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Writing the Text
by Sudhama Ranganathan
Email: uconnharassment (nospam) gmail.com
24 Dec 2011
There's an old saying about looking at the world through rosy colored glasses. It supposedly means that when we see the world colored through a rosy tint it makes things a little better, a little nicer perhaps a little lighter. Of course the saying also can imply that the view is a distortion of what's actually in front of us. It implies perhaps we're not seeing what's really there or that we're in a sort of willful state of denial. Sometimes it just means the person is seeing things in a lighter happier light and that they do because they choose to as life is what we make of it.
What is it called when we are told about a certain color over and over? What is it when that color is described a certain way and even compared and contrasted with others so as to make that initial color seem better? If we are told it enough we may believe it. We may start to get sold on the idea trying to be marketed towards us, if you will, about the initial color. As with a song that gets played everyday one hundred times over and over, if we didn't take to it initially, sooner or later we may begin to.
If not, as with the song in heavy rotation, we may at least begin to get used to the color, become indifferent, accept it as part of the environment or scenery, etc. Now going one step further, what happens if we're convinced to look at a particular thing or things through a lens colored by that color we've become sold on, used to, indifferent to? What happens to the scenery we are looking at? Can it be that there could be things we miss about what is really there while looking at things through that lens?
In such instances we can be like tourists being told about a particular thing by the guide as we pass by. Would it make a difference if the tour guide describing what we saw did so with a particular viewpoint? Would it make a difference whether they liked or disliked it and would we be at all influenced however subtly by such a thing?
Let's assume for a second we were able to travel back in time and take a tour of the civil war as it happened with our presence unknown to the participants in the war. Only the tourists and the tour guide knew who else was there. Would it matter what kind of tour we got if the guide had a prejudice against the north or the south as they were describing the events to us?
If we went back to the civil rights marches of the sixties and seventies and took a tour there could we be influenced by the person describing what was happening to us? If they did not like black people and were very very subtly throwing insults around even if they thought we wouldn't see it, could it make a difference in our view of what we saw? If the person didn't believe in women's rights but didn't think we could hear the subtle innuendo they were flavoring the tour with, would we be affected in any way?
When I was a student in the University of Connecticut I experienced harassment based on my race and a political protest having to do with civil rights for minorities. I attended school between 2003 and 2006 and the protest was against apartheid in South Africa. The protest happened in 1990. Even though it was so long ago, some people at the school, in my degree program particularly, decided they didn't like me based on that and that I was somehow a threat even thirteen years later.
I was no longer involved in racial politics or any other politics besides voting. I was a minor when I was involved in the protest and in my thirties when I was at UConn. But what the people harassing me did was to go around before I even knew what was happening and tell people that I was some kind of terrorist. They did a very good job of it and, as it was so close to 9/11, with all the paranoia and hyper sensitivity going around, they were able to easily convince people that a person with a name like mine (even though it is Hindu) and with my looks (my father is from India) that I was a terrorist.
Before I knew it people were believing it. I found out the professors that wanted me out of their program were able to put together a little crew of folks from my classmates to help them find ways to make life very hard for me. Everything from subtle insinuations about my race etc were dropped, there were projects where I wasn't given all the material necessary to fully complete the task and at times blatantly harassed to the point it got physical.
It was built up slowly and because the groundwork had been laid with the particular color lenses given to people to wear when looking at me, whenever the professors or their little cohorts spoke people looked at me through those lenses. It helped them as they wrote the script about who I was and what that meant. When they told folks I was dangerous and needed to be weeded out and gotten rid of many believed it. Others were unsure. But because it came from the authorities, the people coloring the lectures and environment and writing the script it was very easy to do. They had much more control than people realized at the time.
I was to have more directed at me and revealed to me as time went on, and I learned a lot about harassment, prejudice and how people in positions of authority can sometimes use their influence in negative or unhealthy ways before people even realize what's going on.
There was a person in my senior year that admitted to me he was an undercover law enforcement personnel and had been on campus for eight years in this capacity. He had been watching me and when he heard I was thinking of suing he made the revelation to me and told me about others within my major that were also working in such a capacity. He said if I revealed what was happening they would all suffer the risk of being exposed and all they had ben involved in both at UConn and on other college campuses.
But the weird thing was they were also involved in the coloring and were trying to color things the same color as the professors. This was illegal. Harassment is harassment and if law enforcement did that, they could be in trouble if it could be proven. It was all swept under the rug except what I write about online so far.
However, it made me think about how law enforcement in our own country and authority can be corrupt at times. I knew that that person that revealed himself to me was the president of a Latino fraternity on campus. Not just a member observing, but directing.
Now when I see Occupy Wall Street and that movement, I think about how easy it would be for authorities to infiltrate and corrupt what happens there. I think about people like Eduardo the cop from UConn, who could have worked his way up. People say, “oh you can tell when it's a cop.” But even the most paranoid drug gangs have been infiltrated. Usually it's not just some guy that walks up and says”hey can I join.” Most of the time they are brought in and vouched for. Somebody gets arrested for drugs etc and gets threatened with extensive jail time and are given the option of just vouching for one or two undercovers as an alternative.
It isn't so hard that way and the lens has already been colored by the person that introduced the undercovers. The script has already started to be written.
Now let's say such people get in leadership roles or influential roles. Let's say they come in with laptops and cameras and say “we'll be in charge of the cameras when streaming happens. We'll narrate to all the people online watching what's going on.” It would be very easy for them to color things the way the establishment wants things colored. They could even act like just some loudmouth uneducated jerks and people watching would associate their acts with the movement. They would be the face.
Let's say they filmed certain things and had certain supposedly spontaneous conversations with other law enforcement personnel while the cameras were rolling as though they were unaware of the cameras discussing certain people and dropping their names. That could color what people watching thought of those folks they discussed without them even being able to defend themselves. Yet some infiltrating law enforcement personnel has steered and colored the conversation. Over time they become the face of the movement and write the script.
There have already been police actually caught infiltrating the camps. (http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2011/11/02/police-infiltrators-agent-pr/) They have been known to infiltrate and cause disruptions and discredit activist groups here in the states in many instances for decades.
I don't write this to cause paranoia about or suspicion of people in the Occupy Movement because I support the movement. It is to make people aware, especially those within the movement, about who to look out for and who to watch. Be careful of people's actions and their motivations when dealing with such politically charged things as Occupy Wall Street as far as who you have leading you and telling you and the outside world what's what.
The old guy claiming to have hippie credentials with the camera around his neck could have been working with intelligence in Cambodia during the Vietnam era. An old hat at reconnaissance and disruption. The guy trying to look twenty but really looks like thirty or maybe even forty. Or the ones that keep bringing up political parties whether blatantly or subtly in a movement that is unaffiliated in an election year, watch that. Be aware. Intelligence, law enforcement and political operatives will all be trying to shape your movement and eventually destroy it. Don't take anything for granted. Don't be paranoid, just be smart and alert. And thanks for all you do OWS. The nation needs everything the real grass roots believers like you are doing. This nation badly needs change. You help every day to bring it. Keep it up, just watch who's writing the text.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.
This work is in the public domain