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Green Room - Week 14 - Day 7

The poll closes tonight! http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/909410.html
so get up off that thing, and vote for your favorites until you feel better!

(I'm pretty sure that's what James Brown *meant* to say!)

***

A "Friend of Idol" (well, a friend of a friend of Idol) has a Kickstarter for an new game: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dirtycops/dirty-cops-a-game-for-scoundrels

It was suggested that I wait until a weekday post to advertise this and that I "say something controversial".

So: #1: "Dirty Cops? Couldn't they have just called this Cops?"

(OK, I've known a lot of really good people who have been police officers. Of course, I've known such absolute scumbags who have also been police officers. But nuanced commentary isn't "controversial". So - ALL COPS ARE DIRTY!!)

#2: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/03/20/university-kansas-professor-keeps-job-after-using-racial-slur-in-class.html

I also found this, from the "other side": https://medium.com/@schumaal/what-follows-is-a-letter-collectively-written-by-the-students-currently-enrolled-in-coms-930-at-the-8f4914d4bbd5#.8ta9e64td

and this one, that seems to be somewhere between the two: http://www.inquisitr.com/2909531/andrea-quenette-found-not-guilty-racism/

Comments

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
adoptedwriter
Mar. 21st, 2016 01:35 pm (UTC)
Happy Monday everybody! 1st!!!

AW
xo_kizzy_xo
Mar. 21st, 2016 02:11 pm (UTC)
Second?!?

That cop game sounds interesting :)

Me? I've got nothing other than a spring snowstorm which will start melting at any time.
kathrynrose
Mar. 21st, 2016 02:19 pm (UTC)
I just want to say that I could have been first, but I read all of that before commenting, in case I had something to say. Now that I've read all that, and this being the internet...


Hey! No Kithan means no bacon? Where's the bacon?
clauderainsrm
Mar. 21st, 2016 02:34 pm (UTC)
She ate it all.

You should know better than to think she was *actually* going to share!!
(no subject) - kathrynrose - Mar. 21st, 2016 03:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
ecosopher
Mar. 21st, 2016 02:22 pm (UTC)
I'm not American and I'm white, so with that caveat...

I find it seriously weird that this word cannot be uttered by anyone other than a black person. Not even in comedy, not ever. I find it odd that on the news, it is called 'the n-word' as if we're all five and know that it's a swear word, but we can't say it because all the adults say it's naughty. Everyone would know what was meant if instead of 'the n-word', we said 'a racial slur' or 'racial epithet'.

In this case, the lecturer was talking about a specific incident, she wasn't calling anyone names. Is that not allowed? Are there words we just aren't allowed to use because they are too toxic?

But surely the forbidden nature makes it more so? At the moment, this word is only used by racist people or black people. It can't be used in any other context (apparently). But if we can't even use it in discussions, or mention it anywhere at all, then it remains a slur.

I know, I do know that there is a lot of history here. I know it's not my history, but I've read a lot and watched documentaries on it and keep up with contemporary US politics and cultural commentary, so it's not like I'm blind to the fact that there have been centuries of prejudice and abuse of power and that that word has been at the centre of it, and it continues to this day. But there are many other words which are derogatory and whose history hangs heavy on them, many of them, and they've been used to paint other groups -- women, people of Asian descent, First Nations -- and we don't have the same conversations about them. Why not?
kathrynrose
Mar. 21st, 2016 03:17 pm (UTC)
I agree with all of this. Particularly - I find it odd that on the news, it is called 'the n-word' as if we're all five and know that it's a swear word, but we can't say it because all the adults say it's naughty.

I find the whole (alphabet)-word trend kind of silly, immature, embarrassing. Context matters. We should be able to discuss a word, particularly in the context of its appropriate or inappropriate uses.

It's like when people stub their toe and yell, "Cheezit Crisps!" instead of, "Jesus Christ!" If it's offensive, it's offensive. "N-word" as a substitute should be absolutely every bit much as offensive, if the meaning of the thing matters. And the word which must not be spoken should be every bit as acceptable as, "the n-word," in the context of openly discussing the practices and incidents of racism.




1. I tried to keep my mouth shut. I really did.


Edited at 2016-03-21 03:20 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - roina_arwen - Mar. 21st, 2016 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kathrynrose - Mar. 21st, 2016 03:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roina_arwen - Mar. 21st, 2016 05:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
kickthehobbit
Mar. 21st, 2016 06:36 pm (UTC)
She wasn't calling anyone names, but she was talking blindly about how she doesn't "see" racism. There was more to calling for her dismissal than use of a racist slur.

