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August 2017

The Wrong Neighbours

In progressive academia, that blueprint of utopia, it appears there’s some unrest

Black and Latino student groups at the University of Florida recently protested a plan to house their organisations in one building, saying it would erase and marginalise their black and brown bodies and their cultures at the predominantly white institution.

The university had revealed plans for a U-shaped building that would accommodate both organisations:

The two groups would each get their own wing of the building and simply share a walkway and elevator. 

Sounds swanky.

But members of the Institute of Black Culture and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Culture expressed fury at the plan.

You see, being so pious, and so very, very special, they mustn’t endure proximity to the wrong level of melanin, what with the risk of contagion and a loss of specialness. A student organiser of the protests, Daniel Clayton, said,

My main complaint to the University administration… is that we are not taken seriously at all. It is not appropriate to dismiss student concerns as being ludicrous.

However, inevitably, university administrators have been cowed by the usual histrionic rumblings and have agreed to build the immensely tolerant groups two entirely separate buildings. And with equal inevitability, the students are now insisting that the new buildings, the cost of which is unclear, should be “visibly distinct from the rest of campus.”

Such Luminous Beings

A University of Tampa professor recently suggested that Texans deserve the fallout from Hurricane Harvey because of their support for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. “I don’t believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas,” Professor Ken Storey wrote.

Another ‘progressive’ educator swollen with compassion and floating above us on a higher moral plane

One of Storey’s followers responded to the tweet by noting that there are “lots of good people in Texas,” and so he “may want to rethink this one.” “Well, the good people there need to do more to stop the evil their state pushes. I’m only blaming those who support the GOP there,” Storey elaborated, to which the same commenter replied by asking if he thinks the same about Trump supporters in Florida. “Yep, those who voted for him here deserve it as well,” Storey answered, though he later deleted his Twitter account.

Because when you hear of random people trapped and terrified, or learning that their loved ones were swept away and drowned, and when the local police chief is worried about “how many bodies” they’re going to find, the first thing you want to know, the really important thing, is, obviously, how they voted.

Oh. He teaches sociology, before you ask.

Reckless Experimentation

Ben Sixsmith on “open borders” posturing:

But what of the proposed merits of open borders? A consistent failure of the Economist’s article is a reluctance to distinguish between different migrants. If one finds the study, it turns out that 54% of the men and women who expressed a desire to migrate came from Africa and the Middle East — with another 20% being from Central America. Yet the most successful immigrants, in terms of launching businesses and earning wealth, have been found to hail from Asia and Europe. A UCL study found that European immigrants to Britain contribute more to the economy than they take from it, while the opposite is true for non-European immigrants. It is senseless, then, to claim, as the author of the Economist article does, that immigrants are “more likely than the native-born to bring new ideas and start their own businesses.” Immigrants do not come from “Immigrantland.” Population differences related to entrepreneurial and earning potential are real, and significant, and difficult to bridge. 

Worth reading in full, I think.

Elsewhere (244)

David Rutz on the “woke eight-year-old” manoeuvre: 

The phenomenon came to my attention via @Neontaster, who discovered this trend of eight-year-olds (or children of a similar age, depending on their Woke Quotients) whose opinions, shockingly, seem to perfectly mirror those of their progressive parents… Let’s state the obvious: When pundits tweet out these little stories, all they’re doing is sending out their own opinions, but doing so in a way that (a) makes them look like great parents for raising such emotionally advanced children, and (b) shields them from criticism. Because what kind of jerk is going to attack a child, for God’s sake?

And what kind of person, I wonder, would be that preening and dishonest. And while we ponder that

Madeleine Kearns, a young Scottish woman, on a bewildering year at a ‘progressive’ New York university: 

It was soon obvious to my fellow students that I was not quite with the programme. In a class discussion early in my first semester, I made the mistake of mentioning that I believed in objective standards in art. Some art is great, some isn’t, I said; not all artists are equally talented. This was deemed an undemocratic opinion and I was given a nickname: the cultural fascist. I’ve tried to take it affectionately.

Tim Newman on life skills and the lack thereof: 

What isn’t normal is for a kid to run around swearing. Letting slip a swear word indicates the kid has his ears open. Running around swearing indicates his parents don’t care, and if they don’t care about his language you can be absolutely sure they don’t care about other things, some of which are essential to his development. A child who routinely uses bad language, especially in front of adults, is not going to do very well in life.

