Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Who Really Benefits from Racial Affirmative Action?
There are beneficiaries from admitting black students with little chance of performing at the level of other students. They are college presidents, administrators and campus liberals. Whether blacks graduate or have been steered into useless “Mickey Mouse” courses is irrelevant. Government race overseers are only counting colors. College administrators win kudos for achieving and celebrating “diversity,” not to mention the fact that they can keep government higher-education handouts.Of course, struggling black students can easily pick up a sense of victimhood, blaming their situation on “racist” administrations, professors or fellow students. And it doesn’t help if white students let on, perhaps in subtle ways, that they know the black students are less well academically qualified. Thus we have “microaggressions.” In spite of good intentions, it’s not easy to consistently pretend that something you know to be true isn’t.
Another group of beneficiaries is composed of black staff and faculty who are hired and create campus fiefdoms with big budgets based on the presence of black students. The number of black students enrolled is the key, not the number who graduate or wind up in useless “Mickey Mouse” courses or in the bottom of their classes. In fact, there is an element of perversity. The greater the number of blacks who are on academic probation or do not graduate the more justified are calls for greater budgets for academic support and student retention programs.
Of course, there are plenty of professors and administrators who will egg on and pander to racial grievances. Students articulating such grievances may get rewards — a position on a diversity committee, for example, or the favorable attention of the media. And, for course, when white students react negatively to the whining (or being bullied about “white privilege”) this simply adds to the stock of grievances.
Things like this may explain the findings of a recent Gallup study: black graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) fare better than black graduates of other institutions.
This applies, first, to various indices of “thriving.”
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It also applies to college experiences.
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InterpretationThis Gallup study involved a large number of respondents, but it is short of a well-controlled social science study. Most importantly, there is probably a lot of self-selection involved, and black students who choose to go to such institutions may be different from students who choose to go to predominately white institutions.
But it may be that the climate at predominately black institutions is simply better than the racially obsessed hyper politically correct climate at many predominately white colleges.
Students at historically black colleges are unlikely to be struggling academically because affirmative action has put them in an excessively demanding environment. And it’s harder to articulate racial grievances against administrators who are black, or faculty who are black (or are whites who have chosen to teach at a predominately black college). Where the overwhelming majority of students are black, the color of your skin cannot make you the affirmative action pet of administrators, or the token black on this or that committee. If somebody disses you, it’s likely to be viewed as personal, and not a racial slight.
ConclusionDoes this mean that black students should prefer historically black colleges? No — although that might be a good choice for some students. But it does suggest that they should be wary of accepting admission to any institution where they will be far below the average white student in terms of SAT or ACT scores. Williams suggests “[d]o not enroll your children in a college where their SAT score [presumably, verbal plus quantitative] is 200 or more points below the average of that college.”
It also means your are better off in a school that is not hyper politically correct. A school that is not overrun with diversity bureaucrats, and where white students are not berated about “white privilege.” A religious institution (one that is really religious, not merely nominally religious, like Marquette) is a likely choice.
But the first thing to remember is this: the people who talk loudest about having your best interests at heart, probably don’t.
Monday, December 28, 2015
Interview With a Marxist Libertarian
Thursday, December 24, 2015
. . . and a Happy New Year.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Monday, December 21, 2015
Fact Check: Obama on Mass Shootings
. . . President Obama said at a news conference, “I mean, I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings; this just doesn’t happen in other countries.” Is his statement true?Why would Obama so badly misstate the facts? Quite simply, like liberal and leftist elites generally, he assumes that the socialist countries of Europe are better than America. Once one starts assuming that, actually looking at the data does not seem particularly necessary.
In one sense, the answer would be “yes.” President Obama’s statement was in the form of: “Every time X happens, I say Y.” As a historic self-description of Obama’s own rhetoric, Obama’s statement is mostly true, but only in recent years. When President Obama was running for national office in 2007 through November 2012, he never used mass shootings to compare the United States unfavorably with other countries. Nor did he use mass murders as an occasion to make political demands for gun control. This was his rhetorical approach from the Virginia Tech murders in April 2007, through the Aurora theater murders in July 2012.
. . .
Thus, the President’s Dec. 1 statement is mostly accurate as a self-description of what he frequently says, at least from December 2012 onward.
Is the president’s statement about “other countries” accurate? No. For example, on Nov. 20, 2015, mass shooters attacked a hotel in Mali, murdering at least 19 people.
Although President Obama has relatives in Kenya, his statement suggests a lack of awareness of events there. On April 2, 2015, criminals murdered 142 students at the University College Campus of Garissa, in northeastern Kenya. Among the other mass shootings in Kenya in recent years are those as Lamu (29 murdered, July 5-6, 2014), Mpeketoni (53 murdered, June 15-17, 2014), Majembeni and Poromoko (15 murdered, two days after Mpekoni) and the Westgate Mall in Nairobi (67 murdered, Sept. 21, 2013). Kenya, by the way, has extremely strict laws against the possession or carrying of firearms, as well as bows, as I detailed in a Quinnipiac Law Review article with Joanne Eisen and the late Paul Gallant.
On Saturday, Boko Haram attackers murdered four people in Nigeria, and four more in Niger. Last weekend, four Egyptian policemen were murdered in a drive-by shooting. As reported by CBS News the day before Thanksgiving, “Two massacres that killed 15 people in less than 12 hours rocked Honduras and left the country’s top cop in tears on Wednesday.”
Perhaps President Obama does not know about the above events or believes that for some reason that mass shootings in Africa, Asia or Latin America don’t “count.” This is a surprising perspective for someone who, in his autobiography, claims to have closely studied the works of radical anti-colonialist “Franz [sic] Fanon” and to have spent much time discussing “Eurocentrism” with his Columbia University friends.
Suppose we accept the president’s implicit premise that “other countries” includes only the most-developed countries of the West. With this limitation, what is the accuracy of his statement that “these mass shootings; this just doesn’t happen in other countries”? Plainly false, especially considering that the president was speaking in Paris, the site of multiple mass shootings on Nov. 13 and of the Charlie Hebdo mass shootings in January.
More generally, an October article in the Wall Street Journal looked at mass shootings in 14 countries from 2000 through 2014. The article reported the research of professors Jaclyn Schildkraut (State University of New York Oswego) and H. Jaymi Elsass (Texas State University). They are co-authors of the forthcoming book “Mass Shootings: Media, Myths, and Realities,” to be published in 2016 by Praeger. All of the countries had one or more mass shootings in this period, but the United States had by far the most. In terms of per capita fatalities, the United States was fourth, after Norway, Finland and Switzerland. Another article, at the Independent Journal website, provides a “Rampage Shooting Index” for 10 countries, covering 2009-2013. Again, the United States is first in total number of incidents, and sixth in per capita fatalities. (Behind Israel and Slovakia, as well as the previously mentioned nations). Updating the index to account for 2015 would put France ahead of the United States. (French data are reported in the I.J. article, but not the Wall Street Journal article.)
. . . Regardless of definitional boundaries, the broader point of the Schildkraut and Elass research is consistent with all the other data: The United States has more mass shootings than other most-developed nations, and a lower per capita fatality rate than at least several of them.
It would be interesting if the data were expanded to fully account for mass shootings in nations such as Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria, where the homicide rate is far higher than in the United States. If we say that having an economy as “developed” as a member of the Organization for Economic Co‑operation and Development is what constitutes a “developed” country, then the U.S. gun homicide rate is about in the middle for “developed” countries.
