David Thompson
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September 23, 2013

Comments

rjmadden

'Liberal arts' courses are a parallel universe. Living with the rest of us will be so disappointing.

David

Living with the rest of us will be so disappointing.

Heh. Well, yes, it is a little odd. Apparently progress is to be achieved by pretending we live in the 1950s. And so an elite institution that at every turn urges students to rejoice in their exotic minority status and to exaggerate their differences, real and imagined, is apparently concerned that some of those students need even more indulgence in matters of “identity” – which is to say, cultivated otherness. To the extent that they must have yet another “conversation” and stress their otherness... among people who look just like themselves.

Fahrenheit211

This is why multiculturalism and identity politics are the antithesis of any idea about seeing your fellow human as 'brother'. It is divisive and it is incompatible with ideas of a democracy of equals. It speaks the language of equality, but acts to divide and discriminate.

If a bloke dressed in a white sheet or who polished jackboots for a hobby, talked about the need for segregation and safe spaces for one particular race, they would quite rightly be called a 'racist'. What is NOT racist about this sort of segregation?

Bart

"Apparently progress is to be achieved by pretending we live in the 1950s"

A version of the 1950s where the self appointed civil rights leaders are the only people advocating segregation. Hamilton College; it's like Mississippi Burning, only in Opposite Land.

Greg

I can only marvel at an institutional dogma that rages against class...and then proceeds to classify everything and everyone in sight.

Rob

The only actually oppressed group in this college is the disinterested white males who are bombarded month after month with this shit.

AC1

Which is why there's a higher educational bubble as those who are most productive are going elsewhere and the academia accreditation rent-seeking is going to dry up fast as it moves to more real-world based certification.

R.Sherman

I see there is to be a "dialogue." One wonders how that is to be accomplished with members of only one group with, as we all know, one monolithic point of view. I may be wrong, but that sounds like a monologue with a lot of affirming "harumpfs."

David

Oh calamitous woe. The segregated ‘diversity’ course has now been cancelled.

Says Hamilton’s Director of Diversity Amit Taneja, “My intent was to be inclusive but my phrasing suggested otherwise.” The mistake, you see, was merely one of phrasing and how things may have appeared.

svh

“My intent was to be inclusive but my phrasing suggested otherwise.” The mistake, you see, was merely one of phrasing and how things may have appeared.

Clever people, these academics.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

When trying to pander to two groups at the same time goes hilariously wrong

The sad thing is that the company issued an apology. When I first heard the story, it was all I could do to keep the coffee from coming out of my nose.

David

Clever people, these academics

Absolutely. I mean, who could have foreseen that in the modern world racial segregation might be regarded as, well, odd? Despite being obliged to ditch his ‘no white folk’ policy, Dr Taneja is of course undeterred in his mission:

I think it is a good idea now to pause and reflect on how we structure conversations about race. As a result, I invite all interested members of the community to come to a re-envisioned dialogue this Thursday at 4:15 p.m. to address two central questions: What does a meaningful dialogue about race look like? How can we best structure such a dialogue?

Because if there’s one thing students of the liberal arts really, really need - and need to be billed for - it’s another “dialogue” about race.

Furor Teutonicus

So. When do they get any time to do any actual...you know... LEARNING??

sk60

"My intent was to be inclusive but my phrasing suggested otherwise."

Nothing says 'inclusive' like racial segregation. And it's funny how the race hustlers only 'pause and reflect' when people outside their bubble get to see what they're up to.

Horace Dunn

"Because if there’s one thing students of the liberal arts really, really need - and need to be billed for - it’s another “dialogue” about race."

In fact the planned ("re-envisioned") dialogue is NOT about race, but about how to "structure such a dialogue". So, by the end of this dialogue they'll have worked out what a "meaningful dialogue about race [looks] like". THEN and only then will they be ready for the dialogue about race. Or something. Oh why can't someone sack these stupid, self-regarding, pointless little time-wasters?

David

Nothing says ‘inclusive’ like racial segregation.

I see you’re getting the hang of it. A career in ‘diversity’ looms.

And it’s funny how the race hustlers only ‘pause and reflect’ when people outside their bubble get to see what they’re up to.

Yes, taking liberties on campus that they can’t defend in public. It’s a pattern we’ve seen before, Several times. And given that such people profess to be achingly sensitive and enlightened, they do seem oddly tone-deaf in terms of the real world.

