Thursday, October 19, 2006

Within this post has some word about importint sujbect

Higher education is not just about putting words in their proper order. Walking into the UCC on UWO campus this morning, I was forced to confront the reality of a large black wooden box with a door on the front. The entire front featured the spraypainted message,

With in this ...this box has the ability for both the exploration of good & evil.
This being a post about a university, everything in the blockquotes is of course qualified with "(sic)".

Today's Gazette explained:
This week, a large, black wooden box mysteriously appeared in the middle of the University (of Western Ontario) Community Centre atrium.

The box was part of the University Students' Council's ongoing initiative to raise hate crime awareness on campus. The box's outside displayed collages constructed from pictures of sexist, racist, and homophobic graffiti found on campus. They were accompanied by cryptic messages like "In here has the potential for both equity and HATRED."
Inside this box was I invited to walk if the courage was what I had to face the factors about our hate filled society. Was I an individual community member educated enough to step into the eternal struggle between HATRED and equity that takes place -- to paraphrase the traitor Solzhenitsyn -- within the breast of every man, woman, homosexual, minority, person of different ability, and new Canadian?
Inside the box were several mirrors and posters displaying messages like, "Know what is said. Now look at yourself and ask: Do you accept this?"
No, really, it said that. I looked. I could find in myself neither hatred nor equity, those classic opposites -- just the eternally battling duality of bemusement and irritation. Some still show spirit, however, when faced with the terrible fruits of the privileging of indoctrination over literacy:
The box's message didn't reach everyone; one comment left in the suggestion box said, "Fucking haters, let's kill them."
Is our children learning?

3 comments:

Pietr said...

The consistency of the grammatical disfunction suggests English as a second language, or a second-generation language different from the one spoken at home.

Is it also likely that the authors come from a Moslem culture?

Just asking.

But the sentiments expressed are not necessarily completely wrong.

Mike said...

That thing was a strange sight, a Hate Crime Tardis sitting in the middle of the atrium at 7 AM

I should have noted when I wrote this that the main attraction inside the box was a collection of racist artifacts such as graffiti that was left around campus. That was what you were supposed to confront.

I don't think it matters who speaks what language. This is a million dollar corporation charged with representing the students of the prestigious, renowned institution from which several of Canada's most renowned bloggers received their various degrees at the feet of towering intellects of science and literature. Is it too much to expect someone at the USC (the U stands for University) to stand in for the dignity of the English language, at least when it's used in 8" high letters at the main hub of a university?

Aesthetics aside, your comment made me wonder if I was being a little hard, so I looked up equity and definitions 1-3a are all good meanings here that I fully endorse as important values. From the Arts Council (No, really, Fenris, it is), whom none would consider philosophical opponents of the USC:

For the purposes of this policy, equity-seeking groups include Aboriginal/First Nations people, women, people with disabilities, racial minorities, the socio-economically disadvantaged, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons.

If Arts Council don't want equity for everyone -- as the ability to list a finite list of the classical honoured lobby groups would suggest -- than Arts Council simply can't want equity for anyone. This is definitional, people. Do not go down the road to "some are more equal than others" with such doublethink. Please find different words that are more evocative of the actual meaning than "equity". I suggest "collectivism" or "the caste system" or "a victimization guild system".

And indeed the Arts council do have a different definition for the word, with a completely different meaning from the original:

Equity: practices designed to remove systemic barriers to equality of outcome by identifying and eliminating discriminatory policies and practices.

In practice, grievance mongering and treating people differently based on the status the ideology grants the group they're imagined to be in. Not only is this notion of equity based in self-contradictory Orwellian doublethink, it's the very phenomenon of inequality anti-X-ism was once inspired against. The fact is that outcomes are never equal, because people are each and every one unique individuals. It's pie in the sky.

The USC perps doubtless mean well, but I wish they weren't absorbing this stuff from wherever they're getting it.

Pietr said...

Sounds about right.
I didn't spot the bit about 'equity'.
Equity is sufficiently vague and pretentious to serve as the name of the actor's Trade Union in the UK.