Great Hustles of Our Time

Elsewhere (303)

Douglas Murray on the “unconscious bias” hustle: 

[“Unconscious bias” testing] became the basis of an industry, propelled by people pushing divisive ideas about identity politics. These people either believed or professed to believe that the exercise was scientific and could actually correct the brains and behaviour of anyone who had beliefs they disagreed with. So far and fast did this run that soon the inventors of the monster realised what they’d created and tried to kill it. Two of the three Harvard academics responsible said publicly that the exercise was not capable of being used in the way it was being used. There are too many variables in peoples’ behaviour over any day, never mind over time, to quantify, pin down - let alone ‘correct’ anyone’s ‘biases’. But that is where the opportunists came in. For in recent years another group decided to claim that these ‘tests’ had some laser-like precision. They began to charge hundreds of pounds to people to tell them that they were biased. A very nice racket to get into. For if anyone objected then this was simply yet more evidence of unconscious bias.

The particulars of “unconscious bias” woo were touched on here, where we learned that guilt – and the need for correction - can be determined by the random positioning of a chair. Such is intersectional science.

Via DarleenChristopher F Rufo finds more primary school indoctrination: 

A fifth-grade teacher at the inner-city William D. Kelley School designed a social studies curriculum to celebrate [Angela] Davis, praising the “black communist” for her fight against “injustice and inequality.” As part of the lesson, the teacher asked students to “describe Davis’ early life,” reflect on her vision of social change, and “define communist”—presumably in favourable terms. At the conclusion of the unit, the teacher led the ten- and eleven-year-old students into the school auditorium to “simulate” a Black Power rally to “free Angela Davis” from prison, where she had once been held while awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy, kidnapping, and murder. The students marched on the stage, holding signs that read “Black Power,” “Jail Trump,” “Free Angela,” and “Black Power Matters.” They chanted about Africa and ancestral power, then shouted “Free Angela! Free Angela!” as they stood at the front of the stage.

In news that will shock no-one, the school in question is not rated highly in academic terms, with only 3 percent of students proficient in maths by sixth grade, and only 9 percent proficient in reading. Still, fear not. Our peddlers of “equity” have a fix for everything.  

And via Mr Muldoon, whiteness has been helpfully classified. For children. By educators.

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Elsewhere (300)

Charlotte Allen on the farcical racial pantomime of Jessica Krug: 

On September 9th, Krug abruptly resigned from her job as associate professor of African history at George Washington University. Apparently fearing imminent exposure, she confessed that she had passed herself off for more than a decade as being of black-African descent from an ever-shifting range of backgrounds. In graduate school, she told fellow students she was of Algerian origin with a German father. Later, she claimed that she was from the inner-city “hood” with a spiritual kinship to the late rapper Biggie Smalls… Her final self-proclaimed provenance seems to have been the South Bronx slums, where she identified as a “boricua,” or Stateside-dwelling Puerto Rican, whose mother had been a drug addict. She also moonlighted as a salsa-dancing community activist with the tag “Jess La Bombalera” and was videoed at a New York City Council hearing in June 2020 berating the police for violence against “my black and brown siblings.”

In fact, Krug is white, Jewish, and from suburban Kansas City. She attended a Jewish day school growing up and then the preppy Barstow School in Kansas City, where 12th-grade tuition is currently more than $22,000.

Needless to say, things then get a little odd. And rather telling, not least regarding the widespread pretensions and woke neuroticism, and the dismal intellectual standards, of academia’s Clown Quarter.

Seth Barron on the cost of noxious woke pretensions: 

The Department of Education has called Princeton’s bluff on the question of systemic racism, and not a moment too soon. The entire country has been forced to listen, for months now, as a parade of elite institutions—universities, banks, media outlets, a national political party, entire professions—issue laments about systemic American racism and their own complicity in the perpetuation of whiteness. This orgy of recrimination is patently insincere. Does anyone believe these people, or imagine that their contrition is real? Of course not. Qui s’accuse, s’excuse, the French say: who accuses oneself, excuses oneself. The whole rigmarole is a self-justifying performance by whites for an audience of likeminded other whites: beatified souls who have achieved a state of grace. They stand in opposition to bad whites, who refuse to apologise for their privilege.

