort with it. But on a graph showing that relationship, there’s a “valley” where this familiarity dips down into creepiness, and then comes back up again with more human characteristics.
You may have experienced feeling this while watching animated movies that incorporate humanlike forms. It’s also the reason that you might get freaked out by clowns or by photos of people with extreme plastic surgeries who don’t look quite real anymore. Our brains come to an impasse when we see something that resembles a member of our species but just doesn’t make the cut.
Some animators sidestep the issue: in the movie “WALL-E,” for example, the main character has eyes but is not very humanlike otherwise; he is clearly a robot. His friend, EVE, looks like a white shape with eyes. Both express emotions clearly but don’t try to mimic the human shape or form. And HAL 9000 from “2001: A Space Odyssey” is just a red camera eye, but it too conveys feelings.
But when you get more humanlike, things get weird. Some reviewers were put off by the characters in the film “Polar Express,” for instance.
Then there are the Na’vi in “Avatar,” who have many physical human characteristics in addition to morphed features and tails. But they are also blue, creating a sense of “otherness” that may have made them less distasteful to viewers — in other words, they were sufficiently un-human.
Ayse Saygin, professor at the University of California, San Diego, is using cutting-edge brain science to understand this strange quirk of human nature. Although the idea of the uncanny valley has been observed, there has not been much rigorous scientific experimental work on it, partly because it’s hard to get at the heart of the matter objectively.
“Even if we don’t actually define it in words, we may be able to find signals for it in the brain,” Saygin said.
Saygin and colleagues published a study last year using functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI), looking at what’s happening in the brain that might explain the uncanny valley phenomenon. They hypothesized that, at least in part, the effect might result from a violation of the brain’s predictions. When we anticipate one thing but see another, we get an error, and that error makes us shy away from the thing we’re viewing.
The researchers showed 20 participants some video clips of three “actors” moving in the same ways: a human, an android modeled after the human, and a stripped-down robot (the same android without its humanlike form). Although this is a small sample of people, it is typical for neuroimaging studies, which are expensive and time-intensive.
Something interesting emerged in the results: “The network that normally processes your body movements is more active when you view an android,” compared with when you look at a stripped-down robot or a human, Saygin explains.
This could be because the brain has to combine conflicting information, she said.
“Your brain’s gonna be like, ‘Hey, wait a minute, you told me this was a human, and now this area told me that this is not moving like a human. So, I have to really compute that,’ ” she said. “That’s what we think the uncanny valley might be partially caused by, and we have seen some brain activity that looks like that.”
The uncanny valley phenomenon was put forth in an article in “Energy” in 1970 by Japanese robotics expert Masahiro Mori. But before that, Ernst Jentsch wrote about “the uncanny” in a 1906 essay, and Sigmund Freud followed up 13 years later.
Yet the idea is largely based on anecdotes, and researchers such as Karl MacDorman, associate professor of human-computer interaction at Indiana University, are working on experiments to hone in on possible explanations. MacDorman briefly worked with Saygin in Japan.
In his view, the uncanny valley effect has to do with a mismatch in features of a single animation or robot, with some parts appearing much more humanlike than others. For instance, when a very human-looking head is placed on an obviously mechanical body, that can be creepy. So can a human face with robotic eyes.
“When there are elements that are both human or nonhuman, this mismatch can produce an eerie sensation in the brain,” MacDorman said. “It’s when different parts of the brain are coming to different conclusions at the same time.”
There are other factors that may play in, however.
The uncanny valley effect could have to do with uncertainty about whether a robotic character is truly alive or dead, and even play into our deep-seated fears of death. Alternatively, it may be part of cognitive dissonance, which happens when a person’s beliefs are not in line with their behaviors — for instance, a smoker who berates other smokers.
From an evolutionary perspective, humans have developed an aversion to sickness, and a creepy-looking almost-human might tap into our internal system that warns us against sources of disease. In relation, we evolved to choose mates who are healthy, and weird robots may set off the same warning bells that told our ancestors to stay away from unfit sexual partners.
MacDorman’s current focus is on the uncanny valley with respect to empathy: that is, is the uncanny valley phenomenon related to a person’s difficulty in identifying with particular computer-animated or robotic characters in films? Does it relate to the impression that these characters are somehow “soulless,” and in what ways?
Saygin’s ongoing studies make use of electroencephalography, or EEG, which measures electrical activity along the scalp. While fMRI tells where in the brain activity occurs, EEG is better for looking at when — that is, when in viewing agents with different degrees of humanness do people’s brain patterns change. EEG is also much more portable and less expensive. Rather than a big scanner, it involves a cap worn on a person’s head.
Researchers may be able to understand the EEG patterns associated with the uncanny valley effect, and people’s comfort with various robotic forms. Eventually, this information could be used to help robot developers or animators who don’t want their creations to scare people.
“Instead of asking somebody, ‘Do you like this robot?’ we could get that information a lot more directly, and faster perhaps, if we can develop these technologies,” she said.
Have you ever experienced the uncanny valley effect? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Former UC Regent under pressure
Ward Connerly allegedly mishandled funds, according to his former employee, Jennifer Gratz.
In addition to facing allegations of excessive compensation by former employee Jennifer Gratz, the nonprofit American Civil Rights Institute Connerly founded is currently under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and California’s attorney general, according to The New York Times.