January 03, 2019
Christopher Rufo on excusing habitual crime, in the name of “intersectionality”:
The latest fad in criminal-justice activism is the concept of “survival crime.” The theory holds that the homeless, the poor, and people of colour commit property crimes and low-level infractions in order to secure their basic survival. Any enforcement of these laws is thus a violation of their basic human rights… Survival-crime theory argues that local governments should decriminalise [property crime, drug possession, and public nuisance] offences because vulnerable individuals have been compelled by social conditions to commit them… Over the past five years, the classification of survival crime has expanded well beyond stealing the proverbial loaf of bread. In California, for instance, Proposition 47 downgraded theft of property valued at less than $950 to a misdemeanour, meaning that the police are unlikely to pursue even habitual shoplifters and thieves. The predictable result: a state-wide rise in petty theft.
Exempting favoured identity groups from the normal consequences of predatory and antisocial behaviour is the Hot New Fairness, apparently, at least among the enlightened. And if someone steals your phone or laptop, it would be wrong of you to protest, especially if the thief happens to be “of colour” and therefore, obviously, entitled to your stuff. Mugging, it turns out, is a form of “social justice.” We’ve been here before, of course. As when the Harvard-educated sociology professor Crystal Fleming championed the recreational looting of trainers, in bulk, and other fashion items, on grounds that the law-abiding are “hoarding resources.”
Somewhat related, Heather Mac Donald on school indiscipline and so-called “disparate impact” policies:
In 2018, a cell-phone video captured a classroom assault emblematic of the post-disciplinary era. A physics teacher in Texas had confiscated a student’s smartphone. “Give me my fucking phone. This is the last time asking your stupid ass,” the teen yelled, towering over the teacher sitting frozen behind his desk, grinning nervously, the very image of submission. The student aggressively swept the papers on the teacher’s desk to the floor, then violently shoved him in the face. Still impassive, the teacher pushed the phone across the desk back to the student, who grabbed it with a self-righteous shrug and strode away. The school principal explained that it “was just a bad day the student was having,” and commended the teacher’s response. The other students who observed this adult capitulation to thuggery learned a terrible lesson about their apparent immunity from any consequences for atrocious behaviour.
However, we’ve been assured, by our betters, that punching teachers in the face and setting fire to students’ hair is how black students “engage in learning.” What, you didn’t know?
And not entirely unrelated to that, in the pages of Inside Higher Ed, sociology lecturers Johnny Williams and David Embrick insist that calls for civility in debate are merely a front for “white supremacist heteropatriarchal capitalist power.” Opposition to threats of assault is, they say, “myopic and troubling.” You see, assaulting people, because you want to, is “democracy in action.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Professor Williams has a history of, shall we say, adventurous thinking.
It’s woke academia, people. The bleeding edge.
As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.