And Heather Mac Donald on avoided truths:

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A Rich Seam Of Suckers

Matt Taibbi on Robin DiAngelo and her pernicious bestseller White Fragility:

DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horseshit as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory. White Fragility has a simple message: there is no such thing as a universal human experience, and we are defined not by our individual personalities or moral choices, but only by our racial category. If your category is “white,” bad news: you have no identity apart from your participation in white supremacy (“Anti-blackness is foundational to our very identities… Whiteness has always been predicated on blackness”), which naturally means “a positive white identity is an impossible goal.”

DiAngelo instructs us there is nothing to be done here, except “strive to be less white.” To deny this theory, or to have the effrontery to sneak away from the tedium of DiAngelo’s lecturing – what she describes as “leaving the stress-inducing situation” – is to affirm her conception of white supremacy. This intellectual equivalent of the “ordeal by water” (if you float, you’re a witch) is orthodoxy across much of academia.

As we’ve seen many times. For instance, here. And here. And here. And if that doesn’t sound quite Maoist enough, there’s more

And Jonathan Church on the same: 

[According to DiAngelo,] the two “master discourses” of Whiteness are “individualism” and “universalism.” White people have been “socialized” from the moment they were born to see themselves as individuals rather than as members of racial groups, and to believe in a universal humanity or human nature. All of this obscures the nature of “systemic racism,” making white people incapable of seeing how they constantly reinstate and reinforce white supremacy with virtually every word they say, or do not say. That’s right. Even if you remain silent in inter-racial dialogue, maybe because you want to shut up and listen or because you are shy and prefer one-on-one interactions rather than the hurly-burly of groups, you are making a “move” of Whiteness which keeps you complicit in the preservation of white supremacy.

Readers who doubt the stupefying effects of Dr DiAngelo’s racial woo should note the number of replies to Mr Church in which his article is dismissed out of hand, triumphantly, by devotees of Dr DiAngelo, as the work of a white person displaying “white fragility,” and therefore invalid by default. As noted here recently, it seems we will purge the world of bigotry by embracing wholesale the mental habits of the bigot.

I’ve Been A Bad Girl

In racial-dominatrix news:

Why liberal white women pay a lot of money to learn over dinner how they’re racist.

Says the Guardian

A growing number of women are paying to confront their privilege – and racism – at dinners that cost $2,500… A frank discussion is led by co-founders Regina Jackson, who is black, and Saira Rao, who identifies as Indian American. They started Race to Dinner to challenge liberal white women to accept their racism, however subconscious.

“However subconscious.” Pretentious guilt is, one suspects, billable too.

The women who sign up for these dinners are not who most would see as racist. They are well-read and well-meaning. They are mostly Democrats. Some have adopted black children, many have partners who are people of colour, some have been doing work towards inclusivity and diversity for decades. 

Which, on reflection, might explain quite a lot.

Rao and Jackson believe white, liberal women are the most receptive audience because they are open to changing their behaviour. They don’t bother with the 53% of white women who voted for Trump. White men, they feel, are similarly a lost cause.

Those doubting, damnable souls. The ones who can’t be hustled.

Jackson and Rao have hardly been able to take a break since they started these dinners in the spring of 2019. So far, 15 dinners have been held in big cities across the US.

It turns out that quite a few well-heeled ladies of the left are keen to be denounced over dinner as “part of the problem,” warned against having “unmonitored thoughts,” and told to “own their racism,” whether real or imagined, in what amounts to a niche, and rather perverse, status game. If it sounds self-preoccupied and a tad neurotic, that’s because it is:

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Wokeness And Woo, Together Again

Time for another tug on the teats of super-woke theorising

White people ‘can’t dance’ because white-ness is a traumatized state that is disconnected from the body.

Set aside those thoughts of ballet, Footloose and MGM musicals. We must press on.

Colonization/Westernization has profoundly impacted the way we move our bodies. Just think about even this little fact: most non-European people didn’t wear pants before colonization, and if they did, they were not tight.

Tight pants. The obvious tool with which to oppress the Brown-And-Noble-By-Default.