Sanity Inspector

I sometimes wish I was a college student for a day. When I would be called upon to stand and confess my original sin before the gathered multi-culti proggs, I'd simply say "Without the democratic, Christian, scientific West, you lot wouldn't even have the vocabulary to bewail your imagined wrongs. Indeed, you would likely never have even been born."

David

And just imagine what wonders could blossom if these educators were able to shape young minds free of public scrutiny and all that beastly ridicule. We could have lots more psychodrama and idiots like this, and other idiots playing Gayer Than Thou, or some racial variation, with theatrical misfits arguing at length over which of them is more oppressed and should therefore win.

The thing is, if someone wanted to devise a way to erode a person’s probity, to make them foolish, trivial and unrealistic, a walking parody… this would be a good way to go about it.

Sarah

Oh, and a Womyn’s Centre – yes, spelled womyn’s - whose “Womyn’s Energy Week” reveals the “creativity, progressiveness and deep thinking” of its participants.

Before I clicked on the link I thought there was just a chance they were being ironic. Then I saw the bloody posters. Oh F.F.S...

David

Oh F.F.S...

You mean you didn’t feel empowered?

RickC

Anyone care to guess what the spring program for whites would have included? I'm picturing browbeating and diversity expert led exercises, possibly even take home assignments, for developing a more complete awareness of "white privilege."

Jonathan

" Gayer Than Thou"
Is that available as a board game?

David

Is that available as a board game?

I do like the idea of any player, even a man, being able to produce the I-Am-A-Lesbian-So-Shut-Up Trump Card. But as you can see from the video, it entails far too much screaming and fancy dress to work as a board game. At least while sober. You’d have to start throwing the pieces at each other while gesturing wildly, then argue about which of you was more gravely injured by a small piece of plastic bouncing off your nose.

witwoud

In other news: adolescence now lasts until you're twenty-five:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24173194

David Gillies

I love the idea of having a discussion about how to have a meaningful discussion about something. It's all so delightfully meta. It puts one in mind of those abstruse theological conferences depicted in The Name of the Rose where by day three they've just about agreed on the agenda. And that's really the point: none of this is intended to effect anything useful and in fact its uselessness is considered a desideratum and not an impediment. It operates at a level so rarefied as to cause altitude sickness in mere surface dwellers like us. It will be a little sad when the exigencies of the education funding crisis and the move to universities as credentialling organisations catch up with it, a bit like a useless and weedy flower being grubbed up to build a bypass.

D

"Whom you would change you must first love, and they must know you love them." -Martin Luther King Jr.

I've always wanted to ask some of these types of people about this quote. Do they think MLK was wrong, do they think he was misguided, or do they think that they're smarter or better than him?

There is clearly no love, nor even understanding or just basic good faith in arguing with these people. So-and-so is "oppressed," and my "whiteness" or "maleness" or "heteronormativity" (thank God my spell check doesn't accept that as a word) is doing that to him/her/it. There's nothing I can do to avoid being guilty, but if I want I can grovel pathetically, and they may deign to acknowledge me as less evil than some others, sometimes, but not always.

I'm an engineer, so my mental calculus (even independent of how stupid the whole thing is) goes like this:

-Is there a supposed problem? Yes.
-Can I do anything about the supposed problem? Yes.
-Will it fix the supposed problem? No.
-Will anyone appreciate the effort to fix the supposed problem? No.
-Conclusion: Do nothing. Doing nothing is easier and cheaper, and trying to do something will not change anything nor will it be appreciated.

I feel like you'd have to have a pretty warped worldview for your thought process to work out differently.

dicentra

So. When do they get any time to do any actual...you know... LEARNING??

Don't assume that these little dialogs aren't exactly the type of LEARNING the students are supposed to get.

What they LEARN is that the only power worth having is the power of historical grievance, and that in the name of "addressing systemic inequalities and [academic pseudologims aplenty]," all is permitted.

Indeed, you would likely never have even been born.

You say that as if it were a bad thing.

"Whom you would change you must first love, and they must know you love them." -Martin Luther King Jr.

This is the same principle that Mormon missionaries are enjoined to follow: when you serve people, you love them, and then they'll trust you enough to at least listen, even if they don't join up.

It works about one-quarter of a million time a year, on average.

Will anyone appreciate the effort to fix the supposed problem? No.

