We got a tip that there were flyers posted in Usdan during the Holi celebration that read “No colored people allowed in Usdan.” And then I saw a photo of one (above), along with a “crazy coincidence” Jezebel article called “Hipster Racism,” shared a bunch of times on my Facebook news feed. Thanks to Luz Rivera ’13 for uploading the picture, and also for writing the appropriate commentary on it in red. These flyers were apparently posted on all of the entrances to the building, and according to Joanne Rafferty, Associate Director of Operations at Usdan, they were not put up by Usdan staff. The flyers have since been taken down. If anyone has any more information about this, sound off in the comments section. Many students are already incredibly offended by this act, saying it’s as insensitive as the anti-affirmative action bake sale that took place in 2010.
Update: Katherine Y. ’12 made the flyers because Shakti was asked not to make a mess in Usdan by Usdan staff. Her apology:
This was my fault and I want to take 100% responsibility for it. Shakti was asked by Usdan to put up posters telling people who had participated in Holi not to enter Usdan in order to not make a mess of colored powder everywhere, and the above poster occurred to me as a joke. I’m not sure why the obvious offensiveness of it didn’t hit me in the face immediately and I am deeply, deeply regretful that I ever printed these. I am very sorry to anyone I have offended and welcome anyone who wants to talk to me about in person to give me a call at [removed] or e-mail me at [removed]. I really hope that this very poor-taste decision doesn’t get in the way of all the work everyone in Shakti has been doing for the past semester to get Holi to happen and encourage people to take issue with me personally rather than the group. I once again apologize for making such an awful decision and emphasize that I’m totally open to hearing your rants, opinions, and concerns. I know I deserve them.
Very very regretfully,
Her reply somewhere below ” it was funny, slightly insensitive… people are over reactiong” !!!??? WTF I call it ‘IGNORANCE’ and she is isn’t really sorry, looks like she is loving the new found fame, all arrogant and suddenly so informed of history and all things racist… little girl, being regretful goes hand in hand with being humble… and you are neither of these…
Katherine – don’t feel so bad. It was a joke – it was clearly not intended to offend anyone. People are over-reacting. No matter what you say, someone in this world will complain for one reason or another. Just view this as a learning experience and move on.
This has got to the stupidest controversy I’ve seen in a while. Everybody needs to build a bridge and get the f*** over it. If you want to know what TRUE racism is, go to other countries. The liberal media and enabled minorities in this country have jumped on the bandwagon of falsehood a.k.a. political correctness to demonstrate that rampant racism is everywhere. Newsflash: when you make a joke like this, it’s not racism….it’s funny. Do you SERIOUSLY believe this girl was trying to create an uproar??? OBVIOUSLY not.
Why’s everyone busting Katherine’s metaphorical balls? Those of you on a high horse can’t say that you’ve never said, written or done something that was bound to offend someone. And if you haven’t by now, you probably will. That said, my only complaint is that she went in with only a half thought to offend. Perhaps she should have done so much more to be truly worthy of some of the awfully disparaging comments on this blog.
She fucked up, she’s owning up to it, everyone step off her metaphorical balls and deal with it. It’s over, it’s done. Move along.
Was anyone offended when a former Black Panther and cop killer came and spoke at Wesleyan about a year ago? I don’t recall his name but he was very clear that he made no apology for his part in taking a “Pigs” life….was ANYONE offended by any of that?
This is definitely the worst thing to befall humanity since the nuclear disaster in Japan. I don’t know how anyone will draw their next breath.
well, at least you’re not a closet racist.
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Those ill-informed students at Wesleyen (and elsewhere) that think “we” (U.S. populace) should be able to look at idiotic ‘jokes’ like this as harmless, or even a humorous post-modern deconstruction of “our” racist past are unaware of the current state of Hindu studies in Western academia. They are apparently ignorant of the fact that major U.S. religious studies figures have made careers out of denigrating Hindu culture using devious tactics such as mistranslating ancient texts, and utilizing wildly inappropriate sexually-overtoned Freudian theories to ‘study’ (or rather belittle) Hinduism.
I’m sure the idiot Katherine who put up this poster will now be encouraged to ‘dialogue’ and ‘outreach’ and other such nonsense. Katherine should instead read the book ‘Invading the Sacred’, in which the denigration of Hindu culture by U.S. academics is described in detail, and disseminate the information provided in that book to the Wesleyen student body. If Katherine is ashamed, she should encourage the shaming of ‘scholars’ who do far more harm than she has; “we” would benefit and learn something from such efforts.
