Category Archive 'Racial Politics'
17 Jun 2017

Not Too Much for HuffPo

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CNN reported:

Doctors caring for released North Korea detainee Otto Warmbier said he has not spoken or moved on his own since he arrived in the United States on Tuesday, a condition they described as “unresponsive wakefulness” or persistent vegetative state.

The 22-year-old has suffered extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain, doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said in a news conference Thursday.

Also known as persistent vegetative state, the syndrome’s symptoms include no voluntary movement or awareness of surroundings. Warmbier opens his eyes and blinks spontaneously but shows no signs of understanding language or responding to verbal commands, said Dr. Daniel Kanter, professor of neurology and director of the Neurocritical Care Program.

The news shed light on the Warmbier family’s statement that their son suffered severe brain damage at some point in his 17 months of detention.

His parents said they learned of their son’s condition — what North Korea called a coma — only last week.

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On HuffPo, La Sha posted this humanitarian response.

[Otto Warmbier is a] young white man who went to an Asian country and violated their laws, and learned that the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad.

As shocked as I am by the sentence handed down to Warmbier, I am even more shocked that a grown man, an American citizen, would not only voluntarily enter North Korea but also commit what’s been described a “college-style prank.” That kind of reckless gall is an unfortunate side effect of being socialized first as a white boy, and then as a white man in this country. Every economic, academic, legal and social system in this country has for more than three centuries functioned with the implicit purpose of ensuring that white men are the primary benefactors of all privilege. The kind of arrogance bred by that kind of conditioning is pathogenic, causing its host to develop a subconscious yet no less obnoxious perception that the rules do not apply to him, or at least that their application is negotiable.

Headline after headline has highlighted that Otto Warmbier is a student. His LinkedIn profile states that he is majoring Economics with a minor in Global Sustainability and is a Managing Director of an “alternative investment fund.” A man reared in this country who studies the globe as a part of his higher education curriculum must have been at least passingly aware of the notoriously strained relationship between the United States and North Korea. Surely he had read the stories of Jeffrey Fowle and Matthew Miller, other white American men arrested in North Korea for “petty crimes” who were subsequently sentenced to hard labor.

Yeah, I’m willing to bet my last dollar that he was aware of the political climate in that country, but privilege is a hell of a drug. The high of privilege told him that North Korea’s history of making examples out of American citizens who dare challenge their rigid legal system in any way was no match for his alabaster American privilege. When you can watch a white man who entered a theatre and killed a dozen people come out unscathed, you start to believe you’re invincible. When you see a white man taken to Burger King in a bulletproof vest after he killed nine people in a church, you learn that the world will always protect you.

Coming from a country filled with citizens who lambaste black victims of state sanctioned violence by telling us that if we obey the law, we wouldn’t have to face the consequences, Warmbier should’ve listened. If he had obeyed North Korea’s laws, he would be home now. In fact, if he had heeded the U.S. Department of State’s strong advisement against travel to North Korea, he would be home right now. And if Eric Garner is to be blamed for his own death for selling loose cigarettes or if Sandra Bland is dead because she failed to signal when changing lanes, then Otto Warmbier is now facing a decade and a half of hard labor because he lacked both good judgment and respect for the national autonomy of a country which has made its hatred for and vendetta against America unequivocally clear.

And while I don’t blame his parents for pressuring the State Department to negotiate his release, I wonder where they were when their son was planning a trip to the DPRK. Didn’t they impress upon him the hostile climate that awaited him? Didn’t they rear him to respect law and order? Did they not teach him the importance of obeying authority?

What a mind-blowing moment it must be to realize after 21 years of being pedestaled by the world simply because your DNA coding produced the favorable phenotype that such favor is not absolute. What a bummer to realize that even the State Department with all its influence and power cannot assure your pardon. What a wake-up call it is to realize that your tears are met with indifference.

As I’ve said, living 15 years performing manual labor in North Korea is unimaginable, but so is going to a place I know I’m unwelcome and violating their laws. I’m a black woman though. The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense. He is now an outsider at the mercy of a government unfazed by his cries for help. I get it.


La Sha

It’s always a bit astonishing for a normally sane person to discover just how vehemently racist some African Americans are, and a bit appalling as well to catch a glimpse of the lurid and extravagant thought world of self-indulgent paranoid fantasy that many of them inhabit.

And it is obviously a very bad thing that so many people make a habit of seeking self-gratification by wallowing in delusions of persecution and projecting vicious prejudices onto everyone unlike themselves, but the kind of people guilty of this sort of thing, at least, have the excuse of being enabled and encouraged by a kind of pathological group think. I don’t see though how anyone can excuse the editors at places like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and Huffington Post who routinely publish these kind of hydrophobic ravings, treating them as some kind of legitimate editorial perspective,

28 May 2017

Yale Gave Special Award for “Exemplary Leadership in Enhancing Race and/or Ethnic Relations” to Two of the Leaders of Crowd that Abused Nicholas Christakis

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There’s Abdul improving those racial relations.

The Tablet:

Yale’s Nakanishi Prize is awarded every spring to “two graduating seniors who, while maintaining high academic achievement, have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College.” Normally, the bestowal of an undergraduate award, even at an august institution like Yale, is of interest to no one beyond the recipients, their classmates, and their families. This year’s prize, however, should trouble anyone concerned with the imperiled fate of free inquiry and rational dialogue at our nation’s institutions of higher learning: on May 21, Yale recognized—out of a graduating class of some 1,300—two individuals who did more than most of their peers to worsen race relations on campus.

