Ethnic studies department confronts controversial fliers


Erika Martinez,
Staff Writer

Although Cal State East Bay prides itself on being one of the most diverse universities in the nation, the student body has still not been able to escape getting caught up in racial and political debates.

Earlier this month, the ethnic studies department in Meiklejohn Hall was tagged with flyers. On every ethnic studies professor’s door there were flyers with phrases like: “Black does not mean oppressed,” “Asian does not mean liberal,” “Minority does not mean Democrat” and “Latino does not mean open borders.” All of the flyers concluded with the hashtag #thinkfree. As for publication, nobody has taken credit for the flyers as of yet.

Some in the department think the posters are a means to encourage a dialogue. “It starts a conversation and gives us the opportunity to turn it around into something positive,” Dr. Enrique Salmon, ethnic studies professor told The Pioneer. “When I look at these posters here, it does make you realize that as people of color, we do easily allow ourselves to be categorized into certain spaces.”

University Police Department corporal Michael Elder explained to The Pioneer that in situations like these, they immediately remove any postings that made the person who filed a report feel uncomfortable. Posting flyers on a professor’s door is not considered vandalism since no physical damage was done to the property.

Elder also stated that the University Police Department tries to teach and educate the campus community about the harm that racist, discriminatory and biased postings around school have on students, faculty and staff.

“You can only free yourself if you familiarize yourself with your ethnic group’s history until then you’re still self-oppressing yourself,” said Salmon, responding to the hashtag #thinkfree.

In instances where there are flyers, posters, stickers, carvings and other things that are found to be threatening to someone or create a hostile environment to a certain group, UPD encourages people to file a report with them. In this situation, the ethnic studies department decided not to file a report in an effort to avoid negativity.