No need to apologize. In America, I thought we had this thing called freedom of speech. I guess that only applies until someone gets offended. It was a joke, people, get over yourselves!
Firstly, there is not absolute freedom of speech in the U.S. See: hate crimes, libel, the FCC, etc. Secondly, freedom of speech, absolute or not, does NOT equal freedom from criticism or demands to retract, apologize, or what have you for your speech. Your point might be more well taken if people were calling for legal action, but since they’re not, it’s not.
So I was in Usdan right before the signs were posted, and heard one of the co-leaders of Shakti commenting how she was going to make these signs and put them up.
That student was NOT Katherine Yagle. Why is she taking the fall for a younger student who ACTUALLY did this???
My picture is being used as the avatar for that comment and i did NOT post it
this is so trivial! hahahahahaha
this is my picture and NOT my comment.
Sorry guys, I’m just imagining what this comment section would look like if we were all real people, not on an anonymous internet forum. We’d all just be standing in a circle screaming at each other. And this is a small school; you’d probably be screaming at people you know. Here it’s so easy to justify an insensitive expression of our anger or guilt or whatever nasty feelings the dual-message sign up there brings out. We don’t feel the shame we rightfully should for saying this stuff because we’re able to easily classify any anonymous opponents as whatever we want: white, black, privileged, ultra-sensitive, racists, whatever fits. The only person who’s not taking advantage of this anonymity is Katherine (and one or two others), so I think we owe her some respect.
The only way we can overcome the larger problems here (in my opinion) is through cultivating inter-racial and inter-cultural intimacy, and this starts at inter-personal intimacy. So an anonymous forum is not the place to do it.
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And no one here is horribly offended by the post directly above this? (Asian Glow) Think about the terrifying historical images it conjures up: interment camps, gordon hirabayashi, etc. Come on, people! We can be even more p.c.!
Katherine – You should know by now that racial humor is ONLY funny and acceptable if it directed towards white people. Get a grip girl!
grow up already people. or infact dont and keep on enjoying this bubble for the four years you are here, because the world out there is soo going to take you seriously if you cry over every stupid joke.
This big bad real world of yours…fuck it, I’d rather die standing up for myself than let people oppress me.
This thread is the epitome of why I am embarrassed to go to this school. You all are rich kids going to a rich school. Grow up. Quit acting like you knoooow the struggle. Also, if this shit offends you, good luck operating in the real world.
actually, many of us working class, low-income, or poor, and those of us who are happen to be disproportionately students of color!
FYI: Did not know my mother’s annual gross income of $22,000 qualified her as rich. Congrats on being a full-pledged ignorant idiot. People like you are embarrassing, talking from a completely uninformed perspective. If you actually knew the situation, you’d know that there is a class polarization occurring, as some of the wealthiest students keep being admitted along with some of the poorest… which will be coming to an end as Wesleyan moves to a removal of need-blind admissions. So within the next 10 years, people like me won’t even have the chance to be admitted because of our socio-economic status. SO I “knooo0w the struggle” on multiple levels- race, gender and class- its too bad you apparently don’t know shit.
Not sure why the issue of finances had to be brought up at all.
We are ALL rich kids going to a rich school? Have you not
heard of financial aid or scholarships, which without I would never have even
stepped a foot on this campus?! You should know better then to make
generalizations like that, if you are embarrassed to go to this school then go
ahead and leave; I doubt many people will miss you if this is your mentality.
And trust me, I’ve seen enough things, and I DO KNOW THE STRUGGLE, so much so
that I’m probably more grown then you will ever be, and that wasn’t by choice,
some people are forced in the struggle. And, only because in the ‘real world’
people are making shit like this that offends people, does NOT mean we should
sit around AND LET IT HAPPEN. I don’t think the people offended by this need
good luck, I think you do if you sit around with the mentality to let things
like this happen and try to do nothing to stop them.
This is the epitome of everything I love and hate about Wesleyan in one thread.
yo white people, shut up for once. this is one of those situations where you’re supposed to listen. I know it’s hard, but really try. please.
