Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Quickies: This Post Will Have No Title

     You’ll see why from this Washington Post article by Eugene Volokh:

     One of the latest things in universities, including at University of California (where I teach) is condemning “microaggressions,” supposed “brief, subtle verbal or non-verbal exchanges that send denigrating messages to the recipient because of his or her group membership (such as race, gender, age or socio-economic status).” Such microaggressions, the argument goes, can lead to a “hostile learning environment,” which UC — and the federal government — views as legally actionable. This is stuff you could get disciplined or fired for, especially if you aren’t a tenured faculty member.

     But of course this concept is now being used to suppress not just, say, personal insults or discrimination in hiring or grading, but also ideas that the UC wants to exclude from university classrooms. Here, from the UC Office of the President, Academic and Personnel Programs department’s site (promoted, for instance, here, here, and here), are some of what the UC wants to see stamped out, in classrooms and presumably elsewhere as well...

     Please read the whole thing. Marvel at the list of "unspeakable" words, phrases, and ideas. Ponder what an untenured faculty member or matriculating student might be compelled to endure if he were accused of such a "microaggression." Come back after you’ve goggled over this last bit:

     UPDATE: Fox News reports this response by a UC Office of the President spokeswoman:
     “Given the diverse backgrounds of our students, faculty and staff, UC offered these seminars to make people aware of how their words or actions may be interpreted when used in certain contexts. Deans and department heads were invited, but not required, to attend the seminars,” University of California Office of the President spokeswoman Shelly Meron told FoxNews.com.

     She added that the university had not banned the words when it labeled them as examples of micro-aggressions and insisted that the university system is “committed to upholding, encouraging and preserving academic freedom and the free flow of ideas.”

     Words fail me. Hmmm...maybe that should have been the title.

5 comments:

  1. Gawrsh! I had no idea Mr (Dr.?) Volokh taught for the UC system. All I can add is that it's even worse if you're staff. I work for the UC system as well, albeit in a different town, but it's every bit as bad. We have these "Campus Alerts" that go out via email to all those with a "ucdavis.edu" email address, and those from the office mentioned are always about some form of imaginary oppression or other.

    The last one I saw referred to a picture on the private FB page belonging to a member of the girl's lacrosse (womyn's, 'scuse me)team. It seems it was deemed racially insensitive towards Mexicans, and thus the entire campus had to hear about it. And just try expressing anything but the opinions that are currently acceptable! you'll end up in HR, counseling or on the street so fast it'll make your head spin...

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  2. So, let's suppose that, in a fit of madness, I chose to enroll at a UC campus. By way of background, I served for nearly 25 years in the US Army/Army National Guard.

    Imagine me, sitting in a classroom at a UC campus, when the lecturing drone says something derogatory about the US military in general, or about the Multinational Force and Observers (the peacekeeping force in the Sinai, established under the Camp David Accord), Operation Just Cause, Desert Shield/Desert Storm/Desert Sabre, the NATO peacekeeping effort in Bosnia, or the initial stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Such a statement would clearly be more offensive to me than any of the proscribed comments would be to some hothouse flower capable of being harmed by a "micro-aggression," as it would be specifically targeted against my actions and, by inference, against me (especially since, in any class where these military operations might potentially be discussed, I would make my participation in them quite known up-front).

    Does that become a "milli-aggression," a "centi-aggression," or even a "deci-aggression" against me? Would I have legal standing to sue the UC system for distress caused by such not-quite-full-aggressions? (Trust me, I know how to deal with a full aggression against me, and it won't be pretty for the aggressor.)

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  3. Madness!

    Where have the responsible adults gone?

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  4. Microaggression is worse than an FBI 302 Form as far as promoting unjustified calumnies that can not be denied, which is what makes it so great for The Left. The only evidence that it occurred is some egghead's interpretation of what the "offended party" said, and the The Left is composed of the Perpetually Aggrieved. So an accusation of Microaggression is tantamount to an accusation of heresy and witchcraft under the Inquisition with the same standard of "Justice" to be found as in the Malleus Maleficarum.
    _revjen45

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  5. Microaggressions are absurd per se given the meaning of "micro," which is to say "insignificant," "minuscule," or "infinitesimal."

    Some are lapses in manners, some evidence of poor situational awareness, and others indications of good situational awareness and a firm grasp of reality, especially political, legal, and cultural legalities. All are correctable by immediate remonstrance, or departure (e.g., shoplifters, rowdies, minorities who can't STFU when they're in a theater or waiting room). But, apparently, no. It's fodder for a lawsuit so help me and I kid you not.

    Like AuricTech above, there are other possibilities for so-called microaggressions. Blacks in waiting rooms is a theme that could be worked up to good advantage. Are there movie balconies down from which they can spit on other patrons anymore?

    Any statement by Sharpton can be massaged with zero effort into an implication that whites are loathsome snakes.

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