Skip to main content Skip to navigation
CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

Five accomplished men on the female role models that have changed their lives

David Leonard.

Dr. David Leonard, professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies and American Studies at Washington State University, talked about the influence of African American Studies professor and scholar Ula Taylor. Leonard and Taylor first met when he was a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley.

“I arrived in Berkeley with trepidation and anxiety. My fears were quickly assuaged after a lunch with Dr. Ula Taylor,” Leonard recalled. “At the time, I saw such support as ‘normal’ and ‘routine,’ yet it was anything but commonplace—it is the kind of daily labor that is often rendered invisible. This is the essential work, often carried out by faculty of color, particularly women, that deserves recognition because of its impact. This labor isn’t just about support and mentoring but intellectual work. Thank you, Dr. Ula Taylor for giving so much to me and so many others. Thank you for contributing to my purpose.”

Find out more


Social Issues in Cosplay: Racism

Holly Rose Swinyard, editor of The Cosplay Journal, examines an unpleasant aspect of the cosplay scene – and what can be done to tackle racism in the community

Racism is probably one of the biggest issues in the cosplay community. You’d think with a community that claims to be open, liberal and supportive that this wouldn’t be the case, but here we are.

I’m not going to sugar coat this. This isn’t a “tinge of racism” or a “dusting” of it – the cosplay community, and geek culture at large, has some serious racism embedded in it and is full of racist people. That’s just the case. It is happening. Everywhere.

And it’s not just language or slurs that are commonplace; there are so many people who think that making your skin colour darker/giving yourself more ethnic features (making your eyes look more Asian, making prosthetics to mimic black features etc) is the same as painting yourself blue or green or adding elf ears. Those who do this claim that what they are doing is not blackface or raceface, since, in their minds, what they are doing isn’t mocking people of colour, and yet they are being told over and over again that it is hugely disrespectful to use someone’s race as part of a costume.

David Leonard.
David Leonard

“Blackface is part of a history of dehumanization, of denied citizenship, and of efforts to excuse and justify state violence. From lynchings to mass incarceration, whites have utilized blackface (and the resulting dehumanization) as part of its moral and legal justification for violence. It is time to stop with the dismissive arguments those that describe these offensive acts as pranks, ignorance and youthful indiscretions. Blackface is never a neutral form of entertainment, but an incredibly loaded site for the production of damaging stereotypes…the same stereotypes that undergird individual and state violence, American racism, and a century’s worth of injustice.”

wrote David Leonard, then-chair of Washington State University’s department of critical culture, gender, and race studies, in a Huffington Post essay, “Just Say No To blackface: Neo Minstrelsy and the Power to Dehumanize.”

Find out more

Duke University Apologizes Over Professor’s Email Asking Chinese Students to Speak English

Duke University has apologized after a professor cautioned international students against speaking Chinese on campus and urged them to speak English instead.

Anna Chow.Yung-Hwa Anna Chow, who advises students in Washington State University’s college of arts and sciences, said international students must already have English proficiency to study in the United States. While students may need to speak English in classrooms and research labs, they should be able to choose which language to speak in social settings, she said.

“To attack these students and say they have to speak English because it’s good for them and that they need to practice more, it speaks to these professors’ privilege and entitlement,” she said.

Ms. Chow, who was raised in Taiwan and began learning English at 12 when she moved to the United States, said speaking a native language allows people to connect with one another, establish a feeling of home and combat homesickness.

“That’s a really important piece for these students,” she said. “If you were traveling to China and you didn’t speak Chinese, would you want to be speaking Chinese all the time or would you feel more comfortable speaking English with your friends?”

Find out more

New York Times

CAS undergraduate receives Sigma Xi research grant

AnnMarie McCracken, an undergraduate student at Washington State University, has been awarded a research grant from Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society’s Grants‑in‑Aid of Research program.

Only 12 percent of the 810 grant applications in 2018 were approved for funding, and only 17 of the approved proposals were from undergraduates.

McCracken is pursuing a double bachelor’s degree with majors in French and in anthropology.

She will receive an $847 grant from the Sigma Xi program’s ecology category for her project “An Isotopic Examination of Dietary Niche Partitioning Between Lynx and Bobcats in a Range Edge Environment.”

Find out more

WSU Insider

Race & Sports: It’s not just a game

It has never been just a game.

History tells us that sports fields, courts, and victories have never been colorblind or devoid of politics. History also tells us that that the story of race and sports didn’t start by taking a knee.

This month, KING 5 is starting a new conversation series called Race & Sports. We’re going to peel back some of the layers and explore the intersection of race and sports from various perspectives. We’ll start by talking with a few high school coaches from the Seattle area. We’ll also talk to local fans and former athletes.

David Leonard.
David Leonard

David Leonard, professor in the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race, is among others interviewed for the series.

“When we look at our high schools, and we look at what sports are available at our high schools, that reflects political decisions,” Leonard said. “That reflects the histories—the ongoing histories—of housing discrimination. That reflects which school districts are being funded. And those decisions have consequences,” he said. “We need to have critical conversations about race so that we can have conversations about inequality and develop programs that rectify these inequities inside and outside of sports.”

Find out more

KING 5 News