-concerned white guy.
lol speak of the devil
Fun read. Thanks for the laughs, Wes! All of you.
I am not colored, I am not white. I am not an Englishman, a Frenchman, a German, a Russian, an Italian, an Indian, an Egyptian, a Kenyan, a Chinaman, an Arab, a Brazilian, or an Indonesian. I am not an American, nor member of any other nation.
I am a member of the human race and a citizen of the world. Nothing more, nothing less.
I’d like to express my extreme point of viewI’m not Christian and I’m not a JewI’m just living out the American dreamAnd I just realised that nothingIs what it seems
This kind of reminds me of Stephen Colbert insisting he can’t see color.
If there were an event on Foss involving people covering themselves in flour, and someone had put up signs saying “no white people allowed in Usdan,” would we still be having this discussion?
No, because there is no problematic historical context for such a sign– amazingly, white people have never been institutionally discriminated against.
So… racial discrimination is only bad if there’s a historical background? So if brazilians started making racist jokes about Russians, it would be totally funny?
unless you count the jews. that was a thing.
Or the Irish. Or the Italians. Or the Polish. Or the Basques. Or anyone who was poor and white. Or anyone who was less than 100% white. Or anyone who was a witch. Or anyone with developmental handicaps. Or women. … It’s as though racial categories are just a really bad way to understand discrimination…
when they were discriminated against they weren’t really white… their kids got to be white though. They certainly were not discriminated against because they were white. I’d recommend David Roediger’s Working Toward Whiteness, which discusses racial ideas about new immigrants in the early 20th century. Great book.
Also, free the basque country!
So…. when people with black kids are accepted, their skin will turn white? What an interesting theory…
Oh! And when women are accepted, they’ll become white too!
White trash: definitely not white.
what? yes there are other causes of discrimination, gender etc, but we’re talking about people being discriminated because of their (perceived) race. which is obviously different from, though connected to, other categories. They’re not exclusive. intersectionality…
if someone had put up a no jews in usdan sign, the ADL would be all over it.
Point: the original statement (“No, because there is no problematic historical context for such a sign– amazingly, white people have never been institutionally discriminated against.”) was stupid in that it perceives discrimination along purely racial lines. Your followup–i.e., those people were not “white”–did not, in my mind, answer the original problem.
Actually, I think we would.
Really? Or are you just saying that to prove a point?
Hey Katherine, just a post a picture with all of your “colored” friends. That should clear everything up!
But for real, this is terrible. It’s even worse that she didn’t get it. It doubles the ignorance. Like you were too ignorant to realize you were being hurtful. Like you were so disconnected from how your neighbors live, you could think something so hurtful could be a joke. That’s worse than knowing you’re being hurtful. How do you let yourself out? You literally have no idea when you might be hurting someone.
Seriously, the sign, like all written things, has a life outside of its author. That’s like basic lit. theory. And it’s author’s responsibility to be sensitive to the various interpretations of his/her text(s). It can be hard, but with things like “no colored people allowed” it shouldn’t be. Especially for a college senior. Here are some images “brave” Katherine’s signs evoked:
Were any of those photos funny? It’s really, really easy to think racism is harmless, when it doesn’t harm you. This is life and death for people. Katherine made a mistake, a terrible one, but a mistake. But we shouldn’t “get a sense of humor” or “take a joke.” That’s how nothing changes. That’s actually tacit support for the institutional violence done on people of color. It doesn’t matter if everyone thinks it’s funny. When you don’t take suffering and persecution seriously, you endanger people. Like literally, endanger people. Look at the photos.
An apology is obvious, if Katherine is really sorry, she’ll read a book. She’ll promise herself she’ll be more thoughtful next time. “Everyone makes mistakes.” You right. But what does that mean? So we all suck, so we shouldn’t dwell on it and all continue to suck?
Wow! You might make a good point. But you’re clearly a terrible professor. Katherine already apologized in case you haven’t read the comments. What more do you want from her? I’m disappointed to find out that Wesleyan has hired such grudging professors.
I understand your feelings, and you offer good points. However, I don’t understand why you have to continue to humiliate Katherine. I don’t know her, and I don’t know you, but I can’t stand when people use humiliation and beratement (that’s not a word, but you get it) to teach people lessons. Let this be a wake up call that we need to teach people about this in a constructive manner.
