This story is simultaneously inspiring and horrifying.
A sixth-grade class in the Davisville Middle School in the North Kingstown School District in Rhode Island was being subjected to a teacher (so far, unnamed) who was cruel to the boys and sexually harassed the girls, leering at them, giving them pet names, and asking them to dance. The teacher was also a coach, and reportedly told the class that he had received complaints from parents in the past without any consequences. The continuing flirting and sexual innuendos made the girls in the class uncomfortable, so the next year, as seventh graders, some of the boys reported the teacher’s conduct to their parents and adminsitrator at the school. All the adults shrugged the complaints off, the boys say. Continue reading →
There is no excuse for this. It is simply abject cowardice and an abdication of duty.
Professor Pritchard was teaching his class about the use of blackface in theater and film, and showed a clip of Laurence Olivier iportraying the tragic hero in “Othello.” (Pritchard called Olivier’s facial covering “blackface,” apparently. I do not. It is called “make-up.”) Some students who are apparently fully-indoctrinated social justice warriors incapable of examining any issue from multiple perspectives—college is supposed to remedy that deficiency—were offended by the topic, and demanded that their instructor write “a well written apology, two pages in length or longer,” and that he read it aloud.
Seldom has “Bite me!” been more appropriate as a response in an academic setting. You might want to take a Dramamine before reading on.
Mentioning the Olivier film (which was discussed on Ethics Alarms here), the letter, composed by one student and signed by eleven others, states,
…After this was shown to us, our professor asked if Othello being played by a white man took away from the performance. Our answer was yes, because the actor was in blackface, an inherently racist performance from its origins. Blackface – and any other practice that alters one’s appearance, poise, and vernacular to the stereotype of a group of people, especially of race – dehumanizes the identity of marginalized people into a stereotype one can wear as a costume. Whitewashing (which includes blackface and yellowface) profits off a group’s oppression, but never has to experience the consequences of living that identity. Makeup can be washed off, but POC have to live with the violence that comes with being part of a marginalized group….[The professor] then facilitated an argument as to whether or not whitewashing was acceptable, and this made the students – especially students of color – very uncomfortable. When we said that Lawrence Olivier in blackface was not acceptable, our professor played devil’s advocate, and this made the students of color incredibly uncomfortable because it was shocking and felt aggressive that our professor was making room to excuse blackface …Some students were shaken for the rest of the day, and days to follow. Our professor asked us to compare two hypothetical actors – a Black man and a white man – both in the role of Othello. He asked, if the Black man had a poorer performance than the white man in this role, wouldn’t it be acceptable for the white man to play Othello? He was asking us if a white man could do a better job of playing a Black character than a Black man,”
For the record, the position here, as an ethicist, lawyer but mostly as a stage director with some reputation for being innovative, any race and any gender can play any role, and if he or she is the artist with the talents to ensure the best performance, in the sole judgment of the director, should. Going on…
A reader reports that he can’t pull up Ethics Alarms on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Is anyone else having this problem?
Wasn’t it nice when we naively assumed that such things were just technical glitches and not part of Big Tech’s increasingly intrusive alliance with the totalitarian-minded forces of the extreme Left?
1. Embrace the narrative. “Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies with COVID-19” is just one of many headlines announcing that the 41-year-old Representative-elect died from the Wuhan virus. So far, every headline I’ve seen is some version of this. Letlow died of a heart attack, in fact, during some un-named procedure related to his treatment for the virus. People die of unexpected heart attacks with some frequency during hospital procedures for other problems, and the cause of death is usually listed as “heart attack.” Maybe the virus caused his death and maybe it didn’t, but the headlines stating this as fact is more pandemic fearmongering, and. yes, fake news.
2. Good. You will recall that Twitter censoredThe New York Post’s account of the incriminating Hunter Biden laptop being found because it claimed that the business memos, photos of a Hunter using illegal drugs, and other disturbing photos came from a “hacker,” when Twitter’s real objective was, it seems fair to conclude, to keep as many people as possible from learning about matters that might cause them not to vote for Hunter’s father. Now the computer repair company’s owner is suing Twitter for $500,000,000.00 for libel, defamation, and ruining his business, claiming that the social media giant disparaged him.