Half-right. The effort is applauded by All The Right People and disdained by troglodytes like us.

That is the win and no other. Were the problem actually to be solved, they'd have nothing to live for.

pst314

"Safe space for persons of color" = "free to talk about the evil white devils without being called a bigot"

"Safe space for white persons" = "forget it, you're going to be bullied into confessing your racist thought crimes."

Matt

I suspect that the whole thing could have been imploded by someone very white showing up and claiming 12.5% African or Sioux ancestry and igniting the debate about what is meant by "color". The ensuing cacophony about line drawing would nicely run out the clock, not that anything of substance was likely to occur anyways.

D

igniting the debate about what is meant by "color"

Reminds me of this:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/761888/posts

Richard Powell

I'm intrigued by the scale of the endowment - more than any British institution apart from Cambridge and Oxford. I wonder where it came from; its list of alumni and their achievements barely compares to that of the dimmest individual Oxbridge college. There's presumably enough money there to make Hamilton pretty much immune to any downturn in demand for the educational opportunities it offers.

David

I love the idea of having a discussion about how to have a meaningful discussion about something… none of this is intended to effect anything useful and in fact its uselessness is considered a desideratum and not an impediment.

Well, yes, it’s all very silly and I’m trying to imagine the kind of sucker who’d sign up for this kind of blather. But I suppose the point is to keep as many students as possible fixated with their melanin levels and all sorts of pretentious pseudo-grievances, while keeping Dr Taneja’s salary rolling in. Along with the salaries of all the other “diversity” staff at Hamilton. And the thousands employed at other universities. As Heather Mac Donald noted, some universities have to scrape by with only 18 “diversity” staff.

WTP

Speaking of having a discussion about having a discussion, these hippies don't know what they're protesting against until they find out from the committee. But they don't let that hold them back from starting the protest anyway.

http://youtu.be/MWfGKt0aZLI

Mr. X

Incidentally, Dan Hannan's got an article in the Telegraph which touches on similar themes:

"Here, for what it’s worth, is my explanation. International conferences organised by Euro-correct groups take place in an artificial atmosphere. The strain of pretending that we’re all Europeans, and that our national loyalties have faded away, makes for stilted conversations. People are reluctant to say anything that highlights differences (except the most superficial ones involving sport, cuisine or weather, which are referred to with that heavy-handed humour favoured in Brussels). Conservatives, by contrast, are keenly interested in, and supportive of, the traditions and particularisms of other countries. Euro-enthusiasts talk about “celebrating diversity”, but baulk at the only diversity which really matters, namely diversity of opinion. Eurosceptics, by contrast, have a natural affinity with the quirky, the contrarian, the pluralist.

To put it another way, Eurosceptics know that patriotism is not chauvinism. They cheer the patriotism, and cherish the liberty, of other countries. Rather than tiptoeing around the things that make people different, they delight in them. All of which makes for easier relations."

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100237494/its-an-odd-thing-but-euro-enthusiasts-are-often-awkward-around-foreigners/

David

Mr X,

It reminds me of an earlier piece in which Hannan pointed out some common misconceptions regarding sport and patriotic sentiment:

The first few days of the Olympics have been accompanied by a clutch of articles about how British patriotism has been rehabilitated, the Union flag reclaimed and so forth. Really? Reclaimed from whom? Other than in the imagination of a tiny metropolitan elite, when was it ever ceded? […] Watching the women’s race at Hampton Court, we were caught in torrential rain. Among the spectators were dozens of orange-shirted Dutchmen, accompanied by a brass band, which played on impressively through the downpour. When the water eventually slackened, the Hollanders struck up Rule Britannia, delighting the natives: true patriots, of course, approve of the national pride of other peoples. The idea that loving your country means scorning someone else’s is downright silly.

Meanwhile, Billy Bragg was telling Guardian readers that English sports fans dislike their national teams losing because of a “hangover from an imperial past,” and that “our imperial instincts” prevent us “relating to our neighbours as equals.” “The English,” wrote Bragg, “are in danger of becoming an insular people, jealously guarding the right to make our own laws.” Such rights being outmoded and reactionary, at least in Mr Bragg’s mind.

