Tag Archives: student activism

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Andrew Sullivan

“When elite universities shift their entire worldview away from liberal education as we have long known it toward the imperatives of an identity-based “social justice” movement, the broader culture is in danger of drifting away from liberal democracy as well. If elites believe that the core truth of our society is a system of interlocking and oppressive power structures based around immutable characteristics like race or sex or sexual orientation, then sooner rather than later, this will be reflected in our culture at large.”

      —-Andrew Sullivan, in a New York Magazine essay titled “We All Live On Campus Now”.

Once again, blogger-turned-essayist Andrew Sullivan arrives at an accurate assessment of an ethics problem in society without being able to avoid his own biases in trying to assess where the problem came from, which would be extremely easy if he were capable of objectivity. I recommend the whole piece, though Sullivan is an infuriating truth-teller and iconoclast trapped inside an angry gay man who can’t muster  the integrity to directly criticize his sexual politics allies.  Incredibly, Sullivan substantially blames Donald Trump for the phenomenon he assails here, which is ahistorical in the extreme, bordering on delusion:

“Polarization has made this worse — because on the left, moderation now seems like a surrender to white nationalism, and because on the right, white identity politics has overwhelmed moderate conservatism. And Trump plays a critical role. His crude, bigoted version of identity politics seems to require an equal and opposite reaction. And I completely understand this impulse. Living in this period is to experience a daily, even hourly, psychological hazing from the bigot-in-chief. And when this white straight man revels in his torment of those unlike him — and does so with utter impunity among his supporters — there’s a huge temptation to respond in kind.”

Good God, Andrew, show some backbone. Trump, as can be documented and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, was the “response in kind” to the identity-based social justice movement that was weaponized and reached the point of madness under the leadership of Barack Obama. Why should anyone listen to you when you equivocate like this and make false excuses for what was spinning out of control before anyone thought Donald Trump had as good a chance of becoming President as Martin O’Malley? The University of Missouri meltdown that triggered an across-the-nation epidemic of identify politics warfare occurred in 2015. You know that, and you still write this fiction? What’s the matter with you? Continue reading

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Ethics Dunce: ESPN

protest-mizzou

ESPN has announced it will give the University of Missouri (MU), a.k.a Mizzou, football team a special humanitarian award in July to honor the team for its strike  in 2015. You know the one, right?  If you did, then you are probably retching.

This was the Black Lives Matter-esque fuse that caused over a hundred universities to explode in racial unrest and cave in to pressure from black student groups to yield to demands supposedly addressing various imagined, concocted or politically exploited race-related problems on campuses, ranging from microagressions, to inadequate race-consciousness, to unidentified people saying mean things.

That last, in fact, was what caused the Mizzou foolishness. There, three unrelated episodes caused the “crisis”:

  • Payton Head, MU senior and president of MSA,  published a Facebook saying that he was walking around campus when the passenger of a pickup repeatedly shouted the “nigger at him.

No one confirmed his claim.

  • The Legion of Black Collegians posted on social media that the group was rehearsing for a performance at the University’s Traditions Plaza when a “young man” talking on his cellphone walked up to the group, was politely asked to leave, and hurled “racial slurs” at LBC members.

Was he a student? Nobody knows.

  • Someone draw a swastika using human feces inside Mizzou’s Gateway Hall.

Funny, I think of the swastika as an anti-Semitic symbol, not anti-black one, but hey, whatever it takes, right?

None of these involved perpetrators who were identified, or who were shown to be students. None of them  were remotely within the control of the University; nor were they coordinated in any way.  Black groups on campus, however, harassed the school’s president, Tim Wolfe,  and demanded that he resign. A black graduate student began a hunger strike, promising to forgo all food and nutrition until Wolfe was ousted. Finally, black University of Missouri football players announced that they would not participate in team activities or games until the university yielded to various demands, including Wolfe’s dismissal. The coach and the rest of the team backed the black players, and the university caved.

In addition to sparking many other conflicts on other campuses, disrupting students’ education, making U.S. ccolleges look like the inmates were running the asylums (because they were) and increasing racial tensions, the episode had the effect of  causing a huge drop in enrollment that has cost Mizzou about $32 million.

Isn’t that great?

Good job, everybody!

Apparently ESPN think so, anyway. Continue reading

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Desperately Seeking A Justification For The Unjustifiable Mizzou Meltdown, And Failing

protest-mizzou

Yesterday, the Washington Post’s Janelle Moss, an African American issues columnist, presented an aggressive, dishonest and insulting justification for the destructive black student protests at the University of Missouri. In an earlier essay, I described them as an “I’m mad at the world and somebody has to pay for it” tantrum. I’m sticking by that description, despite the ennobling spin being put on it by apologists, many of whom are trying to blunt the damage being done to civil rights advocacy by the events of the last several days.

[N]owhere in this still-young week has there been a better example of the tension between the conservative and liberal views of race and the politics around it than behind the podium where University of Missouri President Timothy M. Wolfe stood and resigned Monday,” she wrote.  This is setting up Wolfe’s speech as a straw man. He was forced to resign, and ordered to do it without making matters worse. He was also protecting himself, and, I believe, was a weak and inept leader. How nice to be able to take a hastily written statement by such a dubious representative of any group and declare it the exemplar of “conservative views on race.”

Moss’s introduction was smoking gun proof that this was an example of an advocate picking out evidence to support what she already was committed to supporting, and atrocious evidence at that.

“The Fix is aware that some Americans are inclined to reject, outright, the idea that some words — those that we choose to express our ideas, what we say at critical moments and that which we do not mention — have deeper, often multi-layered meaning, ” she writes.  I don’t know what she thinks she is saying. “Many Americans” reject the idea that words have meaning? “Multi-layered” meanings? Who? Who believes that? What she is trying to do is to justify her next “proof,” which is junk science.