Our story begins in the fall of 2015, when a mob of students surrounded professor Nicholas Christakis in the courtyard of Silliman, the residential college of which he used to be Master, a term used to describe head faculty members who oversee undergraduate life (more on this later). Christakis, a world-renowned sociologist and scientist, was there to answer complaints about an email sent by his wife, Erika, in response to a campus-wide message distributed by a Yale College dean of “student engagement,” Burgwell Howard, warning students away from wearing Halloween costumes that “threaten our sense of community.” For her mere suggestion that Yale undergraduates—adults who can legally vote and fight and die in the nation’s wars—be entrusted with the responsibility to choose their own Halloween costumes (and, furthermore, be entrusted to share whatever discomfort they may have about potentially “offensive” costumes with their peers, rather than encouraged to whine to overpaid, utterly superfluous, administrative busybodies), Erika Christakis was denounced by hundreds of Yale students, faculty, alumni, and countless off-campus agitators as an incorrigible bigot and “white supremacist” whose job should be taken from her. …

Of the 100 or so students who confronted Christakis that day, a young woman who called him “disgusting” and shouted “who the fuck hired you?” before storming off in tears became the most infamous, thanks to an 81-second YouTube clip that went viral. (The video also—thanks to its promotion by various right-wing websites—brought this student a torrent of anonymous harassment). The videos that Tablet exclusively posted last year, which showed a further 25 minutes of what was ultimately an hours-long confrontation, depicted a procession of students berating Christakis. In one clip, a male student strides up to Christakis and, standing mere inches from his face, orders the professor to “look at me.” Assuming this position of physical intimidation, the student then proceeds to declare that Christakis is incapable of understanding what he and his classmates are feeling because Christakis is white, and, ipso facto, cannot be a victim of racism. In another clip, a female student accuses Christakis of “strip[ping] people of their humanity” and “creat[ing] a space for violence to happen,” a line later mocked in an episode of The Simpsons. In the videos, Howard, the dean who wrote the costume provisions, can be seen lurking along the periphery of the mob.

Of Yale’s graduating class, it was these two students whom the Nakanishi Prize selection committee deemed most deserving of a prize for “enhancing race and/or ethnic relations” on campus. Hectoring bullies quick to throw baseless accusations of racism or worse; cosseted brats unscrupulous in their determination to smear the reputations of good people, these individuals in actuality represent the antithesis of everything this award is intended to honor. Yet, in the citation that was read to all the graduating seniors and their families on Class Day, Yale praised the latter student as “a fierce truthteller.”

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Nakanishi Prize page on Facebook:

Congratulations to Lex Barlowe and Abdul-Razak Zachariah, the 2017 Nakanishi Prize winners!

Lex Barlowe – An African American Studies Major and Mellon Mays Research Fellow graduating with distinction, Lex Barlowe has focused her scholarship on issues of land usage, cooperative economies, and reparations in the American South. She is described as a fierce truthteller who illuminates the challenges affecting her communities, rooting them in history and context in order to promote a deeper understanding of them. Her peers say of her “Lex never fights for just one issue. Her moral imagination operates with the knowledge that issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. are all interconnected.”

Lex has also worked tirelessly to build bridges among organizations and individuals, pushing relentlessly for a more equitable and just campus — and world — through her activism. Serving as past President and Social Justice Chair for the Black Student Alliance at Yale (BSAY), a Communication and Consent Educator (CCE), and an organizer for the group Fossil Free Yale, she brings womanist, feminist, anti-racist work to the fore with academic rigor and a deep integrity, and she has, by example, taught her peers, faculty and administrators about inclusive leadership.

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Abdul-Razak Zachariah – graduates with distinction, has worked to improve Yale’s racial and ethnic relations through his academic work, both within his Sociology major and in the Education Studies program. A recipient of a Mellon Mays Research Fellowship, he has explored the topic of “respectability politics” in mentorship organizations for Black male teenagers in New Haven in the first of his two senior essays; in his second, he examines multiculturalism and racial representations in children’s literature.

Abdul has devoted himself equally to community engagement, mentoring youth of color as a member of Yale’s Black Men’s Union, guiding and welcoming peers as a Cultural Connections counselor, and caring for first-year students as a Freshman Counselor for Timothy Dwight College. As a member of the Undergraduate First-Generation Low Income Partnership, Abdul has played vital roles as Recruitment Coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the New Haven Outreach Coordinator for Timothy Dwight College, and undergraduate representative to the Yale President’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion.

27 May 2017

Another Professor Mobbed and Abused by Snowflakes of Color

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Hot Air:

Bret Weinstein, a biology professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, was surrounded by a group of student protesters Wednesday after he wrote an email objecting to plans for a Day of Absence.

In the past, the Day of Absence has been a day where black and Latino students leave campus to highlight their significance on campus. This year students wanted to change the format. Instead of leaving campus themselves, they wanted white students and professors to leave campus, thereby creating a safe space for the students left behind. Professor Weinstein objected to that format and wrote and email saying he would not be leaving campus and encouraged others not to do so. …

Student protesters decided that email was racist and a firing offense. They gathered at Weinstein’s classroom and began shouting at him and, eventually, demanding he be fired or resign.

