Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Hurt feelings are trump cards in the contemporary campus culture"

Courtesy of City Journal, a must read article that could just as aptly be entitled Freedom for me, but not for thee:

Confusing speech and action has a long pedigree on the PC campus. At the time of the first wave of speech codes 20 years ago, Kenneth Lasson, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, argued that “racial defamation does not merely ‘preach hate’; it is the practice of hatred by the speaker”—and is thus punishable as a form of assault. Indeed, the Left has evolved a whole new vocabulary to blur the line between acts and speech: “verbal conduct” and “expressive behavior” (speech), “non-traditional violence” (Lani Guinier’s term for strong criticism), and “anti-feminist intellectual harassment” (rolling one’s eyeballs over feminist dogma).

In their 1993 book, The Shadow University, Alan Charles Kors and Harvey Silverglate turned some of the early speech codes into national laughingstocks. Among the banned comments and action they listed: “intentionally producing psychological discomfort” (University of North Dakota), “insensitivity to the experience of women” (University of Minnesota), and “inconsiderate jokes” (University of Connecticut). Serious nonverbal offenses included “inappropriate laughter” (Sarah Lawrence College), “eye contact or the lack of it” (Michigan State University), and “subtle discrimination,” such as “licking lips or teeth; holding food provocatively” (University of Maryland). Later gems, added well after the courts struck down campus codes as overly broad, included bans on “inappropriate non-verbals” (Macalaster College), “communication with sexual overtones” (Lincoln University), and “discussing sexual activities” (State University of New York–Brockport). Other codes bar any comment or gesture that “annoys,” “offends,” or otherwise makes someone feel bad. Tufts ruled that attributing harassment complaints to the “hypersensitivity of others who feel hurt” is itself harassment.

[..] The language of many policies would require a Democratic club to accept a Republican president, a Jewish group to allow a Holocaust-denying member, or a Muslim organization to accept a leader who practices voodoo.
HT: Bloc Quebecois

cp: Dust My Broom, because this really is a must read.


Elaine said...

Now there is a great whack of money spent on turning our kids into idiots. They must sit around all day in classes looking at each other, scared to speak up, or even suggest something they are being taught is fucked right up.

Can you imagine sitting in classes all day and made to clap your hands, nod your head to the most ludicrous of ideas. Scared to speak up because of the risk of being dragged before a star chamber because of your thoughts.

I remember being a part of a leftie group that really opened my eyes as to how they operate. This leftie group needed to introduce a 'feed the kid program' in a school I was very involved in. It was necessary for them to do this as to make sure they kept their jobs. I didn't realize that at the time, I was a volunteer.

The school was in an area where the wealthy didn't tend to live, but most of the people did work and provided for their families.

I was in charge of handing out the survey's to the parents. There were about four hunderd or so sent out. Of course only got about 40 back. At the time I really believed I was doing a good thing. I was reading through them and to my utter shock, the majority of comments were very nasty towards the program.

Comments like ," I can feed my own kids you parasites." "I am not on welfare, and do not label my child by putting them in your program."

You get the drift. I was shocked, and I went right to the head parasite with my findings. She looked at me, and told me she would get the expert statistics reader at parasite headquarters to evaluate the surveys.

I thought for sure the program would be dead. Not so. A few days later the well paid parasite came back, all serious and looked at me and said, "Elaine, we had an executive meeting. After reading the results of the survey and advice from our experts, we came to the conclusion that these families are so poor they don't even realize it. We are going ahead with the program."

I know from personal experience when you are poor, you know it. I also know when you are poor it doesn't feel very good to be paraded around like a freak in a circus.

I always have felt bad about that. I was party to usurping those families diginity, by taking away their responsiblity to feed their own kids.

I see they are at it again in the Kipp's Lane area. Those families not realizing they are selling their pride and dignity, for a granola bar and a juice box.

MapMaster said...

An illuminating example of the poverty industry at work. Thanks, Elaine.

eng said...

Do not assume everyone you call "left" is like those idiots you were working with.

At university, the student newspaper was taken over by the "anti-imperialists". Soon we were reading articles about non-school things, such as how great life was in Hoxha's Albania. To get on the editorial board, you had to be approved by existing members of the board, so they had control.

Eventually there was a referendum on making the fees for this paper refundable. It passed.

Next semester I was back on campus. I was one of about 4000 students who dutifully lined up, requested our refund, and got it. It was eerie because we did not talk. We did not joke. We were silent except while at the counter requesting our refunds, getting the student card punched to show we had the refund.

The student paper's board and supporters hung around, at first trying to look menacing, then angry, then indignant, then hurt. They tried to engage us, tried to bait us, tried anything to get us to at least acknowledge their existence. We were calm and nothing they did or said had any effect.

They did manage to put out one more two page issue, then they were gone.

Leslie said...

I'm late reading this, but, oh, the memories...

As an 'anti-affirmative action-ist' I can remember the interventions of caring friends trying to help me see the error of my racist ways. Boy do I wish I'd thought to hold a bake sale.

And the hurt feelings! The trouble with crafting our own truth is it turns a difference of opinion into a personal affront. Laughter dies.

Sometimes I wish I could go back, smarter now, with the intention of "stimulating more campus-wide discussions". I can bake. In fact, I've since found an irresistable chocolate chip cookie recipe. :)

Unfortunately, students on the front lines are in no position to buck the system. The reality of failure makes the stakes too high. They see it and can say little.

But imagine if enough people had the resources & time to sign up for some courses & submit the essay we've always dreamed about and set up a few protests of our own.

I'm thinking oil patch sponsored scholarships for mature students...

OK, dream over.

Thanks, that is a terrific article.