Not long before Hannan’s piece, Laurie Penny had been insisting, as she does, that football is “commodified nationalism” played by “misogynist jocks” indulging in “organised sadism.” The World Cup, she claimed, is not about football at all, but “only and always about men.” It’s a “month of corporate-sponsored quasi-xenophobia,” one that “violently excludes more than half the people.” And of course a few years ago, the Guardian’s then-deputy comment editor Joseph Harker repeatedly insinuated that “England flag-wavers” must be supporters of the BNP “celebrating their racial pride.” According to Harker, it’s a very bad thing to celebrate any aspect of one’s ethnicity or culture. Unless, of course, it’s a non-white ethnicity and culture, in which case it must be asserted vigorously at all times.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

The World Cup, she claimed, is not about football at all, but “only and always about men.” It’s a “month of corporate-sponsored quasi-xenophobia,” one that “violently excludes more than half the people.”

Does Laurie not know that FIFA has a Women's World Cup? (Not that she would care.)

Seeing the English women go out of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup on penalties was immensely satisfying, however. :-p

David

Ted,

Does Laurie not know that FIFA has a Women’s World Cup?

The very same article refers to female players and the Women’s Football League. But coherence has never been Laurie’s strong suit. Or facts. Or honesty, for that matter.

While I’m hardly a football fan, I have occasionally passed by one of the local grounds just prior to a match. And I couldn’t help noticing quite a few mums were turning up. And, pleasingly, young girls with their dads, all in matching team colours. Presumably the young women walking in with their boyfriends weren’t all there under duress. And they certainly weren’t being “violently excluded” by the all-powerful patriarchy.

Patrick Brown

To my knowledge Laurie Penny has said two things, out of all her voluminous output, that make sense. One, that the Ulster Fry is superior to the Full English Breakfast because of the potato bread, and two, the "killallmen" twitter hashtag was stupid. Credit where it's due.

But "violently excluded"? I'm aware that lefties like to redefine words like violence to suit themselves, but this is impressive hyperbole even by Laurie's standards.

Ten

Progressivism is fundamentally a mental disorder. That sounds rhetorical - and it invokes the grey area that is the relative purpose and worth of psychological bracketing - but Progressivism is quite aligned with classic personality disorder:

- Fundamentally dishonest.
- Intellectually and morally unaccountable for this dishonesty; cherishing it as both personality and structure.
- Supremely arrogant and unreformable.
- At ease with theft, including the thefts of meaning, purpose, identity, history, and property. Progressivism is after all, fundamentally also parasitic.
- Actively always blaming.
- Deeply appearances-centric - pursuant that chronic dishonesty, the thefts, and the arrogance, what can be projected shall first become a self-referential intellectual window dressing and eventually an entire morality of and for the select few.

Who's to say the broad cross section of mental misfits in the world would never organize?

Ten
There's nothing I can do to avoid being guilty, but if I want I can grovel pathetically, and they may deign to acknowledge me as less evil than some others, sometimes, but not always.

In the last year I lost a 35 year friendship when the Progressive in question found me racist for being not of color; bigoted for questioning the impoverishing Welfare State, and sexist for opposing the misandry of gender feminism.

He - also white, male, and not of great means - is evidently in the midst of paying his lifelong moral penance. I am his The Other; the reprobate. His parasitic morality is wholly justified in its wrong-headed activism while my want of racism, bigotry, and sexism is not only rejected as such, forty years of them may not be so much as introduced as passive evidence.

Were I moved to protest on his grounds I'd have denied all three of his charges. Knowing my life has for decades provided ample supporting evidence, naturally I owed him no such reply.

He owes me an apology. It'll never come.

Joan

In order to create a safe space, this programme is open to people of colour only.

Safe from what? Disagreement?

David

Safe from what? Disagreement?

According to Wikipedia, a “safe space” is generally defined as an “open and accepting space,” one that’s free of “violence or harassment,” and in which the “self-respect and dignity” of Designated Victim Group members will be deemed paramount. Apparently, the term “implies a certain license to speak and act freely… and generate strategies for resistance.” Though I’m not sure how that alleged freedom to speak will be reconciled with the mutual boosterism that participants are supposed to indulge in. Given the tendentious and theatrical premise, it doesn’t sound like a recipe for frankness or realism. In fact, other definitions include, “an area or forum in which a shared political or social viewpoint is required to participate in the space.” Which, again, doesn’t sound ideal for testing the assumptions of the participants and organisers.