For about 3 minutes there is something like a discussion but when Weinstein suggests this moment could be a turning point in favor of the student’s values, one of the protesters says, “Yeah, resign.” The professor refuses and the protesters start chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Brett Weinstein has got to go!”

Students then complain that Weinstein isn’t listening to them and that he’s trying to “control” the situation. At this point, the audio in the clip drops out.

19 Apr 2017

Diversity Hiring By American Universities

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Dr. Kaia Shivers, Ph.D. Rutgers University, M.A. Clark Atlanta University, B.S. Florida A&M University, Clinical Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, New York University: “The two main objectives in teaching is…”

“Alex Southwell” (a pseudonym) shares a diversity at today’s American universities horror story.

I was appointed by the dean of General Studies [at Hudson University] to serve as the chair for a writing hiring committee, a committee charged with hiring one full-time writing professor, who not only could teach first-year writing classes but also offerings in journalism. The committee of three met late in the fall semester to discuss the first group of candidates, before undertaking the second set of Skype interviews. I mentioned that I had received an email from one of the candidates and shared it with the committee members. After reading the email aloud, I argued that the missive effectively disqualified the candidate. The writing was riddled with awkward expression, malapropisms, misplaced punctuation, and other conceptual and formal problems. Rarely had a first-year student issued an email to me that evidenced more infelicitous prose. I asked my fellow committee members how we could possibly hire someone to teach writing who had written such an email, despite the fact that it represented only a piece of occasional writing. The candidate could not write. I also pointed back to her application letter, which was similarly awkward and error-laden. My committee colleagues argued that “we do not teach grammar” in our writing classes. Sure, I thought. And a surgeon doesn’t take vital signs or draw blood. That doesn’t mean that the surgeon wouldn’t be able to do so when required. …

The committee went on to hire the woman in question. Since assuming her position, the new hire posted an official faculty profile linked from Hudson’s General Studies program page. Her faculty profile page betrays the same awkward prose, poor incorporation of quotes, and other problems of expression typical of first-year student writers, but usually not professors. The profile also includes a glaring grammatical error. I strongly believe that her official evaluations are likely as bad as her RateMyProfessors.com reviews.

To be perfectly clear, I am not arguing against the diversification of the faculty and student populations within Hudson’s General Studies program and beyond. Rather, I am suggesting that the diversity initiatives recently introduced by the university and our program have been hastily and thoughtlessly administered and mistakenly construed, to the detriment of academic integrity and real equity. Qualified academics can be found among all population groups. The university must ensure that those selected are qualified, first and foremost, not by their identities per se, but by what they know and are able to do and teach. It is sheer cynicism to suppose that qualified candidates cannot be found among minority groups. Blatant tokenism in hiring and promotion jeopardizes the integrity of higher education and also undermines the objectives that diversity initiatives aim to promote.

RTWT

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Advice Goddess identifies the diversity hire:

The professor mentioned — who writes “The two main objectives in teaching is …” — appears to be Kaia Shivers and the school appears to be NYU. The program is their “Liberal Studies” program.

I’ve preserved a screenshot of Kaia Shivers’ online page from NYU. …

The first line of a paper she published has a similar error in the first line — one that would disqualify a person from being my assistant. It should also disqualify a person from becoming a professor, and the notion that skin color would give a person pass is one of the most disgustingly racist things I can think of.

    Negotiating Identity in Transnational Spaces: Consumption of Nollywood Films in the African Diaspora of the United States

    Kaia Niambi Shivers

The only wonder is that Yale has not (so far) hired her as a dean.

Hat tip to the Barrister.

15 Apr 2017

Clemson: Expecting Punctuality is Racist

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The Daily Wire reports that one university is now teaching people that expecting punctuality in the workplace is racist.

According to diversity training materials being disseminated at publicly-funded Clemson University, expecting people from other cultures to show up on time is racist.

Yup, racist.

The university spent nearly $27,000 on diversity training materials from a company called Workplace Answers. …

One of the online slides depicted two groups, which included foreign professors and students, showing up to a scheduled event at 9 a.m.; one group came 15 minutes early and the other came 10 minutes late. The slide made the assertion that it would not be the inclusive thing to do to chastise the group that was late, since people must “recognize cultural differences that may impact the meeting and adjust accordingly.”

The Daily Caller reports:

    One slide features a guy named Alejandro who plans a meeting between two groups. Each group contains foreign professors and students. One group shows up 15 minutes early. The second group shows up 10 minutes late.

    A question-and-answer section then instructs Clemson’s professors that Alejandro would be insufficiently “inclusive” if he were to “politely ask the second group to apologize.” Alejandro would also be wrong to advise the straggling, late people who aren’t respecting everyone else’s time that “in our country, 9:00 a.m. means 9:00 a.m.”

    The “inclusive” thing for Alejandro to do, the taxpayer-funded diversity materials instruct Clemson professors, is to “recognize cultural differences that may impact the meeting and adjust accordingly.” Alejandro must understand “that his cultural perspective regarding time is neither more nor less valid than any other.”

In other words, some foreigners are incapable of being on time and Americans need to shut up and accept it in the name of diversity, or something. Of course, such low expectations of those from other cultures is truly infantilizing stuff, but this is how the Left views any minority group.

These ingenuous and expensive slides were reportedly approved by Clemson Chief Diversity Officer Lee Gill. It’s unclear what a “chief diversity officer” actually does, but Gill apparently gets paid big bucks for the position, raking in over $185,000 in tax-payer funds annually.

