Race & Ethnicity


From: Nicole Marie Sanchez
Subject: LETTER
Date: Tue, 3 May 1994 21:53:52 -0700 (PDT)

We are repulsed and appalled by the racist reaction of our fellow students on Sunday evening when, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, we showed the United Farm Workers' video, "No Grapes" at the 10:00 pm Flicks. We did this in order inform ourselves and the rest of the Stanford community about the situation with this country's agricultural workers, many of our friends and family included. For years, we have asked Food Service, fellow students, and the admin- istration to support the natiod-wide grape boycott, all to no avail. It pains us that Stanford is one of the only universities in California to still serve grapes on campus. We had hoped that this was merely a misunderstanding, and that if our peers could be informed about the situation, they would support us and our community in this endeavor.

Sunday evening, we understood better than ever the racist attitudes of our peers toward our struggles and concerns--attitudes that carry further than a Sunday night movie. Though some in attendance supported what they saw, the 10-minute video short shown before "Mrs. Doubtfire" brought out the worst in many of the people in the audience. While we were hoping for open minds, what we witnessed were callous creatures acting out of brazen hate and racism, quite a hypocrisy on a campus that claims to be so tolerant and accepting. Such a display is seemingly quite ready in the dark, being that ignorance moves in droves. For those who were trying to listen, the video was inaudible over shourts of "Fast Forward!" and "Go home, beaners!" Whenever an image of a helicopter spraying farm workers was shown, many students applauded, yelling "Yes, pesticides!"

We never thought that we would have to explain to hundreds of our fellow students that the situation within our farm-working communities is no laughing matter. Many of those at Stanford are from areas like those portrayed in the video. High levels of cancer, miscarriage, and birth defects in our very own families is not cause for singing or clapping. While we understand that Flicks is a time for fun, many of us feel that we have no other forum for informing students of the situation. Our petitions go unnoticed, programs are unattended, and administrative ears turn deaf to this grave matter. Ten minutes was all we asked for on a Sunday night. What we were subjected to was ten minutes of intolerance and hate. We never thought, at this institution, that an image of a boy born with no arms and no legs projected on the Memorial Auditorium video screen would be welcomed with shouts of vicious laughter.

Most frighteningly, these beasts sitting in the balcony, who were tamed only when a cartoon came on, are the future leaders of this nation.


34 Stanford Students

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