You Can't Afford My Radical Life

When Your Opinions Are Social Jewellery

The TRIGGERnometry duo interview Rob Henderson, coiner of the term luxury beliefs:

Luxury beliefs I define as ideas and opinions that confer status on the upper class, while often inflicting costs on the lower classes… The way that people used to demonstrate their social class was through material goods, through expensive items… Today, it’s not necessarily the case… [Affluent] students will often downplay their wealth or even lie about how rich their parents are… [Now,] it’s luxury beliefs. It’s the unusual, novel viewpoints that they’re expressing to distinguish themselves. They crave distinction, that’s the key goal here…

An easy way to show that you’re not a member of the riff-raff, the masses, is to hold the opposite opinion, or a strange opinion that maybe doesn’t make sense, because it shows you’re not one of them. It’s not just the opinion itself, but the way that you express it. If you express it using vocabulary that no-one has ever heard of, for example… You often are not paying the price for your luxury beliefs, but even if you do, it’s still not nearly the same as the cost inflicted on the lower classes if they were to adopt those luxury beliefs too. […]

I talked to a friend of mine who was telling me, “When I set my Tinder radius to one mile, just around the university, and I see the bios of the women, a lot of their profiles say things like ‘poly’ or ‘keeping it casual’ – basically, they’re not interested in anything too serious.” He says something like half of them have something like that in their bio. And then he said, “But when I expand the radius on my Tinder to five miles, to include the rest of the city and the more run-down areas beyond the university bubble, half the women are single moms.” And basically, the luxury beliefs of the former group, the educated group, trickled down and ended up having this outsize effect on the people who are less fortunate, who don’t have the [social and] economic capital of the people who can afford that belief.

Several examples are given, along with their likely effects if enacted by the cash-strapped and credulous. One or two of them have of course been touched on here before. Indeed, we have a tag for such things, via which you can find one of Mr Henderson’s early articles on the subject.

Mr Henderson’s Substack can be found here.

Also, open thread.


Feeding On Failure

Dr Erec Smith, an Associate Professor of Rhetoric at York College of Pennsylvania, on educators who would prefer minority students not to be understood, or indeed successful

[W]hat is perhaps most troublesome about [“anti-racist” educator, Asao] Inoue’s statement is that he is projecting negative emotionality onto students because of something—their desire to learn standard English—that would otherwise suggest a positive and confident self-image. By framing this desire to succeed as hopeless, he is encouraging healthy young people to adopt attitudes that will hinder their development.

Possibly because expectations of failure, and cultivated resentment, are more exploitable by race-hustling educators. People whose paycheque depends on propagating misery.

Implicit in Inoue’s statement is the notion that the only way “students of colour”—particularly black and Latino students—can successfully navigate American society is to be phony and put on an act for white people’s approval. The thought of a black person seeing the pragmatic benefit of standardised English, or of a black person coming to college already proficient in it, are by this standard of black or Latino authenticity either impossible or reprehensible.

Authenticity being defined, it seems, as inarticulate ghetto knucklehead.

For Dr Inoue, a minority student wishing to be articulate, precise, and understood by a wider audience, by being fluent in the language of his academic peers and potential employers, is “selfish” and “immature.” Opting for comprehensibility and success is, we’re told, to surrender to “white supremacy” and “capitalist-inflicted bullshit.” “You can… mouth the words that are white, but… they’re coming from a [black] body,” says Dr Inoue, as if expecting applause.

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Your Manners And Competence Are Deeply Problematic

Kenin M Spivak on the urge to level down:

During the last 18 months, supercharged by events after George Floyd’s death, the radical Left has… shifted its focus to the abolition of testing and standards, the evisceration of math curricula, and indoctrination in our K-12 schools. The following is a necessarily abridged summary of recent developments…

Under pressure from progressive assertions of test bias, over the last few years, many colleges decided that SAT and ACT testing would be optional. Then, to settle a lawsuit alleging racist disparities, in May 2021, the UC system announced it is ceasing the use of ACT and SAT scores. Other colleges promptly followed the UC’s lead. Without scores, there can be no disparities.

In April 2020, citing “equity” and its goal to restructure and dismantle “systems and institutions that create the dichotomy of beneficiaries and the oppressed and marginalised,” the Oregon Department of Education eliminated grades and proficiency in reading, writing, and math as requirements for graduation…

On September 9, 2020, Education Trust-West, an “advocate for educational justice,” announced its study and toolkit for K-12 math, A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In Pathway, Trust-West characterised expecting the right answer, independent practice, teaching in a linear fashion, requiring procedural fluency, and requesting that students show their work, as “white supremacy.” Instead of offering a path for minority students to learn how to do math and come to the correct answer, Pathway instead advocates that schools use numbers to motivate anti-racist discussions of social justice.