Just so everyone knows, there are no faculty with the first or last name andre at wesleyan.
This is definitely Adam “read a book” Johnson
Definitely wasn’t me. You know I’d leave my real name.
You think I’d waste my time on this? The girl said she didn’t notice it. What’s the point?
Next year just print posters that say, “No Holi People Allowed!”
all right dudes. We all understand Katherine’s posting of the signs was definitely poor judgement on her part, however, she has made it very clear that she is deeply sorry about this. I really don’t think that it is going to do any good if we keep arguing about this and/or berating Katherine. I think that anger about bigotry/segregation/lack of social consciousness is much better directed at someone who doesn’t understand the implications of their actions. Ms. Yagle clearly understands that what she did was wrong, so can we please stop this?
I agree that people need to stop berating Katherine. However, I also feel this is a much-needed discussion, BUT one which should be continued in a place of non-anonymity. Otherwise, PRODUCTIVE discussion will probably not occur satisfyingly when people cannot connect like grown-ups, and instead insist on hiding behind anonymous internet comments (this is more directed at comeON and other hateful/abrasive commenters). One of the points of such a discussion would be so that everyone can hear/try to understand what kinds of places/backgrounds/experiences/thought-processes everyone else may be coming from.
DONT KNOW IF THE USER NAME IS A COOINCIDENCE, OR BUT THIS COMMENT WAS MADE NOT BY SIRA FATI. PLEASE EITHER REMOVE THE COMMENT OR CHANGE THE USER NAME TO AVOID CONFUSION, THANKS.
omg i’m really sorry. sira is a nickname my friends used to call me when I was younger (my real name is similar). in no way did i mean to impersonate you or give you the impression that I was trying to do so. I’m really sorry. I’ve never met you and didn’t know who you were. the views expressed in my post were in no way meant reflect who you are as a person/what you believe, since I have never met you and have no idea who you are. I’m really sorry.
its cool. just wanted to clarify the above views weren’t mine.
LOL SIRA FATI IS THE OFFICIALLY MOST UNCHILL PERSON AT WES
can there be more than one person in the world named sira? chill the fuck out dude
no one would look at the people on Foss today and first think look at all those colored people. they would say look at all those people covered in paint. I have dealt with ignorance from my hometown all the way to Wesleyan. why should people need to accept the fact that it is “okay” for someone to write something offensive when it’s not. I am tired of being underestimated and told to calm down. People say ignorant stuff all the time and laugh it off, but it’s not funny. It’s bigotry and I’m tired of it. Going to a school, where a person feels uncomfortable at a WOC meeting or going to X house cause there are just so many black people. and at the same time, this person says i’m so jealous of black people cause when i was younger i always wanted beads in my hair. don’t make fun of something that literally had people murdered and expect no one to be upset especially in the world we live in today and the people we are constantly surrounded by. There’s no point in being angry but I have to say to Katherine, that you really need to start thinking because you’re going to be in this situation in the future and i hope you can catch yourself next time
People seriously need to buy a sense of humor! This was clearly a joke — as in a literary word play; a pun. That’s where the “humor” lies. It’s not making a joke at the expense of black people (ie: people of color), but at the two different (and literal) meanings conveyed in the expression. Additionally, you need to consider the CONTEXT in which these signs were displayed. There actually were people covered in color powder! (which metaphorically we could call “colored people”)
It is to THESE people that the message was directed to. And this is very clearly obvious! It’s very clear that the intension of this message was not to offend people of color, but to provide a witty word play in an otherwise boring sign. Take it for what it is, and don’t make any more of it than what it actually is. Look at things objectively and analyze the situation and the context! People that felt “attacked” by this, really need to stop making everything about themselves.
You are seriously the thickest, most obnoxious racist asshole ive read on here so far. and thats saying something.
1) You don’t call people covered in color powder “colored people,” you fucker! You call them people covered in fucking powder!!!! jeeeeeez i cant believe i have to even type this. Colored people is such a loaded term, and the way the “joke” was written, it seems inevitable that the author meant it to play on that historically racist phrase…
2) It is irrelevant WHO it was meant for, since it was posted at all entrances to Usdan, so therefore everyone, involved in Holi or not, would read it.
3) Intentions dont matter! Its nice and all to know the author wasn’t being maliciously racist, but still that doesnt mean jack.
