David Thompson
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January 15, 2017

Comments

Farnsworth M Muldoon

It seems to me the “significant gap in attainment” that the student union bemoans may have more to do with the limited abilities, and even more limited horizons, of the students in question.

I know it is pointless to ask, but given that Students of Color didn't appear just now, how is it that their predecessors were able to "have rapport and feel comfortable" talking to Whiteys of Age and get through school, and these bozos cannot?

Spiny Norman

They weren't "woke", Farnsworth, obviously.

Rafi

Failure is always someone else's fault.

Joan

It claims... that white tutors... have lower expectations of black and ethnic minority (BME) students

I'm lowering my expectations of *these* students right now.

TheTooner

I've met enough instructors, teachers, and professors who weren't very good at their jobs to be skeptical of any student complaining that they can't learn because someone is biased against their identity group.

jabrwok

that white tutors... have lower expectations of black and ethnic minority (BME) students

Because the instructors *expectations* determine whether or not the students will be capable of reading the syllabus, reading the textbook, doing then homework, and learning the material. Obviously.

If the expectations of People of Pallor and a Certain Age are all that are required to dictate the behavior of other people then I need to start expecting attractive young women to throw themselves at me. I appear to have been doing this whole "life" thing wrong to date.

Lisboeta

Founded a century ago, the School of Oriental and African Studies had such a stellar reputation: the only higher education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. Aiee, how have the mighty fallen!

David

“Both of my tutors are white men. How can I have a rapport and feel comfortable talking to a 60-year-old white man?” asks one. “Our experiences of life are so different and you’re coming from completely different places.”

It’s a little odd to hear these avowed opponents of racism referring to themselves, and by extension all black students, as if they were some ancient and unfathomable offshoot of humanity, for whom rapport with outsiders is impossible.

Lisboeta

lower expectations of black and ethnic minority (BME) students

Rather than the fault lying wholly with the staff (granted, some are better than others!), might the root problem be that certain BME students have lower expectations of themselves?

Atempdog

It’s a little odd to hear these avowed opponents of racism referring to themselves, and by extension all black students, as if they were some ancient and unfathomable offshoot of humanity, for whom rapport with outsiders is impossible.

But racism is something black people can't do, so it all makes prefect sense.

R. Sherman

Isn't Thomas Sowell available?

Philip Daniel

“Our experiences of life are so different and you’re coming from completely different places.”

But that's how you expand your horizons! That's how you learn more about the world -- by entering a zone of unfamiliarity and discomfort, by interacting with those whose perspectives and experiences diverge from your own! Without such contact, can there even be personal growth? But yes, I know, you the "oppressed" who just happen to be the beneficiaries of access to an elite educational institution are fully convinced that the species called "white male" is innately inferior to you. Fortunately for yourselves, you've constructed an ontological framework, hermetically sealed as it is, in which the outgroup you so despise is the vessel through which all evil enters the world, while you uniquely embody pure virtue.

Captain Nemo

Also from SOAS, something from earlier in the week which appears to have been missed by the readers of this blog. Students are demanding that leading philosophers like Kant and Plato are removed from the curriculum, because they are white: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/01/08/university-students-demand-philosophers-including-plato-kant/

Now, I happen to think that one of the arguments given by the students (that of studying more African and Asian philosophers) isn't entirely unreasonable given the name and nature of the university in question. The other reasons given are more concerning, especially the idea that one should only study Western philosophers "when required", and then uniquely "in a colonial context", because there are other contexts in which these ideas could be applied, and to ignore them strikes me as being not only intellectually dishonest, but also plain ignorant.

Perhaps even more worrying is the underlying view that their contributions to society and civilisation, and the ideas they had about the same, are somehow invalidated based on their skin colour. That the content of their thoughts is less important than the ethnicity of the thinker. A reverse Martin Luther King, if you will.

Yet, having said all that, it's pleasing to note the response from the head of the department, who told the student union that their demands were "ridiculous", and that there was no intention to give into them. Perhaps rationality in academia isn't dead after all?

Chester Draws

These are old white men who have chosen to specialise in Oriental and African Studies. How biased against Asians and Africans is such a person likely to be?

Given their choice of subject, you'd half suspect them of preferring Asians and Africans. I know that I have an irrational soft spot for people from countries which I have studied most.

