2:10-3:00 ISCORE block takeaways


Mia Wang/Iowa State Daily

Amanda Arp, graduate student in RPC/English, Mariah Kemp, graduate student in RCP/English and Phillip Gallagher, graduate student in RCP/English.

“Um, Diversity Definition? That’s Hard.”: College Student Perceptions of Diversity

This presentation showed the motivation and results of a diversity study done by three English major graduate students: Amanda Arp, Philip Gallagher and Mariah Kemp.

Police brutality, changes on DACA, white supremacy posters on campus are triggering discussions and debates on importance of diversity awareness. Given the limited research on communication and diversity, it’s important to examine how diversity is communicated on campus.

Past studies showed that diversity has academic value. Academic skills, social skills, academic concepts, teamwork and leadership skills, college sense of belonging and college satisfaction are positively influenced by the richness of diversity in college campuses.

The research group interviewed 21 participants of various majors; 18 females and 13 males on campus; three African Americans, four Asian, 22 Caucasians, three hispanics and two Middle Easterners.

Their findings indicate the need for discussion, not just amongst U.S. citizens, but as students, administrators, and researchers, if they intend to promote change and greater understanding between each other. As these interviews show, communication about diversity deserves more attention because it is varied, complex and often in a state of conflict.

Furthering that, students are dissatisfied. Students discussed the way they communicated about diversity suggests universities aren’t having uncomfortable but necessary conversations about diversity and inclusion.

In addition, students’ experiences with bias first-hand, witnessed or absent, revealed the uniqueness and seriousness of discriminatory behavior. From 31 students, 12 indicated they experienced bias directly, while nine individuals said they had not experienced any bias.

Still, out of the 31 students, a total of 21 (nearly 70 percent) reported they had witnessed or heard biased activity. Fourteen people expressed contradictory statements that they had not encountered bias, then later revealed they had experienced or witnessed it.

All the data indicates that even though the participants had experienced discrimination, they did not recognize it because it was not “severe.” It reveals the troubling nature of cultural relationships with biases in America and American institutions.

By Mia Wang

The Reconstruction & White Supremacy: How History Repeats Itself

Seth D. Schroeder, second year graduate student in the education, compared white supremacy during reconstruction to the current rise of white supremacy.

Schroeder felt the reconstruction was pertinent to modern times because the backlash during reconstruction was a result of white men feeling as though they were losing power.

White southerners began to exploit formerly enslaved black populations in the form of underpaid labor and extreme conditions.

President Andrew Johnson enlisted white southerners to establish a new government. Schroeder called him the “Donald Trump” of 1865. The pardon of 1865 pardoned plantation owners and gave land back to them.

Minstrel shows were performed to white northerners, depiction of the south as much happier, made slavery seem “not so bad.” Black populations were portrayed as not civil, educated or engaging in politics. Doing this to attempt to regain control of the south.

Three forms of violence that took place were urban riots, interpersonal fights and organized vigilante groups. White men would kill a black man or woman and would not be tried for a crime because the court systems were controlled by the white populous. Night riders, and most commonly-known, the white supremacist terrorist group the KKK formed in 1866.

They organized their hits on prominent black leaders.Their goal was to spread fear so others would feel exercising their civil liberties would bring hurt to them or their family.

In 1870 the Enforcement Acts were established, making it criminal to deprive African Americans of their right to vote. Violence against black people continued regardless. By 1877 black citizens were trapped and unable to exercise their right to vote.

Schroeder showed picture of neo-Nazis marching and chanting at a University of Virginia protest. Schroeder compared this sense of rage and lost power to the reactions to slavery being abolished.

Schroeder believes this is an ongoing issue that still needs our attention. It is important to take a step back and reexamine why you believe the things you believe, your own biases and what our government is doing.

Schroeder discussed the common attempts to dehumanize former slaves with forms of public humiliation including attacks and caricatures of black politicians or public figures.

After the 13th amendment was ratified, black families began building communities and consolidating social power. Schroeder said family and activism were cornerstones of those communities.

“Power of community really takes hold in the south,” Schroeder said, discussing the influence of black voters voting black politicians into office.

By K. Rambo and Kaylie Crowe

Is Anyone Listening? Starting a Conversation About African American Males’ Success in Higher Education

There are many struggles that black men face while on the path to success at the collegiate level. Buena Lisa Saenthavy, sophomore in sociology, Nayely Hurtado, junior in political science, Emily Leaverton, senior in civil engineering, and Benjamin Dralle, senior in nutritional science, presented on this topic.

The presentation began with an interactive Kahoot! quiz about statistics and information that would return later in the lecture.