As President Obama pointed out today, he has repeatedly made the same claim about “other countries” and mass shootings. When he did so last June, Politifact examined the issue, including the research of Professors Schildkraut and Elsass. Politifact rated the Obama claim “Mostly False.” Yet he continues to make the claim, speaking in a city with repressive gun control and which only 18 days ago suffered a horrific series of mass shootings. President Obama’s second book touted his “audacity,” and the president’s remarks today demonstrated chutzpah.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Friday, December 18, 2015
Minority Students as Victims of Affirmative Action
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION is once again before the Supreme Court. The case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, arose from the usual scenario: A white student applied to the university but was denied admission, while black applicants with weaker academic credentials were admitted because of racial preferences designed to favor minorities.Then, further on in the article:
It’s no mystery why Abigail Fisher, the rejected student in this case, would object to that racial double standard and take her protest all the way to the Supreme Court. What’s less clear is why the University of Texas embraces such a double standard.
What particularly concerns Heriot and Kirsanow [members of the Civil Rights Commission] is the substantial body of empirical evidence demonstrating that affirmative action hurts the very students it is intended to help. Their brief discusses the problem of “mismatch.” That is the term for what happens when an elite institution relaxes its usual standards to admit more racial minorities, thereby encouraging black students to enter schools where they are apt to be academically weaker than their peers. The result is that students admitted through affirmative action tend to cluster near the bottom of their entering cohort, to have lower grades and higher drop-out rates, and to more frequently abandon rigorous courses or switch to less demanding majors.For a more detailed review of the evidence, which clearly supports Jacoby, check this article in the Wall Street Journal.
For anyone who cares about minority advancement, the toll taken by mismatch is heartbreaking. Only one-third of black students who enter law school, for example, end up graduating and passing the bar exam on the first attempt. Another example: At Duke University, to take another example, 54 percent of black and Hispanic men who started out as science and engineering majors switched to a different field, compared with a mere 8 percent of white male students who did so. A study of underrepresented minority students at 23 universities found that the number who would have successfully earned degrees in science, math, and engineering would have been between 35 and 45 percent higher — if only the students had attended schools where their academic credentials were closer to average.
The Civil Rights Commission has reported on the troubling “mismatch” phenomenon in several recent studies. An important 2012 book by legal scholars Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor Jr. delved into the issue in sober detail. There is little doubt that racial preferences have backfired, leaving the nation with fewer black doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, and professors than would otherwise be the case. There was some politically-correct hyperventilating when Justice Antonin Scalia asked about this research during the Fisher oral argument this month.
But there is nothing outrageous in taking a hard look at mismatch, or in seriously confronting the harm it has caused. Racial preferences have held back far too many minority students. The sooner those preferences are scrapped, the more success black students will achieve.
Affirmative action is not, in fact, about “diversity,” it’s about political correctness. A genuine diversity agenda would require recruiting conservatives and libertarians for faculty positions in most departments in most universities. It might require giving preference to students from poor and working class backgrounds. It would involve giving preference to foreign students coming from cultures quite different from that of the average American kid (and this includes the average black American kid).
Affirmative action, in other words, is not a genuine diversity policy. It’s just a racial spoils system.
We Know Where This Leads
Guest Commentary: Concerned Catholics at Marquette Climate Study Forum
Last September I was surprised but gratified to see that the Marquette Climate Survey Final Report included concerns expressed by “conservative” or traditional Catholic faculty, staff and students about the state and direction of Marquette’s Catholic identity.
Then, in November, Drs. Lovell, Myers and Welburn sent an email to all Marquette faculty, staff and students inviting us to organize forums among our like-minded colleagues. Each forum would work with the university’s Climate Study Working Group (CSWG) to define three action items they recommend Marquette administration pursue in order to improve the climate on campus. I saw a few articles in the Marquette Tribune about some of these groups (here and here) and thought we could form one for traditional Catholics. I emailed some colleagues who I knew shared my concerns, they shared it with others they knew and soon we had a large group of faculty and staff very eager to participate. We reached out to student groups as well like Students for Life, The St. Robert Bellarmine Society and the Adoration Guardians but received no response.
Dr. Welburn was very supportive of the effort, and with his help we secured a meeting date of December 2. We had about 20 faculty and staff attend the meeting which, I’m told, was one of the largest among these special-constituency climate study forums.
Our discussion was open and frank. The most urgent issue concerned academic freedom and how the articulation of Catholic teaching, inside and outside of the classroom, particularly on issues of sexuality, is increasingly met with disapproval and even hostility. Most alarming is the fact that enhanced federal Title IX guidelines put the weight of federal law behind this disapproval. As one faculty member expressed,
“I have been intimidated by an explicit campus climate and Title IX training that seems to forbid me, on pain of discipline up to and including termination, from so much as presenting the teaching of the Catholic Church and the historic Orthodox Catholic tradition.”Student intimidation was another area we discussed. Faculty revealed that when subject matter perceived as controversial is addressed in class, students are increasingly self-censoring in order to avoid accusations of harassment and discrimination by other students, the administration and now – because of Title IX – potentially the government. Stories were shared of traditional Catholic student groups that feel the need to meet and pray in secret and students being subjected to teachers who openly mock Catholic teaching (i.e. the virginity of the Blessed Mother) in the classroom. A teacher recalled how a presentation given a few years ago by retired theology professor Dr. Pat Carey called “Is Marquette Still Catholic?” was punctuated by the comment of a student in the question and answer portion of the talk when she said, “I’m afraid to affirm my Catholicism.” Also discussed was the lack of authentically Catholic formation opportunities for students amidst a plethora of formal and informal formation opportunities in secular, non-Catholic and anti-Catholic ideologies on and off campus.
Lastly, we discussed the lack of outward signs of Catholic identity on campus and in Marquette’s marketing. It was noted that ambiguous terms like “social justice” and “Ignatian spirituality” are increasingly used in place of “Catholic” to describe Marquette’s brand of education. A participant from the college of nursing revealed that “Catholic” was stripped from that college’s dean search criteria. Many agreed the idea of “hiring for mission” seems to have been rendered meaningless and is of no real consequence. University Advancement representatives told us that more and more donors and potential donors are challenging fundraisers as to what distinguishes Marquette from secular, less expensive, colleges and universities.
After our discussion we formulated our thoughts into three action items which we submitted to the CSWG.
- Academic freedom
Marquette senior leadership should specifically, formally and publicly state that its commitment to the protection of academic freedom includes the articulation and promotion of Catholic doctrine (as understood by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church) by faculty, students and staff, and that such speech or action will not be subject to penalties or retribution under Title IX or any other speech and/or harassment policies of the university, formal or informal.
- Catholic Identity
Marquette should increase awareness of, and engagement in our Catholic tradition and identity through objective, tangible actions including:
- Meaningful and prominent inclusion of the term “Catholic” in our branding (i.e. print materials, television and radio commercials, etc.) and strategic plan.
- Expansion of the strategic plan to include demonstrable affirmation of and commitment to strengthening the university’s Catholic identity
- Proactive implementation of a quantifiable process (see The Application For Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States, Part Two, Article 4) for “hiring for mission” that is applied to all levels of the university – from the Board of Directors to staff members.
- A demonstrable and serious commitment to authentic Catholic identity by the Board of Trustees and university leadership
- The implementation of a comprehensive, interdisciplinary Catholic Studies program (proposal in progress).
- Implementation of a Catholic climate survey among faculty, students, staff, alumni and, in particular, parents.
- An increase in physical manifestations and visibility of Catholic identity around campus:
- Crucifixes (not just crosses) in classrooms
- Statue of the Blessed Mother in a prominent location on campus
- Nativity crèche in more places than just in front of Joan of Arc (i.e., inside or outside AMU)
- Advent wreath candle lighting observance
- Lenten observance of Stations of the Cross conducted across campus
- Offering a weekly rosary service in Joan of Arc
- Posting liturgical season banners in AMU public areas
- Featuring excerpts from previous Sunday’s Gospel on closed-circuit monitors across campus
- Better promotion of existing (and new) liturgical offerings: Rosaries, Adoration etc.