She consulted two minority social scientists, who have clear biases of their own (but coincidentally aligned with hers)  to psychoanalyze what Wolfe said in resigning, and allowing her to use their self-serving diagnosis (one has a book out about “dog-whistle” racism; the other makes his living writing and teaching about how racist the U.S. is) of a short and quickly composed speech to read not just Wolfe’s thoughts but to attribute them to all “conservatives.” The result is, or should be embarrassing. Continue reading

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Ten Ethics Observations On The Resignation Of University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe

dominoes2

…for nothing, as far as I can see, except being in the wrong job when an “I’m mad at the world and somebody has to pay for it” tantrum by some of the black students got out of control.

Observations:

1. I have searched and searched for a substantive reason for the upheaval. There is apparently nothing there. The university, the education of students and two men’s career’s (the University’s Chancellor has also been forced to resign) have all been disrupted, and for no good reason, except that some students decided it was a good time to grandstand. This makes the entire episode unjust by definition.

How ironic it is supposed to be about “justice.”

2. The main driver of events was graduate student Jonathan Butler, who started a hunger strike to force Wolfe to resign”for justice.” Given a chance to explain his position by the Washington Post, he had nothing definitive or constructive to offer, just vague dissatisfaction:

“I’m saying, even if you can’t really understand systemic oppression and systemic racism, is the fact we can’t be at a university where we have values like “Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence” and we don’t have any of those things being enacted on campus, especially in terms of respect. I’m on a campus where people feel free to call people the n-word, where people feel free as recently as last week, to used [their] own feces to smear a swastika in a residential hall. Everything that glitters is not gold. We really need to dig deep and be real with ourselves about the world we live in and understand that we’re not perfect but understand that just because we’re not perfect doesn’t mean we don’t start to understand and address the issues around us.”

Right. Some kids in a car that may not have been students and another individual on campus who has not been identified used  racial epithets. Some mentally deficient person, also unidentified, drew a swastika on campus using human excrement. (This type of incident tends to be a hoax  as often as not.) What exactly is the president of a university supposed to do about such things ? Wolfe mandated “sensitivity courses” for everyone on campus, which is already too much. I would refuse to attend. I would not respect anyone who did attend.

Heck, I might start a hunger strike.

It works. Continue reading

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The Starbucks Stupid Red Cups Uproar Is Trivial, But The Growing Cultural Insanity That Caused It Is Not

STARBUCKS-cups

On one level, the angry protests by some evangelicals and others regarding Starbucks’ eschewing the placement of snowmen, Christmas tree ornaments, reindeer and whatever other holiday kitsch they have festooned their coffee cups with in past years is too stupid to waste time discussing. Here, read all about it if you have a strong stomach. It appears to be yet another of those issues that deserves the George S. Kaufman rebuke. [ “Mr. Fisher, on Mount Wilson there is a telescope that can magnify the most distant stars to twenty-four times the magnification of any previous telescope. This remarkable instrument was unsurpassed in the world of astronomy until the development and construction of the Mount Palomar telescope. The Mount Palomar telescope is an even more remarkable instrument of magnification. Owing to advances and improvements in optical technology, it is capable of magnifying the stars to four times the magnification and resolution of the Mount Wilson telescope.Mr. Fisher, if you could somehow put the Mount Wilson telescope inside the Mount Palomar telescope, you still wouldn’t be able to see my interest in your problem.”]

Yet the fact that not just a few recently escaped inmates of a mental institution would make an issue of the design of Starbucks coffee cups, but lots of people, is significant. Continue reading

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The University Of Missouri Football Players Boycott And The Campus Race Conflicts To Come

In 1967, it was called "Columbia"...

In 1967, it was called “Columbia”…

I have searched far and wide, and this appears to be the full extent of the alleged provocation for the revolt of black students against the president of the University of Missouri, Tim Wolfe:

Sept. 12: Missouri Students Association president Payton Head posts about a racial slur directed at him.

Payton Head, MU senior and president of MSA, renewed the dialogue about racism and the racial climate on the University’s Columbia campus after publishing a Facebook post about his first-hand experience with racism. The night before, Head said he was walking around campus when the passenger of a pickup repeatedly shouted the “N-word” at him.

Head’s statement went viral on social media, and many people shared their support of Head and frustration with MU’s response, or lack thereof, to his post. “I’d had experience with racism before, like microaggressions, but that was the first time I’d experienced in-your-face racism,” Head told a Missourian reporter.

Oct. 5: Legion of Black Collegians members are the targets of racial slurs by a man on campus.

Another instance of racism brought the racial climate on campus again to the attention of students and administrators.

The Legion of Black Collegians shared a letter on social media describing the group’s encounter with overt racism the night before. The group was rehearsing for a performance at Traditions Plaza when a “young man” talking on his cellphone walked up to the group. After being politely and repeatedly asked to leave, the man walked away but referenced LBC members using racial slurs.

That same day, MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin responded with a post of his own, acknowledging and condemning racism at MU.

“There was a silence that fell over us all, almost in disbelief that this racial slur in particular was used in our vicinity,” Naomi Collier, president of MU’s NAACP chapter and member of the LBC’s activities committee, wrote in the letter.

Oct. 8: Loftin announces mandatory online diversity training for faculty, staff and students, which is met with widespread skepticism.

The training came after a number of accounts of overt racism experience by students on campus, but was met with skepticism and suspicion.Jonathan Butler, MU graduate student and campus activist, wrote a letter to Loftin saying the training was “a step in the right direction, but it is not enough.”

More recently,  someone used human feces to draw a swastika inside Mizzou’s Gateway Hall. Continue reading

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