Problematic Punctuality

Your Salary Will Be Paid When We Can Be Bothered To Get Around To It

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is a government agency that coordinates medical care and social well-being in the Beaver State. During the pandemic, OHA was responsible for coordinating Oregon’s vaccination drive and disseminating information about COVID-19—both vital tasks. The agency’s office for equity and inclusion, however, prefers not to rush the business of government. In fact, the office’s program manager delayed a meeting with partner organisations on the stated grounds that “urgency is a white supremacy value.”

You see, among the woke, you can’t reschedule a meeting without denouncing the works of the white devil.

Update: In the comments, Connor adds,

As our host would say, ‘cultivated neurosis’.

Well, yes. Apparently, it’s somehow not enough to simply reschedule a meeting to accommodate those who aren’t quite prepared. Instead, you have to ostentatiously invoke and then denounce some imaginary “white supremacy,” a supposed “value” of which is getting things done promptly. Because preferring a meeting to happen sooner rather than later, at some undetermined time and place, is seemingly a bad thing and, by implication, The Fault Of All White People. It’s as if these creatures have some bizarre mental checklist of ideological tics and affectations that must be inserted incongruously into almost any humdrum interaction.

The related “white” evils of punctuality and forethought - also known as adulthood - have been touched on here before.

Consider this an open thread. Or don’t, whatever.


If We Just Stop Noticing, Everything Will Be Fine

Board members say the changes are part of a larger effort to combat racism.

From the schools of San Diego, some “equity” news:  

Students will no longer be graded based on a yearly average, or on how late they turn in assignments. Those are just some of the major grading changes approved this week by California’s second-largest school district… “If we’re actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this that have gone on for years and years,” says San Diego Unified School District Vice President Richard Barrera.

The practices being confronted – i.e., excluded from consideration in academic grading - include expectations of “turning work in on time” and norms of “classroom behaviour.” Abandoning such standards is, we learn, an “accountability measure.” On grounds that acknowledging tardiness, misbehaviour and a lack of diligence results in “racial imbalance,” which, in the land of the bedlamites, simply won’t do.

Student School Board Member Zachary Patterson, who is also a junior at University City High School, says while some classmates expressed concerns about grade inflation, overall the feedback from his peers is positive.  

A license to disregard normal deadlines and to be selfishly disruptive, all with academic impunity. Why, it’s convenient and morally improving. Mr Patterson, an eleventh-grader who deploys the word inequities with dutiful enthusiasm, informs us, “Students all across the district are excited about this.”

After Patterson expressed concerns at this week’s meeting, the board will also review potential student disparities stemming from its zero-tolerance disciplinary policy on cheating in the coming weeks.

You see, expecting students to meet basic standards of behaviour, punctuality – and, it seems, probity - is “not fair,” according to SDUSD Vice President Richard Barrera, who adds that the new policy is – and I quote - “an honest reckoning.” An intriguing choice of words.

Update, via Rafi in the comments:

And in other “equity” news


They Sell Failure

From a needlessly indulgent New York Times piece on Robin DiAngelo and her fellow clown-shoe race-hustlers:

[Marcus] Moore directed us to a page in our training booklets: a list of white values. Along with “‘The King’s English’ rules,” “objective, rational, linear thinking” and “quantitative emphasis,” there was “work before play,” “plan for future” and “adherence to rigid time schedules.” Moore expounded that white culture is obsessed with “mechanical time” — clock time — and punishes students for lateness. This, he said, is but one example of how whiteness undercuts Black kids. “The problems come when we say this way of being is the way to be.” In school and on into the working world, he lectured, tremendous harm is done by the pervasive rule that Black children and adults must “bend to whiteness, in substance, style and format.”

Well, that’s one way of looking at it. A perverse and pernicious way, I’d suggest, and an obvious blueprint for degrading, perhaps irreparably, the lives and opportunities of those sufficiently credulous to internalise it. Unless, of course, the cultivation of tardiness, self-absorption, and lack of focus, along with a disregard for deadlines, standards and obligations, and a disdain for reciprocity, will somehow catapult minority students into gainful employment. But such is the way of the woke. Or of “equity transformation specialists,” in Mr Moore’s case.

One might instead argue that this supposedly “white” “obsession” with “mechanical time” – which is to say, basic foresight and punctuality - or just adulthood - has very little to do with oppressing the negro, as Mr Moore claims, and rather more to do with courtesy and treating other people as if they were real, just as real as you, and no more deserving of delays, frustration, or gratuitous disrespect. It seems to me that punctuality is not only about getting things done, about practicality and cooperation, but about getting over yourself. And presumably, Mr Moore - the one reducing black children to strange and otherly beings, unmoored by mere temporal concerns – would prefer his payments for this claptrap, aired to teachers and school administrators, to materialise promptly. Not, say, three weeks late. Or hey, whenever

Update, via the comments:

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Don’t Oppress My People With Your Norms Of Punctuality

From Tulane University, the very heart of White Devil Babylon - uptown New Orleans - student Shahamat Uddin - pronouns “he, him, his” - howls in protest:

Punctuality centres whiteness. It is far easier for white men to get to work on time than Black people who are having to change their hair to fit the workplace’s professionalism standards. 