- Student formation
As a Catholic and Jesuit university, Marquette must at least offer to students clear and distinctly Catholic alternatives to the abundance of secular formation opportunities that are available on and off campus. Specifically we should:
- Actively encourage and promote student groups that engage in specifically Catholic activities.
- Students for Life
- Bellarmine Society
- Make clearly available and accessible to students courses, retreats, devotions, and activities that are distinctly and authentically Catholic.
Programs could include Theology of the Body courses or lectures; courses on Catholic Marriage, Family and Human Sexuality; starting a chapter of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students; supporting a Milwaukee chapter of Courage and Encourage (Catholic counseling for students with same sex attractions) etc.
- Actively encourage and promote student groups that engage in specifically Catholic activities.
We sincerely hope and pray that Marquette administration will recognize the seriousness of the issues this forum has raised and take measures to address them. There are many who are ready and able to assist them in any way we can.
Labels: Academic Freedom, Catholic Mission, Climate Study, Climate Study Working Group, Concerned Catholics, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Forum, Marquette Tribune, Marquette University, Title IX, William Welburn
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Wanting a Safe Space
Sociology: A Corrupt Discipline
“Diversity” is the new slogan under which academics and their institutions march. But what is it? What does it mean? How will we know when we have achieved a sufficient amount?The author, one James D. Wright, goes on to give two examples of ideological bias and intolerance.
In my discipline, sociology, “diversity” can refer to almost anything other than white males, and may even include white males if they can lay claim to some form of victim status (e.g., are LGBT, “differently abled,” vegan, or depart from the mainstream in some other identifiable way).
Significantly, however, “diversity” does not seem to include political diversity.
Sociology departments would actively recruit an LGBT candidate for an opening, with something close to 100 percent consensus that this would fill a departmental need. But actively recruit a Republican, a conservative, or a born-again Christian Fundamentalist? Not a chance.
I edited the scholarly journal Social Science Research for 36 years. A pair of papers we published in the last few years shows how badly sociology has fallen into a one-party mindset.Two things are at work here: self selection and group think. Sociology tends to attract leftists who want to change society in radical ways. Once such people come to dominate academic departments, they reproduce themselves. They also increasingly drive out of the discipline people who think differently. Graduate student who are right-leaning or even centrist find themselves in a hostile environment. It’s difficult to get articles published and thus difficult to get tenure — in addition to the fact that other people in your department don’t want you to have tenure.
In 2010, I published a paper by Darren Sherkat, “Religion and Verbal Ability,” arguing, with a mass of supporting data, that Christian Fundamentalists scored more poorly than others on verbal ability testing. Since verbal ability is often taken as a marker for intelligence, the implication of Sherkat’s finding was that Christian Fundamentalists are relatively stupid.
Not one word of protest over this scurrilous conclusion was ever voiced, at least not to me, even though there are a lot of Christians and Fundamentalists “out there” who might well have taken offense. Christian Fundamentalists simply do not comprise a legitimate identity grouping in the minds of the American professoriate, so you can say pretty much anything you want about them and no sociologist will bother to question your research.
Two years later, I also published a paper, “How Different are the Adult Children of Parents who have Same-Sex Relationships?” by Mark Regnerus. It argued, again with supporting evidence, that children raised by same-sex couples suffer various penalties later in life.
At the time, there was a firmly held consensus of opinion within sociology that there were no differences of significance between same-sex and conventional marriages—a consensus that hung by a very thin empirical thread. Here was a paper whose findings challenged that consensus. Vicious ad hominem excoriation was the result.
The Regnerus paper ignited a year-long howl of protestation, enraged emails by the hundreds, demands that the paper be retracted, FOIA demands that I release all the (confidential) email correspondences between me and the paper’s referees, demands that the identities of the referees be made public, petitions denouncing my duplicity in publishing the paper (signed, incidentally, by the then-current and immediate past Presidents of the American Sociological Association), and ultimately a series of court appearances where I had to defend the importance of anonymous and confidential peer review in the overall scientific process.
Why the difference? Christian Fundamentalists, who by some accounts make up a third of the U.S. population, do not possess a legitimated identity—they lay no claim to victimhood—so they can be derogated without reprisal. Gay people, in contrast, are probably today’s most legitimated victims within sociology. As legitimated victims, they can only by referred to by sociologists in politically correct ways.
Here is another illustration of the way sociology has blinded itself.
Within sociology, there is a minor industry based on the proposition that violence against women is unique, entirely different than violence against men, and that domestic or intimate partner violence is all about men’s “power and control” over women. So unique, so different, is violence against women that my department now awards a Ph.D. in domestic violence studies.
In 2002, the criminologist Richard Felson published a massive review of the research literature on violence and gender. It systematically dismantled virtually the entire violence against women narrative. Felson found that violence against women is rarely the result of sexism or misogyny. The motives for violence against women—to control, to achieve retribution, to defend self-image—are the same as the motives for violence against men.
I was so taken with the breadth and analytic depth of Felson’s arguments that I assigned the book as required reading in a course on Social Research and Social Policy.
My feminist colleagues were aghast—they were unsure that students should even be allowed to read this heresy, much less be required to do so.
Much the same reaction ensued when I also assigned Linda Waite’s The Case for Marriage. I was assured that both volumes had been thoroughly discredited, although I have yet to come across a negative review of either that, in my opinion, rises above diatribe.
It’s a recipe for stifling and intolerant conformity. And this in a discipline which could provide a lot of insight into social behavior.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Heisman Winner Derrick Henry on Faith
From the Christian Post:
After winning college football’s most prestigious award Saturday night, University of Alabama running back Derrick Henry praised God and advised aspiring young athletes to keep God first while pursuing their dreams.Such attitudes will be sneered at in certain quarters, but not in Alabama, not among black people, not in the NFL and certainly not among fans of the Crimson Tide. In other words, not among the people who matter.
The 21-year-old Henry, who set a new Southeastern Conference record for nearly 2,000 rushing yards this season as a junior, fulfilled what he called a “lifelong dream” when he was named the 2015 winner of the Heisman Trophy in New York City on Saturday.
“First off, I just want to thank God for bringing me here and winning the prestigious award,” Henry, who scored 23 touchdowns this season, said during his acceptance speech. “He’s been so good to me in my life and I have been honored and blessed with this opportunity. Since I was a kid, it has been my lifelong goal and a dream of mine. I am just so thankful.”
After thanking his mother and father, Henry then thanked his grandmother, who he says helped to make him into a man and taught him the importance of keeping God at the center of his life.
“My grandmother, the woman who made me into the man I am today, I want to thank you so much,” Henry exclaimed. “Even though you couldn’t be here, I feel you in spirit and I love you so much. You made me into who I am today — hard work, dedication and just doing what I wanted to do. You always told me to keep God first and pray that I always make it far. I just want to thank you and let you know that I love you and that I am praying for you.”
The Florida native then thanked his teammates, brothers, other family members and his college and high school coaches for helping him to get to this point. After going through his list of acknowledgments, Henry then turned his attention to the children listening to him.
“I just want to talk to the kids who are watching this TV and listening to me today. I just want to give you all advice. I am hoping that I am somebody you can idolize yourself behind and look up to because God is everything and always keep God first,” Henry urged. “Always pray; don’t be afraid to pray. He always hears you cry. If you have dreams, chase them. If you believe it, you can achieve it and God will be there every step of the way. I am a living testament, man.”
Henry then explained that he gets on his hands and knees every night to pray.
Monday, December 14, 2015
American Indian Students Bully Marquette With Discrimination Charge / Marquette Panders
The group that demonstrated was a coalition of leftist activists, with a rather diverse set of grievances.
