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Why there's an alarming rash of suicides among Dalit students

Why there's an alarming rash of suicides among Dalit students | Porter Geography | Scoop.it

Despite the country’s claims to be a sleek 21st-century meritocracy, the habits of centuries of discrimination and social exclusion are not so easily shaken.

 

India is modernizing at a rapid pace, but some old class problems rooted in the caste system are still visible.  This is part of a large series called "Breaking Caste" with some excellent videos, articles and personal vignettes to humanize the struggles of those at the bottom of the social hierarchy.   


Via Seth Dixon, Samantha Fraser
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Stacey Jackson's curator insight, May 8, 2013 8:34 PM

This was a very sad story to read. It's a shame that many Dalit students feel ostracized at elite Indian institutions, so much so some go as far as to commit suicide. This is a terrible personal loss for the families and neighbors of the students. But it also is unfortunate news for the country as a whole. India's economic and social growth likely depends on moving beyond old views on class and cate.

Cam E's curator insight, April 1, 11:20 AM

This is interesting in that it's not some silent discrimination, but an extremely overt one where many of these people are being told to their faces that they will not be allowed to pass. My greatest respect goes out to those who fight the hardest for what they want and they must keep trying to achieve it, but sadly those in a position of power in the society were direct barriers to their progress, causing their hope to be lost and the Dalit students to commit suicide.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 13, 4:38 PM

Even though the caste system was abolished, the habits of discrimination are still incredibly prevalent. Discrimination towards people from rural backgrounds at the country's elite colleges has had such an impact that dozens of students from what would have been lower castes are committing suicide. Professors look down on these students, refusing to offer aid and even changing grades so they fail. The aboriginal students that fail face lifetimes of debt and are worried about disappointing their family, so sometimes they take their own lives instead. 

 

Centuries of the caste system have imprinted itself into the Indian people. Since India has only been free of it for a generation, older people continue to discriminate. 

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Martin Luther King Street

A teaser trailer for the MLK Streets Project, a documentary film examining the state of the many avenues, boulevards and thoroughfares named after the slain ...

 

This video echoes much of what the authors of the fantastic book "Civil Rights Memorials and the Geography of Memory" say (in fact one of the authors is shown in this video).  Throughout America, streets that are named after Martin Luther King Jr. frequently are in poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods.  This video highlights the irony between the historical memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and places of memorialization that bear his name.   

 

Questions to ponder: If Matin Luther King Jr. represents non-violence, then why are streets bearing his name often in 'violent' neighborhoods?  Where should Martin Luther King be memorialized in the United States?  Only in the South?  Only in predominantly African-American communities?  Do the geography of the spaces where he is memorialized say something about the United States?    

 

Tags: historical, culture, landscape, place, race, unit 3 culture, USA, urban, poverty, unit 7 cities, book review. 


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melissa stjean's comment, October 8, 2012 9:49 PM
These streets are the most popular in the country, but they are located mostly located in areas with profoundly poorer incomes. With poorer incomes, leads to increased crime rates, does naming a street after an iconic hero please the people who live here? It seems like the geography of these places is creating a line of segregation by using his name for a street.
Jeff F's comment, October 8, 2012 10:42 PM
Martin Luther King Streets are places into prominently African-American neighborhoods because that is where the dominant white culture says they belong. Martin Luther King jr was a powerful African-American man and a powerful African-American man has no place in white communities according to this philosophy. If a MLK street was to be placed into a white suburb it would likely cause controversy. Cries of myths such as "reverse racism" would likely run rampant. This would be accompanied with the idea that a MLK street should only belong in an area with a heavy African-American population.
Jesse Gauthier's comment, October 14, 2012 3:49 PM
I think Martin Luther King should be memorialized in all parts of the country, and why not with all cultures and races. He did stand for non-violence and non-discrimination, which happens among all types of people.