So, in a word, probably.

sk60

David, a teaching assistant says no to 'diversity training':

"At the "diversity" training yesterday… the overriding presumption of the session was that the people whom the History Department has chosen to employ as teaching assistants are probably racists. In true "diversity" style, the language in which the presentation was couched was marbled with words like "inclusive", "respect", and "justice". But the tone was unmistakably accusatory and radical. Our facilitator spoke openly of politicizing her classrooms in order to right (take revenge for?) past wrongs. We opened the session with chapter-and-verse quotes from diversity theorists who rehearsed the same tired "power and privilege" cant that so dominates seminar readings and official university hand-wringing over unmet race quotas. Indeed, one mild-mannered Korean woman yesterday felt compelled to insist that she wasn't a racist. I never imagined that she was, but the atmosphere of the meeting had been so poisoned that even we traditional quarries of the diversity Furies were forced to share our collective guilt with those from continents far across the wine-dark sea."

"It is hardly surprising that any of us hectorees would feel thusly. For example, in one of the handouts that our facilitator asked us to read ("Detour-Spotting: for white anti-racists," by joan olsson [sic]), we learned things like, "As white infants we were fed a pabulum of racist propaganda," "…there was no escaping the daily racist propaganda," and, perhaps most even-handed of all, "Racism continues in the name of all white people." Perhaps the Korean woman did not read carefully enough to realize that only white people (all of them, in fact) are racist. Nevertheless, in a manner stunningly redolent of "self-criticism" during the Cultural Revolution in communist China, the implication of the entire session was that everyone was suspect, and everyone had some explaining to do."

http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/14698/

I think he's just finished his career.

David

Thanks for that.

I think he’s just finished his career.

Possibly, yes. I have often wondered how academics who just want to teach their subject – in this case, Japanese history – feel about the political “re-education” efforts taking place around them. Mr Morgan’s “training” sounds objectionable, absurd and pretty much standard. Though his experience is by no means the most offensive and deranged I’ve seen. For that, you have to be a victim of one of the “diversity” movement’s Big Names and originators, a sadistic little idiot named Jane Elliott. If the woman sounds not only stupid but malign, that’s because she is.

As for the “power and privilege” hokum and the mental cul-de-sac it leads to, see this wonderful example. And remember, it takes effort to become that stupid.

D

I was talking to my wife (who came from China when she was in middle school) about racial issues the other day. She had a rough time of it in school, being foreign and not speaking English initially. She felt that people (white and black) were racist against her and were viciously mean to her.

But I had a bad time too, and I'm as white as can be. My crime was being nerdy and not having good social skills.

I think what happens is that, when people have decided not to like someone, they pick out the most obvious traits that make them different and then go after them on that basis. I was weird and nerdy, so they made fun of that; she was foreign, so they attacked her there. I think a lot of black people think that, when people attack them and race is either obvious or in the subtext, they're being attacked by racists for racist reasons, and that sort of thing would never happen to a white person. I think my wife even felt that way until we talked about it. But I think in fact it's the other way around -- they're being attacked, and the attacker uses race because it's there. They go after them wherever they're different from everyone else. If they were Italian they might make cracks about spaghetti, if they were Irish they might joke about lucky clovers. And black people don't realize that it happens to everyone because they don't see racial attacks on white people, which of course there won't be most of the time. But when the majority is black, you get a lot of "cracker" and such, because the majority will often make fun of people who are different.

All this "safe space" just makes it harder for blacks to realize that the world is essentially no different for whites than it is for them, and that being hypercritical about what other people say and do just makes them more frustrated and unhappy. And in fact, apparently studies show that "getting things off your chest," talking about what's bothering you, actually makes you more upset than you were. So the whole thing just makes the people it's supposed to help unhappy and disconnected from reality. But at least it makes them all vote the same way.

WTP

Yeah, David, I sooo wanted to use that Jane Elliott video in an email discussion I was having with my sister-in-law yesterday, but I see that it was pulled (made "private"). I'm curious if anyone knows why.

Chris S.

In that College fix post, there are some great comments. This particular line struck me: "Maybe we should do genealogies for the racist TAs who want to know whether anyone fails the "one drop rule". This kind of garbage is precisely what diversity training is supposed to prevent."