RTWT

15 Apr 2017

Alleged South African Grad Student Proposes Disenfranchising White Men

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“Shelley Garland” looks like a transgender specimen to me.

The South African edition of Huffington Post recently featured an interesting editorial proposal offering a glimpse of just where the radical left will be going in the future internationally.

Some of the biggest blows to the progressive cause in the past year have often been due to the votes of white men. If white men were not allowed to vote, it is unlikely that the United Kingdom would be leaving the European Union, it is unlikely that Donald Trump would now be the President of the United States, and it is unlikely that the Democratic Alliance would now be governing four of South Africa’s biggest cities.

If white men no longer had the vote, the progressive cause would be strengthened. It would not be necessary to deny white men indefinitely – the denial of the vote to white men for 20 years (just less than a generation) would go some way to seeing a decline in the influence of reactionary and neo-liberal ideology in the world. The influence of reckless white males were one of the primary reasons that led to the Great Recession which began in 2008. This would also strike a blow against toxic white masculinity, one that is long needed.

At the same time, a denial of the franchise to white men, could see a redistribution of global assets to their rightful owners. After all, white men have used the imposition of Western legal systems around the world to reinforce modern capitalism. A period of twenty years without white men in the world’s parliaments and voting booths will allow legislation to be passed which could see the world’s wealth far more equitably shared. The violence of white male wealth and income inequality will be a thing of the past.

This redistribution of the world’s wealth is long overdue, and it is not just South Africa where white males own a disproportionate amount of wealth. While in South Africa 90 percent of the country’s land is in the hands of whites (it is safe to assume these are mainly men), along with 97 percent of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, this is also the norm in the rest of the world. Namibia has similar statistics with regard to land distribution and one can assume this holds for other assets too. As Oxfam notes eight men control as much as wealth as the poorest 50 percent of the world’s population. In the United States ten percent of the population (nearly all white) own 90 percent of all assets – it is likely that these assets are largely in the hands of males. Although statistics by race are difficult to find from other parts of the world, it is very likely that the majority of the world’s assets are in the hands of white males, despite them making up less than 10 percent of the world’s population.

It is obvious that this violent status quo will not change without a struggle, and the only way to do so will be through the expropriation of these various assets and equitably distribute them to those who need them. This will not only make the world a more equitable place, but will also go some way to paying the debt that white males owe the world. Over the past 500 years colonialism, slavery, and various aggressive wars and genocides, have been due to the actions of white men. Redistributing some of their assets will go some way to paying the historical debt that they owe society.

It is no surprise that liberalism – and its ideological offshoots of conservatism and libertarianism – are the most popular ideologies among white males. These ideologies with their focus on individuals and individual responsibility, rather than group affiliation, allow white men to ignore the debt that they owe society, and from acknowledging that most of their assets, wealth, and privilege are the result of theft and violence.

Some may argue that this is unfair. Let’s be clear, it may be unfair, but a moratorium on the franchise for white males for a period of between 20 and 30 years is a small price to pay for the pain inflicted by white males on others, particularly those with black, female-identifying bodies. In addition, white men should not be stripped of their other rights, and this withholding of the franchise should only be a temporary measure, as the world rights the wrongs of the past.

A withholding of the franchise from white males, along with the passing of legislation in this period to redistribute some of their assets, will also, to a degree, act as the reparations for slavery, colonialism, and apartheid, which the world is crying out for to be paid.

RTWT if you can stand it.

11 Apr 2017

Face It, The Red Gods Hate Minorities

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Writing in Everyday Feminism, “Raging Bisexual” Emily Zak explains that Googles and Yahoos do not recreate themselves in the out-of-doors as much as white folks, and it’s all your fault!

Ambreen Tariq runs Brown People Camping, an Instagram account that promotes diversity in public lands. She says she can feel like an outsider hiking and camping as a Muslim woman of color and immigrant.

“I felt like I had to establish myself – ‘Yeah, I’m a camper, I’m a hiker’ – that other people don’t do as much because they don’t have to question their belonging in that space,” Tariq tells Outside.

“Not only did I not have an authentic background doing activities in the outdoors, but my family didn’t do it, and I don’t have the legacy of being connected to a piece of land because we were always moving.”

We need to acknowledge outdoor recreation’s lack of diversity and inclusion.

Without understanding what’s keeping folks home, we blame oppressed individuals for “not taking initiative,” rather than addressing what may be preventing them from participating in certain activities.

To encourage people to take their own adventures, we might say well-meaning things like, “Anybody can do this if they’re motivated enough.”

This can be inspirational to someone who has the resources and leisurely time to explore the outdoors and needs a kick in the butt to do so. However, the message can be draining for folks who are raring to explore, but can’t.

We forget that society’s hierarchies of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, body size, and economic class don’t magically disappear in the forest. We deny that society actively discourages millions from playing outside, possibly stopping budding conservation activists.

As Tariq notes, “The more of us who can connect to it, the more we can protect it together.”

Here are a few barriers that marginalize people have to overcome to experience nature.

1. You Need Equipment

Our society treats nature as something we can enjoy independent of capitalism.

Theoretically, we go there to escape, and all we need are some sturdy shoes and maybe a sleeping bag.

The reality is more complicated. In the United States, outdoor recreation is a $646 billion industry. Open the pages of outdoor magazines, and you’ll find $150 trail running shoes, $500 tents and $4,000 mountain bikes.

We’ve created a culture of elitism around the outdoors, led by wealthy gear heads.

