Patterico's Pontifications


This Is Not What Strength Looks Like

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Remember when Harvard (and Georgetown and Columbia) law students wanted to delay finals due to grand jury protests? Well, an editor on the Harvard Law Review responded:

Our request for exam extensions is not being made from a position of weakness, but rather from one of strength and critical awareness.

Although over the last few weeks many law students have experienced moments of total despair, minutes of inconsolable tears and hours of utter confusion, many of these same students have also spent days in action—days of protesting, of organizing meetings, of drafting emails and letters, and of starting conversations long overdue. We have been synthesizing decades of police interactions, dissecting problems centuries old, and exposing the hypocrisy of silence.

I have seen the psychological trauma brought on by disillusionment with our justice system send some law students into a period of depression. After all, every death of an unarmed youth at the hands of law enforcement is a tragedy. The hesitancy to recognize the validity of these psychic effects demonstrates that, in addition to conversations on race, gender and class, our nation is starving for a genuine discussion about mental health. But to reduce our calls for exam extensions to mere cries for help exhibits a failure to understand the powerful images of die-ins and the booming chants of protestors disrupting the continuation of business as usual in cities across the country.

Where some commentators see weakness or sensitivity, perhaps they should instead see strength—the strength to know when our cups of endurance have run over and when the time for patience has ended. Perhaps they should instead see courage—the courage to look our peers in the eyes and uncomfortably ask them to bear these burdens of racism and classism that we have together inherited from generations past. We have taken many exams before, but never have we done this. We are scared, but no longer will we be spectators to injustice.


45 Responses to “This Is Not What Strength Looks Like”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (8e74ce)

  2. Deluded, lying, or both. The NYC police or EMS services may have some answering to do,
    but both incidents had to do with criminal resisting arrest, and in one instance assaulting a police officer,
    but we all know that.

    Years ago I suggested the making of a Duranty Award for dishonest journalism, and someone later did it (and without giving me credit, mind you…),
    so, I now suggest this site propose a “Baghdad Bob” award, and the author of this is the first nominee.

    It sounds mean, I don’t want it to be, but sometimes the truth is cruel, but allowing people to build their lives on lies is more cruel.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  3. Reading that traumatized me, so I can not think of a comment that is not -ist in some way.

    kishnevi (3719b7)

  4. Emo twatwaffle bibble babble.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  5. The time is long overdue to recognize that an Ivy League degree is way overrated.

    kishnevi (3719b7)

  6. 4
    More precisely
    Emo twitwaffle piddle paddle babble.

    kishnevi (a5d1b9)

  7. KIshnevi,

    Apologies. I should’ve put a trigger warning up.

    Dana (8e74ce)

  8. “We have been synthesizing decades of police interactions, dissecting problems centuries old, and exposing the hypocrisy of silence.”

    – Some jackass

    Thank goodness. The Harvy Boys and the Case of the Centuries-Old Problem. We’re gonna be okay, everybody! Harvard is here!

    Leviticus (9382da)

  9. Dana, it’s okay. A dose of single malt and listening to Bach’s English Suites has restored me.

    kishnevi (294553)

  10. Hinderacker’s fisking of William Desmond’s poignant letter over at Powerline is a thing of beauty. d

    elissa (fb037f)

  11. “We have been synthesizing decades of police interactions, dissecting problems centuries old, and exposing the hypocrisy of silence.”

    How did that work out? Solve any of those centuries old problems yet?

    He should have been focusing on his course work so he would have been ready for exams instead.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  12. After reading that garbage I can’t breathe.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  13. Daley, try the medicine I used. Although the music need not be Bach.
    Elissa, what that student wrote fisks itself.

    kishnevi (a5d1b9)

  14. Good Allah. That person is a Harvard Law School student, and editor of Law Review? WT effin F

    JD (86a5eb)

  15. I have seen the psychological trauma brought on by disillusionment with our justice system send some law students into a period of depression. How on earth are these delicate flowers going to survive life?