In a June 30 decision, B.L v. Mahanoy Area School District, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Pennsylvania high school violated a cheerleader’s First Amendment rights when it kicked the young woman off the squad for a message she had posted on SnapChat. A distruct court judge had ruled last year for the ex-cheerleader, whose post pictured the teen and her friend holding up their middle fingers accompanied by the eloquent sentiment , “fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything.” She was upset because she had only made the junior varsity cheerleading squad, rather than the varsity team.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania argued the case for the girl, so at least sometimes the organization still puts its partisan politics aside to do its traditional job of looking out for the First Amendment. The group called the ruling a “landmark decision,” finally barring schools from policing students’ off-campus speech using the claim that it might disrupt school activities.
The Supreme Court decision on campus speech, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, did not apply to off-campus speech. Tinker held that student speech could be regulated by schools only if it would substantially disrupt school operations or interfere with the rights of others. That case involved a school disciplining students when they wore black armbands to class as a protest against the Vietnam War.
The 3rd Circuit majority ruled .“We hold today that Tinker does not apply to off-campus speech—that is, speech that is outside school-owned, -operated or -supervised channels and that is not reasonably interpreted as bearing the school’s imprimatur,”
Because the teen’s speech was outside the school context, Tinker did not apply. The cheerleader’s speech “lies beyond the school’s regulatory authority,” the court said.
The ACLU’s press release stated that the decision was important “because it recognizes that students who are outside of school enjoy full free speech rights, not the diluted rights they have inside the schoolhouse.”
Reviewing, I see that the original Black Lives Matter attack on American values, history and culture first broke out in 2015. Then as now, Democrats rushed to embrace the racist group’s anti-white, anti-police and anti-America agenda, seeking, as usual, to enamor itself with its base. That was also the first time Princeton University was urged by student activists to remove honors to Wilson from the campus, though Wilson was not only a President of the United States (and according to Democrats until recently, one of the greatest) but also a lauded president of Princeton. The 2015 calls for his airbrushing out of Princeton’s history coincided with many similar attempts, some successful, to dishonor past historical figures whose legacies or conformity with modern values had been called into question.
College campuses, not city streets, were ground zero in 2015. Yale and the University of Missouri led the madness. At Mizzou, black students manufactured racial outrage out of ambiguous and off-campus incidents, then engaged in what Ethics Alarms then termed an “I’m mad at the world and somebody has to pay for it” tantrum (Hmmm! Still sounds pretty good!), demanding all sorts of special accommodations and race-based policies and hirings, and demanding the university president’s resignation. Thomas Wolfe did resign, giving us an early precedent for all the capitulation and cowardice we are seeing today. As we’re seeing today, intimidation, race-bullying and attacks on free expression and language were part of the assault:
Amherst students demanded a crack-down on any free speech in the form of criticism of Black Lives Matters or the protest goals.
Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matters members roamed through the campus library, verbally assaulting white students attempting to study.
Smith College held a sit-in, and barred reporters-–the new breed of campus freedom-fighters just don’t like that pesky First Amendment—unless they promised to cover the protest positively. .
Occidental College students occupied a three-story administration building, demanding “a series of actions ranging from racist to just unreasonable to oppressive” in the name of “safety” and “diversity”, of course. Predictably, the leftist faculty which helped make the students this way were fully supportive.Refresh your recollections with the list of student demands here; my favorites: demanding an increase in tenured black professors and black doctors; funding for the student group for black men, which is racist and counter-diverse by definition; and “elimination of military and police rhetoric from all documents and daily discourse.”
Chapter I: In Georgia, two Carrollton High School seniors made a truly cretinous video. Filmed in a bathroom, the male and female students students pretend to be doing a cooking show as they pour cups of water into the sink.
Showing their faces in the mirror, she announces, “Hey, today we’re making…”as the camera aims at the sink where there’s a piece of notebook paper with “niggers” written on it. The male student intones the word. The male student lifts cups of water and pours each one into the sink, over the paper. Under each cup is a piece of paper with the name of an “ingredient” written on it, which the young woman reads.
“First we have ‘black,'” she says. He then pours the cup of water into the sink over the paper with the slur. “Next we have, ‘Don’t have a dad!'” Other ingredients include “eating watermelon and fried chicken” and “rob people.”
“Specifically whites,” guy adds as he refills the “robs people” cup over and over using the sink tap. One cup labeled “make good choices” is empty. The couple feign surprise over the cup having nothing in it.
Once their opus was complete, the couple was so proud that they posted it online.
Why this is discouraging: In what alternate universe would anyone from the age of seven up think something like that would be acceptable to publicize? What kind of polluted culture is being fostered in Carollton? What are they teaching in the schools?
