Monday, September 25, 2006

 

Hey, we're fair


Some of the time. For instance, we genuinely like this editorial by Bryan Yang of the Chico State Orion in which he cudgel's Morgan Spurlock's "documentary" titled "Super Size Me." We especially savored this section:

He ate McDonald's three times a day for a month. He gained a lot of weight and became very sick. All the unhealthy ingredients in the McDonald's food took a major toll on his body.

Well, what did he think was going to happen? That'd be like me making a movie called "AK-47 Me" in which every day for a month I go into crowded areas and let loose with an AK-47. Then at the end of the movie, I look into the camera lens and say, "Guns are bad."

We'd like to advocate the hiring of many more "Bryan Yang's" onto college newspaper staffs.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

 

"Active Engagement"


Mount Holyoke College's webpage features a "commentary" section that maintains articles written by staff and students that were published elsewhere. Of course, when we saw "Campus Diversity: Moving from Appreciation to Active Engagement," we were intrigued and just had to investigate. This article is written by Dean of Students Liz Braun. Amazingly, we were actually satisfied with Dean Braun's précis, as she did not make use of much of the typical "edu-speak" to which we're well accustomed. However, there were some morsels of babble with which we took issue. For instance,

Another challenge is that while students may voice an appreciation of diversity, many tend to view "diversity" as something separate from themselves or "other," particularly if they identify strongly with the majority population.

For example, I often hear white students talk about race as something that only applies to students of color. In order to be constructive participants in a diverse community students should understand that they each have a racial identity and how that identity affects one's place in society.

This is the paradigm with which universities infect society at large -- the notion that people are members of groups. They are not individuals. The US Constitution does not recognize group rights (although there certainly are some high court decisions that have granted such), it guarantees individual rights.

And so what if people who "identify strongly with the majority population" prefer to give short thrift to the notion of "diversity." After all, since they so identify, this leads one to believe that these students will primarily associate with this group in the future. And, here's an enigma which causes a certain amount of head-scratching: Why isn't "diversity" of such import at what are dubbed "Historically Black Colleges"? Why is there no clamoring for more racial heterogeneity at these august institutions? After all, "diversity" logic would dictate that a greater degree of multiformity here would better prepare minority students for the "real" world where they will have to engage much more with the majority population.

Further, Braun is speaking in code when she writes that second paragraph. What she is actually saying is the following: White people have to realize that their color gives them "privileges" that do not exist for people of color. It is not enough to be "passive," white students! White students must DO something to rectify this oppressive state of affairs. That is what being a "constructive participant" is all about. Don't be fooled into thinking Braun really wants white students to "understand that they each have a racial identity," because that may lead to something completely anathema to "diversophiles" -- white racial pride. Racial pride is something that only non-majority students are morally entitled to possess. Diversophiles want white students to be aware of their "lack of hue" only insofar as they acknowledge the myriad injustices that their achromatic brethren (past and present) have inflicted on those with more melanin in their epidermis.

Please do not misunderstand us. We don't advocate any sort of racial "pride." We believe people should be judged as individuals, not by their perceived membership in various pigmentation societies.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

 

We love community colleges


We try to not make a habit of picking on poorly written essays, or those lacking in historical knowledge. We also want to refrain from visualizing the classic Saturday Night Live skit titled "Community College Bowl" featuring Jeff Daniels as the beleaguered host trying to elicit just ONE answer from two panels of sub-700 SAT scorers representing a couple fictitious community colleges. But Mat Ozee's op-ed in Henderson Community College's "The Hill" has a juicy target on it, at least, in part, for a gag-type post. Mat writes:

Newt Gingrich is one man who has decided he wouldn't mind the possibility of being president.

This is very humorous to me however, because he got himself into a bit of trouble a few years back with taking money for corporations to get taxes breaks — among other things — and stepped down from speaker of the house, blaming it on the decline of the GOP back in 1998.

We're curious as to the "trouble" Gingrich got into regarding "taking money for corporations to get taxes breaks." That sounds worthy of a removable from Congress offense. The only thing we recall hassling Newt was that book royalty imbroglio. But at any rate, what are "taxes breaks"? And call us old fashioned, but shouldn't that be "stepped down from his Speaker of the House position"? (And we're not 100% certain, but isn't such a title worthy of capitalization?)