The Minnesota Land Trust’s Hansi Johnson, who’s white, recalls how he used to see people wearing jeans and flannel cross-country skiing growing up – a rare sight today.

Even if folks push past mainstream narratives and seek more affordable gear, cost is still a factor for low-income people.

If deals on used equipment or borrowing from a friend aren’t feasible in someone’s area, gear for a no-frills camping trip can still cost $500. Forget the cost of a car and gas to get to the campsite.

While do-it-yourself fixes for gear do exist – anybody else try cooking on a beer can camp stove? – they’re not universally known outside of backpacking circles. Ditto on cheap gear websites.

Those who make outdoor activities cheap often have a support system behind them.

As a freelancer with a college education, I’m perpetually broke, not poor. I couldn’t camp comfortably if I didn’t have the gear my parents gifted me back in high school.

No wonder 40% of participants in outdoor activities make $75,000-plus salaries a year.

The paradox that being poor is expensive is true: If you want to participate in a no-cost outdoor activity, you need to have money to invest in the gear initially.

This system reveals deeply entrenched classism. Ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away.

2. Outdoor Gear Doesn’t Fit Everyone

Cost is just one hurdle. Outdoor gear needs to fit.

Fitness culture overall reeks of fat-shaming, for one, which is reflected in workout clothing offerings.

Ultra-marathoner and cross-country coach Mirna Valerio says on Fat Girl Running that she struggles to find functional, flattering outfits that don’t pinch or cost a lot. In fact, most sportswear goes up to just a size twelve.

For those who’d prefer cycling: Only last year did anyone think to build a bike for someone who’s heavier than 300 pounds.

As with disability access, if the equipment isn’t readily available, people aren’t as likely to think that the outdoors are theirs to explore.

If we truly believe that everyone should be outside, we need to hold companies accountable for their limited views on body size.

3. Access to Natural Spaces Is Tangled in Historic Privilege and Oppression

In principle, public lands belong to all of us. In reality, select people get to enjoy it.

Carolyn Finney, geographer and author of Black Faces, White Spaces, explains about how national parks contribute to a larger story about who we are as a country, which historically excludes Black folks.

On Tavis Smiley, a PBS show hosted by Tavis Smiley, Finney reminds us that people of color do have a connection to natural spaces, but some of that land was stolen from them:

    ” …whether it’s the 400,000 acres of land that were originally given to freed enslaved Africans and then taken away, whether it’s all the native people that had to be removed from land in order for the Homestead Act to make sense, and then give it to European immigrants so that they could have their own plot of land.”

Finney continues, “This is part of the legacy of who we are and our issues of land and ownership and connection.”

Today, 80% of communities of color live “in areas where the proportion of remaining natural area is lower than the state average.” According to a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, low-income neighborhoods are four and a half times less likely to have recreation facilities like parks in some states.

Furthermore, what we consider “untouched wilderness” is anything but.

As Kimberly Fanshier notes for Everyday Feminism, this concept centers around white people’s perspective and erases Indigenous populations who lived there for centuries before.

Many national parks and public lands were built on colonized lands. Even US National Parks reflect colonialism, where white leaders ignored Indigenous people in the area to establish.

Our society leverages natural spaces as a tool for capitalism and colonialism, while at the same time touted them as apolitical, free, and pure.

It goes on.

Personally I thought urban minorities do a pretty good job of stealing other people’s bicycles, so why wouldn’t they be adequately equipped for mountain biking?

05 Apr 2017

2017 Elite College Admissions

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Mic Network reported:

When Ziad Ahmed was asked “What matters to you, and why?” on his Stanford University application, only one thing came to mind: #BlackLivesMatter.

So for his answer, Ahmed — who is a senior at Princeton Day School in Princeton, New Jersey — wrote #BlackLivesMatter exactly 100 times. The risky decision paid off. On Friday, Ahmed received his acceptance letter from Stanford.

“I was actually stunned when I opened the update and saw that I was admitted,” Ahmed said in an email. “I didn’t think I would get admitted to Stanford at all, but it’s quite refreshing to see that they view my unapologetic activism as an asset rather than a liability.”

On Saturday, Ahmed posted his answer and acceptance letter on Twitter with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. …

Ahmed has already been invited to the White House Iftar dinner and recognized as an Muslim-American change-maker under the Obama administration.

In 2016, he interned and worked for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign after leading Martin O’Malley’s youth presidential campaign. In November 2015, Ahmed gave a TedxTalk in Panama City, Panama, discussing the perils and impact of stereotypes as a young Muslim teen.

When the next student mob assembles at an elite college to run some middle-aged professor out of town for defending Free Speech, this is where its leadership will be coming from.

31 Mar 2017

Yale English Department: Out With Shakespeare, In With Toni Morrison

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Oldest College Daily:

English Department faculty voted Tuesday to change the requirements for the major in an effort to increase the curriculum’s diversity, represent more literary periods and make the major more flexible.

The department’s 30 voting faculty were “overwhelmingly in favor” of reform, according to English professor Leslie Brisman. The revised curriculum, which has yet to be finalized, places equal importance on every major historical period from medieval to contemporary, rather than requiring students to take three pre-1800 courses before studying modern literature, and cuts the number of required courses from 14 to 12. The proposed changes would also double the number of ways to fulfill the major’s central requirements, allowing students to take English 127 and 128, an American literature introductory sequence, in place of the long-standing “Major English Poets” sequence.

