Robert Schmad spots more Clown Quarter contortion:
An assistant professor at Appalachian State University recently argued that enforcing behavioural standards in public high schools is rooted in racism and unfairly affects Black students. In the article “‘Press Charges’: Art Class, White Feelings, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” [assistant professor of art education, Dr] Albert Stabler writes that the desire to punish students for violating school rules, especially when the police are involved, is the result of “the overvaluation of White feelings.”
The article, which you can poke at here, contains many wonders, generally of a kind only the woke can conjure into being. It begins with the obligatory confession of innate wrongness - i.e., “I am a white teacher” – and includes much gushing about non-white students’ “life experiences and cultural knowledge,” before which our educator is eager to prostrate himself, and which have apparently resulted in Dr Stabler’s own “learning and growth as a person.” Particulars on this point - the deep insights of teenagers - are, alas, unclear. And amid the gushing, there are notes of disharmony:
There were many students who regularly received in-school and out-of-school suspensions for what were perceived as disruptive actions.
Not actually disruptive, you see. Merely perceived as disruptive. For no reason whatsoever.
While my classroom materials and my dignity were sometimes damaged by rambunctious behaviour, more dire consequences were regularly enacted on students by school officials (not to mention parents).
We’ll get to some of that “rambunctious behaviour” in a second.
“In… schools,” we’re told, “the desire to punish is racialised,” and “white people’s feelings often have outsized consequences on People of Colour.” The example given to illustrate this alleged phenomenon is of a white, female art teacher - Dr Stabler’s immediate predecessor - who “was said to have wept at the end of every school day” and who pursued assault charges against a black student who forcibly cut said teacher’s hair. This assault, presumably intended to humiliate the woman and assert dominance over her, is passed over with remarkable ease by Dr Stabler, as if the “white feelings” of the teacher, and the implications of such behaviour - and its accommodation by leftist educators - were unworthy of exploration.
Apparently, hearing that your immediate predecessor was harassed and assaulted, and reduced to tears on a daily basis – by the same teenagers you’re hoping to teach about art - couldn’t possibly be a warning sign, or have any informational content, beyond a belief that those indulging in the disruption, harassment and assault must be steeped in “cultural knowledge,” and obviously oppressed, and therefore deserving of further latitude.
As the new teacher hired to replace her, I also dealt with feelings of frustration, humiliation, guilt, and anger. On the occasions when I reported infractions to parents or administrators, I too played a regrettable role in the consequences my students received at school and at home.
He’s so sorry for having dared to complain about classroom misbehaviour and vandalism, and for being targeted for humiliation. All those “white emotions” we shouldn’t care about.
Other examples of students displaying their “cultural knowledge” - and “kinetic” creativity - include the punching of a white male teacher, who subsequently agonised over whether to press charges, and which prompts Dr Stabler to deploy the euphemism “interpersonal conflict.” Our terribly caring educator also briefly mentions threats made against him personally by students, an atmosphere “fraught with aggression,” and the “second-hand trauma” of the violence he “witnessed and heard about.” “In no way do I consider violence a trivial matter,” says he. And yet it seems one shouldn’t complain about such things or expect the perpetrators to face the customary consequences. On account of their magic blackness.
Much of the remaining article is the standard and wearying contrivance, complete with begged questions and references to Foucault, and lynching, and with the words behavioural issues deployed in scare quotes. The roles of personal responsibility and stable, two-parent families are mentioned, fleetingly, in passing, and only to be dismissed. We do, however, hear many buzzwords, few of which are unpacked, thereby retaining an aura of profundity and unassailable self-evidence. Among them, “white supremacist violence,” a term that seems to include any and all attempts at policing; a reluctance to live among people who, shall we say, encounter the police routinely; and even complaints about repeated and aggressive classroom disruption.
Regarding which, Dr Stabler suggests an obvious and fool-proof remedy – i.e., further, more concentrated fretting about “white people’s abuse of power” - sins that apparently include being insufficiently pleased by an impromptu forcible haircut, and complaining about being punched. Being a “white art teacher,” it turns out, “requires getting over ourselves,” and “understanding that our feelings matter a great deal less than the lives of the young people we have taken it upon ourselves to care for.”
And so, rather than relying on expectations of reciprocation or any norms of civilised behaviour, white teachers must disregard their “white feelings” – a euphemism for dignity and physical safety – and fret about the browner, more important feelings of their assailants and tormentors, the people who wish to dominate and degrade them. On grounds that thugs and budding sociopaths will be morally improved by being granted ever-greater indulgence and race-based exemptions from normal consequences.
Such are the convolutions of wokeness.
Heavens, a button. I wonder what it does.