Demographic data was then discussed, including figures of the Iowa State student body, being 2.6 percent black, with 51.4 percent of this population being male. However, the average six year graduation rate among African American men at Iowa State is 49.9 percent. The overall graduation rate of male students from Iowa State is 69.8 percent.

After the sharing of data factors that contribute to the disparity of African American males’ graduation rate. Factors such as the value of quality relationships, supportive family, and community were discussed as strong contributing factors, among other things.

Also discussed were systematic prejudices in the education system such as black male youth being viewed as uncontrollable and unteachable by educators. This contributes to disproportionately high rates of suspension with reported statistics of one in six black students being suspended compared to one in 20 white students being suspended.

After discussing the qualitative and quantitative factors that can improve student involvement and contribute to higher rates of graduation, academic self efficacy was specifically discussed. Academic self efficacy was defined as believing in one’s own ability to succeed.

After the presentation of academic self efficacy concluded attendees were encouraged to consider talking points of the lecture and then hold small group discussions. After each of these discussions audience members were invited to share thoughts with the larger audience.

A survey conducted by the event’s speakers with African American males attending Iowa State was then discussed. Although response rates were low and the data was skewed, the study reported that students felt a lack of representation among their classmates. Students did, however, report feeling comfortable with faculty and staff as well as a resounding theme of self efficacy being very important to positive attitudes.

Another result reported was the effect of mental health on self efficacy with students reporting things such and depression and anxiety greatly hindering these feelings.

Georgia State was then discussed as a positive example and model for how to properly assist underrepresented student populations, specifically black men, to boost graduation averages. There was a focus on tracking student progress, outreach and inclusivity, and building academic self efficacy.

The presentation was concluded by discussing where Iowa State was succeeding in with encouraging success among underrepresented student populations with things such as Hixson Opportunity Awards and George Washington Carver Scholarships. Places where Iowa State could improve were also discussed, such as improved mental health service outreach to African American males on campus as well as having more support and mentorship among the student population.

By Mike Brown

Stereotyping the Black Woman: An Analysis of Black Hair Advertisements

According to presenters, African American hair ads are guilty of using racial stereotypes to sell products.

In Ebony magazine, advertisers strategically choose their models based on skin tone, hair texture and body image to employ subliminal messages. Ashney Williams, graduate student in apparel, events and hospitality management, and Courtney D. Johnson, graduate student in apparel, events and hospitality management, share their experiences analyzing Ebony magazine in their lecture, “Stereotyping the black woman: an analysis of black hair advertisements 2011-2015”

“Appearance is a nonverbal communicator that signifies one’s ethnic or racial group,” says Johnson.

Amongst the ads analyzed, products like dyes, smoothing treatments and relaxers were being forced into the hands of black women. Products such as these are specifically designed and marketed to their community as a way to achieve a more Eurocentric look.

Johnson suggests the way ads are marketed illustrates the controversial relationship between black women and the media. When models are depicted as nappy or unruly, it becomes harder to challenge the social hierarchy of what’s deemed beautiful.

Each ad they analyzed was critiqued on six key themes: hair aesthetics, skin tone, stereotypical messaging, benefit of use, clothing traits and phenotypic traits.

According to their research, Johnson and Williams noticed a trend in preferred skin tone for models selling natural versus relaxed hair products. For example, most models for natural skin ads were of light to medium skin tone. These models had thinner hair, with little regard to natural kink or tight curls.

On the contrary, models for hair relaxers were typically darker skinned. Models of darker skin were also recorded to express more attitude with their body language in the ads.

Collectively, Williams and Johnson analyzed black models’ wardrobe assignments in each hair ad. Majority showed models posing with side boob or bare shoulders, while others wore either whites shirts or something of the same color as their background.

Williams wants to note there were zero ads representing natural children’s hair, such as models with kinks or tight curls.

The way to combat consistent stereotyping is to beat everyone else to the newest trend. Johnson suggests generating buzz around a black hair trend will help eliminate the beauty hierarchy.

“I just saw a black women in Vogue with a bald head and she looked super fly,” said Johnson. “I bet everyone else will do something like that in their next magazine, mark my words.”

By Angie Jachniw

Teaching Slow Violences: A Rhetoric of Othering and Systemic Silencing

Slow violences are the violences you can’t see in an instant. Rising sea levels, mass incarceration and environmental degradation are hard to fit into a single moment in time, but these things are all violent.

“Violence goes beyond the physical,” said Chloe Clark, lecturer in English. She used stalking as an example, and how the stalker can force changes in the behavior of the stalked.

“The stalker is taking away their victim’s active choice,” Clark said. “She may have to take an alternate route home or avoid going to certain places, it takes away her agency.”