We also generally didn’t sit on chairs. We squatted or sat on the ground. Many of our cultures didn’t glorify tight muscular abs.

Damn you, White Devil, conquering the world with chairs. And defined abdominals.

Our bodies ‘moved’ completely differently before colonization/Westernization. We had a much greater sense of the lower body and abdomen. 

In short, the Brown-And-Noble-By-Default “have been white-ified,” which is “trauma.” You see,

White-ness… is an energetic imbalance caused by a loss of spinal fluidity and awareness of the lower body. Emotional energy becomes concentrated in the upper body, particularly gathering in the mind. To live in a world dominated by white-ness is to live in an environment that denies and protects white-ness as embodied trauma.

If that’s insufficiently persuasive,

White-ness is traumatization itself. 

The “white body,” it turns out, is a “state of disconnection between mind and body. It is ungrounded and cannot feel the earth.” And which therefore has to be corrected, by an expert, a healer, for $200 an hour.

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Labels First And Foremost

Remember, students. You are not an individual, but a mascot of a notional group

You are being educated.

From Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, By Özlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo.

It occurs to me that when these clowns bang on about analysing events through a racial or identitarian lens, as for instance here and here, what they mean is shoehorning people through an identitarian keyhole, then pretending that the subsequent cartoonery and narrow contrivance, with its phantom evils and funhouse-mirror bigotry, is some universal profundity and proof of the speaker’s personal sophistication. The possible results of such “social justice education,” in which group affiliations, however contrived or incidental, are foregrounded and categorised, and their acknowledgement made habitual and a matter of great importance, are not hard to fathom

Update, via the comments:

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Can You Spell ‘Bedlamite’?

Not that spelling matters, apparently:  

American University trains faculty not to judge quality of writing when grading.

It’s the world of the woke, where inversions abound.

Earlier this year, American University invited an outside professor [Dr Asao Inoue] to teach its faculty how to pursue “antiracist ends” through writing assessments… The training has now moved in-house, according to a faculty workshop taking place Thursday morning. Neisha-Anne Green of the Academic Support and Access Centre and Marnie Twigg of the Writing Studies Programme will lead the session, titled “How to Incorporate Anti-Racist Pedagogy in Your Classroom.”

Participants will be shown how to “revise course materials so they don’t accidentally promote or reinforce racist practices,” though the particulars are somehow both emphatic and opaque. We are, for instance, told that, “single standards” for language “kill our students,” which sounds just a tad breathless. There will, it seems, be lots of “redesigning assessment ecologies,” and quite a few “dimension-based rubrics,” which, via an as yet unspecified process, will upend “white racial habits of language,” resulting in some kind of righteous emancipation. In short, grading a student’s ability to convey their thoughts in writing - and to formulate thoughts by writing – is a manifestation of “white language supremacy,” an apparently murderous phenomenon, and therefore to be abandoned in the name of “inclusive excellence.”

Asao Inoue of the University of Washington-Tacoma is known for advocating that students should be graded based on the “labour” they put into their work, not the “quality” of the finished product.

According to Dr Inoue, teachers should “calculate course grades by labour completed and dispense almost completely with judgements of quality when producing course grades.” And so “critical information literacy” – a term deployed with an air of satisfaction – actually entails not being critical, or indeed literate. Dr Inoue, who denounces grammar as “racist” and “an unjust language structure,” has been mentioned here before, when boasting that a simple 495-word press release for his own “racial justice” Writing Centre took “over a year” to write. As if this reflected some profundity of thought, and not a more prosaic explanation.

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I Fear Corners May Have Been Cut

At Ballou High School, Washington, DC, it would appear that miracles happen:

Teachers... say they often had students on their rosters they barely knew because the students almost never attended class.

And yet, this year, every student of suitable age, including those who were absent more often than in class, has somehow graduated and been accepted by a college or university. At a school were only 3% of students were deemed proficient in reading, where the average SAT score is 782 out of 1600, and where, according to one teacher, those who do attend, in the loosest possible sense, “roam the halls with impunity.”

Of course I use the word graduated in the same entirely bogus way favoured by the school’s administrators.

Via Rafi. 

