Sunday, December 17, 2006
The Face of the Faculty
We got a kick out of this Rice Thresher article. Once we eyed the title we just knew it had something to do with "diversity." We mean, come on -- "Face of the Faculty"? And sure enough, we weren't disappointed.
The story concentrates on one Joan Strassman, who way back in 1981 -- Neanderthal-like days for "diversity," "multiculturalism" and "sensitivity" -- felt "disenfranchised" as the only female faculty member in the Biology Dept. She claims decisions were made without her input, but we're left to wonder: Even if her input was considered -- and then opposed -- wouldn't that, in effect, still make her feel "disenfranchised"?
Strassman then bemoans that she was not granted maternity leave. Now, wait one damn second!! Aren't we constantly lectured by anointed ivory-tower dwelling feminists that there is essentially no difference between the genders? So why should Strassman be granted a leave for which no testosterone-laden colleague can partake? This to us sounds like discrimination! Bias!
Of course, as mentioned, the article is all about the "need" for a diverse faculty ... because this somehow "benefits" the student body. We won't bother covering the usual inanity of such a belief, but instead want to point out a few contradictions to the "diversity" credo. For instance, Dean of Natural Sciences Kathy Matthews "said her department is taking strong initiatives in recruiting women faculty with a program called ADVANCE." She states,
“There is a biological reality, and that is that the childbearing years correspond pretty strongly to the years of graduate school, post-doctoral [fellowships], and the years that you have to put in to be tenured as a faculty member,” Matthews said. “Some women are not willing to give up those childbearing years or to do what is necessary during those childbearing years to pursue a faculty position.”
Again! A "biological reality"? A phrase uttered by a Dean of a college? Unthinkable! We're left wondering why these "biological realities" are not taken into account, for instance, in discussions regarding Title IX -- the section of the Civil Rights Act which has been used to mandate "equal time" for males and females in college sports. We mean, let's face it -- men's sports are much more exciting to watch mainly because of the "biological reality" that men are stronger and faster than women. Y'know, this might just somehow explain why there are no women in the four major professional sports leagues. Well, aside from ball girls and cheerleaders, that is.
Back to Strassman:
Strassmann said that a diverse faculty is critical to an undergraduate student’s education.
“People vary in how they teach and what they put emphasis on, and some of that variation comes from different life experiences, which men and women have in this culture, and so do minorities,” Strassmann said. “And if you have all one flavor of faculty, you’re just not going to get that.”
Student Center Director Boyd Beckwith, who was instrumental in promoting gay-friendly hiring policies at Rice, agrees.
“I think [that a diverse faculty is important] in the same way that a diversified student body is important to any student’s education,” Beckwith said. “I think oftentimes students learn as much from each other because they’re from different backgrounds as they do in the classroom.”
Unfortunately for these two educators, their beliefs are just that -- beliefs. Little to no research has yet demonstrated any tangible effects of the nebulous designation "diversity." At best they're making "educated guesses." But keep in mind Strassman's solicitude for diversity, for later in the article when discussing the success of a black female student who went on to become an ecology professor ...
“I’d say that minority students aren’t really different from any others,” Strassmann said. “I think what’s important is to welcome them into the lab, to try to have enough minority students in the group that they feel comfortable. Sometimes that makes a difference, sometimes it doesn’t. I’d like to see every student doing research.”
WAIT!! "Minority students aren't really different from others?" If they're not really different, prof., then why the overwhelming need for a diverse faculty (and student body)? And is "diversity" meant to improve educational results ... or to make students "feel comfortable"?
Frankly, we're amazed that Prof. Strassman and Dean Matthews used the terminology that they did. Not only did they contravene themselves, they impugned diversiphiles across the American college landscape. If their dogma of diversity wasn't so firmly entrenched, we'd bet that they'd have to spend at least one session in a "sensitivity" gulag.
My student fees go for this?
So complained CSU's (Northridge) African Student Organization President Marvin Boateng about a "get out the vote" campaign sponsored by the university? Marvin's beef? "All the hands on the card are white," he said. "This is what my A.S. fee is going to? Something that only represents one race of people?"
Wow. That sure is something with which to be preoccupied, eh? Not that big mid-term exam coming up, or the needed GPA to get into that honor society. Or even that upcoming post-graduate job interview. Nope. An ad which entices college students to pull that voting lever has too many "white hands" in it. (Actually, we thought the hand on the far right of the ad's picture kind of looks a bit "dark." Perhaps it is that of a light-complexioned African-American? A Latino? An Asian? Wait, scratch that last presumption -- we forgot that Asians are "not really minorities.")
According to a 2005 study done by the Office of Institutional Research, white students at CSUN make up only 32.1 percent of the entire student population.
Indeed. Which makes it all the more shocking that a university -- the most adept racial bean counters in the business -- failed to note this statistic when it groomed the ad.
Boateng brought the card to the attention of A.S. President Adam Salgado.
"That was overlooked. We should be paying more attention to things like that," Salgado said in a phone interview.
Salgado said that to his knowledge the hands were picked randomly.
A.S. Director of Elections Leonard Wong said, "It didn't really register with me when I approved them." He did admit that the hands do look like all white hands.
"We overlooked it and I take full responsibility," Wong said.