They claimed “poor treatment of students of color on campus, the university’s racist seal, the accreditation of DPS campus police, and the university’s investments in companies that explicitly commit human rights violations and enable occupation and and violence in Palestine.”
That’s right: a hodgepodge of the standard leftist campus grievances.
But some of the activists had gone further, and (back in November, 2014) lodged a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education, claiming:
So what was this all about? Some clues can be found by looking further into the letter. A list of things the University had to provide included some boilerplate items, and then:
- in the 2014-2015 academic year, the University subjected a Native American student (Student A) and other Native American students to discrimination based on race by creating or tolerating a racially hostile environment of which it had notice but failed to respond adequately to redress the racially hostile environment; and
- in November 2014, the University subjected Student A. and other students to retaliation for complaining about the University’s seal when the University’s President made a sarcastic comment to them at an open forum.
We lack the entire case file on this. Such files take a long time to get and typically cost a lot of money. But we do have the Resolution Agreement that Marquette signed. The point of the agreement was to placate the activists, who if sufficiently placated, would withdraw the complaint. In fact, they were sufficiently placated and did indeed withdraw the complaint.
- A copy of the University’s seal, the date the current seal was first used, and a copy of any paintings or illustrations from which the seal is derived.
- A copy of all University policies regarding the use of the term “Warrior” and/or concerning use of images of Native Americans.
- A copy of all written reports of mistreatment or harassment of Native American students in the last three years, and a narrative description of all verbal reports of mistreatment or harassment of Native American students in the last three years.
- With regard to each written or verbal report of mistreatment or harassment referenced in the response to item #6:
- A description with supporting documentation of any actions taken by the University to investigate and, if appropriate, respond to the written or verbal report;
- Copies of all notes, memoranda, correspondence, and other documents regarding the report of mistreatment or harassment and investigation, including but not limited to letters, internal memoranda, complaint forms, reports, electronic-mail communications and notes of meetings;
- A list of individuals interviewed in response to the allegation(s), and the notes of any such interviews;
- A copy of any findings and statements of fact; and
- A description of any action taken as a result of the investigation, and, if applicable, a written explanation of the reason(s) for not taking any action in response to the allegation(s).
- If not included in the response to items #6 and #7, all information in the University’s possession concerning a class presentation in a Culture and Health course in November 2014 in which derogatory comments were made regarding health of Native Americans.
- The name of the professor of the course referenced in the response to item #8 and the name, race, and contact information of all students enrolled in the course.
- If not included in the response to items #6 and #7, all information in the University’s possession concerning a planned party with a theme of “Pilgrims vs. Indians” in fall 2014, including all actions taken by the University in response to the planned party and the names of all University officials involved in responding to concerns about the planned party.
- A copy of all materials related to the open forum held by the University President in November 2014, including a copy of all notes taken by University officials and a copy of all audiotapes and/or videotapes of the open forum.
- A description of any training provided by the University in the past three years to students or employees regarding discrimination based on race and in particular, discrimination against Native American students.
- If not included in the responses to the above, a copy of all other documents in the University’s possession related to the complaint.
What are we to make of all this? Marquette has pandered a lot. But it has failed to concede a couple of things that would be highly visible and controversial. In the first place, it has refused to recrop the Marquette seal, something that would immediately advertise “we caved.” Instead, we get copies of the uncropped painting posted around campus. And the words “discover” or “discovery” are banned. Don’t the activists have something more substantial to complain about? It’s true the term is Eurocentric, but the Jesuit order was Eurocentric at the time, and Marquette’s intellectual tradition (to the extent that any remains other than 21st Century political correctness) is Eurocentric.
Early Complaint Resolution Agreement
Docket No. 05-15-2039Marquette University (hereafter University or Recipient), and Laree Pourier (Complainant) agree to enter into this Resolution Agreement (Agreement) as part of the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Early Complaint Resolution (ECR) process, to resolve the issues the Complainant raised in OCR Complaint# 05-15-2039 (the “Complaint”). The Parties agree to the following:
The Parties stipulate that the Agreement resolves the Complainant’s allegations. The parties understand that OCR will close the complaint and if the Agreement is breached, the Complainant has a right to file another complaint with OCR. If the Complainant files a new complaint, OCR will address the original complaint allegation(s) and not the alleged breach of the Agreement. To be considered timely, the Complainant must file the new complaint either within 180 days of the date of the original discrimination or within 60 days of the date the Complainant obtains information that a breach of the Agreement occurred, whichever is later.
- The University agrees to create a standing Committee to be called the Committee for the Recruitment and Retention of Native American and Underrepresented Minority Students to address the recruitment and retention of a more diverse student body, with particular attention given to Native American students, recognizing Father Marquette’s deep historical relationship with to Native People.
- The Committee will include at least one representative from each of the following: the Office of the Provost, University Advancement, the Office of Financial Aid, the Office of Admissions, the Center for Intercultural Engagement, the Native American Student Association faculty advisor, the Native American Student Association, and other representatives as appropriate. When appropriate, the Committee may also invite Alumni to serve on the Committee;
- The Committee will meet a minimum of twice per semester for three academic years;
- Once per academic year, at a regularly scheduled meeting, a representative(s) of the Committee shall update the University Leadership Council on the progress and recommendations of the Committee;
- Once per academic year, the Committee will make a public report on its progress and recommendations; and
- The Committee will discuss and consider issues relating to the recruitment and retention of diverse student populations, with particular attention to Native American students, including but not limited to seeking additional financial support for these diverse student populations and increasing academic support and co-curricular services to improve student retention. The Committee will discuss and consider the following, non-exhaustive list of goals:
- The endowment of a scholarship(s) for Native American students;
- The creation of a faculty position dedicated to Native American studies;
- The creation of Native American Studies program;
- The creation of a Native American community in a residence hall or other University housing;
- Hosting academic career fairs in professional areas for Native American students;
- Participating in college fairs which target diverse student populations, such as the annual Oneida Nation College Fair; and
- The development of a relationship with the Milwaukee Public Schools First Nations Studies Program.
- The University agrees to continue efforts to fund a position within the Center for Intercultural Engagement dedicated, in part, to providing support for Native American students.
- The University agrees that the Center for Intercultural Engagement, in consultation with the University’s Native American Student Association, and others as appropriate, will develop a training program dedicated to raising awareness of harassment and discrimination faced by Native Americans and other diverse student populations. The program shall be mandatory for all resident assistants, resident hall directors, first-year students, and transfer students. The training shall include, but not be limited to, information about bystander awareness, the University’s bias incident reporting system, and offensive imagery (e.g., use of the “Warrior” logo).
- The University agrees to place a reproduction of the 1869 painting entitled, “Father Marquette and the Indians” by Wilhelm Lamprecht, which was used as inspiration for the University’s seal, in the following locations:
The University agrees further that each reproduction, and the original painting which is displayed in the Raynor Library, will be accompanied by a paragraph of historical information about the painting that does not use the words “discover” or “discovery.” Prior to July 15, 2015, the Complainant will submit a proposed paragraph to the University, through University counsel, which the University shall consider in drafting the paragraph.
- The University’s web-page regarding the University seal;
- The Alumni Memorial Student Union; and
- Cudahy Hall.
- The University agrees to assign to University Advancement the responsibility of soliciting philanthropic support for the proposals of the Committee described in agreement item 1. University Advancement will ensure that fundraising staff members have the information necessary to effectively solicit support from donors who have an interest in funding programs that provide assistance to diverse student populations, including Native American students. University Advancement agrees to discuss with potential scholarship donors, the option to fund scholarships for students from underrepresented and minority populations, which include but are not limited to Native American students. In addition, University Advancement agrees to include references to such scholarships in its written informational materials that it provides to potential scholarship donors. The University Advancement representative to the Committee will provide a written report to the Committee once per semester describing the efforts made by University Advancement in connection with this agreement item.