Why would we want to trust a quitter? President Bush may be incompetent, but at least he hasn’t ran for higher ground (although that would not be a bad idea).

"Hasn't run for higher ground"? Pardon our obtuseness, but we need just a little elucidation on that one.

Anyway, Gingrich would be a terrible president for the fact that we obviously cannot trust him.

Obviously Mr. Ozee isn't acquainted with very many politicians now, is he?

Moving on, Condoleezza Rice is another name in the hat.

We definitely do not need someone from this current administration running the White House for another four to eight years.

Our country could not handle that; gas prices would be $25 a gallon by year 2011.

Aside from the fact that gas prices have currently been plummeting like an anvil in a swimming pool for the last two weeks, right?

These big names aside, I am going back to the fact only the stingy conservatives are the ones who are still looking at this current presidency.

That is a good idea, but it shows that as a country, Americans have lost faith in a President who should have not been “given” his position. And yes, I do mean “given.”

Ooh, he means "given"! This is an obvious reference to the theory that in 2000, George Bush was "selected," not "elected." We really grow weary of this perpetual grievance; just as one counter, we'd like to say that for liberals -- who have a love affair with using the third branch of government to gain their political yearnings -- to suddenly detest the nation's high court for slapping down a rogue state court (Florida) who saw fit to rewrite election law, is just a bit chuckle-inducing.

And we certainly hope Mr. Ozee doesn't think election 2004 was another instance of an election anomaly...

Going back to Gingrich, if he is declaring his candidacy, then I want to push Congress to make an amendment to allow people not born in America, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, to run as well.

And the logic behind this thesis is ... ?

It is sad everyone has lost hope in our current President, although, who could blame them?

We're wondering how Mr. Ozee knows "everyone" has lost hope in President Bush. Currently, he has a 40% or so approval rating. That's certainly not terrific, but unless we failed that particular sixth grade math test, 40% equals quite a lot of people in a nation as big as the United States.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

 

Stereotype Whites? That ain't so bad!


Andrea Arango of the University of Virginia's Cavalier Daily tells us that white people's complaints about their being stereotyped are ... not that important. After all, Mr. and Mrs. Caucasian, you have the power in this society.

White people may profess that they too are victims of prejudice, but the fact remains that they are the majority and the connotations associated with that word will never be the same as those linked to the word "minority." Whites may claim that African-Americans are as racist towards whites as they are to them, but whites were the free dominant people, while for much of American history, enslaved African-Americans had little chance to dispute the stereotypes that degraded them.

So there, you pesky pallid pupils! Since the prejudice projected towards you is not as "bad" as those experienced by the country's minorities, you'd do well to remember that and, well, shut the hell up, eh?

One assumes, for example, that white people can't dance. Nevertheless, whites can easily disassociate themselves from the stereotype by taking dancing lessons or by declaring dance to be irrelevant to them. A stereotype that can be dispatched with little difficulty, such as this one, is not restrictive, as the person does indeed have a choice.

In contrast, the stereotypes attached to the groups that universities generally refer to as ALANA (African American/Latino/Asian American/Native American) are almost impossible to escape. For example, in a recent study, one Latina student told anthropologist Bonnie Urciuoli, "The only thing that bothered me is automatically it was assumed that just because my writing wasn't very good it had to be because I'm Latina and my first language is Spanish, which is not true. It could just mean that I didn't learn the proper way to write an essay...or that day I was just like whatever about the paper. It could've been so many other things."

We'd like to think Ms. Arango is not this dense. After all, if a white person who is accused of being a lousy dancer can "merely" take dancing lessons to "overcome" a lousy [white] dancer stereotype, or declare that dancing is irrelevant to him/her, it surely stands to reason that a Latina can overcome the "lousy writer stereotype" by ... taking writing classes or -- get this -- declaring "good writing irrelevant to them."

But think about it: Why is thinking that a Hispanic's poorer writing abilities may indeed be due to second language difficulties ... a [negative] stereotype? We think this is a quite reasonable hypothesis one may hold knowing quite a few English-as-a-second language Americans. We also know a few [first language] English-speaking Americans whose second language (Spanish, French, whatever) is not nearly on par with their native lingo. So?