Bad Medicine

I’ve previously mentioned the taxpayer-funded race hustler Dr Caprice Hollins, whose efforts to empower black Seattle school pupils included dismissing grammar and foresight as “white values” and expectations thereof as “cultural racism.” Rather than encouraging “students of colour” to articulate their thoughts, to be responsible and plan ahead, like everyone else, we must, said Dr Hollins, see people as “racial beings” and “teach [children] to view the world through a racial lens.” But we mustn’t correct their grammar and spelling, or expect them to turn up on time.

Similar sentiments were voiced, in a somewhat boggling way, by Dr Riyad A Shahjahan, a professional educator at Michigan State University and a “social justice theorist,” who wants us to believe that people with brown skin are mystical and exotic, akin to leprechauns, and, unlike white people, “inhabit [their] bodies fully.” Dr Shahjahan also denounces expectations of attentiveness and academic competence, and even punctuality, as racist and oppressive. We should, he says, embrace “embodied pedagogy” and “disrupt Eurocentric notions of time.”

With such deep and incontestable thinking in mind, it may not be surprising to learn that the Writing Centre at the University of Washington, Tacoma is exploring similar avenues. The Centre, the stated goal of which is to “help writers write and succeed in a racist society,” aims to improve the life chances of brown-skinned students by encouraging them to give employers the impression that they’re incapable of mastering even rudimentary grammar:  

An “antiracist” poster in a college writing centre insists American grammar is “racist” and an “unjust language structure,” promising to prioritise rhetoric over “grammatical ‘correctness.’” The poster, written by the director, staff, and tutors of the Writing Centre, states, “racism is the normal condition of things,” declaring that it permeates rules, systems, expectations, in courses, school and society… The Centre pledges to “listen and look carefully and compassionately for ways we may unintentionally perpetuate racism or social injustice, actively engaging in antiracist practices.” “We promise to emphasise the importance of rhetorical situations… in the production of texts,” announces the poster. “We promise to challenge conventional word choices and writing explanations.”

The Writing Centre press release - which, according to one of its authors, Dr Asao Inoue, took “over a year” to write, despite its brevity – tells us that language is “constantly changing” and it is therefore, allegedly, “difficult to justify placing people in hierarchies or restricting opportunities and privileges because of the way people communicate.” Instead of becoming proficient in the structure and expressive possibilities of the national tongue, students – brown ones – should “become more critical” of “unjust language structures.” Apparently, the way for minority students to flourish as writers is to dismiss any criticism of their prose, and any attempt to improve it, as a racially motivated “microaggression” and an “oppressive practice,” and thus proof of “an inherently racist society.”

In short, then, students with brown skin needn’t be articulate, verbally self-possessed, or precise in their thoughts. And that ungrammatical job application, the one enlivened with incomprehensible sentences and lots of inventive spelling, will do just fine. And by the time the real-world consequences of this “social justice” posturing become difficult to avoid, Dr Inoue will have been paid - and be merrily exploiting the next batch of suckers.

Thank goodness these enlightened people are here to help.

Simple Folk

Meanwhile, in other twenty-first century news

A family in Bangladesh has been arrested after using a fake penis to trick villagers into believing a genie had performed a sex change on their teenage daughter. “The girl and her parents have set up a profitable business promising to heal people with a genie,” Monzur Murshed, the local police chief, said. As news spread that the girl had not only been transformed but undergone a mystical circumcision, villagers flocked to seek the genie’s intervention with their own medical woes.

Via sk60.

Today’s Word is Chutzpah

This just in

An artist has been given thousands of pounds of public money to simply live in Glasgow for a year.

Oh come on. There’s at least one joke in there.

Scottish Government quango Creative Scotland is giving £15,000 to Ellie Harrison after she vowed not to leave the city limits for all of 2016. The 36-year-old believes this will allow her to “increase her sense of belonging, by encouraging her to seek out and create ‘local opportunities’ - testing what becomes possible when she invests all her ideas, time and energy within the city where she lives.”

All her ideas

It is understood that the project will see her maintain an internet blog and that her whole life here will be a “work of art.”

How staggeringly convenient.

Harrison was born in London but has already lived in Glasgow for a number of years.

There we go.

Update, via the comments: 

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