And again, entirely unrelated, of course, on polyamory and children

Were any of these friends shagging either or both of your parents? I ask mainly to understand how you’ve turned out.

As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.

They Come To Teach Us

And behold their glittering minds: 

You shouldn’t even have an opinion about this.

The above exchange was filmed at the Boston Free Speech Rally, August 19. A longer, even more educational version, with lots of additional shoving and liveliness, is embedded below the fold. And remember, these Children of Marcuse, the ones demanding “empathy” while laughing at accounts of random beatings, have been educated, quite thoroughly.

Continue reading "They Come To Teach Us" »

Excruciatingly Woke

In today’s competitive grievance culture, unearthing new sorrows, or reheating old sorrows, can require prodigious, indeed bewildering, feats of contortion. And so, in the pages of The Atlantic, we find one Alice Ristroph railing at the heavens. First, a little context:

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will arrive mid-morning on the coast of Oregon. The moon’s shadow will be about 70 miles wide, and it will race across the country faster than the speed of sound, exiting the eastern seaboard shortly before 3pm local time.

Clouds permitting, it should be quite a thing to witness.

It has been dubbed the Great American Eclipse, and along most of its path, there live almost no black people.

There we go. If that one caught you off guard, here’s another:

As the eclipse approaches, the temperature will fall and birds will roost, and then, suddenly, the lights will go out. For each place within the path of totality, the darkness will last a minute, maybe two, and then daylight will return. Oregon, where this begins, is almost entirely white. The 10 percent or so of state residents who do not identify as white are predominantly Latino, American Indian, Alaskan, or Asian. 

This goes on for some time. It’s an attempt at symbolism, I think. A beverage may be useful.

It is a matter of population density, and more specifically geographic variations in population density by race, for which the sun and the moon cannot be held responsible. Still, an eclipse chaser is always tempted to believe that the skies are relaying a message.

The message, it seems, is that people – specifically, black ones - aren’t arranged geographically as Professor Ristroph would wish.

From Oregon, the eclipse will travel through Idaho and Wyoming… Percentage-wise, Idaho and Wyoming are even whiter than Oregon… The few non-white residents of Idaho and Wyoming are not black — they are mostly Latino, American Indian, and Alaskan. 

Perhaps this demographic bean-counting is all building to some kind of point, a moment of profundity. 

From Kansas, the eclipse goes to Missouri, still mostly bypassing black people

Surely a contender for The Most Woke Sentence Yet Uttered.

Moving east, the eclipse will pass part of St. Louis, whose overall population is nearly half black. But the black residents are concentrated in the northern half of the metropolitan area, and the total eclipse crosses only the southern half.

If you laughed at that, tittered even, you’re a terrible, terrible person.

Continue reading "Excruciatingly Woke" »

Friday Ephemera

Don’t try this at home. No, really. Don’t. || A heartwarming moment of cross-cultural bonding. (h/t, Holborn) || How to make a blockbuster movie trailer. || It seems we need a bigger bomb-bay. || Impress your friends with fingertip bling. || A partial list of parenthetical pop songs. || Wouldn’t it be nice. || Riposte of note. || A partial success. || Always respect the media. || So many X-Men. || This. (h/t, Damian) || Air conditioner with bonus features. || All aboard. || Debussy plays Debussy, 1913. || Enterprise-D virtual tour revisited. Watch out for the dead crew member and the creepy apparition in the turbolift. || Handmade oak and brass phone cases. || On the origins of chili con carne. || No, you first. || And finally, especially for American readers, “Look, the stars are coming out.”

The Psychology Of “Social Justice” Is A Thing To Behold

Want to thwart the life chances of black students? Then hey, become an educator. Say, a professor of Medieval literature at the City University of New York

In an op-ed for Inside Higher Ed, Dr A W Strouse argues that colleges should support “greater linguistic diversity” and “affirm and embrace” language differences among students, such as the use of slang and African American Vernacular English. Affirming students’ use of non-standard English is important, he says, because students who speak nonstandard English may feel discouraged if called out for it. 

Correcting errors of spelling and basic grammar can, we’re told, “make students feel bewildered, hurt, or angry.” Yes, personal growth can do that, especially when overdue.