Clark presented on rhetorical devices surrounding slow violences in media. She presented with Bronte Wieland, graduate student in English.

Rhetorical devices are used to convey ideas in an effective way to their audiences. It can be used to help people understand complex issues or mask dubious actions in euphemism and deceitful language.

Clark and Wieland’s work focuses on relationships between slow violences and movies and literature.

“I show my students the horror movie ‘Get Out,’” Clark said, “It really shows the much broader and insidious forms of systemic racism.”

Clark is a horror film fanatic, and uses monster movies in particular to teach rhetorical devices to her students.

Wieland focuses on human-caused environmental degradation and how it negatively affects indigenous people.

“If there are Native Americans being displaced by climate change, why aren’t we hearing about it?” Wieland said. “These are questions we should be asking ourselves.”

 By Talon Delaney

An Exploration of Gentrification of the Magic City: A Spatial Analysis of Birmingham, AL

“Why Birmingham? Birmingham, Alabama is where I was born and raised,” said Antionette Fowlkes, graduate student in community and regional planning.

Fowlkes has channeled the problems caused by gentrification in Birmingham into a project of hers that she plans to have completed by November. She is focusing on raising awareness for public transportation in towns like Birmingham.

Fowlkes hopes helping the Birmingham transit authority make socially just decisions can help some of the socioeconomic problems the town faces.

“I want to create solutions to the symptoms of gentrification and displacement that create scarcity of quality urbanism,” Fowlkes said.

Birmingham was once the most segregated city in the nation. It had a booming iron industry, and many workers were prisoners that were “leased” to work.

“It was the industrial summit of the new South,” Fowlkes said. “The system had all the evils of slavery.”

Birmingham was also a focal point of the civil rights movement of the mid 1900s. As the largest city in Alabama, it utilized the emerging public transportation system to become a hub for gentrification. Gentrification refers to the rebuilding of areas to fit middle-class life. This can mean chain restaurants or larger homes.

“You see a new class of affluent residents coming back into predominantly-poor communities,” Fowlkes said.

Gentrification can result in uneven development — where one area of the city gets more funding than others.

Another issue gentrification has caused in Birmingham is displacement. Displacement can either be physical or economic. Physical displacement is being forced out of housing by the landlord. Economic displacement is being unable to afford rising prices of housing.

By Ashtyn Perrin

ISMs Explored Through the Eyes of George Washington Carver (GWC) Scholars

Students set up poster presentations in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union as part of the Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity or ISCORE

The presentations, done by George Washington Carver Scholars, covered a wide range of isms and other minority issues that still exist today.

When people typically think of an ism, racism, sexism or misogynism might come to mind. While these were covered, there were also isms that people may have never heard of like ableism, classism, sizeism, mentalism, adultism and lookism.

Tyler Peterson, George Washington Carver Scholar, presented on lookism.

“We are doing this to shed some light on an issue that people might not have heard of,” said Peterson. “Sororities and fraternities on campus, for example, take looks into consideration when they accept people.”

Some of the other issues brought up by students surrounded common language that people use everyday. In both the presentations on mentalism and ableism, speakers argued terms like “psycho,” “crazy” and “insane” are being thrown around to describe someone while at the same time hurting or degrading the situation of someone else.

This type of harmful action is starting be more commonly known as a microaggression, or a subtle unintentional remark that can be deemed offensive or discriminatory.

Not all of the presentations were focused on a specific ism, rather some presentations focused on issues that minorities currently face. Topics like islamophobia, xenophobia and homophobia were all discussed while one presentation focused more specifically on the struggles of LGBTQ members in the military.

While most of the presentations focused on the impacts to Iowa State, some analyzed the effects of isms in the media or in entertainment.

“Racism in Fictional Media” was the name of one presentation that looked historically at older movies like “Dumbo,” “Peter Pan” and even “Power Rangers” that have racist and stereotypical portrayals of minorities in them.

Most notably they looked at the effects of the 2017 film “Ghost in the Shell” which was accused of whitewashing Japanese characters and subsequently lost $60 million in the box office as a result of boycotts.

The presentations as a whole focused on positive and objective solutions to modern issues that minorities face.  

By Devyn Leeson

Lost Stories: Women of Color at Iowa State University

Lemuel Anderson, Olivia Carrasco, Adrian Gomez Paz, Smeet Mistry, Carleen Silva and Andrew Whitehead, the presenters of Lost Stories: Women of Color at Iowa State University, started by posing two question to the audience in relation to Jack Trice, Pilar Garcia, George Washington Carver and Carrie Chapman Catt, “Do you know this person?” and “What do you know about them?”

