ASU's Project Humanities explores cultural appropriation

January 30, 2015

Arizona State University's Project Humanities is launching “Cultural Appropriation: Exploiting or Paying Homage?”, a one-day symposium on Feb. 7. The event runs from from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Discovery Hall, room 250 on the Tempe campus.

Taking into account American history, current events and the realities of the social climate at ASU and across the country, this critical dialogue will explore notions of “political correctness” versus cultural (in)sensitivity, “blackface” and school spirit, indigenous stereotypes in sports, hip-hop culture, Day of the Dead and Cinco De Mayo, and other types of cultural appropriation and stereotyping. Using media, social media, music and visual imagery, participants will be challenged to address these issues by engaging in meaningful conversations and informed social discourse. Cultural Appropriation symposium poster Download Full Image

The program will also feature speakers and guests from various fields of expertise. Popular video blogger Kat Lazo and Latino spoken word artist David A. Romero will deliver the keynotes. Local experts will facilitate workshops on hip-hop, popular music, language and other dimensions of imagery and communication that lead to bias and stereotyping.

"Culture is not a costume to be put on when convenient and stripped off when it's not,” said Isabelle Murray, president of the Rainbow Coalition, which represents LGBTQA students. “Culture is identity, and identity is to be treasured and respected, not played with and discarded.”

Murray’s group is one of seven student coalitions at ASU partnering with Project Humanities to make this symposium happen.

"Current events reveal that cultural appropriation is an issue that affects us locally, nationally and globally,” said Project Humanities coordinator Sharon Torres. “We will explore this topic with a critical lens and walk away with strategies to address, resist and help prevent disparaging biases and stereotypes, and to promote social consciousness as the prevailing behavior. We hope to spark an ongoing dialogue in multiple communities.”

Project Humanities is planning a similar symposium designed specifically for high school audiences in the fall.

This symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Visit to reserve your spot. Lunch will be provided.

For more information about the Cultural Appropriation Symposium and Project Humanities, visit

Reporter , ASU News


ASU athletic director recipient of 2 NFL awards

January 30, 2015

Ray Anderson, ASU’s vice president for University Athletics and athletic director, has been recognized by the National Football League as a beacon of the sports industry, shining a spotlight on outstanding leadership with a desire to promote equality and diversity.

Anderson was presented with the 2015 Paul J. Tagliabue Award and the John Wooten Lifetime Achievement Award, two of the NFL’s most prestigious honors, on Jan. 29 at an awards ceremony dinner in Tempe, Arizona. Ray Anderson Download Full Image

“I’m honored to know that my work in the NFL was meaningful and productive, and judged as worthy enough to be publicly recognized,” Anderson said. “I am humbled by this.”

The Paul J. Tagliabue Award is presented to individuals that represent the commitment to fairness, equality and excellence displayed by the former NFL commissioner throughout his tenure (1989-2006).

The John Wooten Lifetime Achievement Award is given out annually at the Super Bowl to the NFL player, executive and sports personality who best exemplify the leadership and vision of Wooten, the man who has led the charge to promote diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching front office and scouting staffs of NFL teams.

Harry Carson, an NFL Hall of Fame linebacker with the New York Giants and executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, which co-hosted the awards ceremony, said no one was more deserving of the twin honors than Anderson.

“Ray Anderson was the overwhelming candidate for these two awards this year,” Carson said. “Ray has been a champion for diversity throughout his career and is a tremendous person. We look to support Ray any way we can as he has supported us throughout the years.”

Anderson was hired last January by Arizona State University. Before making the move to Tempe in 2014, he managed NFL football operations since 2006 and served as vice president of the Atlanta Falcons for four years.

A month after he was hired, Anderson and ASU football coach Todd Graham each donated $500,000 to a fundraising campaign to renovate Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. It is considered one of the largest gifts in school history by athletic department employees.

Reporter , ASU News