- The University agrees to discourage students from wearing clothing with the “Warriors” logo through the program described in item 3 and by holding an open forum prior to the start of the basketball season to raise awareness about the University’s commitment to diversity. In addition, the University agrees to create a message/banner on an appropriate Athletics website which encourages students to wear Golden Eagles apparel/gear while attending athletic events (something to the effect of: Show your Golden Eagles pride, wear Golden Eagles gear).
- The University agrees that it will revise its web page containing its Harassment Policy, as follows:
- The web page will include a link to the Bias Incident Reporting system, which allows online reporting of such incidents;
- The web page will clearly set forth the procedures under which a person may report harassment to the Office of Student Development (and also note that harassment based on sex should be reported to the University’s Title IX team). In addition, the web page will additional information about procedures related to investigating and resolving such complaints, including a description of any services offered by the University to students who have experienced harassment or discrimination.
The Parties agree that this Agreement addresses all of the Complainant’s claims and concerns regarding this matter and the Complainant will not pursue any other court case or litigation related to the allegations raised in this Complaint. The Parties agree that this Agreement does not bind any parties other than the Recipient and the Complainant.
The Parties acknowledge and agree that they have read and understand the terms of this Agreement and enter into it voluntarily and without any duress or undue influence on the part of or on behalf of any party. The University’s signatory to this Agreement represents that he has actual authority to act on behalf of the University in consummating this Agreement, and the parties acknowledge that execution of this Agreement by the Interim Provost shall not be a basis to void this Agreement. The parties may execute this Agreement by sending the signature page by facsimile or electronic mail to OCR. This Agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall be considered an original, and all of which taken together shall be considered one and the same document.
This Agreement contains the entire agreement between the Complainant and the University with regard to the matters set forth in it, supersedes any prior negotiations, agreements or representations, whether oral or written. This Agreement may be amended or modified only by a written document signed by the Parties.
We wonder if Marquette is going to rename the Père Marquette Discovery Award.
Marquette also refused the demand for a “zero tolerance” policy toward Warrior insignia and apparel. Of course, the mandatory “training program” (read: Stalinist reeducation) coupled with the bias incident reporting system may have the same effect. Students will get the message: if you say something some member of a favored minority group objects to, you will be called on the carpet.
A lot of the other stuff consists of bureaucratic initiatives that are not terrible in themselves, but create a lot of bureaucratic busywork, and may eventually result in more busywork and more initiatives that drain resources and distract from the task of providing a good education for all students — and not just politically correct victim groups.
Diversity BureaucratPromising another diversity bureaucrat in the Center for Intercultural Engagement falls into this category. The money could be used for another faculty line, or for scholarships based on need (or academic merit) rather than race. Eva Martinez Powless, Director for Intercultural Engagement, did not respond to an e-mail asking whether such a position has been funded.
But note the tactic used here: filing a discrimination complaint with the Office for Civil Rights in order to coerce concessions from Marquette. Even a complaint that lacks merit provides the aggrieved with leverage to demand concessions. This is another case where “the process is the punishment.”
Bureaucratic PoliticsNot that Marquette’s administration particularly minds having demands made on it. College administrators are always looking for initiatives to pad their résumés and provide favorable media coverage. Diversity initiatives fill the bill nicely, as well as justifying building up their bureaucratic empires with people who have “diversity” or “inclusion” or “multicultural” in their titles.
Things they can do to actually improve the quality of education — raising money and allocating it for faculty lines, scholarships, scholarly resources, making good decisions on hiring and promotion and tenure cases, etc. — lack such a payoff.
Thus we have at Marquette what exists most other places in academia: a de facto alliance between the racial grievance mongers and the campus bureaucrats.
Marquette Conceals Resolution AgreementMany of the concessions to the Indian activists are discussed in a recent article in the Marquette Tribune. But what was not revealed? The discrimination complaint and Resolution Agreement.
Saturday, December 12, 2015
No Hysteria Needed About Global Warming
At the opposite extreme are warming skeptics, who doubt that the modest run up of temperatures in the late 20th century was the result of human activity. They point out that the earth has been much warmer than it is now at other times in human history, long before the industrial revolution led to an increase in carbon dioxide levels.
In the middle are the “lukewarmers,” who think that human activity has contributed to some warming, but think it is much less than the alarmists believe. These people don’t object to “clean energy” (note the biased language, carbon dioxide is not dirty), but don’t think draconian limits on fossil fuels or vastly expensive government subsidies are needed.
Contrary to the alarmist notion that “the science is settled” in favor of the alarmist position, the very mainstream Scientific American recently published an essay supporting the lukewarmer position.
The climate change debate has been polarized into a simple dichotomy. Either global warming is “real, man-made and dangerous,” as Pres. Barack Obama thinks, or it’s a “hoax,” as Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe thinks. But there is a third possibility: that it is real, man-made and not dangerous, at least not for a long time.
This “lukewarm” option has been boosted by recent climate research, and if it is right, current policies may do more harm than good. For example, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and other bodies agree that the rush to grow biofuels, justified as a decarbonization measure, has raised food prices and contributed to rainforest destruction. Since 2013 aid agencies such as the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank have restricted funding for building fossil-fuel plants in Asia and Africa; that has slowed progress in bringing electricity to the one billion people who live without it and the four million who die each year from the effects of cooking over wood fires.
In 1990 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was predicting that if emissions rose in a “business as usual” way, which they have done, then global average temperature would rise at the rate of about 0.3 degree Celsius per decade (with an uncertainty range of 0.2 to 0.5 degree C per decade). In the 25 years since, temperature has risen at about 0.1 to 0.2 degree C per decade, depending on whether surface or satellite data is used. The IPCC, in its most recent assessment report, lowered its near-term forecast for the global mean surface temperature over the period 2016 to 2035 to just 0.3 to 0.7 degree C above the 1986–2005 level. That is a warming of 0.1 to 0.2 degree C per decade, in all scenarios, including the high-emissions ones.
At the same time, new studies of climate sensitivity—the amount of warming expected for a doubling of carbon dioxide levels from 0.03 to 0.06 percent in the atmosphere—have suggested that most models are too sensitive. The average sensitivity of the 108 model runs considered by the IPCC is 3.2 degrees C. As Pat Michaels, a climatologist and self-described global warming skeptic at the Cato Institute testified to Congress in July, certain studies of sensitivity published since 2011 find an average sensitivity of 2 degrees C.
Such lower sensitivity does not contradict greenhouse-effect physics. The theory of dangerous climate change is based not just on carbon dioxide warming but on positive and negative feedback effects from water vapor and phenomena such as clouds and airborne aerosols from coal burning. Doubling carbon dioxide levels, alone, should produce just over 1 degree C of warming. These feedback effects have been poorly estimated, and almost certainly overestimated, in the models.
The last IPCC report also included a table debunking many worries about “tipping points” to abrupt climate change. For example, it says a sudden methane release from the ocean, or a slowdown of the Gulf Stream, are “very unlikely” and that a collapse of the West Antarctic or Greenland ice sheets during this century is “exceptionally unlikely.”
If sensitivity is low and climate change continues at the same rate as it has over the past 50 years, then dangerous warming—usually defined as starting at 2 degrees C above preindustrial levels—is about a century away. So we do not need to rush into subsidizing inefficient and land-hungry technologies, such as wind and solar or risk depriving poor people access to the beneficial effects of cheap electricity via fossil fuels.
As the upcoming Paris climate conference shows, the world is awash with plans, promises and policies to tackle climate change. But they are having little effect. Ten years ago the world derived 87 percent of its primary energy from fossil fuels; today, according the widely respected BP statistical review of world energy, the figure is still 87 percent. The decline in nuclear power has been matched by the rise in renewables but the proportion coming from wind and solar is still only 1 percent.