He seems quite oblivious to the fact that this is exactly what diversity enrolment requirements actually do. Where your acceptance is based on how many "drops" you might have. While the commenter rebuffs the idea of the "one-drop rule" as an archaic evil, he is in fact championing that the TA's carefully suss-out whatever the student's political/sexual/racial "drops" might be, and communicate with them via different rulesets. The "One-drop rule" has never been more active than on campus (and especially within the diversity sector).

And then this gem: "Frankly, I'd be tempted to bounce him from the program because he comes off like
someone who thinks that professors are tinpot little gods rather than educators and researchers."

When in fact the poster is doing everything in his power to simply be a good educator and researcher who sees students as students and not complex diversity bundles.

ftumch

straight people oppress everyone. or something. (forgive me. i am drunk)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/25/smith-delta-gamma-straight-proposal-shot-down/2864697/

dicentra

I think a lot of black people think that…they're being attacked by racists for racist reasons,

In college, black girl complained to me that her white, car-owning roommate never asked her if she wanted to go grocery shopping with her and her BFF: they just took off and never asked. She attributed it to racism.

I observed that such a thing had happened to me in several different apartments: when one roommate had a car and the rest didn't, only the BFF got invited to go grocery shopping because they were always together anyway, and being careless and insensitive fluffheads, they never thought to ask anyone else.

She was skeptical, as if I were lying to refute her charge of racism for my own racisty reasons. That cheesed me off.

Look if someone holds you in contempt, you can usually tell, but you can't tell WHY. Maybe it's because you're one of the little people or because that person holds everyone in contempt anyway.

People with an obvious social disadvantage tend to overestimate the degree to which the "normal ones" are free from dissing. How do you tell the difference between racism and Just Plain Rude People?

If there's no compelling reason to do so, you probably won't.

David

He seems quite oblivious to the fact that this is exactly what diversity enrolment requirements actually do. Where your acceptance is based on how many “drops” you might have.

Well, I did wonder whether someone might have to police the “people of colour only” admissions policy. Exactly how brown would a person have to be? Would an African great-grandmother count? Is there some kind of cut-off for authenticity?

Anon

It's good to see someone actually trying to apply science (well, polling) to the problem:

http://gawker.com/the-privilege-tournament-1377171054

David

How do you tell the difference between racism and Just Plain Rude People?

A few years ago, I had a discussion with a woman who remembered registering surprise on someone’s face when she announced an interest in physics while at school. This was offered as evidence of patriarchy and proof that more must be done for women today. But assuming such surprise still persists to any significant degree, which seems rather unlikely, I’m not sure one can legislate against an occasional surprised expression. And this is the thing, or a thing, anyway. There’s an awful lot of emphasis being placed on minor or borderline slights and ambiguous trivial details. Likewise, there’s endless fretting about hugely speculative and subjective phenomena, or pseudo-phenomena, or outright question-begging – “unconscious biases,” “code words,” “dog whistles,” “invisible privileges,” etc. And trying to “correct” these phantom wrongs leads to a kind of never-ending neurosis, authoritarian intrusion and demands for purity. However much has been done and whatever the actual numbers are, WrongThought™ must still exist somewhere, residually, deep inside people’s heads, and every molecule must be purged.

[ Added: ]

Which may explain why so much blather about “privilege” and racial grievance is suggestive of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. At times, the grievance is literally being hallucinated. More typically, I think, it leads to a sort of obsessive behaviour, where one seeks out any stray particle of possible confirmation for one’s own imagined victimhood. And the woe must never end.

For instance, there’s Duke’s Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a tenured sociology professor with a six-figure salary, who tells us that racism is as bad as it ever was because it’s “embedded” and “collective and structural,” and that this modern “white supremacy” can only be combatted by even more intrusive “diversity” measures and other government intervention to ensure equal outcomes, as he imagines them. (And all overseen, presumably, by people much like himself.) Bonilla-Silva cites high black arrest rates as proof of his claims – as the only possible explanation - rather than acknowledging the hugely disparate rates of criminal activity by various ethnic groups as reported by the victims of those criminals. Like so many of his peers, the professor isn’t exactly accommodating of dissenting views or factual correction and has compared critics of “affirmative action” with 19th century advocates of slavery. Non-racial ‘colour-blind’ policies and attitudes are, he says, a “way of calling minorities niggers, Spics or Chinks.” The professor is rather fond of racial epithets and has referred to Texas A&M University as “Crackerland.” Black students who disagree with the professor have of course been denounced by him as Uncle Toms. Oh, and Professor Bonilla-Silva, a grown man, refers to the United States as “AmeriKKKa.”

