Identity Politics

By Vicky Diloné

You are betraying your race.

This statement and others like it have been directed towards me throughout my adult life. I have been called a tool of the patriarchy, an extremist, and yes, someone who hates minorities. Having said that, this post isn’t about me being a victim to hateful comments or discrimination. In fact, it is the opposite.

I am not a victim. I am not oppressed by white supremacy or the patriarchy. My failures or hardships are not the result of nationwide systematic racism. The rise of identity politics seeks to make me a victim, one that can never be saved because of who I am.

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Source: David Klein

Identity politics is defined as “politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group.”

At first glance identity politics doesn’t seem bad, nonetheless people tend to forget the last part of the definition. Claiming to be a part of a specific group does not automatically grant anyone special authority outside of that group. We are all given equal inalienable rights; we should all be seen as human and given fair treatment. If one comes from a different or even problematic culture, they are to be treated with respect.

I’m not saying that fair treatment is always given or that discrimination doesn’t exist. Boxing ourselves into an infinite number of identities and checking our “privilege” does nothing but make us hyper aware of our differences. Continue reading “Identity Politics”

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No Choice

By Vicky Diloné

As many know, America has a dark side to its history. What is supposed to be the Land of the Free has at times been a country where freedom of choice is denied.

Imagine this, you’re in the hospital after spending hours in labor and are given strong drugs to reduce the pain. The nurse says you’ll need a C-section, but first you need to sign some papers. She won’t tell you what they’re for, only that if you don’t sign them, your baby will die. Even though you are in pain and can’t even read the English, you sign them and they put you under for the C-section.

Months later you’re with your baby boy and happy to start your new life. Then you get the call, you discover were sterilized. During the C-section the doctors also gave you a tubal ligation and whether you wanted or not, you cannot have more kids. This is the reality for many women, most who are in poverty or are immigrants, around the world, even in the United States. Continue reading “No Choice”

Mother Angelica: Mother of Multimedia Empire

By Vicky Diloné

Mother Angelica is my hero. It’s a name anyone who works in media should know. Although small and unassuming, “she was the only woman in television history to found and lead a cable network,” says her biographer Raymond Arroyo. But before she was broadcasting to millions in their home, she was just a small girl from a bad part of town in Canton, Ohio. I will give a trigger warning; Angelica’s early life was not a happy one. There is mention of child neglect and suicide in this post; proceed with caution.

Before Angelica There was Rita

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A young Rita Rizzo circa 1930.

Before Mother Angelica entered religious life, she was Rita Rizzo, a tough girl with a big attitude and bigger heart. Born on April 20, 1923 in Canton, Ohio, Rizzo had everything stacked against her. By all odds she should have died in the poverty she was born into. Her grandparents were Italian immigrants, her parents divorced, and even the Catholic nuns in her school seemed to look down on her. After her mother divorced her deadbeat father, they were left with only each other. Her mother, Mae Francis, fell into depression and Rizzo became her emotional rock at a young age. Between her mother’s breakdowns, rat-infested living conditions, and her own health problems, Rizzo never had a real childhood.

Continue reading “Mother Angelica: Mother of Multimedia Empire”

Immigrant Discrimination from a Surprising Group

By Vicky Diloné

This past week something happened to a friend of mine who I’ll call Lucy*. (Names are changed for privacy.) I was speed-walking to class when I ran into Lucy pushing her children in a stroller and crying. Not just silent crying but sobbing.

She told me that someone had said just said a hurtful comment to her, and I immediately became angry. My friend is a recent immigrant to this country and her English is not the best, but she is the sweetest and most hard-working person. I quickly assumed that some stranger had made a racist comment. Although this is not considered a hate crime it is harassment and I at least wanted to see the person who I thought hurt my friend in case some other incident happens.

Continue reading “Immigrant Discrimination from a Surprising Group”

How We Celebrate the Dead

By Vicky Diloné

Halloween is in two days! While in America along with other countries, we celebrate by wearing costumes and passing out candy to children, the holiday did not originally start this way. Here is the origin of Halloween and a look at how other countries celebrate their passed loved ones.