The University is not immune to this, either. "It's very easy to argue that whites stereotype blacks and blacks stereotype whites, but they have different consequences in day to day life," explains University Anthropology Prof. Richard Handler. Handler continues, "Students of color routinely, I think, experience discrimination by students who think their only reason for being here is affirmative action. Nobody questions a white's right to be here."

We would query "Why isn't wondering -- deep down -- that perhaps, just perhaps, that [black] student is attending the university merely because of his skin color?" Isn't that what programs like affirmative action do, at least in the way [campus] liberals utilize it? Look at the whole debate about affirmative action in the landmark Michigan cases (Gratz and Grutter). In the one case, blacks and other minorities were given more points -- merely because of their skin color -- than whites, and a certain total accumulated points resulted in admittance. So, again, how is thinking that affirmative action results in unfair college admittance ... discriminatory?

In addition, we know of many folks -- including ourselves -- that express disdain at [white] "legacy" admissions as well as various sports-related admissions of students whose IQs barely rise above that of your average Neanderthal. The good professor Handler is whistling Dixie (no pun intended) on that one, we're afraid. He is just "handling" what his "handlers" would have him spout for "the good of the cause."

Whites, as the ethnic majority in the States, are not as subject to racial restriction as other ethnicities. Yes, they can argue that they are also victims of stereotypes and ethnic jokes. But the fact remains that whites, as the majority, still hold more power in society than other races, making it impossible for them to ever be constrained by a stereotype as other ethnic groups are.

This, too, is plain vacuous. The biggest stereotype which constrains whites more than anybody is the stereotype that all whites are inherently racist! As evidence, we merely point you back to Prof. Handler's comments about affirmative action. If you think that affirmative action results in unqualified [minority] students being granted acceptance to a university, you're engaging in [racially] discriminatory behavior.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

 

University of Cali. Santa Cruz's publicly funded activism


We love campus radicals. We really do. They always tickle our funny bone for reasons they'd never even consider. FrontPage magazine has an article up about UC at Santa Cruz's "Women's Studies" dept. using their official newsletter (titled "The Wave") to promote blatantly partisan activism. On the state's dime, at that. For example,

Bettina Aptheker, then chair of Women's Studies, set the political tone in her "Chair's Message". She boasted about all the events that the department had initiated and co-sponsored in response to the tragedy of September 11, giving special praise to a talk by a lesbian/gay rights activist who called for "a progressive coalition to counter the right-wing offensive now governing US politics."

In addition, The Wave has promoted activities such as the "Faculty Against War," and highlighted promotions such as "10 Reasons Why Women Should Oppose the US 'War on Terrorism.'" Chairwoman Aptheker also organized an all-day "teach-in" against the Iraq War, and praised USSC students who had screamed and protested military recruiters off campus a couple weeks before.

Us CN Confab fellows have been pondering activities and groups that right-leaning professors (those that actually exist, that is) and students can promote ... on the state's dime, too, to at least give the illusion of partisan "fairness." Let's take a gander:


If you have any ideas for similar campus groups you'd like to see, please let us know. We'll post it immediately.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

 

Inaugural: DePaul administration and the KKK -- kindred spirits?



The DePaulia newspaper from DePaul University has an interesting op-ed in it from Vontriece Valentine and Erica Denise Williams. These young ladies think that DePaul is just an awful place for minorities, women and homosexuals. We mean, look -- their first paragraph invokes the legendary "Bell Hook," whoever that is:

"IN FEMINISM: A TRANSFORMATIONAL POLITIC," Bell Hook states that “feminism, as liberation struggle, must exist from and as a part of the bigger struggle to eradicate domination in all forms. We must understand that patriarchal domination shares an ideological foundation with racism and other forms of group oppression, that there is no hope that it can be eradicated while these systems remain intact.” We agree with Hooks and realize that all forms of oppression are interconnected and one cannot hold priority over another. With that being said, we have decided to attack the hatred that has been expressed by some of our cohorts here at DePaul, as well as the lack of response we have observed from the administration, faculty and the staff at this Vincentian institution.