For Catt, around 20 people knew who she was. They knew she was an educator and there is a building on campus named after her. For Trice, around 30 people knew who he was. The information they knew about him ranged from there being a football field named after him to pieces of information about his career at Iowa State. Over 20 people knew who Carver and knew he was the first black man to graduate from Iowa State.

Three people knew who Garcia was. One piece of information that was known about her is that there is a scholarship named after her.

When reflecting on the activity, one women pointed out that out of the famous Iowa State graduates, the only person she did not know was the only women of color.

The students presenting are all part of SJ2750. Their mission statement is “It’s not about changing minds, it’s about changing structures.” In this presentation, they pointed out that women of color have been lost in history at Iowa State.

The students presented 10 different women of color that graduated from Iowa State.

Willa J. Ewing

  • Bachelor’s degree in horticulture in 1926 and master’s degree in horticulture in 1935

  • Earliest record of a woman of color graduating from Iowa State

  • Co-founder of Alaskan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. on June 24, 1959

Mary Evelyn Victoria Hunter

  • First African American woman to receive a master’s degree from Iowa State in home economics in 1931

  • Professor and department head of home economics at Virginia State

  • Organized a Texas-wide “Home Economics Week”

Marion Richards Myles

  • Ph.D. in botany in 1945

  • Research fellow in 1943 in plant physiology

  • Head of division of science and mathematics at Fort Valley State College

  • First African American faculty members at University of Mississippi Medical School

Olive Mugenda

  • Four degrees including a master’s degree in 1983 and a Ph.D. in 1988 from Iowa State in family studies

  • Distinguished Alumni Award recipient in 2006

  • First woman vice chancellor of the university in the East Africa Region

Nawal El Moutawakel

  • Bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1987

  • First Moroccan citizen and first Muslim women from Africa to win Olympic gold

  • Won gold in 400 meter hurdles in 1984

  • She was the first track and field gold medalist from Iowa State

    • Fourth ever Cyclone to win a gold medal and the first woman from Iowa State to win a gold medal

Verda Louise Williams

  • Master’s degree in general graduate studies in 1987

  • Communication specialist in Iowa State’s extension communication services

  • Filmmaker and producer

  • Wrote and produced “Black Des Moines: Voices Seldom Heard” in 1985

  • National Continuing Education Award

  • United Press International Award

Meron Wondwosen

  • Bachelor’s degree in political science and French in 1998

  • Former editor of Uhura! Magazine

  • Former Black Student Alliance president

  • Instrumental leader in the Sept. 29 movement

    • Professors in French department wrote a letter in her defense to the Iowa State Daily

    • Link here it’s called “ISU should be proud of Meron Wondwosen”

Lenora Moragne

  • Bachelors in nutrition in 1953

  • Head of U.S. Agricultural Department- Department of Nutrition and Education

  • World’s Who’s Who of Women in 1977

  • Who’s Who Among Black Americans

Pilar Garcia

  • Master’s degree in 1952 and Ph.D. in 1955 in nutrition from Iowa State

  • Acomo Outstanding Teacher Award in 1986

  • Pilar A. Garcia Student Achievement Fund

  • Faced with potential deportation in 1956

    • Congress passed bill S.2349

    • Obtained her citizenship in 1961

  • Failed Iowa State football player Steve Lester in 1991

    • Lester signed with a different school the following year

    • Pilar received death threats as a result

The students sifted through yearbooks and digital archives to find the information they presented on.

In discussing what can be done, the presenters asked that everyone in the room continue the conversation and continue to inform other Iowa State students, faculty and staff. 

Presenters discussed the movement to rename Catt Hall and some of their reasons behind wanting it renamed.

“For me it feels like a slap in my face and my views aren’t welcomed here,” Carrasco said.

Silca spoke about how the university should change the name of Catt Hall to a women of color and if the university needs help choosing a name, they have just presented 10 great option.

During the question and concern section of presentation, one audience member pointed out that Wendy Wintersteen, the president of Iowa State, was in attendance. “Some of these initiatives that you want to do, maybe you should set up an appointment and speak directly to her and to get beyond just talking about it maybe that’s the next step that needs to be done,” the audience member said.

“The question about Carrie Chapman Catt is a big question, and I think that one is one that deserves conversation with the scholars that have been engaged in this conversation over the decade. So maybe that’s one way to move that particular conversation forward is really to get the people in the room that have done the research for a conversation with our students,” Wintersteen said.

Concluding the conversation, the presenters stated that in these conversations, people need to look at who is being included in the conversations and who is not.

By Caitlin Yamada