Chester Draws

Ooops!

David

Fixed.

ac1

https://twitter.com/GodfreyElfwick/status/820681480884158465

David Gillies

I am consciously biased against people with degrees from places like SOAS since unless presented with evidence to the contrary, I assume they are some mixture of stupid and wicked.

Ramspace

Unfortunately, this is the ideology of our Great Leader, Justin Trudeau, who has purged his cabinet of all mature people and as many white men as he can dispense with. All I can say is--21 Oct., 2019.

MC

How can I have a rapport and feel comfortable talking to a 60-year-old white man?” asks one. “Our experiences of life are so different and you’re coming from completely different places.”

My bigotry is your problem.

MC

I'd be interested to know exactly which groups of BME students are suffering poor performance. I'd be prepared to wager a few quid that the Indians and Chinese are doing OK.

Hopp Singg

When the student is ready, the master will appear ... and it won't be the tutor.

But I doubt these particular students will ever be ready.

Hal

Students are demanding that leading philosophers like Kant and Plato are removed from the curriculum . . . . one should only study Western philosophers "when required", and then uniquely "in a colonial context",

. . . Um. So, only read up on Plato when reading about the Persian Wars?

[+]

“Both of my tutors are white men. How can I have a rapport and feel comfortable talking to a 60-year-old white man?” asks one. “Our experiences of life are so different and you’re coming from completely different places.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXSLcYQHqFQ

Jacob

Apparently, for them, learning is next to impossible unless they are being taught by people who look just like them, are of a similar age, and who share the assumptions of a subset of nineteen-year-olds.

Isn't the whole point to be taught by someone with more experience and *isn't* a stupid teenager?

David

Isn’t the whole point to be taught by someone with more experience and *isn’t* a stupid teenager?

Well, you might think that a person’s accumulation of knowledge, perspective and experience, which necessarily takes time, would generally be a good thing. And you might also think that students should spend less time issuing grandiose demands (which tend to be excuses), and instead should attempt to stretch themselves beyond the familiar and comfortable. That being the general idea and pretty much a prerequisite.

David

If you can manage to remain conscious while ploughing through the students’ report, with its endless begged questions and circular arguments, you’ll see that the authors rely heavily on hugely subjective and self-flattering claims of “lived experience,” as opposed to any attempt at objectivity – a concept dismissed as both “privileged” and “alienating” - and the stupefying effects of so-called “critical race theory” are hard to miss.

Stripped of verbiage, the students’ complaints include the “pressure to communicate using academic language,” which they regard as “the language of their white, middle-class peers,” and therefore an expression of “structural racism,” along with the “stress and anxiety” of being corrected, or even disagreed with. Another prominent grievance is the fact that many of the students’ lecturers and classmates are white, which - apparently by definition - “negatively affects” the “confidence, motivation and engagement” of anyone with darker skin. We’re also informed that a multiracial classroom, one that at least partly reflects the demographics of the nation in which the university exists, now constitutes “racial exclusion.”

The report assumes, based on nothing that I could see, that secondary school grades must be a more accurate reflection of students’ intellectual prowess than their grades and performance at university, where more rigour, pressure and finer differentiation would typically be expected. The report then assumes that any variation at all between the two measures, at school and university, must be due to systemic and inexcusable racism, even though the authors struggle to identify any credible and unambiguous evidence. Likewise, drop-out rates. Again, the question is begged and the assumption is that statistical disparities in and of themselves prove racial discrimination. Any other possibility is simply dismissed or deemed unthinkable.

fnord

If at first you don't succeed then:

1) try harder
ii) blame whitey

gee, which takes less effort?

Joan

How can I have a rapport and feel comfortable talking to a 60-year-old white man?” asks one.

So getting on with a white middle-aged employer is out of the question too?

David

So getting on with a white middle-aged employer is out of the question too?

[ Slides drink voucher along bar. ]

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Stripped of verbiage, the students’ complaints include the “pressure to communicate using academic language,”

Isn't the whole shtick of the modern humanities department to use abstruse academic language normal people don't understand?

David

Isn’t the whole shtick of the modern humanities department to use abstruse academic language normal people don’t understand?

