The reason for the demand? In the stated opinion of the school's Black Student Union, blacks are disrespected on campus. BSU member Cori McGowens told reporters that “trying to excel academically is immensely difficult while coping with the issue of antiblackness on campus.”
“It troubles me that I have already been told countless times that antiblackness is not an issue to discuss within the context of the American political system,” said McGowens, a political science major. “My professors and graduate-student instructors have told me that I shouldn’t bring up the politics of race and the reality of my black experience.”
That politically correct, ultra-leftist UC Berkeley would be infected by "antiblackness" or that teachers there would tell any student of color to shut up about race is nearly impossible to believe. Viewing America through the Marxist lens of race, sex, and class, is all that today's predominantly leftist academics spend their time doing. Professors can't stop talking about race or any of the picayune peeves about which the Left constantly obsesses.
But the Black Student Union maintains that somehow black students on that campus are victims of oppression and feel isolated. To remedy these perceived problems the group delivered a set of 10 demands to Chancellor Nick Dirks. One of the demands is to rename Barrows Hall, home to Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies, and African American Studies, to honor communist murderer Shakur.
Dirks sent out a letter pandering to the students.
“Too many students have told us about being excluded from study groups, ignored during class discussions, verbally harassed at parties and social events, and feeling, in a general sense, vulnerable, isolated, and invisible,” he wrote. “This is something we deplore.”
He added that Berkeley's black students “feel the least respected of any group on campus” according to a survey taken last year.
According to a San Francisco Chronicle article that actually takes the students' bratty-sounding complaints seriously,
"The demands include hiring nine people, including two black psychologists experienced in racial discrimination and advisers to recruit and mentor black students and student athletes; creating an African American Student Resource Center; and — in a different vein — renaming a building after Assata Shakur, a former Black Panther and the first woman on the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists."
Why Shakur? Because she's a role model in the eyes of radicals.
Shakur, who was previously known as Joanne Chesimard, was found guilty in 1977 of first-degree murder in the 1973 killing of a New Jersey State Trooper. Shakur had been part of a Black Panther spinoff group known as the Black Liberation Army. This armed organization, according to New Jersey State Police, was "a radical left wing terror group that felt justified killing law enforcement officers ... This group conducted assaults on police stations and murdered police officers.”
No mere foot soldier, Shakur was “the soul of the Black Liberation Army,” according to former assistant FBI director John Miller.
As Humberto Fontova explains,
"In 1973, while wanted for multiple crimes from bank robbery to murder, Chesimard and two accomplices were pulled over for a tail-light violation on the New Jersey Turnpike. As the troopers were routinely questioning them, Chesimard (who was in the passenger seat) and her pals opened up on the lawmen with semi-auto pistols (no word on whether these were properly registered). As trooper Werner Foerster grappled with the driver, Chesimard shot him twice — then her gun apparently jammed. As Foerster lay on the ground wounded and helpless, Chesimard grabbed the trooper’s own gun and blasted two shots into his head, much in the manner of her Cuban idols Che Guevara and Raul Castro murdering hundreds of their own (always defenseless) 'counter-revolutionary' enemies."
Shakur escaped from custody but was captured in 1977. She was convicted of murder and received a prison term of life plus 33 years.
She broke out of prison in 1979 (probably with the assistance of Cuban operatives) and escaped to Cuba which granted her political asylum in order to embarrass the Reagan administration. In 2013 the FBI put Shakur on its Most Wanted Terrorist List and raised the reward for her capture from $1 million to $2 million. The same year Shakur launched a propaganda offensive, declaring in the face of damning evidence that she was somehow innocent. She characterized her trial as a legal lynching that was carried out by an all-white jury.
Like convicted Philadelphia cop killer Mumia abu Jamal, who frequently delivers commencement addresses via audio recordings, Shakur has become a folk hero to radical leftists. They view Shakur, to use the words of the previously cited fawning San Francisco Chronicle article, as "a victim and ally who gives voice to their pain."
Using language familiar to Marxists and anarchists, the students at Berkeley have referred to Shakur as “an icon of resistance within oppressed communities (who) represents Black resilience in the face of unadulterated state-sanctioned violence.”
It seems unlikely that Shakur will be able to attend a renaming ceremony at Berkeley. Cuba has made it clear that the thawing of relations with the United States doesn't mean the Stalinist country will return Shakur to the U.S.
“I can say it is off the table,” said Gustavo Machin, deputy director for American affairs at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Machin regurgitated old leftist propaganda as he questioned whether Shakur received a fair trial in the U.S. “There are very serious doubts about that case,” he said. “We consider that a politically motivated case against that lady.”
Fidel Castro, who has personally vouched for Shakur's innocence, uses the American outlaw to produce anti-American propaganda.
As New Jersey State Police Col. Rick Fuentes said, Shakur
“flaunts her freedom. ...To this day from her safe haven in Cuba Chesimard has been given a pulpit (by Castro) to preach and profess, stirring supporters and groups to mobilize against the United States by any means necessary. She has been used by the Castro regime to greet foreign delegations visiting Cuba.”
“Joanne Chesimard is a domestic terrorist,” FBI agent Aaron T. Ford said in 2013. “She absolutely is a threat to America.”
And an inspiration to radical left-wingers all across America.
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