Category Archives: Education

Spelman Appoints Film Pioneer Julie Dash as Faculty

By Free Radical

Julie Dash

Film Pioneer, Julie Dash

According to hollywoodblackrenaissance.com, Spelman College recently appointed renowned movie director Julie Dash as a Distinguished Professor in the Arts starting this fall.

Dash is most well known for her groundbreaking film, Daughters of the Dust, which tells the story of a South Carolina Gullah community that has to navigate ways to hold on to their ancestral traditions while also preapring themselves for the rigors of a move to the industrial North.

The movie unabashedly uses Gullah dialect (which draws heavily from West African languages and culture) and was named one of the most important cinematic achievements in Black Cinema at the 25th Annual Newark Black Film Festival in 1999. More recently, in 2004, it was selected among 400 other films to be added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry as a National Treasure.

Dash will make an appropriate fit for Spelman College as the Atlanta-based all-women’s college is one of the few HBCUs (or colleges of its size) that offers a degree in film. In 2004, award-winning filmmaker Ayoka Chenzira created the Digital Moving Image Salon (DMIS) to instruct students on how to create their own movies. Since their founding, they have created the Reel Women Film Showcase, which has featured prominent Black women in film for screenings and panel discussions open to the general public.

Spelman has also created a documentary filmmaking major, to, according to their website, cultivate a “generation of Black women documentary filmmakers who see the world through their histories and interests.”

The appointment of Dash and the development of Spelman’s film program is extremely timely as Atlanta has been dubbed the new “Black Hollywood” by some. According to FilmL.A., Georgia has become the number one filming location in the world, having produced the most films in 2016. The various film and television shows produced in Georgia is estimated to to generate $9.5 billion to the state in 2017.

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Trump’s DOJ Gears Up to Attack Affirmative Action

By Free Radical

Nancy Leong, Professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law argues that Asians are being coopted by White conservatives to attack affirmative action.

Nancy Leong, Professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law argues that Asians are being coopted by White conservatives to attack affirmative action.

Earlier this week the New York Times reported that the DOJ is looking to marshal its resources to attack affirmative action.

The newspaper’s report stems from a leaked document of the DOJ’s civil rights division seeking lawyers who are interested in working on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”

The DOJ has attempted to downplay the issue, having its spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores on Wednesday call the Times story “inaccurate.” She stated that the Justice Department is currently only seeking to investigate one complaint by an Asian-American who alleges racial discrimination in one university’s admissions policies.

The Times has since responded saying that it seems difficult to believe that the DOJ would make such an aggressive request for attorneys for just one case. Moreover, the leaked memorandum mentioned “investigations” as plural rather than one investigation.

Observers, such as scholars Nancy Leong and Erwin Chemerinsky have noted that Asian-Americans have been targeted by White conservative activists

Study: Women’s Athletics Lack Diversity

By Free Radical

Dawn Staley coached the University of South Carolina Gamecocks to a national championship in 2017.

Dawn Staley coached the University of South Carolina Gamecocks to a national championship in 2017.

Though African-American athletes dominate several collegiate sports, their numbers among coaches is disproportionately small, according to a new report.

This is definitely the case in women’s sports. It was revealed that nearly 88% of coaches of women’s college teams are White and 57% of them are men. Only 7% of women’s college sports coaches are Black, 2.8% are Latino, 2.2% are Asian, and less than 1% are Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

Conferences such as the Ivy League, Big Ten, Big East, and the SEC were given Fs for diversity. The SEC is home to the current women’s basketball champions, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, coached by Dawn Staley, a Black woman.

Clemson University, located in South Carolina, had the highest percentage of coaches of color for women’s

Devos’s Voucher Program Can Likely Discriminate

By Free Radical

Betsy Devos

Betsy Devos

Earlier this month Betsy Devos gave noncommittal answers to handling discrimination in voucher school programs at a Senate hearing. Vouchers are one cornerstone of Devo’s emphasis on school choice policy which also includes private education and charter schools.

A problem will arise if private schools are given federal monies but still allowed to discriminate based on sexuality, which is a violation of federal law. While she affirmed that “Discrimination in any form is wrong. I don’t support discrimination in any form”, she was less forthcoming in showing how she would handle a situation such as a current conflict in an Indiana school which receives federal funds but has denied admission to students who have LGBT parents.

Her conservative base supports school choice and often looks down on LGBT families and relationships. It would be difficult for her to publicly say that she would fight this form of discrimination. However, allowing discrimination could put her