    Dana (8e74ce)

  16. I must be way off base–living in a different universe. The recent incidences where I experienced “moments of total despair, minutes of inconsolable tears and hours of utter confusion” involve the Christmas light strings not staying lit, one of the cats horking in the center of the Turkish carpet, and getting baaaad Mapquest directions to a holiday party.

    elissa (fb037f)

  17. No guarantee but this might could be him. It explains a lot.

    elissa (fb037f)

  18. It’s a miracle you can even talk about it, Elissa.

    Dana (8e74ce)

  19. And yet I persevere, Dana.

    elissa (fb037f)

  20. I don’t think that word “strength” means what he thinks it means.

    seeRpea (01f6d3)

  21. 15. …How on earth are these delicate flowers going to survive life?

    Dana (8e74ce) — 12/16/2014 @ 8:40 pm

    That’s easy. By demanding a nanny state that will pad their cells, confiscate all sharp objects, strictly enforce nap times, and put child safety locks on all the cupboards. Petition the nanny state to include regular diaper changes as one of the essential services that Obamacare must cover.

    Strength through infantilization! It takes maturity to recognize you’ll never grow up into a functioning adult.

    I guess.

    Steve57 (600c9e)

  22. Is he serious? Is this a Swiftian trolling of the idiots? (Like A Modest Proposal)

    The Orwellian Newspeak is too much for my ancient brain. Scotch, bed, and dreams, sounds good.

    htom (9b625a)

  23. JD (86a5eb) — 12/16/2014 @ 8:36 pm

    That person is a Harvard Law School student, and editor of Law Review?

    Isn’t this the sort of thing lawyers do?

    Sammy Finkelman (8bd44f)

  24. No

    JD (86a5eb)

  25. It’s obviously satire, as elissa suggested. This is a Harvard Law Review editor. He is having a good laugh at those on the left who don’t get that he’s mocking them, and those on the right who went to some cow college like Yale or Stanford or, the pitiful provincials, UPenn, and are also taking it seriously.

    nk (dbc370)

  26. nk, everybody thought this had to be satire, too.

    …Not once did I consider our attackers to be “bad people.” I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay. They wanted my stuff, not me. While I don’t know what exactly they needed the money for, I do know that I’ve never once had to think about going out on a Saturday night to mug people. I had never before seen a gun, let alone known where to get one. The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine.

    …Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as “thugs?” It’s precisely this kind of “otherization” that fuels the problem.

    …The millennial generation is taking over the reins of the world, and thus we are presented with a wonderful opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past. As young people, we need to devote real energy to solving what are collective challenges. Until we do so, we should get comfortable with sporadic muggings and break-ins. I can hardly blame them. The cards are all in our hands, and we’re not playing them.

    No, these people are serious. They actually think this way.

    Steve57 (b0b04b)

  27. moments of total despair, minutes of inconsolable tears and hours of utter confusion


    Either way, it’s LOL funny.

    nk (dbc370)

  28. If Michael Brown had a brother he’d look (and think) just like William Desmond.

    ropelight (fd015f)

  29. is “emotionally stunted ivy league trash” redundant

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  30. Everyone who’s practiced more than a couple of days in any municipal court, recognizes that Ivy League law degrees are all about “who you know,” NOT what you know.

    Many of the most mediocre lawyers hold Ivy degrees. Their schtick was getting into an Ivy through the grind of working on a high GPA and high test scores, relying on the old traditional Ivy method of looking at credentials versus actual merit.

    Of course, radical feminism just introduced, accentuated and fanned the flames of emotionalism in these institutions—formerly of higher learning.

    Earl T (f4747e)

  31. Also not satire:

    …”What we’re speaking to is part of a larger, institutionalized culture on campus,” said Kenjus Waston, a black Ph.D. candidate in the division and an organizing member of UCLA Call 2 Action: Graduate Students of Color. The group staged a sit-in, or what it called a “teach-in,” during a second-level dissertation preparation course in the division this month. Watson said members hoped to address racially motivated “microagressions” – seemingly innocuous but ultimately hurtful comments or actions – that have marked their time at UCLA.