4) Youre just dumb: look at it objectively, AND look at the context? Well, whose perspective would this OBJECTIVE look come from? The author? The racist dude who thinks its funny? The person who is hurt by it? well then it cant exactly be objective then can it.
5) People who are HURT by this are doing the opposite of making things about themselves. They are finding their personal and collective hurt, located within histories of racism. that is called politicized action, the opposite of selfishness.
Even though the intention wasn’t to be offensive, one of “the two different (and literal) meanings conveyed in the expression” is that meaning that is, in it’s historical connotation, racist. And although it was meant for people who were literally covered in colored dye dust, EVERYONE was able to view it, meaning that EVERYONE was an observer and digester of this sign. Among other things problems.
do you even go here anymore????
If you would like to ask me about my life, I would gladly discuss it with you. But please have more tact and get in touch with me directly. The simple answer to your question is yes, I am simply on medical leave.
~ Sunny Karan
You obviously didn’t read the article mentioned in this post.
The sign needed to state the basic information: that people participating in Holi couldn’t enter Usdan, that’s not boring… its too the point. It wasn’t an advertisement, didn’t require shock-value, didn’t need to be controversial. There was no need to be “witty”.. especially if the “joke” is rooted in something that is historically oppressive. And if those of us feeling attacked said nothing, insensitive, know-it-all’s like you would be up here, defending lynching jokes too, as long as you could consider them a play on words. Ridiculous.
FYI: I’m a student of color too. I didn’t feel attack nor oppressed — why should you?
Just because you don’t understand the offensiveness of the situation doesn’t mean that other students of color have to feel the same way you do. Just because your a student of color who feels that this was just a joke, doesn’t take away from the seriousness that other non students of color and students of color feel about it. That’s like saying because one black person loves rap that all black people must love rap… it makes no sense.
You’ve allowed yourself to think oppressive statements are acceptable as long as they’re funny. You don’t feel responsible for, or the need to defend people of color. That’s your lifestyle, not mine. You lead me to believe that you only self-identify when it’s convenient for you. Personal problem, internalized oppression, not my business, live your life.. I’ve made a choice to live differently, realize when my people are being disrespected and demand respect. We’re clearly cut from a different cloth. I’ll continue to respect myself/my people, you’ll continue to consider racially complex ideas jokes.
Please, don’t even attempt to suggest that i don’t respect myself. I clearly do. And it is exactly because of this, that I can’t see past all this crap and read the sign as a funny LITERAL joke. Without implicitly lading the words with any other connotations outside of the sign itself nor the context in which it was posted. It seems to me that you don’t respect yourself, or more so, are unsure of you’re own self and your place in society, and therefore think that this is a hurtful comment directed at you — when it clearly and most obviously is not.
You seem to be obsessed with things that are “clear” and “literal”. No one is claiming that Katherine was TRYING to hurt students of color with the sign. It wouldn’t have been seen as witty or remotely funny if the word “colored” had no historical context. That’s the issue, jokes like this are inappropriate.
Your idea of what it means to respect yourself and mine are completely different. I didn’t suggest that you don’t respect yourself, I simply stated that I do. I find it cute that you think you can define me or how I perceive my existence. Ambitious.
Because if one person feels offended then that needs to be honored. How is it helpful to tell somone why they should not be offended when the damage has already been done?
So, if anything offends anyone it shouldn’t be allowed?
First, I would like to start out by saying I can only speak for myself. And with that said, please take your cell phone number down, do not open yourself up to possible anonymous unpleasant encounters. In regards to this event, I think it speaks to a lack of true social consciousness (which includes but is not limited to racial, historical, gender, class, sexuality, etc) on the Wesleyan campus. My photo and commentary are not meant to slam Shakti any way shape or form. My photo and the commentary address the historical insensitivity of the poster given our country’s long-lasting history with racism and racial and social inequality. Words have historical connotations and students at Wesleyan, white and of color alike, should be striving to understand the historical connotations of such words. The word “colored” is loaded with historical significance and relevance in the U.S. and different parts of the world. And it is because of that historical significance and relevance, that its presence today ON EVERY ENTRANCE DOOR TO THE MOST PUBLIC BUILDING ON CAMPUS is offensive. Lastly, for me your posters show that social consciousness is something that needs to be up and awakened on the Wesleyan campus for the sanity of its Community.
