Waning Sunday Ethics Reveries, 7/12/2020: You Know, Ethics Isn’t Fun For Me When Everyone’s Acting Irrationally

Let’s see what we have today…

1. Oh. The art made some people uncomfortable. Well that’s a good reason to destroy it… Vermont Law School is going to paint over a mural in its student center that celebrates Vermont’s role in the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement. Several students and alumni had recently objected to its depictions of African Americans and said it made some people uncomfortable.

VLS President and Dean Thomas McHenry said in a campus-wide email last week that the mural in the Chase Community Center  painted by Vermont-based artist Sam Kerson in 1993 had to go because “the depictions of the African-Americans on the mural are offensive to many in our community and, upon reflection and consultation, we have determined that the mural is not consistent with our School’s commitment to fairness, inclusion, diversity, and social justice. Accordingly, we have decided to paint over the mural.”

Translation: ‘Some of our African American students and alumni as well as supporters of the George Floyd Freakout thought this was an ideal time to show what they could  do by crying “racism” in an institution that could be counted upon to cave to just about any demands in order to avoid being called “unwoke” and be swarmed by social media mobs. And they were right!’

The mural is titled “The Underground Railroad, Vermont and the Fugitive Slave” and has two 8-by-24-foot panels, with four scenes in each panel intended to“celebrate the efforts of black and white Americans in Vermont and throughout the United States to achieve freedom and justice,” the artist’s website says.

The first panel includes half-naked Africans being forced into slavery and sold at auction, as well as resistance symbolized, in part, by “the resurgence of African culture via drums, masks and costumes.”

The second panel includes images of John Brown, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe, as well as a scene where a blonde Vermont woman tries to block the view of a bounty hunter bearing down on fugitives trying to escape slavery on the Underground Railroad. Here it is…

VLS students Jameson Davis and April Urbanowski resembled yahoos at a modern art exhibit complaining that “them dang Picasso people look like freaks!,” writing “One issue of many, is the fact that the depictions of Black people are completely inaccurate. Regardless of what story is being told over-exaggerating Black features is not OK and should not be tolerated.”

The artist is not happy. “This is a monument to abolition in Vermont and a description of the people who struggled against slavery, and it is important to our culture,” Kerson said of his mural. “To paint it over is outlandish — it’s like burning books. It’s so inflammatory, I can’t believe it’s actually happening.”

Forget it, Sam. It’s George Floyd Freakout Town… Continue reading

Given The Opportunity And The Power, Blacks Will Discriminate Against Whites, Women Will Discriminate Against Men, Gays Will Discriminate Against Straights, And Liberals Will Discriminate Against Conservatives, Because That’s What Human Beings Tend To Do. Now What? I Recommend “In The Heat OF The Night”….

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a long time, at least since February, when professional women’s basketball star Candace Wiggins, who retired from the WNBA last year after eight seasons in the league, told  reporters that she was bullied and harassed during her career because she was not gay.

“Me being heterosexual and straight and being vocal in my identity as a straight woman was huge,” Wiggins said. “I would say 98 percent of the women in the WNBA are gay women. It was a conformist type of place. There was a whole different set of rules they [the other players] could apply.” She says it drove her out of the league and the game. The WNBA denied her allegations, and the story wasn’t around very long.  Gays don’t bully, they ARE bullied! Then, this week, ThinkProgress reported that a former University of Southern California point guard, Camille LeNoir, alleged she was denied an assistant coaching job in the New Mexico State University athletic department because she had the “wrong” sexual orientation.  She claims that she had a firm job offer when the school thought she was a lesbian, but when she announced that she no longer regarded herself as gay, the offer was rescinded. This week, a federal judge in California decided to allow her discrimination case to advance.

I don’t know whether the perceptions of either Wiggins or LeNoir are accurate, but I don’t doubt that the kind of bullying and prejudice they describe goes on. There have been similar accounts in other women’s sports, like tennis and golf. Yes, it appears that unlike the male side (with the exception of men’s figure skating), gay women dominate many if not all women’s sports. I will eschew writing something arch like, “Who would have suspected?” in favor of the more direct, “This should come as no surprise, but saying so will offend feminists, female athletes and lesbians anyway.”

One would think that when a historically oppressed and discriminated-against group gains power or perceives that it has power, it would behave toward others as it wishes it had been treated during all those years of being marginalized. Alas, the opposite is usually the case, and most of the time. In one of my worlds, professional theater, gay men dominate, and there are theaters that have the reputation of actively discriminating against straight actors. Hollywood, of course has become a workplace where being revealed as a conservative is to face virtual blacklisting. Give a minority power, and as often as not, what emerges are bullies and bigots. Continue reading

Gender Issues Confusion Monday Continues With PART 2: ESPN’s Howard Bryant Argues That It Is Sexist And Bigoted Not To Follow Women’s Sports

You WILL believe she is as good as Stephen Curry,  or you are a sexist bigot!

You WILL believe she is as good as Stephen Curry, or you are a sexist bigot!

The culture wars are heating up, and both extreme ends of the ideological divide appear to be dashing to Crazy Town as fast as their legs can carry them. The vital, existential question is this:  how many previously sane people will follow them in all the excitement?

Newsbusters recently flagged an article in ESPN Magazine by Howard Bryant that condemns disinterest in women’s professional sports, specifically basketball, as a mark of bias and misogyny. I wish I could read the whole thing—it requires a subscription—but the excerpts quoted seem clear…and deranged:

A. “Using men as the standard for female athletic achievement is designed to diminish and distort women’s accomplishments….The insistence on being identical to men might appear noble but is actually a false flag.”

B.  “….acceptance of the women’s game on its own legitimate terms, independent of men – feels less promising and more turbulent. And in many ways it parallels the various racial dynamics of integration. Legislation secured the right to exist. Achievement vindicated the movement. Neither assured acceptance. The women’s game is in a similar place. The progress is there. The progressive thinking isn’t.”

C. “The issue is why the women’s game cannot be left alone, without harassment, without needing to be viewed through the invalid framework of the men’s game in the first place.”

D. “Six-foot-10 [male tennis pro] John Isner serves 143 mph. Five-foot-9 Serena does not and never will, which is proof of nothing, another false equivalent in a country built on inequalities.”

E. “These empty arguments, rooted in distortion and misogyny, are not without a sinister purpose. They are intended to devalue the women’s game, block opportunity, attack equal pay or discontinue women’s sports altogether.”

F.”[A]s long as women’s sports remain a cultural priority, financially and legally protected, maybe acceptance really isn’t that important anyway.”

Continue reading