Getting the price of low-carbon energy much lower will do the trick. So we should spend the coming decades stepping up research and development of new energy technologies. Many people may reply that we don’t have time to wait for that to bear fruit, but given the latest lukewarm science of climate change, I think we probably do.
Friday, December 11, 2015
Mainstream Media Turning Skeptical on Campus Rape Moral Panic?
It also details how accused males are increasingly suing when they are denied due process rights in campus kangaroo courts, and pressing claims of sex discrimination. From guys assumed to be guilty simply because they are male, such claims are plausible.
CNNOn the other hand we have CNN, which aired “The Hunting Ground” — a documentary that accepts all the standard cant about a “rape culture” and a “rape epidemic.” Robbie Soave of Reason debunks the whole enterprise, showing that it is a piece of advocacy rather than journalism. And indeed, 19 Harvard Law professors (not a particularly conservative bunch) condemned the documentary for distorting the facts about a Harvard student. Even the liberal Slate published a critique of the film.
Liberal HypocrisyIt is interesting that liberals, who have always been scrupulous about due process and “innocent until proven guilty” where robberies, ordinary assaults, murders and all other sorts of crimes are concerned, should suddenly junk all that when rape is the issue. What we have here, of course, is a set of social biases, rather than a set of principled convictions. Liberals want to view ordinary criminals as victims of social injustice. But white males on campus, being the stereotyped oppressor group, need swift, summary, harsh justice. And given that they are white males, we need not worry excessively about whether they actually did what they were accused of.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
New Director of Gender and Sexualities Center Was Assata Shakur Supporter
Then there was the mural of black militant murderer and terrorist Assata Shakur, painted on a wall at the Center. When we outed that, Marquette quickly had it painted over, and fired the Director of the Center, Susannah Bartlow. Bartlow, it seems, was simply too politically extreme.
In the wake of this fiasco, Marquette split the Center in two, with one of the pieces being a center with a scholarly focus. According to a Marquette news release:
Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies will support research, teachingBut it seems that Angelique Harris has political views similar to those of Bartlow, at least were Shakur is concerned.
A new Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies will be housed in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences and will support research and teaching on the topics of gender and sexualities. Directed by Dr. Angelique Harris, associate professor of social and cultural sciences, the CGSS will also hold the Women and Gender Studies major and minor. The CGSS will be located in Sensenbrenner Hall.
“I am pleased that the CGSS will enjoy the leadership of Dr. Harris, who brings deep professional experience and dedication to the center and its mission,” Myers says. “She and I have already had many productive discussions about how we can enhance and grow the major, as well as provide additional academic programming and course development and research support.”
The following is an e-mail that circulated around the campus this past summer:
Dear Colleagues,This whole project seems as radical as the things that got the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center in trouble. Of course, leftist academics can get together and discuss anything they want, even “The Whiteness of Police” or the deep thoughts of Communist Angela Davis.
As members of MU faculty who teach in Africana Studies or related fields, I’m hoping you might be interested in being a part of a new study collective forming inside and outside of MU. Your insights, histories, research and commitments would enrich it enormously! In addition, it would be wonderful if you’d take a moment to forward the call below (and readings attached) to anyone you think might be interested in your communities and networks. Please email with questions, and I hope you are all having productive, inspiring, refreshing summers.
Yours, Jodi Melamed
Dear One and All,
* In the wake of the firing of Marquette’s Director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center and the destruction of a student-created mural of Assata Shakur, a major figure in contemporary Black political activism
*Following 20 years of neglect, zero budget, and no institutional support for Africana Studies at Marquette and in affirmation that Black intellectual history matters
* To support the rise of student and community activism around policing, racism, economic inequality, mass incarceration, detention and deportation, sexual violence and other issues
* Feeling the need to gather to experience the learning that happens when we create knowledge and resist unequal power dynamics in the learning process itself
We send this call for all who are interested to come together in a study collective - name to be determined - inspired by freedom schools and the undisciplined learning collectives of social movements that gave rise to Black, Ethnic, American Indian, and Women’s and Gender Studies.
The name and purpose of the study collective will emerge from our conversations together. Given recent events, we think it makes sense to begin with Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur, a book that has come to represent (once again) the dangers associated with oppositional thinking.
Our first event will take place on July 26th (Sunday) from 3:00-5:00pm at Cudahy Hall (1313 W. Wisconsin Ave) Room 114. Come join us to discuss Assata: An Autobiography, whether you’ve read the whole book, part or none. RSVP not necessary, but appreciated! (To RSVP, email [redacted])
You can also find details on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/841626975905901/
We’ve attached Angela Davis’s Introduction and the first and last chapters of Assata to this email to get you started. The whole book is available on Amazon and in many libraries, including UWM’s and Marquette’s (print and online version available). Please come whether you’ve read the whole book, part or none.
We’re also attaching a short essay entitled “The Whiteness of Police,” which examines policing as a form of racial management which “determines who requires discipline so that others can be secure enough to pursue their self interest.”
(Study Collective Co-Facilitators)
And the center that Harris heads is focused on scholarly things, and may be involved only in arcane stuff published in obscure gay and feminist journals (if at all). But, on the other hand, it may be that Marquette has failed to learn a lesson it should have.
Student Suspended for Saying Black Girls Not “Hot”
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., December 7, 2015—Colorado College has suspended and banned a student from campus for nearly two years in response to a comment intended as a joke on the anonymous social media application Yik Yak.Apparently, at Colorado College, merely expressing a subjective opinion about sexual attraction is a thoughtcrime, and can be severely punished.
In November 2015, Thaddeus Pryor sent an anonymous reply to the comment “#blackwomenmatter” on Yik Yak. Pryor’s response read, “They matter, they’re just not hot.” On November 20, Colorado College found that Pryor’s post violated its “Abusive Behavior” and “Disruption of College Activities” policies and suspended him from the college until August 28, 2017. In the meantime, the college has banned Pryor from setting foot on campus and has forbidden him from taking classes at other institutions for academic credit. Pryor has appealed his suspension.
Could something like this happen at Marquette? Most certainly. The new rules make it clear that students can be punished for postings on social media, and further that any vaguely defined “antipathy” to a racial group can be punished.
Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Gun Control and the Watch List
“We have a no-fly list where people can’t get on planes,” Obama told CBS News, “but those same people who we don’t allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm. . . . That’s a law that needs to be changed.”So conservatives have a good case in opposing this particular form of “gun control” that Obama and the liberals want.
He repeated the popular Democratic talking point Sunday evening. “Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun,” Obama insisted. “This is a matter of national security.”
Well, maybe — except that the San Bernardino butchers weren’t on any government watchlist. Neither was the Colorado Springs gunman. Or the mass shooter at the Oregon community college. There are an estimated 47,000 people on the federal no-fly list — but Dylann Roof, the Charleston church killer, was never among them. Nor were Boston’s Tsarnaev brothers. Nor was Adam Lanza, who murdered 26 victims at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. As far as is known, no perpetrator of any mass shooting in the United States has turned out to be on the no-fly list.
Dylann Roof, James Holmes, and Jared Loughner
On the other hand, the late Ted Kennedy was on the list. At least five times in 2004, the senior senator from Massachusetts was denied a boarding pass because the alias “T. Kennedy” appeared on the no-fly list. Each time, it took the intervention of Homeland Security officials to clear him for travel — and it still took Kennedy and his staff more than three weeks to get his name removed from the list.