Even passing on that, how could anyone be so stupid as to think posting an overly racist video wouldn’t have serious consequences? Again, who is teaching critical thinking in that community? What have the parents been doing for 17 years, getting stoned? Continue reading →
What student “Auntie Ezine” said—that’s her Twitter handle; her real name is unknown so far—was this:
“If y’all didn’t know this is the [Multicultural Student Center], and frankly there’s just too many white people in here, and this is a space for people of color. So just be really cognizant of the space that you’re taking up. Because it does make some of us [people of color] uncomfortable when we see too many white people in here. It’s only been open for four days, and frankly there’s the whole university for a lot of y’all to be at, and there’s very few spaces for us. So keep that in mind. Thank-you.”
Perhaps not quite what it appears to be. The mainstream media, hostile as ever to religion, and of course to Republicans, making this a happy twofer, widely described the bill recently passed in the Ohio House as “Under the law, students can’t be penalized if their work is scientifically wrong as long as the reasoning is because of their religious beliefs. Instead, students are graded on substance and relevance.”
Well, that would be crazy. Such a bone-headed law would allow a religious student to state a non-fact as fact (no, the Earth just isn’t 6,000 years old no matter what Williams Jennings Bryan said) but a non-religious student repeating the same error would be graded down. But is this really what the “Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act of 2019” requires?
Here’s what it says:
Sec. 3320.03. No school district board of education, governing authority of a community school established under Chapter 3314. of the Revised Code, governing body of a Sec. STEM school established under Chapter 3326. of the Revised Code, or board of trustees of a college-preparatory boarding school established under Chapter 3328. of the Revised Code shall prohibit a student from engaging in religious expression in the completion of homework, artwork, or other written or oral assignments. Assignment grades and scores shall be calculated using ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance, including any legitimate pedagogical concerns, and shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student’s work.
“When I’m down and I feel like giving up…I whip my hair back and forth.”-Willow Smith
When I first learned of the latest hate crime hoax involving Amari Allen, a 12 year old African American preteen, I was watching the sometimes salacious national news show “Inside Edition” with my wife. Allen appeared on screen as a brave victim who was seemingly attacked by three white boys because of her “nappy” hair. Though something about the story just didn’t seem right, the part of me that knows what it’s like to have my hair ridiculed and touched without permission, won out. I decided to believe the narrative knowing there was potential for a hate hoax.
Confirmation bias for some people comes from a place of real experience. I have no doubt that many black people, women in particular, felt the sting of bad memories when Allen’s story hit the screens. Hate crime hoaxes are often initially believed because they sound plausible to those who have dealt with similar circumstances. Even the awful Tawana Brawley gang rape hoax, where she claimed racist words were written on her body and was left for dead in a trash bag, could seem likely because of the harm violently racist whites caused African Americans during slavery times and beyond. Blacks and other people of color learn as kids to be on the look-out for racial denigration so the past isn’t repeated.
Author and university professor Wilfred Reilly published the book “Hate Crime Hoax: The Left’s Campaign to Sell a Fake Race War,” this year and has over forty four pages of notes related to such hoaxes. Chapters in his book include discussions on fake religious, gender, and LGBT incidents, hoaxes related to bias against President Trump, white hoaxers, and of course college campus incidents. Reilly notes that these false hate crimes perpetuate a vision of what he calls the “Continuing Oppression Narrative,” that keeps blacks and leftist race activists in a constant state of “doom laden” analysis. Continue reading →
All over the major newspapers and news media last week was the ugly tale of another “hate crime.” 12-year-old Amari Allen, a black sixth-grader at a Christian, Northern Virginia private school, said that three white boys held her down and cut off some of her dreadlocks.
The New York Times and other news sources decided this was national news, just like a white Catholic school boy not having the right expression on his face when he was being harassed by a Native American activist. More proof of racism in America! “They put me on the ground,” the girl recounted in an emotional phone interview”One of them put my hands behind my back. One put his hands over my mouth. One cut my hair. They were saying that my hair was ugly, that it was nappy.” Why was this alleged episode of childhood bullying worthy of national attention? It was because Mike Pence’s wife Karen teaches at the school, the Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, about 15 minutes from my home.
This was cognitive dissonance manipulation. Pence’s wife teaches at a school where a black girl was racially harassed, thus the school is racially biased, thus Karen Pence is facilitating racism, thus her husband consorts with a racist, and it all leads back to that racist, President Trump. ( Big Lie #4)
With the same motivation, the left wing websites enthusiastically promoted the story. Here’s the always shameless Daily Kos:
See the white supremacy hate crimes that Trump, Pence, and Republicans foster? The local NAACP immediately got into the act, talking about lawsuits.