Re: the point that "only" racists or Black people can use it—well, yeah. Reclamation is something that happens, not because outsiders force a group to reclaim it, but because the group as a whole decides to reclaim it. Reclamation can't happen by someone outside the group, because it's people outside the group that have historically (and not even historically!) used it to oppress the marginalized. It is a slur, and whether or not it "remains one" isn't up to anyone that's not Black. Letting non-Black people use it isn't going to change that.

We can mention it in discussions where appropriate—but "where appropriate" never seems to be the case when white people are wringing their hands and going, "but why can't I use it?" This wasn't a discussion about linguistics and racism, it wasn't a discussion about racist slurs, it wasn't a context where it was appropriate to use it. It was a discussion about how the professor doesn't "see" racism and doesn't know how to talk about it, in which she went on to say a bunch of other nasty things (as per her students).

I'm not really sure why we're defending that.
(no subject) - kathrynrose - Mar. 21st, 2016 06:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clauderainsrm - Mar. 21st, 2016 07:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kathrynrose - Mar. 21st, 2016 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kickthehobbit - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kathrynrose - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ecosopher - Mar. 22nd, 2016 12:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
murielle
Mar. 21st, 2016 07:20 pm (UTC)
Personally, I have a problem with the c-word...cooking, cleaning....

Seriously, there are those among us who seem determined to be offended no matter what. Among the students who signed the letter sent about said offense were students who hadn't been at the lecture. To me, that's weird...I heard that someone said something that might have been offensive therefore I am offended...Who has the energy for that? I think the resolution was a good and fair one that is set to educate and heal, rather that humiliate and exact revenge.

But as a white woman of a certain age perhaps I should bow to the belief that I am therefore irrelevant and just shut up. Like that is ever going to happen!

Edited at 2016-03-21 07:21 pm (UTC)
whipchick
Mar. 21st, 2016 07:35 pm (UTC)
Never shut up :)

One of the challenges of context here is that there's a difference between "there's stuff in the world I don't like so I shouldn't have to hear it" and the climate of an academic department.

Sure, there's whiners and crybabies out there, and we need to save our energy for the causes that matter. But in an academic department, with graduate students, the climate of the department as a whole matters.

You're a "white woman of a certain age." So does it matter if the professor you need on your committee has been talking about "old biddies" in another class? Does it make a difference if every time an older white woman gets a B on a paper, the professor makes a joke about early senility? And you might need a recommendation from her? Does it matter if the departmental secretary says her son wanted to get into that degree program, and "HE really needed it" with the implication that someone drawing a pension shouldn't seek higher education? Because you need her to send out your transcripts and get your library fines erased before you can get a job--do you trust her to be on your team?

Grad school is a closed community. The larger academic world is a community where jobs are tight, where written personal recommendations and unofficial gossip both have enormous weight on job prospects for the rest of a student's life. Knowing that a professor in your department is openly dismissive of your concerns is horrifying.

The environment is supposed to be an incubator for students to learn and grow and do research and become adults and have a team of people who have done this before to help them along the way. It's expensive in money and it also costs 2-7 years of your life. So finding out there's someone who not only doesn't support *you* but actively thinks your *group* doesn't have the problem you deal with all the time, is big bad expensive trouble.

Yes, let's make all the edgy jokes we want and recognize that not all *entertainment* is for everyone. But when it comes to investing years and $$$ into a degree, let's make sure our professors are genuinely on board with a welcoming environment and the desire to see their students succeed.
kathrynrose
Mar. 21st, 2016 07:51 pm (UTC)
...if any of those things are true about her.

The thing is, we no longer live in a culture where people listen to each other with an attitude of discussion. We listen to each other with a preparation for counterpoint.

We live in a culture where instead of discussing something that is either poorly stated or ignorant, with an attitude of discerning which, we knee-jerk and write angry letters and petitions. We don't try to educate. We try to litigate.

And we form opinions about specific people and specific situations and specific conversations that we don't personally have any knowledge of, beyond the accounts of people who are angry or defensive - on both sides - or people who are reporting after-the-fact from a sea of second-hand observers.

She may be an idiot. She may have Hitler in her heart. She may be a perfectly nice person who expressed herself badly, or was misquoted, or said exactly that but means well and needs some awareness. If it's that last one, she sure as hell won't get it through a petition to fire her. And nobody else will learn a thing either, except "I guess I'd better keep my mouth shut on the topic or I'll end up in the stew."

My concern is we can't even have a conversation about the issue without people digging in. And in that context, we'll never make things better.