    About 25 students participated in the sit-in, in the classroom of Val Rust, professor emeritus of education. Watson – a student in that class – said Rust’s course was one of many in which students of “color and consciousness” have experienced discrimination. Of about 10 students in the class, 5 participated in the sit-in. Participants read a letter listing their complaints and a series of demands for reform. Regular coursework was suspended for about an hour because of the sit-in.

    “A hostile campus climate has been the norm for Students of Color in this class throughout the quarter as our epistemological and methodological commitments have been repeatedly questioned by our classmates and our instructor,” the group’s letter reads. The statement accuses “the professor” (it does not identify Rust by name) of correcting “perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies” and “repeatedly questioning the value of our work on social identity and the related dynamics of oppression, power and privilege.” The “barrage of questions by white colleagues and the grammar ‘lessons’ by the professor have contributed to a hostile class climate,” it continues.

    Watson, whose research focuses on black men and microagressions in higher education, said some within the division – he did not wish to name specific professors or peers – have questioned his research as “too subjective,” he said. In another case that best exemplifies the “grammar ‘lessons'” referenced in group’s letter, he said, another student who chose to capitalize the first letter in the word “Indigenous” in her research papers saw it changed to a lowercase throughout. Watson said that correction disregarded the writer’s scholarly advocacy and had other “ideological implications.” Rust also insisted on Chicago Manual of Style form in research papers, even though some in the group wanted to use American Psychological Association style, in line with their more social science-oriented research.

    The letter also alleges that the professor has failed to address the “escalating hostility directed at the only Male of Color in this cohort” and crossed a line by physically shaking that student’s arm in a “questionable, patronizing and facetious effort to remind [him] of the importance of dialogue.” Watson said that, during a discussion on critical race theory during which he was wearing a T-shirt that read “Dialogue Matters,” Rust tried to stop the heated conversation by shaking his arm. Making physical contact with a student is inappropriate, Watson added, and there are additional implications when an older white man does so with a younger black man….

    No, these people are serious. They actually think this way.

    Steve57 (b0b04b)

  32. Actually, nk, I wish it were, but I’m definitely not suggesting it was satire. The linkedin profile I uh, linked above does not show us a well balanced boy. It lists his employment activity in government circles (DOJ Civil Rights Div. ) and his focused interest in racial and social justice themes (Urban League, government grant writer, investigator) . He’s preparing himself and bucking hard to take over from the Sharptons and Jesses I fear. All hail the new generation of agitators. He’s got the victimhood thing down pat in millennial language, entitlement, and angst.

    elissa (ac3f37)

  33. Also not satire.

    The midterm elections were over. The 11 campaign workers from Occidental College returned to class. But first, they heard from a school reverend.

    “You win some, you lose some,” Susan Young told the group. It’s perfectly OK, she said, to have trouble readjusting to college life or to feel out of place.

    In what is believed to be the only college program of its kind, the undergraduates in the Campaign Semester course spent at least 2 1/2 months, often seven days a week, 12 hours a day, working on behalf of candidates in contested states.

    None won.

    …All of the students worked for Democratic candidates; Republicans swept the mid-terms and took control of the House and Senate.

    …the students also talk about the more unsavory aspects of democracy: negative ads, doors slammed in your face and what it’s like to live on pizza for weeks at a time. And, for this group, what it’s like to feel depressed and cry after your candidate loses.

    …Most said they were shocked when their candidates lost. Kaminsky was so sure that Udall would be reelected that when the race was called in his opponent’s favor, the news didn’t sink in for a few moments, she said.

    “It was devastating,” Kaminsky said, especially since she realized that many of the other people she had been working with didn’t know what they would do next. “Everyone was out of a job,” she said.

