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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:22 pm 
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People sure put a lot of stock into meaningless gestures. I mean, what does it actually accomplish if the president of Yale condemn racist attacks? Is it going to stop anyone from doing racist things? "Oh, the president of the university thinks its bad, so I won't draw any more swastikas". And yet Aaron Z Lewis puts a lot of importance on the president saying something and the timing of it but I just don't see it.

What matters is what the university does about these incidents, not what the president says. And there may not be a lot that can be done about some of them. How likely are you to catch the swastika drawer? Does sending out email condemning it really do anything useful?

Finally, why should these two faculty members lose their jobs because they exercised their right to free speech in a thoughtful way? I'm disappointed Lewis didn't address that nasty bit of business.


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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:33 pm 
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On the surface I would tend to agree with yov - the student’s reaction to a statement from a faculty member that offensive costumes should be allowed in the name of free speech is grossly overboard and inappropriate. However, saying that this shows an “apparent total inability to deal with any adversity” (yov), misses the much larger point that this is not just “any adversity”, it is part of a very long history of institutional racism that goes beyond mere hurt feelings. Yes, in the grand scheme of things an offensive Halloween costume should not be that big of a deal. For those of us who do not have to deal with the effects of racism on a daily basis, it may seem downright trivial. But for those who do, the accumulation of trivial things over a lifetime of discrimination can be overwhelming.

These are kids too, young adults maybe, but still feeling their way and finding their voice. To say that they want totalitarianism is ridiculous. I might not like the way they are dealing with things, but I do not fault them for taking issue with what is happening. To his credit, in the video posted in the original article, the faculty member remained perfectly calm and listened to the students even as they heckled him. Good for him.


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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:37 pm 
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I think one of the big problems on these college campuses is that there is no sense of perspective, no sense of practicality, no sense of proportion.

Everything get conflated and thrown together. Sombreros are as bad as swastikas. Hurting someones feelings by saying something they disagree with is as bad as using a racial epithet. These students are harming the cause they imagine they are fighting for.

Why aren't we talking more about truly racist incidents? Because they're demanding the resignation of faculty members for doing nothing wrong. Because at Missouri they forced out two people for not acting it exactly the way they wanted. But it won't solve the problem. It won't even come close. Those racists are still out there and it is hubris or delusion ( or an invitation to a surveillance state? ) to think that any university can just scrub all racism from their campus.

It's always the same -- if one of these coddled students doesn't agree with the way you express an idea or handle something, then you have to be fired and humiliated and your life destroyed. It's time to stand up to these bullies. Enough is enough.

tinwë -- if they don't want totalitarianism then they should stop acting in ways that suggest they want it. That means not trying to stifle free speech and free press. That means not trying to get everyone who disagrees with them fired.


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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:39 pm 
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Interesting. What do I make of that? That probably after some important and valuable airing of painful and difficult events, an emotionally charged group lashed out at the nearest innocent bystander, in this case Erika Christakis. That's what it sounds like to me. That his article, despite the attempt at rational level-headedness, still blatantly mischaracterizes her email as one that "suggested that people should feel free to wear culturally insensitive costumes on Halloween" makes me dubious that he actually wants honest dialogue.

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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:52 pm 
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tinwë wrote:
On the surface I would tend to agree with yov - the student’s reaction to a statement from a faculty member that offensive costumes should be allowed in the name of free speech is grossly overboard and inappropriate. However, saying that this shows an “apparent total inability to deal with any adversity” (yov), misses the much larger point that this is not just “any adversity”, it is part of a very long history of institutional racism that goes beyond mere hurt feelings. Yes, in the grand scheme of things an offensive Halloween costume should not be that big of a deal. For those of us who do not have to deal with the effects of racism on a daily basis, it may seem downright trivial. But for those who do, the accumulation of trivial things over a lifetime of discrimination can be overwhelming.

These are kids too, young adults maybe, but still feeling their way and finding their voice. To say that they want totalitarianism is ridiculous. I might not like the way they are dealing with things, but I do not fault them for taking issue with what is happening. To his credit, in the video posted in the original article, the faculty member remained perfectly calm and listened to the students even as they heckled him. Good for him.


tinwë, I would encourage you, if you have not already done so, to read the article that I posted. The protests long predate the Halloween costume emails, and the videos of the students heckling the professor are not representative of most of the students protesting.

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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:33 pm 
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http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/11/can-we-take-political-correctness-seriously-now.html#

This is brilliant.


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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:46 pm 
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Here is a contrary viewpoint to the pieces from the Atlantic that were posted earlier that I think is much more on point than the one written by the student.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/encouraging-cultural-sensitivity-isnt-censorship/415185/

Quote:
Many have been quick to say that the reactions—including calls for the ouster of Christakis by student activists—were outsized and inappropriate, but few have said that the reaction to the student activists has been equally outsized and inappropriate.