And the students’ own report is couched in rather mannered prose, possibly in an attempt to make parsing it more difficult.

Rob

Celebrate Diversity.

TomJ

I should point out that as well as various tweeps, my attention was also drawn to this by the rather perceptive take on it at Timmy's place.

I haven't freed through the entire report, but I would point out it's recommendations seem to include an awful lot of mentors for students and teachers, "resource and support" for the senior staff working group on this issue, workshops and training for lots of people. I wonder who would be be placed to provide all this training and support? Now, it would be ungracious to suggest this report is merely a job creation scheme for soon-to-be-ex-sabbatical officers and their mates, or for graduates of X Studies courses, but it would also be hard to see how a document with that aim would differ much...

Blobby

If these kids are so reliant on the race of their tutors to be successful, they shouldn't be in a university.

At that level, students should be educating themselves, tutors and lecturers are just there as facilitators.

Lionel Ebb

Marvellous. Though I'm not even sure if this is a race story - more a universities-forgetting-what-they're-actually-for story. Of which there are so, so many these days: http://bit.ly/2iE2jJy

champ

"lower expectations of black and ethnic minority (BME) students"

I thought that was the whole point of having affirmative action programs in higher education...

dicentra

This is what I hate most about conflating the personal and the political: it utterly destroys opportunities for reconciliation.

It is true that when one party's involvement with an issue is experiential and the other's is theoretical, that the theoretical person can highly irritate the experiencer, primarily because the theoretical knower often doesn't recognize that there really are gaps in his knowledge that he's blind to, and that he's got quite a bit to learn from the experiencer.

With the politicization of this dynamic, it's now impossible for the two parties to understand each other, because the experiential knower regards the theoretical knower as his irredeemable enemy, which puts the theoretical knower on the defensive.

Well played, Left Wing. Sow irreconcilable mistrust between groups of people and ride the wave of misery into power.

Criminey, I hate these people.

Darleen

I read this elsewhere and I'll say again ...

Youngsters have little experience and no wisdom. It isn't the responsibility of older people to "relate" to them. It is the responsibility of the youngsters to put in the work, sweat and effort into relating to older people - teachers, parents, grandparents ... any adult they would or could learn from.

The apprentice does not flounce out of the [highly skilled endeavor] class claiming a barrier to learning because the master was too old/too pale/too cisgender/too etc without proving themselves the fool.

The only thing holding back these students is their own insipid self-regard and puerile arrogance.

/pissedoff

David

The only thing holding back these students is their own insipid self-regard and puerile arrogance.

That, I think, and the reluctance among some – probably most of the people in the students’ sphere – to challenge overtly racist conceits (and excuses camouflaged with such conceits) when aired by people with skin browner than mine.

sH2

the reluctance among some... to challenge overtly racist conceits (and excuses camouflaged with such conceits) when aired by people with skin browner than mine.

That.

David

That.

I’ve seen it happen quite a few times and there are several illustrations in the archives. For some, it’s a kind of taboo, one that can require some elaborate mental and moral contortions. I think the SOAS students’ reliance on subjectivity, begged questions and self-serving redefinitions, and the general flimsiness of their arguments, may offer a hint as to how accustomed they are to being indulged and deferred to, on this topic at least.

JerryC

Maybe these Students Of Color need their own schools, free of white oppressors. Separate But Equal Part Deux, anyone?

Daniel Ream

So getting on with a white middle-aged employer is out of the question too?

I used to be appalled by this news item, but now I've done a complete 180. I think we should absolutely grant them all their demands - get rid of all the white philosophers and white instructors. Ensure that they are taught solely what they already know in their hearts to be true.

This will have the entirely desirable result of rendering these people completely and utterly unemployable, and when the inevitable economic collapse happens they will be homeless and/or stray dog fodder.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

Killer Marmot

I cannot fathom why these students are in university in the first place. They do not appear to be interested in an education, but rather reinforcement of their political views.

Darleen

oh ... geez ... tortured identity politics masquerading as principles

Women deserve to live full and healthy lives, free of all forms of violence against our bodies. We believe in accountability and justice in cases of police brutality and ending racial profiling and targeting of communities of color. It is our moral imperative to dismantle the gender and racial inequities within the criminal justice system.