The decision, which the department has not formally announced, comes nearly one year after 160 students signed a petition calling for the department to “decolonize” its course offerings.

“The solution we ended up with makes an implicit promise to students, which the department is deeply committed to honoring: that is, that students should and will encounter a broad diversity of texts, writers and traditions within every period,” English professor Catherine Nicholson said. “The form that diversity takes will vary across time, of course, which is part of the point, but no period will simply and exclusively focus on the writing representations of aristocratic white men.”

These requirements will apply to undergraduates in the class of 2021 and onward, according to acting English Department Chair Ruth Yeazell GRD ’71.

Rather than impose a “diversity requirement” or a “contemporary literature requirement,” Brisman said, the department voted to create a new English 128 course called “World Anglophone Literature,” which may have a historical breadth as well as an emphasis on contemporary literature. He explained the decision to elevate English 127 and 128 to a status equivalent to that of English 125 and 126 was intended to “tear down the barrier between canonical and noncanonical authors” while removing poetry from its “privileged position” within the Yale English Department.

Brisman said the department aims to better respond to student interest in diversity by increasing the number of courses featuring works by women and people of color, as well as authors who wrote in English but lived in non-English speaking countries. Several courses on the early histories of racial and religious differences are in the works, Nicholson said, adding that she and a colleague are discussing a cross-period course on early female writers.

Director of Undergraduate Studies and English professor Jessica Brantley said the department periodically revises the curriculum, but the past year’s conversations have taken on “added urgency” because of campus and national discussions about inclusion. She added that the new major better reflects the work and spirit of the department as well as the needs and desires of its students.

“We’ve constructed a curriculum that has inclusion as its goal, embedded in the structures of its requirements, and I’m very excited to implement and develop that curriculum further,” Brantley said.

Previously, English majors had four historical distribution requirements: three pre-1800 and one pre-1900. The revised requirements aim to make the department’s commitment to historical range better reflect its “actual sense of what’s important and why” by including every major historical period and valuing each equally, Nicholson said.

Faculty members debated between requiring students to take four out of five historical periods — medieval, Renaissance, 18th century, 19th century and 20th/21st century — or combining the 18th and 19th centuries into a unit and requiring students to take all four periods. Nicholson said the final decision to require four out of four periods reflects the fact that faculty members want students to encounter the broadest possible range of materials and writers.

“In sum, the new requirements give further guidance to students about sampling the variety of English literature of all kinds and periods, but they also allow more choice in shaping a major that suits the student’s particular interests,” Brisman said. …

Brisman said student feedback informed the process, since faculty members acknowledged during the negotiations that requiring three pre-1800 courses and one pre-1900 course made it look as though the department valued those courses more than contemporary or diversity literature.

“We hope that the new structure of requirements will give our students a strong foundation in the history of writing in English over the millennia, while introducing them to writers and periods whose cultures and perspectives might initially seem remote from their own,” Yeazell said.

Adriana Miele ’16, one of the petition’s signatories and a former opinion columnist for the News, said her experiences as one of the few nonwhite students in the English major showed her that the department needed to broaden its approach to literature. Still, Miele said she worries that the English Department’s push for diversity may be only superficial.

“The fact that there are so few nonwhite scholars [in the department] makes me really skeptical of any advancements that can be made,” Miele said. “But it’s definitely moving in the right direction.”

English major Frances Lindemann ’19 called the change “fantastic and long overdue.” She added that it would be impossible to represent all groups of people in a semesterlong course, but requiring a single sequence and calling it “Major English Poets” falsely suggests this collection of authors is the most important and the only one worth studying. Lindemann said she would like to see the department develop a more inclusive range of prerequisite options to make students feel more welcome in the major.

Some students acknowledged that the new requirements shift attention away from poetry. Brisman said he hopes students will continue to gravitate toward classes focusing on Milton and Shakespeare, but he suspects students overall will move away from canonical authors toward other, less canonical ones.

Full story.

———————–

What can one say, looking on as those specially charged with the preservation and transmission of of our civilization decline to defend it and surrender spinelessly to the whims and vanity of the barbarous young?

It obviously never occurred to any of the leading faculty members of the Yale English Department (in my day universally regarded as the best in the country, possibly in the world) to quote that notable representative of diversity W.E.B. DuBois:

I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil. Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America? Is this the life you long to change into the dull red hideousness of Georgia? Are you so afraid lest peering from this high Pisgah, between Philistine and Amalekite, we sight the Promised Land?”

What a thing it is to live in a time when those appointed to the most prestigious position in the land devoted to the study of the Canon of the English Language are not prepared to tell the ignorant young that “Yes, this collection of authors really is the most important and, by far, the most worth studying. And if you do not care to study these authors, you will not receive a degree in English from this department.”

16 Mar 2017

Just “A Vast Slave Society”

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J.T. Zealy, Renty, A Congolese slave on plantation of B.F. Taylor, Columbia, S.C., Daguerrotype photograph taken for Louis Agassiz’s study on Polygenism, March 1850.

Harvard Magazine reports that Harvard recently invited professional race-baiter Ta-Nehisi Coates to deliver the keynote address at a day-long liberal guiltfest over the century-and-a-half extinct institution which (regrettably) brought Coates’ ancestors to American shores.