You'd better damn well, Mr. Wong! As a faux minority your actions are as suspect as those of the "oppressor" majority whites. And by taking full responsibility, you may be lucky enough to avoid a "sensitivity" seminar.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
What to do when you're a white college student who wants to peacefully protest a current political hot topic? Answer: BE CAREFUL. You may incur the wrath of "correct-minded" professors who will utilize language that, in reverse, would get one suspended from college and countless mandatory hours of "sensitivity training" and "diversity seminars."
Case in point: Washington State University College Republicans erected a "mock fence" to protest immigration policy. Uh-oh. You know what's coming, don't you? Splenetic "proper-minded" students ... and professors imputing with wanton abandon.
Another assistant professor from the CES department, John Streamas, was reported as calling College Republicans members “white shitbags,” though it was not recorded on video. According to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Streamas admitted to using the phrase, but said it needed to be taken in the proper context.
Oh, of course. The "proper context." And what might that be, Prof. Streamas? “It made me angry. The fence is no different than a Confederate flag or a swastika.” Oh, silly us. We sort of presumed the "proper context" might have been some offensive epithet hurled your way by one of the College Republicans. But all it was was something ... that made you angry?? And a fence to prevent illegal immigration from a neighboring country ... the same as a symbol many consider to be synonymous with American slavery? Or a symbol of racial purity and ethnic genocide? Excuse our rudeness, but we find that completely dotterel.
Prof. Streamas has received a reprimand for his outburst. But we are certainly curious as to what may have happened if Streamas had uttered his slogan to a group of black College Democrats (changing, of course, the word "white" to "black") who had, say, erected a symbolic fence that represented how a lack of affirmative action policies at WSU "kept out" minority students. Our [quite educated] guess holds that Prof. Streamas would either have been suspended, mandated to attend sessions on "sensitivity," or even fired.
Prof. Streamas wasn't the only "appropriately minded" instructor to take action against the corrupting campus GOPers:
One of the three videos shows David Leonard, assistant professor of comparative ethnic studies, first asking and then demanding the cameraman for his WSU student identification number. “By the student code of conduct, I’d like to have your ID,” he said on the tape. “You have to give it to me.” The standards of conduct do not require students to hand over their IDs in such situations, but it does require students to comply with a “proper order” from a university official.Once again, had the picture been transposed, we surmise Leonard would have been called out for his "fascist" and "Stalinist" tactics ... that he was acting more like a member of the Gestapo than an educator of an enlightened site of higher learning.
Critical Mass has a copious amount of additional material on Professor Streamas, if you care to indulge yourself.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Conference on White Privilege
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is sponsoring "WPC 8" -- White Privilege Conference 8 -- next April. Although the claim on the conference's main page says "This conference is not about beating up on white folks," you can ante your bottom dollar that that is precisely what will manifest. Just take a gander at some of the speakers who will be attending the conference. Without even beginning our Googling to learn more about these folk, two immediately were recognizable to us -- Robert Jensen and Jim Loewen. Both are notoriously radical and anti-American professors.
Then there's the quite interesting "FAQ" section. See if you can decipher these ... "answers":
Q: What is White Privilege?
A: I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was 'meant to remain oblivious. White Privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.
Q: What does it do?
A: It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power, and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.
Ah, so meritocracy is a "myth." Democratic choice is "lore." Silly us. We presume that, since minority groups are just that -- in the minority -- just by pure force of digits their various subsections do not have the same "choice" effect as that of the majority population. So what's new? This complaint also surmises that minority interests are not, and cannot, be the same as those of the majority. Hence, minorities' "democratic choice" is not "equal." Well, this is essentially the bane of any democratic society. We conjecture that those who are sponsoring this conference would favor a sort of "proportionate representation" that some democratic societies indeed possess for numerous political parties. But, obviously, races and ethnicities are not political parties!
Further, they'd also be in favor of new restrictions on rights we take for granted here in the US such as freedom of speech. Some speech would have to be restricted in order to enable the "minority voice" to flourish. Indeed, Critical Race Theory states that minorities cannot meet speech with more speech because their "power" is less.
We're not quite conclusive on just what the hell "freedom of confident action" is, but then again, since this whole conference is predicated on pseudo-scientific gibberish, we'll just go with the flow...
Q. Is this about proving how bad white folks are?
A. Our attempts to dismantle dominance and oppression must follow a path other than that of either vilifying or obliterating Whiteness... Whites need to acknowledge and work through the negative historical implications of 'Whiteness' and create for ourselves a transformed identity as White people committed to equality and social change. Our goal is neither to defy or denigrate Whiteness, but to difuse its destructive power.
To teach my white students and my own children that they are 'not White' is to do them a disservice. To teach them that there a different ways of being White, and that they have a choice as White people to become champions fo [sic] justice and social healing, is to provide them a positive direction for growth and to grant them the dignity of their own being.
And this is not supposed to be a racist response, believe it or not. Only whites have to "work through" the negative implications of ... being white ... because, after all, whites are inherently UNcommitted to equality and social change. Which is news to, say, the vast majority of white people not to mention the American historical record. Astonishing. Just remember: The conference's goal isn't to "denigrate Whiteness," just to "difuse its destructive power," which in layman's terms means "You're damn right we're gonna blast Whitey, 'cause it's THEY who have f***ed up everything and anything!!"
Remember, Mr. and Mrs. White Person -- "becoming champions for justice and healing" means accepting that you and your ancestors are culpable for every conceivable ill on the planet, and following a "course of action" that will bring "dignity" is to welcome the wise words and philosophy of the Gary Howards of US campuses, who authored the third Q&A above.