Oh! They must mean bell hooks, who prefers using the lower case in her name. Surprising, then, that Valentine and Williams did not know that. What an insult to such a "great" feminist and radical! If we were like Valentine and Williams, we would spend an inordinate amount of time on this insult alone. After all, according to hooks, her use of the lower case "signifies that what is most important in her works is the 'substance of books, not who [she is].' " (Link.) Valentine and Williams, by using using hooks' name with capitalized lettering, are disrespecting an activist icon! They're making the name more important than the works!

During the last three months, racial tension, homophobia, gender biases and pure ignorance have escalated on campus to the point where all students are questioning their safety; some students of color no longer feel welcome.

Wow -- it's that bad, huh? But we wonder just how bad it is. After all, it is well known how politically correct ideologues tend to inflate the seriousness of situations all in the name of "diversity" and "tolerance." For all we know, "gender biases" could be a sudden rash of male students opening doors for female students. "Racial tension" could be vigorous debates about affirmative action. (Stand by for more on that.)

It is a pity that the DePaul administration has allowed these feelings to intensify without an effective response. As students, we pay tuition, fees and maintain the utmost respect for this university and its administration. This has been clearly illustrated in our patience and respectful response to events such as the racist incidents that have taken place over the last two years, the Anti-Affirmative Action Bake Sale...

Well, whaddya know? Looks like we hit the nail right on the head. An "Anti-Affirmative Action Bake Sale" -- which spurs debate on the hot political and cultural issue of affirmative action -- is "racist." (The correct term is actually Affirmative Action Bake Sale because baked goods are sold at different prices to people of different races. If it truly was an Anti-Affirmative Action Bake Sale, the goods would be sold at the same price to everyone regardless of skin color thereby making the whole point moot, right?)

... comments made by the Ultimate Warrior and even the presence of racist newspapers, such as the Statesman, on this campus. It is disturbing to know that the administration, faculty and staff do not recognize the impact these events have had on our lives and our studies.

Oh, we get it. The Statesman is the anithesis to the DePaulian -- the conservative yin to the liberal yang. Now, we really haven't perused the Statesman at length, but it's our educated guess that Valentine and Williams believe the conservative publication to be "racist" merely because it offers points of view different from their own.

We were confused by the reference to the Ultimate Warrior, so we did some Googling. It turns out that the DePaul Conservative Alliance invited this wrestler to give a speech once. Based on what we read, this Ultimate Warrior fellow is a real lemon. He made some less-than-flattering comments about numerous types of folk in his talk. But isn't that the beauty of free speech? And isn't this the same DePaul that invited Ward Churchill to address the campus? What about his offensive comments? The same DePaul that canned a professor for debating two pro-Palestinian students? And even once shut down one of the affirmative action bake sales (or anti-affirmative action bake sales, depending on whether you think the student authors' appellation is correct or not) Valentine and Williams are so incredibly apoplectic about?

How many full professors of color are even on staff? How many professors have claimed and acted upon a commitment to combating racism and hatred in all its explicit and subtle forms on campus?

We were wondering when the numbers game would be brought into action! After all, we all know that minority students can only function effectively if taught by minority professors. The research shows that ... wait. Scratch that. There's no such data.

And, as for professorial "commitment" to combatting racism and hatred, you probably realize this means "diversity" and "sensitivity" seminars where the instructors would divulge their racial "guilt" in an affirmation that would make Chairman Mao jump around in a paroxysm of elation.

Valentine and Williams go to complain about the DePaul Conservative Alliance bringing in Dinesh D'Souza to represent their side in an affirmative action debate on campus. But it's just a rumor that the DCA was "permitted" to invite Dinesh. Oh. Further, our student columnists lament that the pro-A.A. side was represented by Michael Eric Dyson because he is not the most eloquent spokesman for affirmative action. We can sort of sympathize with the authors; we think Dyson is not a very good representative for many topics.

And lastly, Valentine and Williams think that since the DePaul administration has exercised a "lack of response or action" against these (and other) most hateful and racist incidents, either the esteemed deans "don't care" or "they share the same [hateful] opinions." We surely doubt this. DePaul is well known as one of the most liberal campuses in the U.S. Valentine and Williams are just your all-too typical student insurgents, bemoaning the First Amendment because it doesn't also protect people from being offended.

Pooh pooh on Mr. Thomas Jefferson and Co.

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