On July 14, 2021, the California Department of Education issued a Mathematics Framework based on True-West’s Pathway. Chapter 1 of Framework rejects “natural gifts and talents” and calls for de-emphasising calculus and eliminating classes for gifted children in grades 6-12 to eliminate “inequity.” Chapter 1 specifies that “equity influences all aspects of this document.” The draft Framework directs teachers to use math for political discussions about “marginalised communities” and to move away from focusing on correct methods or answers.

At a time when, despite increases in school funding, almost 80% of black and Hispanic eighth graders have been deemed “not proficient” in maths or reading, it’s unclear how improvements might be made while simultaneously graduating high-school pupils regardless of their performance, or even their attendance, and while shying from the existence of such terribly oppressive things as correct answers.

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We’re Here To Help

By “suspending proficiency requirements” in the name of “equity”:  

An Oregon high school diploma does not guarantee that students who earned it can read, write, or do math at a high school level. Governor Kate Brown dropped the requirement that students demonstrate they have achieved those essential skills by signing Senate Bill 744 into law. She declined again Friday to comment on why she supported suspending the proficiency requirements… Charles Boyle, the governor’s deputy communications director… said in an emailed statement that suspending the reading, writing and math proficiency requirements will benefit “Oregon’s Black, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of colour.”

You see, having one’s academic capabilities and fitness for employment thrown into serious doubt is now a benefit.

Meanwhile, in the public schools of Baltimore.  

And somewhat related, this


Elsewhere (307)

Razib Khan reviews Charles Murray’s Facing Reality

Comfortable white people—“nice white parents” in affluent neighbourhoods who support efforts to “defund the police”—can refuse to look into the data or insist that those data are the product of racist systems and structures. They can “interrogate their privilege” and “confront their white supremacy,” or better yet, demand that others do so. But they won’t be any closer to understanding why poor African Americans and Latinos in inner-city neighbourhoods want more police officers in their neighbourhoods and not fewer, nor why poor African American parents clamour for access to strict charter schools that activists condemn for being “anti-black.” Principled ignorance might be a costless gesture for affluent progressives, but they’re heaping additional injustice onto the backs of those who can least afford the wages of social signalling.

Ben Sixsmith on when paedophilia was avant-garde: 

The German Green party was especially notable for its enablement of child abuse. As the Times of London reported in 2015, “a paedophile network was active in the Berlin branch of the Green party until the mid-1990s, with potentially hundreds of victims.” Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a leading student activist in the 1968 unrest and a prominent member of the Greens, wrote fantasies about sexual contact with children which he later awkwardly described as “irresponsible” and “a type of manifesto against the bourgeois society.” Cohn-Bendit was not, as you might assume, a hair-brained student when he wrote that filth, but 30 years old. Perhaps the bourgeois society had something — at least something — to be said for it.

Hans Bader on woke bigotry and a dishonest news media:

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Alterations

There was an article… by Lauren Rowello – a they, she’s a pronoun pointer, “they/them” – and her article was saying, “Kink belongs at Pride, and I want my children to see it.” The whole thing is… talking about how, if children are exposed to kink, then it will show them that not everyone is into the same stuff, blah blah blah. We used to have a word for that. And that word used to be grooming.

Given recent posts – and lest we assume that all people with gender dysphoria are insufferably woke - this video by Sinead Watson may be of interest. It’s not the most jolly viewing, but it is frank and eloquent, and, I think, informative. Issues touched on include the practicalities of transitioning and de-transitioning; the eye-widening failures of supposed experts; social contagion; and attempts by activists and their cheerleaders to erase the customary boundaries of women and children, and those between childhood and the adult world. Regarding which, Laurie Penny gets a brief mention. The word arsehole is used.

A second, longer video, in which Ms Watson talks with Benjamin Boyce, can be found here.

Lifted from the comments. Which you’re reading, of course.


Doing It For The Kids

Apparently, the way to “help our black students develop positive racial identity” is to ensure that as many of them as possible leave academia sounding uneducated – indeed, unintelligent – and unable to write in an adult manner, and therefore have trouble finding employment, thus leading to plenty of exploitable resentment. I paraphrase, of course, though not by much.