[ Added: ]

A while ago, I was reading Laurie Penny’s tweets in real time. She was in a gallery, intent on seething, and so we got a running commentary of Things That Must Be Fixed Before Happiness Is Possible™ : “Reading ignorant, sexist cif comments whilst standing in front of the Rokeby Venus in National Gallery. We still have so far to go.” Twelve minutes earlier: “Reading cif comments by hateful male trolls standing in front of the Rokeby Venus in National Gallery. We still have so far to go.” And so on. All this while in the National Gallery, where there are plenty of other, more agreeable, things to do. But apparently Laurie’s mission can’t end until “ignorant, sexist comments” no longer appear on the Guardian’s public forums, nor presumably anywhere else. The fact that some people make “ignorant sexist comments” (and others make comments she disagrees with and then dismisses as if they were ignorant and sexist) simply will not do. You have to wonder whether Ms Penny and her peers have thought through what it would take to achieve this level of purity. And by purity I mean control.

Patrick Brown

David:

There’s an awful lot of emphasis being placed on minor or borderline slights and ambiguous trivial details. Likewise, there’s endless fretting about hugely speculative and subjective phenomena, or pseudo-phenomena, or outright question-begging – “unconscious biases,” “code words,” “dog whistles,” “invisible privileges,” etc.

I believe the current buzzword is "microaggressions".

All this while in the National Gallery, where there are plenty of other, more agreeable, things to do.

Smartphones and Twitter are a disatrous combination if you have a certain psychological makeup. In the olden days, even if you were inclined not switch off, the world would make you. There was just no way of winding yourself up about other people's opinions and making sure everybody knew about it when you were out and about. Now it can be all grievance mongering, all the time!

David

Now it can be all grievance mongering, all the time!

I sometimes wonder what it must be like to be a single-issue activist or even someone like, say, Gary Younge, who apparently feels obliged to shoehorn accusations of racism into every other article. And likewise, there’s a lot to be said for occasionally resisting the temptation to scan the Guardian for the latest example of asshattery. It’s one of the reasons why this place also features news stories about exploding toilets and aggressive flatulence. Helps keep things in perspective.

David

This, by Roger Kimball, seems relevant:

Last month The Daily Caller reported on an incident at the ostentatiously “progressive” Oberlin College in Ohio. This time the anti-Black messages circulating around campus were joined by anti-Jewish and anti-homosexual messages. It turns out that one of the two principle culprits was a vociferous supporter of Obama who belonged to such groups as “White Allies Against Structural Racism” and who describes himself on Twitter as an “atheist/pacifist/environmentalist/libertarian socialist/consequentialist.” As William A. Jacobson reports on his website Legal Insurrection, “School officials and local police knew the identity of the culprits, who were responsible for most if not all of such incidents on campus, yet remained silent as the campus reacted as if the incidents were real. National media attention focused on campus racism at Oberlin for weeks without knowing it was a hoax.”

Other fabricated “hate crimes” are mentioned in the piece. As I’ve said before, manufacturing evidence to justify more “diversity” measures is becoming a fashionable strategy.

Will

Non-racial ‘colour-blind’ policies and attitudes are, he says, a “way of calling minorities niggers, Spics or Chinks.” … Oh, and Professor Bonilla-Silva, a grown man, refers to the United States as “AmeriKKKa.”

The humanities at Duke are like a care home for mental patients.

David

The humanities at Duke are like a care home for mental patients.

Well, as I’ve said before, these aren’t just inexplicable aberrations at fringe institutions. These are well-paid, statusful people at mainstream, supposedly respectable universities. And for such people to flourish in such numbers, to avoid any kind of reprimand, to get tenure, etc., there has to be an environment supportive of this farce. They have to have peers and employers who think that obnoxious racial dogmatism and the wilful avoidance of evidence are acceptable academic standards. These ‘educators’ don’t exist in a vacuum. You don’t get a Ward Churchill (a department chairman) or a Bill Ayers (Distinguished Professor) or a Wahneema Lubiano (tenured) or a Cornel West (Princeton, Harvard) or a Dana Cloud or a Duke Group of 88 without endorsement and approval by peers and hiring committees. There has to be an institutional dysfunction.

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