Luz M. Rivera ’13
People need to chill the fuck out.
Dude, chill. It’s JDilla…
It was funny. Slightly insensitive, sure, but clearly facetiously so. In my opinion, which I recognize may not be that of the majority, the people who are getting worked up about this are over-reacting. The joke is not ‘at the expense of students of color.’ If anything, it’s at the expense of this country’s racist past, and it harmlessly points out that we’ve come far enough to reflect on the absurdity of seeing the very thing you’re parodying in the modern world.
What would indicate to you that we’ve come far enough to have this sign up? Segregation ended like 50 years ago. That’s not a long time at all.
Colored, Black, Afro American, the N’ word, would you people ever be happy with what some people call you????? ALSO MOST OF YOU WHATEVER YOU want to be called were never Slaves or know anyone who was one, sooo get over it and Quit living in the past. The WHITE guy. the white guy
The offense is that the phrase “No Colored People”, although intentions came from a place of humor and were not meant to offend, immediately brings to mind (or throws into the faces of students of color) Jim Crow (in the past) and (currently) the continued racism and oppression felt by people of color today.
~ Sunny Karan
Well then your opinion is irrelevant and obnoxious, because if you are not someone who would be personally pained with seeing this “joke,” then you have no right to say anyone else is over-reacting. Thats a classic white supremacist attitude right there. The only way you could think that this is a parody of a racist past is if you belief racism really is past. And if you believe that, you’re either ignorant, elitist, willfully blind or all of the above. This was serious, yes. It was more than insulting, and nobody should defend it for any reason, lest you find yourself within the privileged racism behind this joke. UGHHHH #postracismisafantasy
… so, if I say “Hello, my name is John,” and that offends you because John Smith was one of the first colonizers, is that because I’m ” ignorant, elitist, willfully blind or all of the above”? I mean, this is clearly different, but you shouldn’t call people white supremacists because they think insensitive jokes are funny. Frankly, I’m offended, and demand an apology.
so what’s your definition of a white supremacist?
As defined. Someone who believes that white people are racially superior to non-white people. A white supremacist’s sense of humor, whether dull, offensive, or appropriate, is entirely irrelevant.
So you feel that someone can separate their belief of white people being superior from what they find funny? That makes no sense, just about everything they do becomes relevant because it stems from their belief…
Perhaps a poor choice of words. A white supremacist’s sense of humor can be relevant if it reflects their belief system, but a racist joke (with no malicious intent) does not make the joker a white supremacist. It makes the joker subversively racist, but nothing more than that.
who is we? white people? i’m happy to hear that people have “come far enough” to still be ignorant and offensive, especially when only the most ignorant and in denial beings could ever say that today racism and prejudice is not still very much alive.
This was my fault and I want to take 100% responsibility for it. Shakti was asked by Usdan to put up posters telling people who had participated in Holi not to enter Usdan in order to not make a mess of colored powder everywhere, and the above poster occurred to me as a joke. I’m not sure why the obvious offensiveness of it didn’t hit me in the face immediately and I am deeply, deeply regretful that I ever printed these. I am very sorry to anyone I have offended and welcome anyone who wants to talk to me about in person to give me a call at (206) 595-9279 or e-mail me at kyagle (at) wesleyan.edu. I really hope that this very poor-taste decision doesn’t get in the way of all the work everyone in Shakti has been doing for the past semester to get Holi to happen and encourage people to take issue with me personally rather than the group. I once again apologize for making such an awful decision and emphasize that I’m totally open to hearing your rants, opinions, and concerns. I know I deserve them.
Very very regretfully,
The obvious offensiveness was the joke. How could that not hit you in the face?
I truly, truly am sorry for what I did. If you want to talk to me about it, please contact me. I’m honestly open to discussing this. Not just saying that. I’m truly open to turning this into a productive discussion, but I don’t think anonymous internet forums are a good way of doing that.
While I understand your anger, I don’t believe that attacking Katherine after she has already apologized (very humbly and non-anonymously on this public forum) is going to bring about greater change in the way that you hope. Anger thrown around will only get angry/defensive/reactionary responses from people who might otherwise be willing to change if only someone would point out to the the error of their ways.
~ Sunny Karan
to them* the error of their ways.
You’re brave. Everyone makes mistakes.