It makes me sad.
(no subject) - whipchick - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kathrynrose - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bleodswean - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kathrynrose - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - murielle - Mar. 21st, 2016 09:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bleodswean - Mar. 21st, 2016 11:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - murielle - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
murielle
Mar. 21st, 2016 08:12 pm (UTC)
I agree with most of what you say, except that she was dismissive. Was she? Truly? She admitted that she, as a white woman, didn't see it. Is that dismissive, or honest?

I went through college dealing with discrimination, it was what it was. Was it right? No. Did it help me? Probably not. Did it hurt me? Yes, but it was also part of reality. I wasn't coddled, or catered to, but I graduated.

More terrifying than anything else to me is the silencing that goes on in the halls of higher learning. Where diverse opinions where once taught, never mind allowed, debate and discussion fostered growth and independent thought.

As you demonstrated there is, and always will be, discrimination against women of a certain age in academia. The examples you gave actually happen, have happened to some other students who were in my department, one older, one younger. Did I run to my student advisor? Did I launch a protest? Did I or the other students write to the chancellor demanding those who said these things be forced out? No, no and no. In a college or university free speech should have priority over individual defense.

As to the word in question, the teacher did not use it in a derogatory manner. If she uad there would be no question about her being fired.

If you were offended by my joke...why?
(no subject) - whipchick - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - murielle - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kickthehobbit - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - murielle - Mar. 21st, 2016 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - xo_kizzy_xo - Mar. 21st, 2016 09:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
xo_kizzy_xo
Mar. 21st, 2016 07:56 pm (UTC)
Don't shut up :)

I had no idea of any of this until Gary posted the links. I read whipchick's link as an overview.

Maybe it is privilege, I don't know. I wasn't there. She didn't single out anyone as "the n word", but yes, she certainly could have worded what she meant in a much less loaded manner. Editing one's self isn't a bad thing, you know.

OTOH...what about the racial makeup of her students? Were the students who wrote/signed the petition all white? If so, are they speaking from the privileged standpoint of "we're cognizant of our privilege; therefore, we are careful to include those without our privilege"?

One of the bigger recent stories in my area concerns the school where I did my student teaching, which, for all intents and purposes, has always been and still is, in many ways, a traditional bastion of privilege. Attempts to break down those ways has been very slow in part because of the larger mess of what is the city's public education system. For all our liberalism here I live in one of the most segregated areas of the country. It's quite an interesting dichotomy.
(no subject) - murielle - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - xo_kizzy_xo - Mar. 21st, 2016 08:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
whipchick
Mar. 21st, 2016 07:24 pm (UTC)
Inside Higher Ed is typically pro-professor, and generally pretty balanced. Their coverage seems the most even, and includes quotes from both sides.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/11/23/u-kansas-professor-leave-after-comments-race-result-5-complaints

As a former professor myself, and someone who still interacts with a lot of liberal arts professors, Quenette probably wasn't intentionally racist, but she spoke from a position of privilege, without any consideration of her own privilege, in an almost-cliche statement of privilege: I haven't seen a racial slur spray-painted on the school wall, so I haven't seen racism.

Her statement is laughable, uneducated, insensitive, and inappropriate for a classroom. If any of the allegations in the open letter from her students are true, she has also revealed confidential information such as other students' grades and class performance in the classroom, and positioned herself as willfully ignorant of the challenges many of her students face.

The fact that, in as conservative an environment as Kansas, she wasn't able to frame her remarks in a way that didn't piss off her students, is troubling. The fact that she seems uninterested in her students' individual and collective experiences and believes racism doesn't exist around her, or that racism is only expressed through graffiti-ed slurs, is unbecoming of an educator.

She likely has tenure, though, judging by her title (Associate Professor), so her speech in the classroom is protected. Unfortunately, it also protects her from being fired for the perhaps greater crime of being a fucking moron. Fortunately, she'll never be able to leave this job, because her last name is so easily searchable that the label of "ignorant racist who also violates standard classroom privacy policies" will follow her the rest of her life. Students requiring a professor willing to participate in the experiences of the world beyond their personal sphere and engage in dialogue that may challenge her personal beliefs (that is to say, someone educated and interested in education) can take other classes.
kickthehobbit
Mar. 21st, 2016 07:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, I dunno, there are enough people in academia wailing about how "students are too sensitive these days", she might be able to get a job elsewhere.
murielle
Mar. 21st, 2016 08:57 pm (UTC)
I'm changing the subject, I know, but I cannot understand why ellison and tijuanagringo aren't doing better in the polls. All I can think is that there are still some of you who haven't read their work yet. If that's the case get your gorgeous literary tushies over there and read because you are missing good stuff.

We now return you to your regular program.
( 39 comments — Leave a comment )

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