I'm not sure what outsized and inappropriate reaction to the activists the author is talking about, though. You could argue, of course, that my claim that they were acting like totalitarians fits this, but of course they were undisputably not allowing a dissenting viewpoint, which is a hallmark of a totalitarian system.

But my main point would be that no one is calling for the student activists to be arrested or expelled or have their lives ruined or anything like that. No one is yelling at them or shoving them or telling them they have no right to speak. ( Surely saying that they are dangerously wrong is not the same as telling them they have no right to speak. ) So there has not been an "equally outsized and inappropriate" reaction here. There is no equivalency here. Only one side in this is acting in an undemocratic way.

And that there are real concerns of racism on campus does not mean that students trying to force out professors or administrators because of hurt feelings or restrict freedom of speech and press is not also a very important issue.


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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:59 pm 
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Faramond wrote:
And that there are real concerns of racism on campus does not mean that students trying to force out professors or administrators because of hurt feelings or restrict freedom of speech and press is not also a very important issue.


Thank you for that. I've been trying to vocalize that but couldn't quite find the words. Yes, I would like to be able to express concern about the latter without it being assumed that I am indifferent (or even hostile) to the former.

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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:10 pm 
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What I'd like to know is what is this "systemic racism" that is occurring on college campuses. I'm not asking as a challenge to prove it doesn't exist, but because I'm not there and I don't know what the problem is.

Racial epithets and swastikas and frat party discrimination surely aren't what is meant by it. They aren't systemic, after all. They're awful, of course. What could be systemic racism was if these incidents were totally ignored and not investigated.

But it seems to me that they have been investigated. Maybe not enough -- but in the case of the swastikas and epithets I think expecting any kind of resolution is far-fetched. How are you going to find the person who did those things?

Nor do I think having the president of the university make statements about how awful it is has any value. This doesn't make them go away or stop and it doesn't alter behavior. It's just meaningless blather and the opposite of real action. Everyone knows that these things are wrong and should be condemned.

In the case of the discrimination at the frat party you might expect an investigation to yield a little bit more since there are so many people involved and potential witnesses.

What are we really talking about here? Faculty not meeting a diversity quota? Literature courses that feature too many dead white males? Names on buildings? Admissions standards? Professors expressing viewpoints that students find offensive? Other students expressing viewpoints that are found offensive? Harassment of minorities by campus police? Indifference to sexual assault reports?


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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:01 pm 
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Faramond wrote:
People sure put a lot of stock into meaningless gestures. I mean, what does it actually accomplish if the president of Yale condemn racist attacks? Is it going to stop anyone from doing racist things? "Oh, the president of the university thinks its bad, so I won't draw any more swastikas". And yet Aaron Z Lewis puts a lot of importance on the president saying something and the timing of it but I just don't see it.


The president of Yale condemning racism is not a meaningless gesture. The president of Yale NOT condemning racism is not a meaningless gesture either.

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‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:06 pm 
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What does it actually accomplish? Do we all go around wondering if the presidents of Ivy League schools are racist? Really, it's kind of ridiculous. The world would be better off with less PR nonsense and more real action.

Like wearing a little flag pin to show you support the troops. It's just a cheap gesture. It doesn't mean anything or help anyone. Truly the *least* you can do.


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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:03 am 
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By themselves, I agree that such gestures would not accomplish much, without a lot more further action. But they do help establish that a culture that allows systemic racism to flourish is not acceptable. Certainly not the only necessary step, but one of many.

In my very humble opinion, of course.

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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:06 am 
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And what is this systemic racism, precisely? Or even generally?

I can imagine lots of stuff but obviously with my "white privilege" I don't know what it is.


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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:31 am 
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I'm going to assume that is a genuine question, despite the somewhat snarky last sentence, and quote from sociologist Joe Feagin, who reportedly came up with the term systematic racism as a theoretical construct to help explain, within the social sciences and humanities, the significance of race and racism both historically and in today's world.

Quote:
In the introduction to his book, Feagin writes,

Systemic racism includes the complex array of antiblack practices, the unjustly gained political-economic power of whites, the continuing economic and other resource inequalities along racial lines, and the white racist ideologies and attitudes created to maintain and rationalize white privilege and power. Systemic here means that the core racist realities are manifested in each of society’s major parts [...] each major part of U.S. society--the economy, politics, education, religion, the family--reflects the fundamental reality of systemic racism.

Elaborating on this, Feagin explains that the key aspects of systemic racism are as follows.