It’s a hair thing, yes, and therefore terribly political, a hill to die on. But it’s even more than that. It’s also the devastating suspicion that you might be more likely to get hired if you remove your nose piercing, if only during office hours:

I remember the cultural pride I felt when I got my gold studded nose piercing, admiring my ancestors who donned the same kind of jewellery. I take it out now because I know I need a job, and I have learned from the Brown and Black people before me what I have to sacrifice to get one.

You see, wondering whether that nose piercing will be frowned upon, by employers or their customers, constitutes “systemic white supremacy,” a crushing phenomenon “that is barring us from maximal success.” It’s a “sacrifice,” an outrage, proof of being downtrodden. Because nose jewellery is pivotal to both optimal functioning and mental wellbeing. And questions of whether such piercings are ideal for a given workplace - however unspecified and theoretical those questions may be - amount to further, damning proof that “this country was not made for me.”

I have learned when and where it is to my own disadvantage to be too Brown or too gay or too immigrant. 

One more time, Tulane University. Where tuition is a mere $60,000 a year. And where the oppressed huddle for comfort against the Cold Winds of Whiteness.

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How To Impress Your Boss, An Intersectional Guide

Pogonip steers us to the pages of Everyday Feminism, where Sophia Stephens, a freelance writer and self-described “educator,” informs white employers of how to “ensure the safety of the black people and people of colour who work with and for you.” Not safety in the sense of fire regulations, of course, or loose stair carpeting, but with regard to the exquisitely delicate emotional state of All Brown-Skinned People Everywhere. Due to this perilous and inherent instability of mood, there are “questions to interrogate as you engage with people of colour and their labour.” Among which,

Are you asking or demanding? Many white people who approach Black and non-Black people of colour for labour do not ask for our labour — they demand it from us. Asking someone to do something leaves it open-ended with space for the person to say no… If you are exhausting and hurting Black and non-Black people of colour around you because you won’t take “no” for an answer when you request labour from us… it’s time to check your privilege.

If that’s not catnip for employers with tight deadlines, I don’t know what is. Oh, there’s more:

The most common opening for a demand that most white people don’t even realise is a demand is, “I need.” Of course you have needs, but is it necessary that you consistently go to people of colour, who also have needs that are systematically denied to them, to help you?

Yes, white employers must avoid using the phrase “I need such-and-such by the end of the week,” as this inflicts cruel and unusual hardship on those possessed of brown skin. And as an employer, a white employer, you must always remember to ask yourself, ‘Could I give this person’s work - which I hired them to do, and am paying them to do - to someone else - ideally, someone whiter?’ Or as Ms Stephens puts it,

It is important to reflect on how generations of access and entitlement to our labour does not mean you automatically get it from us now.

Needless to say, there are many other terms and conditions for white employers to observe, including parsing your requests for signs that they may be “inherently racist” or contain unspecified “microaggressions” and “triggering” language; and this:   

Take a peek at our social media (if you have access and permission), or go on Google and do some research before you ask us for labour.

Presumably, this is in order to perform a daily, perhaps hourly, check on the current moods of every single brownish employee, and thereby discern whether or not they may be willing to consider doing whatever it is you’re paying them to do.

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Slacking for Social Justice

It’s the latest thing, according to Riyad A Shahjahan, an assistant professor at Michigan State University, and whose areas of expertise include “social justice theory” and “pedagogies of dissent.”

In recent years, scholars have critiqued norms of neoliberal higher education by calling for embodied and anti-oppressive teaching and learning. Implicit in these accounts, but lacking elaboration, is a concern with reformulating the notion of ‘time’ and temporalities of academic life. Employing a coloniality perspective, this article argues that in order to reconnect our minds to our bodies and centre embodied pedagogy in the classroom, we should disrupt Eurocentric notions of time that colonise our academic lives. I show how this entails slowing down and ‘being lazy’.

Yes, comrades. We must “disrupt Eurocentric notions of time.” And temporalities, obviously. Postcolonial theorising is the only way to challenge the “neoliberal higher education climate” – hold that thought - and those “colonial binaries such as superior/inferior.” We must “dislodge higher education from neoliberal personhood.” As the exact nature of Dr Shahjahan’s problem has been buried under rhetorical rubble, I’ll translate as best I can. You see, being expected to keep up with the pace of lessons and deliver course work on time can induce feelings of discomfort and inferiority in those less able and conscientious, thereby resulting in “exclusionary effects,” which, it turns out, are oppressive and unjust:

These internalised temporalities may have especially exclusionary effects on bodies and selves. For example, Brandt (2008) found that the hurried pace of homework, exams and research associated with molecular biology laboratory class conflicted with a Navajo student’s sense of time. Thus, Navajo students internalised a sense of ‘being less than’ and felt guilty.

However, armed with our postcolonial theorising and postmodern bafflegab, and by stressing the mystical exoticness of people with browner skin, we shall set the people free from the “dominant culture of disembodiment” and the “temporal colonisation of our bodies” – i.e., expectations of punctuality, attentiveness and general competence:  

To undo this colonisation of our bodies, we should strive to ‘embody’ ourselves: inhabit our bodies fully, acknowledge the interconnection between mind, body, spirit, and contest the insertion of the body into the market.

Yes, we must contest the insertion.

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