All Saints’ Day

The word Halloween originates from the phrase “Hallows’ Eve” meaning the night before All Saints’ Day. The holiday was founded by Pope Gregory III to honor the men and women who had high degrees of holiness or faithfulness. Catholics today still celebrate this holiday by holding a vigil the night before and going to mass on November first. Somewhere between the 12th and 15th century, the practice of dressing up as a favorite saint became popular. This is one of the many reasons we now use costumes during Halloween. Today Halloween has changed from being a religious holiday to honor the dead into a festive night to wear costumes, scare each other, and eat candy.

Dia de Los Muertos, Mexico

Contrary to popular belief, Dia de Los Muertos is not a Mexican Halloween. The holiday was first introduced by the Catholic Spanish as All Souls’ Day, a day in which all the faithful departed are prayed for and their lives celebrated. The indigenous people of Mexico were already celebrating their dead in their own summer ritual. According to their traditions mourning was seen as disrespectful, so they honored their ancestors by festivities and dancing. After the country converted into a Catholic culture, these Aztec traditions were included. Continue reading “How We Celebrate the Dead”

First Amendment Heroines

By Vicky Diloné

This past week there was a display on the Admin lawn sponsored by the College of Art and Architecture and the organization For Freedoms. They asked students to write about what freedom means to them and what specific freedoms they want. There was a lot of talk on the nature of rights in general, but I want to focus on the rights granted by the First Amendment.

As a journalism student I am required to study the First Amendment, its origin, and how it has been used in history. As a US citizen, I think it is important to know exactly what our country can do for us, what we can demand of our country, and how we are protected from government overreach. Continue reading “First Amendment Heroines”

Quisqueyans en America (Dominicans in America)

By Vicky Diloné

Like many Dominicans, my family has a long history in New York City. And as an aspiring journalist, of course I want to live in the Big Apple. Getting to work for an important network and helping the city one person at a time. Four more years here at UI and I’m buying my one-way ticket across the country. My dad was more realistic than me and suggested we go to research a local charity for an internship before I get stranded alone in the city. That is how we ended up running through the downpour in West Harlem, taking shelter at City University of New York. Wandering inside the campus we came across the Dominican Studies Institute, “the nation’s first university-based research institute devoted to the study of people of Dominican descent in the United States and other parts of the world.” There we talked with Sarah Aponte and Jhensen Ortiz about the history of my ancestors in Dominican Republic and the States. Most of the history shared in this blog comes from extensive research from the Dominican Studies Institute (DSI).

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A stretch of Broadway was renamed Juan Rodriguez Way in New York City.

Los Dominican Yorkers

Juan Rodriguez is not a household name amongst New Yorkers, but he should be. As the first non-native settler of Manhattan, Rodriguez was born and raised in the Spanish settlement of Santo Domingo, the capital of what is now Dominican Republic, by his Portuguese father and African mother. He became a talented linguist and was hired by a Dutch captain as an interpreter in his voyage to the Native Americans living in Manhattan at the time. When the ship and crew returned to the Netherlands, Rodriguez stayed behind, marrying a native woman, raising his family, and owning a trading post. DSI considers him to be “first immigrant, the first person of African heritage, the first person of European heritage, the first merchant, the first Latino, and the first Dominican to settle in Manhattan.”

Rodriguez unknowingly became the first in a trend of Dominican migration to New York City, a trend that continues to this day. According to Migration Policy Institute, forty-seven percent of Dominican Americans live in New York. Many came over during the three-decade dictatorship of Trujillo from the thirties to the sixties. While many Cubans were escaping communism to Miami, Dominicans found their safe haven in New York City. Dominicans in the twentieth century strongly believed in the American Dream and anyone who could make it out of the country was believed to have equal opportunity to prosper. Women especially saw the opportunity to get an education and enter the workforce. Continue reading “Quisqueyans en America (Dominicans in America)”