The above 19th century daguerrotype served as poster-image for the conference because the wicked and nefarious naturalist Louis Agassiz, while working at Harvard, had caused that image to be captured for use in his studies of taxonomy and human etiology. That racist bastard Agassiz working in the first half of the 19th century (Can you imagine?) actually took the differences in skin color and physiognomy exhibited in this image as evidence supporting a significant taxonomic distinction between Sub-Saharan Africans and Europeans.

The audience of Harvards trembled guiltily on their seats as Ta-Nehisi Coates demanded reparations, telling his open-mouthed listeners that “We talk about enslavement as if it were a bump in the road. And I tell people: it’s the road. It’s the actual road.”

Daniel Coquillette, Harvard Law School’s Warren visiting professor of American legal history, and the author of the 2015 book, On the Battlefield of Merit: Harvard Law School, the First Century, gave an account of Isaac Royall, whose bequest led to the 1817 founding of the law school and whose newly revealed slave legacy roiled the campus last year with intense protest and controversy. A West Indian planter and strikingly cruel man, Royall owned a sugar plantation on the island of Antigua during the eighteenth century. Sending gasps through the audience, Coquillette described how Royall brutally suppressed a major slave revolt there in 1736. More than 350 slaves had mobilized, but “at the last moment,” Coquillette said, they were betrayed. After it was over, 77 slaves were burned at the stake, and six others were drawn and quartered. The leader of the uprising, a slave named “King” Court, was gibbeted alive.

Following student-led protests, organized under the name Royall Must Fall, the law school decided last spring to change its shield, which was based on the Royall family crest. At the same time, professor Janet Halley, who is the school’s Royall professor—one of the country’s oldest named chairs—began taking first-year law students on tours of the slave quarters at Royall’s home in Medford, as a way of engaging the University’s heritage.

Read the whole thing.

12 Feb 2017

Calhoun College Renamed

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Detail, statue of John C. Calhoun in U.S. Capitol.

The little bolsheviks at the Oldest College Daily gleefully report that the inevitable has happened.

Yale President Peter Salovey and the other invertebrates making up the Yale Corporation on Saturday acted upon the recommendation of Salovey’s hand-picked committee of SJWs and re-named Calhoun College. In future, the Yale residential college formerly bearing the name of the 19th century statesman holding the highest rank in American Government of any deceased Yale graduate at the time the original ten colleges were named will be renamed in favor of Grace Hopper, a black* female who attended Yale Graduate School, taught Mathematics at Vassar, and then served in the Navy Reserve.

Yale’s traditional primary emphasis on the undergraduate college, in 1930, would have excluded any mere Graduate School alumn from consideration for such an honor, but Peter Salovey himself went to Stanford and only attended Yale grad school. Under Salovey, two newly-built residential colleges were recently named for Ben Franklin, whose only connection to Yale was his receipt of an honorary degree, and for some black lesbian (whom nobody not a communist had ever heard of) who went to Yale Law School.

Poor old John Calhoun has been singled out as an exceptional advocate of Slavery by today’s Radical Activist Left based on their hyper-simplified Howard-Zinn-comic-book view of American history. They haven’t, so far, figured out that Elihu Yale traded slaves, that Reverend Davenport owned slaves, that Samuel F.B. Morse was a keener defender of Slavery than John Calhoun, that Benjamin Silliman‘s Yale tuition was raised by the sale of some slaves, that Bishop Berkeley has a college because he kindly gave Yale a plantation equipped with slaves, and so on.

What is important about this farce is the tragic fact that both the Yale President and the Yale Corporation have proven themselves both too cowardly and too intellectually nugatory to stand up to the childish demands of the activist campus mob. They feel themselves obliged to follow the lead, and to take moral instruction, from the Radical Left simply, in the final analysis, because the Left has strong moral opinions, and they, “men with empty chests,” as C.S. Lewis put it, have none at all.

God help Yale, God help America, when the highest of places in the national establishment are occupied by such completely useless nonentities and poltroons.

—————————–

Correction: Grace Hopper wasn’t black, merely female. I was misled by her photograph in old age. Thanks to Joel Pomerantz.

06 Feb 2017

This Year’s Superbowl Propaganda Fest

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John Nolte is perfectly correct: “Liberals eventually ruin everything.” Last night’s Superbowl featured a series of political propaganda advertising spots.

Coke and Airbnb competed in the nausea-inducing sweepstakes with ads extolling the beauties of “diversity.”

84 Lumber, whose first ad, featuring a Mexican mother and daughter dismayed at confronting Trump’s Wall, was declined by Fox as “too controversial,” ran a minute-and-a-half spot titled “The Journey Begins,” showing the same mother and daughter starting out hopefully and passing through desert, river, and mountains in the direction of El Norte, presumably in search of the land of the generous welfare check.

Audi, as Jack Baruth explicated at length, served up a lesson on the natural superiority of the community of fashion, cloaked as a lecture on Feminism.

All in all, the amount of political virtue-signalling from big, ugly fat cat corporations was simply appalling. Yesterday was one of those days where you wondered if the citizens of Hitler’s Germany were as much bombarded with get-in-line, Gleichschaltung prop as we are.

Liberal “diversity” is such a crock. I’m old enough to remember 1950s America very well. People, like myself, living outside the big cities and the South, never ran into people of other races at all, but we still had plenty of diversity. Go watch one of those old war movies in which the soon-to-be-embattled platoon is shown to be made up of the farmboy from Kansas, the guy with the thick Brooklyn accent, the strong Polack, the ready-with-his-fists Irishman, and the intellectual Jew. My own small town had a population pretty much only made up of turn-of-the-last-century Roman Catholic immigrants, and we still had more than enough diversity to fuel all the mutual dislike anybody needs.