Others blocked by the no-fly list have ranged from Washington journalist Stephen Hayes to a Florida toddler to Georgia congressman John Lewis to singer Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens. Even agents of the Federal Air Marshal Service have been caught in the no-fly net. There is nothing transparent about the government’s formula for adding names to the list, and there is no due process for getting one’s name cleared. For years, the government wouldn’t even confirm that someone was on the list. Only after the ACLU prevailed in a federal lawsuit last June did that finally change.
Even more opaque than the no-fly list is the gargantuan Terrorist Screening Database. The government has conceded in the past that it “misidentified” tens of thousands of blameless individuals, yet it continues to add names at a staggering rate. In court filings in 2014, federal officials disclosed that more than 1.5 million names had been added to the terror watchlist in the previous five years. Data from the National Counterterrorism Center indicate that of 680,000 names on the watchlist in 2013, fully 40 percent were described as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.”
With a little bad luck, anyone could find himself added to these terror watchlists run amok. To propose making rosters so sloppy the basis of draconian new limitations on a core constitutional right isn’t “common sense” gun control, merely cynical grandstanding.
But where are the liberals on the whole issue of the “watch lists?”
The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights (whether the liberals like it or not). But the Fifth Amendment says that no person can be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” While the Founders could not have conceived of modern air travel, the right to travel is clearly a form of protected liberty.
No serious proposal to reduce gun violence can ignore the general incompetence of government. Nor can it ignore the deranged cunning of people who engage in mass killings.
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
The Greatest Generation
Do College Students Believe in Free Speech?
Marquette has already instituted a bias incident reporting system, like the one at Occidental College (discussed in the video). So Marquette is right on the forefront of shutting up politically incorrect speech.
Interestingly, the people interviewed here reflect something shown in broad public opinion surveys: men are more supportive of free speech than women.
Decadent European Elites Hate Israel (And So Do American Academics)
What we have today is a moral, intellectual siege of Israel, by the academic and media elites of Europe’s chattering-class citadels. They’ve turned Israel into Global Enemy No1, the source of all the world’s sorrow, a nation to be railed against more than any other on Earth.Of course, the same critique applies to leftist elites in the U.S., who are reflexively anti-Israel. Academics (especially in the humanities and social sciences) are the most typical examples of this sort of decadence. As reported by Frontpage:
My dictionary says a siege is the “surrounding of a place” with the intent of making its inhabitants surrender. Could there be a better description of European progressives’ myopic singling out of Israel for invective, and their shunning of its wares, books and even people via the BDS movement? People in Israel feel this moral siege, this intellectual blockade, very strongly.
Some Israelis I spoke to seemed more upset about the turn against Israel in Europe than they were about the more immediate threat posed Islamists in the Middle East. It wasn’t hard to work out why. As one said, “We considered Europe a friend”: “We thought Europe and Israel had a lot in common, being Western and democratic.”
This cuts to the heart of the Euro-elites’ paranoia about Israel, their turn against it: it is really European values, the ideals of modernity and democracy, they’ve given up on. The thing that riles them most about Israel is that it reminds them of what they used to be like, of the values they once espoused, before they lost the moral plot and sank into the cesspit of relativism and post-Enlightenment self-loathing.
Plucky, keen to protect its sovereignty, considering itself an outpost of liberalism… Israel is a painful reminder to today’s morally anchorless European thinkers and agitators of what their nations once were.They hate Israel because they hate themselves.
Israel has become the whipping boy of guilt-ridden Western liberals who’ve given up on the very idea of the West.
Seeming to give proof to Orwell’s observation that some ideas are so stupid they could only have been thought of by intellectuals, yet another academic association—this time the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA)—has followed the lead of the American Studies Association, the American Anthropological Association, the Asian Studies Association, and several others by ignobly voting to approve another academic boycott of Israel.As Orwell made clear, corrupt language indicates corrupt thinking, and we have it in spades here.
With the characteristic pseudo-intellectual babble that currently dilutes the scholarly relevance of the social sciences and humanities, the NWSA’s recommendation to approve a boycott announced that, “As feminist scholars, activists, teachers, and public intellectuals we recognize the interconnectedness of systemic forms of oppression,” that “interconnectedness,” no doubt, justifying the singling out of Israeli academics for their particularly odious role in the oppression of women in the Middle East. “In the spirit of this intersectional perspective,” these moral termagants continued, “we cannot overlook the injustice and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, perpetrated against Palestinians and other Arabs in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, within Israel and in the Golan Heights, as well as the colonial displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba.”
And the fact that feminists think this way is particularly bizarre.
Perhaps it has escaped the notice of the NWSA experts on gender and sexuality issues that if one wanted to punish any Middle Eastern country for its subjugation and abuse of women, Israel would probably not be the first nation to come under reasonable or justifiable scrutiny for a group dedicated “to principles of human rights, justice and freedom for all, including academic freedom.” Totalitarian and despotic regimes throughout the region have created an oppressive group of social pathologies that negatively affect women, including genital mutilation, stoning of adulteresses, “honor” killings by fathers and brothers who have been shamed, cultures of gender apartheid in which women are seen as property with no emotional or physical autonomy, ubiquitous sexual assault, and a general subjugation of women, complete with regulations governing behavior, movement, speech, and even requirements that women be covered by burqa or hijab.This is just more evidence, if any is needed, that feminism isn’t about women. It’s about left-wing politics and a set of cultural biases typical among leftists.
And among advanced industrial nations, American is the most like Israel. Which is why the leftists elites don’t like America either. And why ordinary Americans (especially Republicans) like Israel.
Politically Correct Nonsense About “Cultural Appropriation”
For seven years, the Center for Students with Disabilities at the University of Ottawa has sponsored free on-campus yoga classes, a popular program taught by a professional yoga teacher from the city’s Rama Lotus Yoga Centre. To the reasonable among us, free yoga for special-needs students may sound innocuous and gentle. But not to the vigilantes of political correctness, who successfully pressured the university’s student government to suspend the classes as an intolerable instance of “cultural appropriation.”This whole business is so stupid that only in academia could it be taken seriously.
According to the Ottawa Sun, the disabilities center confessed its thoughtcrime in a public statement. While yoga may be “accessible and great for students,” it said, that doesn’t excuse the “cultural issues of implication” involved. The societies where yoga originated “have experienced oppression, cultural genocide, and diasporas due to colonialism and Western supremacy [and] we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practicing yoga.”
For votaries in the left’s High Church of Perpetual Dudgeon, nothing is safe from the outrage machine. Yoga is just the latest addition to the list, and if you don’t understand why it’s insensitive, racist, and neocolonialist for disabled students in Canada to take a weekly class in mindful stretching — well, get thee to a reeducation camp.
Everywhere these days you can find the harpies of cultural correctness ginning up a controversy over someone else’s wrongful “appropriation.” They denounce Australian hip-hop sensation Iggy Azalea for rapping with a “blaccent.” They demand that Selena Gomez apologize for donning a bindi. They fume when Americans embrace foods from Asian or Middle Eastern societies while “ignoring . . . oppression faced by those communities.” They howl when white models wear their hair in cornrows. They slam gay white men for adopting black women’s gestures or expressions.
“Appropriation occurs,” lectures “Hunger Games” actress Amandla Stenberg, “when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated, but is deemed high fashion, cool, or funny when the privileged take it for themselves.” Stenberg is only 16, so her self-righteous tone may be a function of adolescence. It’s typical, though, of cultural-sensitivity zealots who are quick to complain when people reared in one culture take on elements of a different culture.
But the complaints are humbug. Cultural appropriators shouldn’t be chastised. They should be cheered.
All culture is “appropriated.” All human societies, tribes, religions, and nationalities have been influenced by others. Ideas and tastes aren’t the exclusive property of any group, and they can no more be confined behind rigid cultural or geographical boundaries than they can avoid shifting over time. Obviously it is never right to gratuitously give offense merely to be offensive. But there is nothing gratuitous about borrowing from other people’s cuisine or dress or music, especially when it is done with appreciation and enjoyment.