Dr Asao Inoue, whose “research focusses on antiracist and social justice theory,” and whose scholarly insights include “destroy grading,” and “standards… are white supremacist,” has been mentioned here before. As when we learned that grading a student’s ability to convey their thoughts in writing - and to formulate thoughts by writing – is merely a manifestation of “white language supremacy,” an allegedly lethal phenomenon, and therefore to be abandoned in the name of, and I quote, “inclusive excellence.”

Rejecting “white racial habits of language” will, it seems, result in some kind of righteous emancipation, the particulars of which remain somewhat unclear. However, students sufficiently credulous to internalise this pernicious woo may find that their liberation - from being articulate and in possession of their thoughts - evaporates on contact with life beyond the campus. By which time, of course, those tuition cheques will have been cashed. 

Update, via the comments:

The assumptions on which this woo is piled are both perverse and laughably impractical. If the broader population regards being inarticulate and unable to write clearly and precisely as warning signs - say, in terms of employing university graduates – then that’s unlikely to change. People will make those kinds of judgments widely and for the foreseeable future. They are not generally wrong to do so. A job application littered with basic errors of spelling and grammar, and which has evidently not been proof-read, is sending a message. One that will be detected and responded to accordingly.

And encouraging university students, would-be intellectuals, to give potential employers the impression that no education has in fact taken place - and that they don’t much care whether they are clearly understood by anyone outside of their immediate social circle - doesn’t seem likely to achieve much of anything, beyond a cycle of failure and disaffection, and more self-flattering fantasies of racial persecution. It’s certainly an odd measure of “compassion,” a term of which pointed use is made. Stripped of woke pretensions, Dr Inoue is encouraging students to waste their time, and money, and prospects, by shouting at the rain.

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Utopia Under Construction

Andy Ngo reports from Seattle’s super-woke world of tomorrow:

Those unfortunate enough to have homes or businesses within CHAZ — an estimated 30,000 residents — have no say over their new overlords. Residents have discreetly voiced their concerns to local media. Gunshots and “screams of terror” at night have been reported... Every business and property inside CHAZ has been vandalised with graffiti. Most messages say some variation of “Black Lives Matter” or “George Floyd,” but other messages call for the murder of police. Most businesses are boarded up. “ACAB” — all cops are bastards, an Antifa slogan — is written over them.

Needless to say, there’s more, much more, including armed warlords, triumphant racism, bomb-making, and the sexual assault of deaf women. But hey, we mustn’t judge. After all, we’ve been assured that it’s a precursor, a blueprint, of a brighter, kinder, more liberated world.


Thinking Like Children

And expecting applause. In the pages of Vice, a moral lecture, delivered from on high:

How to Talk to Relatives Who Care More About Looting Than Black Lives.

As an exercise in question-begging and dense, self-satisfied presumption, it’s quite a thing, that headline. It’s very now.

Among those of us deemed insufficiently woke and therefore suspect, questions may arise. For instance, in what way will those “black lives” be improved by the destruction of local infrastructure, local businesses, and the subsequent, perhaps dramatic, reduction in trust and goodwill? And what if the stores and homes in question - the ones being smashed, stripped of their contents and set ablaze - are owned by people who happen to be black, as has often been the case? What if the places being looted and vandalised with abandon, indeed exultation, are depended on by people who also happen to be black, whether as customers or employees? After the razing and ruin of their places of work, should these people be pleased to be former employees? Unemployed people who now have no local grocer, or garage, or pharmacy?

Alas, such considerations appear to have eluded the keen mental processes of the article’s author, Ms Rachel Miller, a young woman who dutifully declares her pronouns and boasts of being a “Buzzfeed alum.” 

If you’re not Black but want to support BLM, having fraught conversations with your kinda (or definitely) racist loved ones will likely not be fun, but it’s a very worthy undertaking.

Right from the off we’re informed, firmly, that any perceptible reservations about looting and rioting, or reservations about the Black Lives Matter movement – say, regarding its demented far-left agenda, its racial tribalism, and the stated goal of abolishing capitalism, prisons and the police – must be taken as an indicator of being “kinda (or definitely) racist.” Wokeness is not, it seems, a recipe for cognitive subtlety. “Some people,” we’re told, “appear to be far more worried about the fate of a Nordstrom or Target store than that of the actual human lives of protesters.” Again, one might deduce that only those protesting with, shall we say, physical enthusiasm have “actual human lives,” unlike their victims, whose hopes and livelihoods can be gleefully destroyed as an act of righteous liberation. From local amenities.

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