In the old days, newly arrived immigrants came to America, lived in enclaves of their own, and took the worst jobs. Today, some Hindu or Mussulman hops of the plane from Bombay and sends his offspring to Harvard or Yale. The first generation in the country does not line up to work with a pick and shovel in the coal mines, to lay track for the railroads, or to do the heavy lifting in the mill. That first generation can be found teaching the US Constitution (from a left-wing point of view) at Yale Law School (Akhil Amar) or telling Americans what to think about Foreign Policy on CNN (Fareed Zakaria).

No wonder so many people are experiencing a wave of Nativist revulsion. Suddenly, it’s the turn of every personage of color from every remote continent or clime to be welcomed heartily to America, and granted immediate entrée to the national establishment in a way that it was never the turn of Scots Irish who’ve been living here for centuries or the Germans or the Scandinavians or the Irish and Southern and Eastern Roman Catholics who arrived somewhat later. Those people are never counted as diverse, and simply get lectured to by their betters and advised to apology for their white privilege.

04 Feb 2017

Special Committee Recommends Renaming Calhoun College

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John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850), Yale Class of 1804, 7th Vice President of the United States 1825-1832.

Peter Salovey’s hand-picked committee of Social Justice Warriors has deliberated and, what do you know? They decided that John C. Calhoun should be singled out among all nine slave-owner and slavery defender namesakes of three quarters of the original twelve Yale residential colleges for elimination.

Oldest College Daily:

A University task force has recommended that Calhoun College be renamed, according to Yale officials with knowledge of the group’s report.

The recommendation from the task force, which was charged with applying the University’s newly created principles on renaming to the Calhoun debate, positions the Yale Corporation to rename the college when it meets the weekend of Feb. 10 and 11.

University President Peter Salovey formed the Calhoun task force in December, after the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming released its report. The task force consisted of two faculty members, history professor John Gaddis and English and African American Studies professor Jacqueline Goldsby GRD ’98, and one alumnus, G. Leonard Baker ’64. Both Gaddis and Goldsby signed a faculty petition last spring calling for the renaming of Calhoun, named after slavery proponent John C. Calhoun, class of 1804.

On Jan. 13, the task force submitted its recommendation — which came in the form of a report running less than 10 pages — to Salovey, who will present it to the Corporation at the February meeting.

Last month, Salovey told the News that he did not plan to release the recommendation until after that meeting. Salovey was not involved in the task force’s deliberations, although he did have some input on the final draft of the report.

“The task force did their work independently, and their analysis and recommendations are their own,” Salovey said in January. “They gave me the courtesy of letting me see a next-to-final draft of their report, and make some comments. But my comments to them were really only about sort of clarifying the way their findings were expressed.”

If the Corporation accepts the task force’s recommendation, the University trustees would be voting to reverse their decision last April to keep Calhoun’s name. The April renaming decision incited months of student and faculty backlash, and helped unite Yale activists and New Haven community members in a growing “change the name” movement.

Last August, primarily in response to faculty criticism of the decision to keep the name of Calhoun, Salovey charged the CEPR with outlining broad guidelines for all renaming disputes at the University, starting with Calhoun. The committee released its 24-page report on Dec. 2, calling on administrators to consider historical context as they determine whether the legacies of controversial namesakes like Calhoun justify renaming campus buildings.

Vice President for Communications Eileen O’Connor declined to comment on the nature of the task force’s recommendation, but said the Corporation will decide the Calhoun issue at its meeting later this month.

“We have a process, we’re following the process, and we’ll take all the information into account when we make a decision in the best interests of the University,” O’Connor said.

Why stop there? Roger Kimball asked last August in the WSJ:

I have unhappy news for Mr. Salovey. In the great racism sweepstakes, John Calhoun was an amateur. Far more egregious was Elihu Yale, the philanthropist whose benefactions helped found the university. As an administrator in India, he was deeply involved in the slave trade. He always made sure that ships leaving his jurisdiction for Europe carried at least 10 slaves. I propose that the committee on renaming table the issue of Calhoun College and concentrate on the far more flagrant name “Yale.”


Elihu Yale had a little black page.

27 Nov 2016

Public Assistance Barbie

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publicassistancebarbie

Empire News (a humor site):

In a bold move today that is sure to create controversy among fans of the company, Mattel announced its new Barbie doll; ‘Public Assistance Barbie’ will be marketed directly to inner-city youths and children of welfare recipients.

”Since 1959 Barbie dolls have been through major changes to reflect the times we live in. Today with over 40% of Americans on some sort of public assistance, we felt the time was right for ‘Public Assistance Barbie,” said Mattel spokesman Rick Reynolds. “After doing research on people receiving assistance, we have come out with what we think is a fair and sensitive portrayal of that kind of person with our new doll. Each Public Assistance Barbie will come with a new Cadillac, Puma sweats, a pack of Newports, an Obama phone, an EBT card, and a rack of Budweiser. She will also come in three styles: heavily tattooed and pierced, pregnant and smoking, and a ‘black eye’ version from when drunken Ken beat her for not paying the cable bill. Public Assistance Barbies will be on the shelves in time for your holiday purchases, and will come in special theft-deterrent boxes. EBT cards cannot be used to purchase, unfortunately.”

Read the whole thing.

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