10-10:50 ISCORE block takeaways

Kate Kolpan speaking during her lecture titled “Memes, Tweets, and Photographs: False Narratives, Real Objects, Race, and Ethnic Nationalism in the Internet Age” at ISCORE on March 2, 2018.

ISCORE opened Friday morning with some opening remarks.

Memes, Tweets, and Photographs: False Narratives, Real Objects, Race, and Ethnic Nationalism in the Internet Age

Kate Kolpan, lecturer of anthropology, began her lecture by discussing toxic fake news sites like InfoWars and how it had been removed from Youtube.

Kolpan discussed historical hoaxes, such as P.T. Barnum’s Cardiff Giant and Shroud of Turin. While these examples can be benevolent, many hoaxes and propaganda campaigns are purely sinister, according to Kolpan.

When things become problematic, Kolpan said, is when hoaxes and fabricated information are used to slander groups of people. The use of falsified information to manipulate the public into turning against marginalized groups has been happening for many years.

Henry Ford printed “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a falsified anti-semitic document used to slander those of the Jewish faith. Ford printed 500,000 copies, and distributed them throughout U.S. in the 1920s. The book is currently being circulated by The Daily Stormer and other white supremacist websites.

Kolpan said this is dangerous because this document is being used in an attempt to validate the idea that Jewish people are attempting to take over the world, and justify violence towards them. It was originally published in Russia in 1903 to justify removal of Jewish people by the czar.

She also spoke of the Piltdown Man hoax, which attempted to use a fake fossil to reinforce a eurocentric belief that humans first reached modern evolution in Europe.

Offering a “pandemic model of false information,” Kolpan discussed how “massive amounts of false information” are shared instantly on the internet.

Kolpan said distinguishing when things are real or fake is increasingly difficult as real objects and images are being used in a fabricated context to push propagandized messages. Kolpan said this is well shown in The Solutrean Hypothesis, which purports that Europeans had migrated along ice sheets across the Atlantic Ocean to first discover North America, another Eurocentric, and incorrect belief.

This hypothesis is largely distributed by white nationalists and supremacists on the internet to justify xenophobic and nativist narratives in North America.

Kolpan also discussed various incantations of the “white genocide” myth being propagated on the internet.

Kolpan, who researches the use of World War II photos, had found examples of people holding higher education degrees who propagate false information on the internet by sharing real photos with incorrect captions.

An example Kolpan shared was a photo on a Croat website claiming to show a communist soldier standing over a mass grave, when the photo was in fact of a mass grave in the United States Holocaust Memorial. The soldier was in the photo was a Croatian fascist.

Kolpan discussed how a myth is widely circulated, often from similar photos, to claim that communists killed more civilians in World War II than fascists, which is “patently false.”

She also discussed false information disseminated by the Nation of Islam to claim that Africans had been in South and Central America before the transatlantic slave trade.

Kolpan spoke of examples of people accidentally misusing photos to raise awareness for oppressed groups.

By K. Rambo

Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes: A Modified Privilege Walk

At the beginning of the presentation, people attending the “modified privilege walk,” were asked to fill out a survey about the privilege that they have. Their surveys were then collected and redistributed at random.

Everyone in the room then lined up and asked to participate in the privilege walk based off of some else’s answers.

Some of the questions that were on the survey include, “If your ancestors were forced to come to the USA not by choice, take one step back,” “If your parents were professionals: doctors, lawyers, ext. Take one step forward” and “If you attend or graduated from Iowa State University, then take a step forward and yell, Go Cyclones.”

After the walk finished, participants engaged in a discussion about what they felt while participating and what they learned from it.

“As a white women I’ve never been in the back,” one participant said.

Another participant felt more comfortable participating with someone else’s responses and not their own.

“As a parent, there is particular responsibility, that we are in tune with our kids, and addressing that,” another participant said.

As the walk closed, the organizers asked if there were any additions or changes they would make.

One participate through it would be a great exercise if after doing someone else’s walk, if they go their own back and did the walk again to see where they actually landed.

“There’s different layers of privilege, so even if you don’t fall into white privilege there are other layers,” a participant said.

By Caitlin Yamada

Sikhs – Who are They?

In the U.S. very little is known about Sikhs. Their signature turbans often lead westerners to assume they’re Muslims, but they are their own religion and their own culture.

Manreet Singh Bhullar is a Ph.D. student at Iowa State studying food science and nutrition. He presented to nearly 50 people in the third floor of the Memorial Union about Sikhism and addressed misconceptions around his faith.

Sikhism comes from the Punjabi region of India, and their faith centers around community service and the sanctity of life. It’s the fifth largest religion in the world.

“All humans are equal and originate from one eternal life source,” Bhullar said. “Men and women have equal rights, and human life is a precious blessing.”

Like certain Judeo-Christian or Islamic doctrines call for, Sikhs traditionally cover their head and refrain from cutting their hair. Their turbans are tightly bound, ten to fifteen foot piece of cloth, fastened in the front in a signature fashion.