Writing in The Washington Post recently, Ruth Tam described “the shame associated with immigrant foods” like the Cantonese dishes she grew up eating in her parents’ Chicago home. She recalled her mortification at being told by a classmate that her house smelled of “Chinese grossness.” Today, many of those dishes have become trendy; foodies flock to upscale eateries to try them. Yet instead of celebrating the swelling popularity of foods she has always loved, Tam is angry. Those fashionable diners are indulging a kind of “discount tourism,” she snaps. “American chefs . . . use other cultures’ cuisines to reap profit.”
What a blinkered mindset! Human cultures aren’t sealed beakers from which no particle must be allowed to escape. We all have the right to draw from each other’s wellsprings of tradition and art, knowledge and lifestyles. Not just because imitation can indeed be the sincerest form of flattery, but because “cultural appropriation” is how we progress. We learn, if we are fortunate, from the experience of others — we are enriched by their contributions, deepened by their insights, broadened by their disciplines.
Yoga, like all culture, belongs to everyone, and it is no thoughtcrime to say so.
Refusing to AppropriateSuppose, for example, that people in the U.S. refused to “appropriate” anything from India? Suppose they said “India? That backwater? That country with all those ignorant people? Why would we want to imitate them?” But Americans don’t think like this. They will cheerfully glom onto things from India in which they find value.
So white performers will adopt a black accent and black hairstyles? For most of American history, things associated with black people were considered unacceptable among reputable whites. That’s no longer true, something that could be seen as evidence of huge racial progress — unless you are a politically correct grievance monger.
Does the evil of “cultural appropriation” work the other way? Do Americans have the right to be pissed off when people abroad appropriate our cultural artifacts? Is the international popularity of rock music (as well as country music, jazz, blues, etc.) something we Americans should resent?
Of course, if you are a politically correct leftist in India, and hear rock music on the radio (and yes, you most certainly can) you would be appalled. But not at Indian “cultural appropriation,” rather at American “cultural imperialism.” It’s always America that is evil.
An Example of AppropriationWe know that blues is black people’s music, so what are we to make of this?
Two black blues musicians playing with two whites who are appropriating black music. For shame!
But somehow, B.B. King doesn’t seem to mind jamming with Eric Clapton. But what does he know, compared to your English professor, or your Philosophy professor? Were he still alive, King should have a talk with your university Associate Provost for Diversity.
Final NoteAt about 8:20 a black guy named Robert Randolph joins in on a pedal steel guitar. But the pedal steel is part of country music. Will the appropriation never end!
Friday, December 04, 2015
Thursday, December 03, 2015
Gender Neutral Bathrooms at Marquette
Chris Jenkins (Marquette PR person filling in for Brian Dorrington, who is on leave) has not responded to our e-mail asking for confirmation.
This, presumably, is a concession to transgender people, who claim to feel uncomfortable using a bathroom different from the one of their claimed gender (which would be different from their birth gender). As one activist website puts the rather tortured argument:
The medical community (and increasingly, employers, schools and courts) now recognize that it is essential to the health and well-being of transgender people for them to be able to live in accordance with their internal gender identity in all aspects of life—restroom usage is a necessary part of that experience.There is nothing terrible about gender neutral bathrooms per se (we all use them on airliners), but there is no good reason to have them either.
The rule should be simple: if you look like a guy, you go to the men’s room. If you lack the “equipment” to step up to the urinal, you just go into the stall. If you look like a woman, you go into the ladies room, where everybody goes into a stall.
This is not rocket science.
Thus the demand for gender neutral bathrooms from the transgender lobby is more a demand for symbolic recognition than a real grievance about a real oppressive condition.
UpdateA reliable source of ours says that Zilber, Schroeder, AMU (all floors), Raynor, Lalamiere, Cudahy, Straz all still have bathrooms that say “men” and “women.” One of our sources says “plans are in play,” which would suggest it has not happened yet.
Update 2Marquette Wire now has a story about this.
Wednesday, December 02, 2015
Marquette: Poor Attendance at LGBT Mass
Campus Ministry hosted one of its monthly Masses for the LGBT community and its allies at the St. Joan of Arc Chapel on Nov. 20.
Theology professor the Rev. Bryan Massingale led Mass with the eight students and community members who attended.
“Many of the LGBTQ community members have heard stories that they are not welcome in the church,” Massingale said. “It is important to have a Mass where they feel welcome and that God does love them and no one is excluded.”
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Fascist Bullying at Brown University
At Brown University, in Providence, R.I., there is a secret forum in which students may discuss potentially controversial issues freely. Let me say that again: At Brown, there is a secret forum in which students may discuss potentially controversial issues — or anything they want — freely.Read the entire thing, especially the parts about the rationalizations the intolerant leftists use to shut up speech they don’t like. The key concepts are “violence” and “invalidating” and “marginalizing” or “erasing” the “experiences” of people deemed to be victims. All of these things reduce merely to disagreeing with the politically correct orthodoxy.
Yes, there is an underground group whose purpose is to allow kids to say what they ought to be free to say above ground.
As David Frum remarked on Twitter, when he read the magazine piece, What is this? Warsaw 1983 or America 2015?
The group came about in this way: Last year, Brown was to host a debate on the issue of campus rape. In one corner was Jessica Valenti, a radical feminist, and in the other was Wendy McElroy, a radical libertarian. It was suspected that McElroy would deny there was a “culture of rape.” And this was intolerable to some students, who protested mightily — in advance, mind you.
The debate came off, to Brown’s credit. Not so the speech attempted the year before by Ray Kelly, who was New York’s police commissioner. At Brown, he was to give a lecture called “Proactive Policing in America’s Biggest City.” The kids at Brown, or some of them, were not interested in what he had to say — so they forced him off the stage, denying everyone else the right to hear him.
Needless to say, the protesters and censors accused Kelly of racism. His policing practices were racist, they charged. Of course, those practices — especially “stop and frisk” — saved countless lives. And most of those lives were black or brown. But this sort of thing is trivial to the “social justice warrior.”
Anyway, Kelly was not permitted to speak, but this Valenti-McElroy debate came off. Brown had taken some mollifying steps, however.
The university’s president announced that she opposed McElroy’s view — and scheduled a lecture for the same time as the debate. The lecture, by a Brown psychiatry professor, was called “The Research on Rape Culture.” Evidently, it was not enough that the debate would be just that: a debate, a clash of views. There had to be a separate event, without a debate, without a clash, without a disagreement.
Also, students set up a safe space for those who might attend the debate and be shaken by something they heard. A “safe space”? Yes. This space, in the words of Judith Shulevitz, writing in the New York Times, was a room “equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.”
. . .
In October, the [Brown Daily] Herald published a couple of controversial columns by a student writing under a pseudonym. These had to do with race, ethnicity, and that most radioactive of holidays: Columbus Day. The editors removed one of the columns from the paper’s website. And they apologized abjectly for the publication of both of them. I believe the apology resembles a Mao-era self-criticism. Is that going too far? Here’s a swatch:
We as The Herald are part of a history of Brown that is founded on inequality and that is too often slow to change. Brown itself is built on land that belonged to the Narragansett and Wampanoag nations, and yet the University has no formal relationships with them. … By failing to be more inclusive of marginalized voices, The Herald does not fully live up to its potential or our community’s expectations. We must continue to make active efforts to recruit and retain a diverse staff. Without this, we will continue to fall short and repeat our mistakes. To those who have been most deeply hurt, we ask you to share your voice with us and with the Brown community at large. Understandably, this is an unequal burden, but we cannot progress without help.(To read the apology, or self-criticism, or editors’ note, in full, go here.)