Ratio of men to women in prisons: about 94% v 6% ... so, I guess we need to start pushing to put more women criminals in jail immediately, right?

These females should stop making me regret we ever succeeded with suffrage.

Mike

Excellent stuff. The mood of the aggrieved students should be encouraged, in the spirit of giving 'em what they want. Be careful what you wish for...

Q30

The appropriate rejoinder to the color of one's tutors is that, in the real world, perhaps in one's workplace, you will not ALWAYS be working with people (such as suppliers and customers) who are the same color as you are.

Chester Draws

I don imagine this sort of student dirties their hands with trade, Q30.

Chester Draws

Don't imagine.

Fred the Fourth

The ONLY reason such "student" demands and blusterings are listened to is this: There's money in it, for the students, academic staff, administrators, and related parasites on what used to be an education system.
Taxpayer money, in the main.

Fred the Fourth

It's the 17th, so (as y'all will have deduced) I'm just past Peak Curmudgeon for this month.
Carry on...

Fred the Fourth

Q30,
But these youths have seen the successes of their predecessors and peers in forcing out various senior staff and company leaders, those deemed to be incorrect or obsolete. So why shouldn't they expect to be able to select or alter those who run their future employers?
That's the way things work, in their "lived experience ".

[+]

'Discrimination can certainly cause statistical disparities. But statistical disparities do not automatically mean discrimination.'

Thomas Sowell.

fnord

This will have the entirely desirable result of rendering these people completely and utterly unemployable, and when the inevitable economic collapse happens they will be homeless and/or stray dog fodder.

======
Ummm no. After they are certified you, as an employer, will be encouraged coerced forced at gunpoint to hire them. Of course once hired it will be verboten to fire them for any reason.

fnord

I cannot fathom why these students are in university in the first place. They do not appear to be interested in an education, but rather reinforcement of their political views.

====
University as a place of education. How......quaint.

fnord

The appropriate rejoinder to the color of one's tutors is that, in the real world, perhaps in one's workplace, you will not ALWAYS be working with people (such as suppliers and customers) who are the same color as you are


That's step 2.

Burnsie

On the one hand, I'd like to say: Transfer to a university in Africa, then, you whiny, self-indulgent little twits.

On the other hand…

Let's not forget that their scholarly pursuit has little job value except as university instructors teaching the same crap or as university administrators enforcing the same crap.

So driving whites out of the existing slots -- and preventing whites from replacing them -- makes a certain "turf war" sense for these young scholars of color. Clearing the field, so to speak.

Or am I giving too much credit to these angry pouters?

dicentra

I guess we need to start pushing to put more women criminals in jail immediately, right?

No, they'd let more men OUT, and/or stop arresting so many.

You know they would.

Fuel Filter

These people are why "shop" classes (or, if you please, vocational education, or perhaps "Special Eduation") were created in the first place.

Idjits.

Axauv

"How can I have a rapport and feel comfortable talking to a 60-year-old white man?” asks one."

This is just precious. You can literally create full-on bigotry substituting ANY adjective in the English language for "white" in this sentence. The fact that these victim worship recreational outrage junkies can say things like this with a straight face continues to blow my mind.

Fred the Fourth

Darleen,
Yes. And what are the stats on male / female injuries and fatalities in the workplace? I hear various numbers, but usually around 90% of fatalities are men.
Let's hear it for equality...

WTP


These people are why "shop" classes (or, if you please, vocational education, or perhaps "Special Eduation") were created in the first place.

Idjits.

It's people in those shop classes that gave us DJT. Ivy Leaguers were all over HRC and are pretty much the reason our schools are so f'd up. At least in shop there are consequences for bad actions.

Patrick Chester

Isn't Thomas Sowell available?

Why do I suspect Sowell would Gibbs-slap these idiots into the next century if he had to tutor them?

salg

another example of the racism of the left.

Old Blighty

'. . . . one should only study Western philosophers "when required", and then uniquely "in a colonial context" '

Sorry, I hate to do this, but are there any published African philosophers?

[+]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:African_philosophers

http://www.iep.utm.edu/afric-hi/

svh

The only racists at SOAS are the students.

http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/soas-students-scared-to-wear-the-star-of-david-and-speak-hebrew-a3444466.html

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