“It’s a personal choice to wear it or not,” Bhullar said. “I’ve been wearing it since I was a child, and I think it helps remind me of my values and dedication, but physical identity doesn’t give you the label of a Sikh.”

Sikhs don’t worship any one person, idol or God. The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is their holy scripture and revered as a living master. It’s more than 1400 pages long.

Bhullar also spoke about the charity work Sikh’s practice. The Golden Temple in India has a free kitchen which offers meals to the impoverished. According to Bhullar, more than 100 thousand meals are served each day, 365 days a year.

By Talon Delaney

The Student-Athlete Experience Through a Multicultural Lens

Student-athletes often face stereotypes about their academic abilities, and the student-athletes on Iowa State’s campus are no exclusion.

The five panelists at the Student-Athlete Experience Through a Multicultural Lens all said they feel as though they’re placed under a microscope.

There’s pressure to win championships and bring home titles said Braxton Lewis, a junior in construction engineering and member of the football team.

The university has provided the student-athletes tools to be successful in sports and in academics. The panelists touched on the teams’ and university’s ability to make the athletes feel welcome not only as student-athletes but as multicultural students.

The Office of Student Athlete Development holds programs and orientations, such as International Student-Athlete Orientation and a Women’s Empowerment Symposium, for international and multicultural students to help minority student-athletes feel as comfortable as possible within their teams and campus.

Less than half of Iowa State’s student-athletes are racial or ethnic minorities.

By Ashtyn Perrin and Kaylie Crowe

Who Gets to Decide? The Experiences of Multiracial Individuals

The presentation started by introducing a series of definitions, including race,ethnicity, multiracial and biracial.

“You don’t look completely X, but you could also be a little Y. So, I think you’re Z” was the main theme.

There are four modules for racial identifying: foundational (one or other), strategic (depending on the situation), integrationist (come up with own identification) and transcendentalist (don’t want to be identified).

An anonymous survey was done to 113 Iowa State University students and contained 17 questions. 84% of them identified themselves as bicultural; 16% of them identified as multicultural.

For students, most of them identify them strategically prior to college. Currently, during their undergraduate experience, survey participants identified the most with integrationalist.

Volunteers shared their experiences on racial identification, when they became aware of their races and family influences on racial identification, as well as experiences at Iowa state.

In the end, the presenters emphasized the way we treat people. Presenters left the audiences a question about what other challenges may multiracial or biracial individuals face.

By Mia Wang


Rejection and Denial: The Afro-Latinx Identity

There is often a clear idea of what it means to be black and those who identify as latinx are able to find a well documented and discussed culture with which to identify with. But, those who identify as Afro-Latinx are often left with a far less clear identity.

Senior in chemical engineering Apple Amos, senior in speech communication Malik Burton, junior in construction engineering Brock Leum, and senior in sociology Sha’Kurra Evans set out to represent this community in their lecture.

The lecture began with a interactive portion involving an online survey where participants gave a single word answer on what it meant to be black and latinx respectively.

The interactive portion followed with a discussion about some of the responses given and why participants felt these words represented what it meant to be either black or latinx with topics such as latinx people having the expectation to be able to speak Spanish.

A discussion was also held about how Afro-Latinx culture is viewed and how those who identified as Afro-Latinx are often expected to be very “culturally bilingual.”

These discussions were followed by a definition of many terms that would be used throughout the presentation, such as race, ethnicity, colorism, and racial amnesia, among other terms.

Discussions were also held about the concepts of Mestizaje and Blanqueamiento, which literally translates to “whitening,” and how mixed race individuals within the latinx community are often harmed by the idealization and systematic encouragement of characteristically white traits.

There was also a discussion of the history of the Afro-Latinx population and how they came to be, as well as a map showing where populations of people who identify as Afro-Latinx were located, the largest of these being located in Brazil.

A video of a spoken word piece from slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo titled “Afro-Latina” was featured that tackled issues such as colorism and shame of her mother’s accent, but ultimately showcased Acevedo’s pride of being Afro-Latina.

This video served as an entrance into discussions of problems in the Afro-Latinx community ranging from colorism and themes of whitening both in the home and in the community, as well as the rarity of the term Afro-Latinx itself.

Discussions were also held about how Afro-Latinx people are often pushed away from their African heritage and are valued by their connection to latinx traits and cultures.

The presentation closed with discussions specifically on systematic colorism within the latinx community and the effect it has on Afro-Latinx people. Modern examples were given by featuring clips from shows like “Love and Hip Hop,” focusing on how those traits and cultural norms that are considered more African are shown as negatives.

By Mike Brown

Editor’s note: The Daily was unable to cover “GRO: Planting the Seed of Social Justice Programs at Iowa State University” and “The HBCU Connection: A Digital Collection of Black ISU Alumni from the Early 20th Century” in this time block.