•Patterns of undeserved impoverishment and enrichment that are historically rooted and continue to recur today. Over time, whites have been enriched by the labor of people of color, whether commanded for free during the era of slavery, or purchased on the cheap on the basis of race. This pattern consists of the simultaneous and mutually dependent denial of wealth accumulation for people of color, and unjust wealth accumulation for whites. It can be seen in the exclusion of people of color from buying homes in certain neighborhoods and receiving unfavorable mortgage rates, or being channeled into low-wage jobs.
•Vested group interests, among both powerful whites and “ordinary whites” who benefit from a white racial identity, support political and economic systems that reproduce a social system that is racist and has racist outcomes.
•Alienating racist relations exist in which whites are in positions of power and routinely discriminate against, dehumanize, and exploit people of color who are marginalized also by the racist nature of institutions like education, media, and law, among others. Alienating racist relations make it difficult for people of different races to recognize their commonalities, and to achieve solidarity in fighting broader patterns of inequality that affect the vast majority of people in society, regardless of their race.
•The costs and burdens of racism are disproportionately born by many people of color but black people especially, including shorter life spans, limited income and wealth potential, impacted family structure as a result of mass incarceration of Blacks and Latinos, limited access to educational resources and political participation, and the psychological, emotional, and community tolls of living with less, and being seen as “less than."
•The role that white elites play in perpetuating a racist social system via politics, law, educational institutions, the economy, and via racist representations and underrepresentation of people of color in mass media. Also known as white supremacy.
•The rationalization of racial oppression by racist ideology is a key way in which systemic racism operates and is central to its reproduction. Racist ideology often asserts that whites are superior to people of color for biological or cultural reasons, and manifests in stereotypes, prejudices, and popular myths and beliefs. These typically include positive images of whiteness in contrast to negative images associated with people of color, such as civility versus brutishness, chaste and pure versus hyper-sexualized, and intelligent and driven versus stupid and lazy.
•Finally, Feagin recognizes that resistance to racism is also an important feature of systemic racism. Racism has never been passively accepted by those who suffer it, and thus systemic racism is always accompanied by acts of resistance that might manifest as protest, political campaigns, legal battles, resisting white authority figures, and speaking back against racist stereotypes, beliefs, and language.


http://sociology.about.com/od/S_Index/f ... Racism.htm

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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:40 am 
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I think the snark is very mild, and based on the title of this thread which I think it ridiculous, or the way the protesters at Missouri simultaneously demanded that the president both resign and acknowledge his white privilege, which is sort of beyond absurd -- why should he do BOTH? It just seemed to be part of a pattern of destroying him as much as they could.

Anyway, what I want to know is what kinds of systemic racism are being faced by students at Missouri and Yale and presumably most other US universities? I still haven't heard a straight answer to this question.

The definition you've provided is fine as a framework but it doesn't answer my question.

You know, Voronwë, I get the feeling that you'd rather I didn't post here. Just say so if that's the case.


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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:56 am 
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As far as I am concerned, you are as welcome to post here as anyone. Moreover, my say should not have any more influence than any other poster, as I am no longer overseeing the operations the board and am no longer involved in the enforcement of the board's policies and procedures.

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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:42 am 
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Let me just say that I am sincere in my questions, in spite of the occasional snark.

Look, this is what I am looking for, something like this, that Frelga posted earlier.

https://thsppl.com/why-i-m-absolutely-an-angry-black-woman-2cf74c95828#.p2aajk1hr

This is specific and educational and powerful. And if there was something like this related to the university setting instead then the solutions to the problem might become apparent. I might change my mind about how shameful it was that the University President was railroaded out of there. But there seems to be very little communication, beyond the issuing of demands.

I guess you could say that my opinion doesn't matter. I'm sure the activists at Missouri would say that. I'm certain they would treat me the way that they treated the press if I was for some reason there. So I wonder, why should I care one bit about them? To hell with them. I think they're a blight on this country. ( Specifically the people harassing the press, shoving members of the press and then claiming they were attacked. ) Intolerant, fascist jerks.

But I do care about the other students there. Most of the students of all races aren't like that. No student should have to put up with racism. And no student should have to put up with his or her voice being invalidated by racists. Or by aggressive PC activists.


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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 2:51 am 
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Faramond wrote:


That is a stunningly powerful piece of writing.

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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:57 am 
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The professor who was harrassing a reporter at Missouri has apologized for it. That's something, at least.

I don't get why the activists would view the press as the enemy. Unless they don't like the story the press is writing, I suppose.


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 Post subject: Re: "Privilege"
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:38 am 
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yovargas wrote:
Faramond wrote:


That is a stunningly powerful piece of writing.


I'm glad we can agree on something.

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