    …When it was clear Hagan was going to lose, Tieman began “gross-sobbing and ugly-crying.”

    “It felt like everything I had poured my heart and soul into ended up not meaning anything,” she said.

    The two professors teaching the course — Peter Dreier and Regina Freer — were concerned enough that they asked the religious counselor to visit the class. They said their students seemed to be coping well…

    “Coping well?” Yeah, that sobbing you hear is a sign of strength, not weakness, sez William Desmond.

    nk, this isn’t satire. When William Desmond talks about experiencing “moments of total despair, minutes of inconsolable tears and hours of utter confusion” he’s describing the universal reaction of libtard college students when reality bursts into their cocoon.

    Steve57 (b0b04b)

  34. So, what is social justice?

    Michael Ejercito (45f52b)

  35. My law school experience included watching my beloved grandfather collapse of a mini-stroke in front of my eyes during Thanksgiving break; rushing to Florida no less than three times in a single semester to be with him when he was near death; losing my grandmother; losing my tutoring student to drowning; and getting a lump in my breast the size of the palm of my hand.

    I never moved my finals. Yes, I did leave law school at one point to take a year to hang out in California and decompress, but I managed to take my damn finals.

    Grief in law school is watching two teenagers you care about go through hell as they lost their friend of fourteen years. Despair is watching your grandfather spend five months out of nine months in the hospital. Fear is finding a lump in the same place a tumour had been excised seven years prior. Sorry, but “grand jury decision that some people don’t like” isn’t on that list, unless the decedent were a family member.

    bridget (3886f0)

  36. I’m collecting the name of these and other delicate snowflakes. In time I’ll build an online resource for hiring managers to access. The employability of these snowflakes will diminish. Poetic justice, no?

    LTMG (21f078)

  37. 34. So, what is social justice?

    Michael Ejercito (45f52b) — 12/17/2014 @ 6:50 am

    Revenge for imaginary offenses.

    Steve57 (b0b04b)

  38. And what arte these imaginary offenses?

    Michael Ejercito (45f52b)

  39. 38.And what arte these imaginary offenses?
    Michael Ejercito

    Anything said by, thought of, done by, written by, dreamt of or imagined to have been put forth by any member of the following: Caucasians, Christians, Jews, heterosexuals, capitalists, non-immigrants, people in business, men and as of a few weeks ago grand juries and police.

    Hoagie (4dfb34)

  40. You all saw this, right?

    Read the student’s letter. I thought #whitepeoplecondescension as I read it. Also #selfservingnonsense.

    I keep wondering what Martin Luther King Jr. would have thought? Or Gandhi?

    Anyway, a bit of humor, and a concern.

    The student in question actually posted her exchange with her professor on Facebook, with a “CAUTION: TRIGGER WARNING” notice. Jeeeeez. Narcissism is an interesting topic.

    The Oberlin professor was a visiting adjunct. Such people are raw meat to administrators and students; I hope he doesn’t get damaged professionally because of his pretty straightforward response.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  41. Greetings:

    Alternatively, I would just move those students to the top of the “Needing to Be Mugged Very Soon” list.

    11B40 (6abb5c)

  42. OK, you’ve convinced me, it wasn’t a satire (although those who survive to look back at it from 2114 may well think that it was.)

    I’ve plugged this before, and I’ll plug it again: Robert Bly, The Sibling Society.

    The forces that have created a society of rival sibling adolecents and neither adults nor authority.

    htom (9b625a)

  43. I’m sorry, elissa. And you too, htom. It was htom who compared it to a Modest Proposal.

    nk (dbc370)

  44. What the heck is gross-sobbing and ugly-crying? I swear these people speak a different language and live in a parallel universe.

    rochf (f3fbb0)

  45. Here’re more elite college millennials addressing yet another of today’s current national problems:

    The survey’s a joke. The responses,unfortunately are real.

    elissa (ac3f37)

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