“Already, scholars of rhetoric believe, as the consensus view, that instructors should not try to change their students’ speech patterns,” Strouse writes. “In the classroom, students shut down in the face of pedantry because they hate when bossy teachers tell them how to talk, especially in cases in which bourgeois white teachers dictate ex cathedra about what speech is ‘correct.’”

Bourgeois white teachers. No prizes for guessing where this is going. And it occurs to me that whether speech patterns are ‘correct’ may depend on whether you’re being understood, or sufficiently precise - say, in class. Or on whether you’re employable.

Further, he declares that the academic norms that privilege standard English should be suspect, because they can justify the judgment of “people’s intelligence based on dubious standards.” 

Well, if you’re an employer and trying to thin a pile of job applications, repeated errors of even simple grammar and spelling are, inevitably, going to be a big help, given their tendency to correspond with, and thereby signal, both carelessness and intellectual imprecision. If someone is apparently too distracted to proofread their own job application, that’s unlikely to inspire great confidence. However, Dr Strouse has foreseen this practical problem and proposes a bold, if unorthodox, solution:

When asked why he believes it’s important to embrace and support alternative types of English, especially those that are typically frowned upon in the workplace, Strouse said employers shouldn’t dictate how their employees speak. “The workplace has way too much power and should not be allowed to determine something as fundamental as how we speak,” he declared. “People need to tell their bosses, ‘Fuck you.’”

And a long and satisfying employment history will no doubt follow.

You see, Dr Strouse is - in his mind, at least - “dismantling linguistic racism.” And he’s doing this using minority students as his little foot soldiers. How very brave of him. And that ungrammatical job application, the one enlivened with incomprehensible sentences and lots of inventive spelling, will do just fine. Because by the time any sufficiently credulous students have pinned their hopes upon it, it won’t be his problem.

Continue reading "The Psychology Of “Social Justice” Is A Thing To Behold" »

Elsewhere (243)

Further to this, Glenn Reynolds on the Google memo saga: 

The Damore firing, and [CEO, Sundar] Pichai’s disgraceful handling of it, represents colossal damage to Google’s brand. In essence, it’s an announcement — by a company that has access to everyone’s data — that it endorses the notion of thought-crime.

Heather Mac Donald on divining phantom prejudice: 

The attempt to find systemic police bias has come to this: the difference between an officer saying “uh” and saying “that, that’s.” According to Stanford University researchers, police officers in Oakland, California, use one of those verbal tics more often with white drivers and the other more often with black drivers. If you can guess which tic conveys “respect” and which “disrespect,” you may have a career ahead of you in the exploding field of bias psychology.

Howard Husock on the fallout of “affirmative action”: 

Liberals should ponder the implications of what we’ve learned to date about Harvard admissions. Blacks can score 400 points lower than Asians on the SAT, and almost as much less than whites, and still get admitted. In an earlier time, blacks were told that they must be “twice as good” as whites to get into school or make partner at a law firm; they are now being told that they need only be half as good… Why work hard when less effort will be rewarded in the same way? Inevitably, this logic means that those African-Americans whose work really is twice as good are nonetheless suspected of being sub-par — a dispiriting fate. Who would ever want to be viewed as having been hired (or retained) for reasons other than one’s capabilities — say, fear of litigation?

Jackson Richman on the same: 

Chunyan Li, a board member of the Asian American Coalition for Education, said: “Who is to say Obama’s daughters should have preference over a Chinatown cook’s son?”

Oh, and according to the founder of Vox and Daily Kos, you’re all Nazis now

Feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.

Creating Monsters Is The Easy Part

Instapundit quotes a Wall Street Journal editorial on Berkeley faculty’s fear of their own students

The University of California at Berkeley played down news last summer that it had installed an “escape hatch” from protesters in the chancellor’s office. The term was “the concoction of a 19-year-old headline writer,” a university spokesman said, referring to the student reporter who broke the story. “It’s a door,” the rep said, later adding that campus security thought it was “beneficial” to have more than one exit. But internal emails we’ve seen show that a staff “deeply disturbed by [recent] occupations” did build the exit to protect themselves from potentially dangerous students.

A $9,000 security door. Oh, and a $700,000 security fence to keep the agitated Mao-lings out of the home of former Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks.

Enabling and excusing all that leftist psychodrama sure is expensive.