Patterico's Pontifications


An Eventful Few Days in Columbia, Missouri

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:11 pm

[guest post by JVW]

On Saturday’s college football thread we have been discussing the interesting situation at the University of Missouri involving student protesters, the football team, and upper-administration. For a brief recap, after a series of alleged racial incidents on campus, an activist group called Concerned Students 1950 (named for the year that Mizzou first admitted black undergraduate students) demanded the resignation of the university president along with other measures to combat what they see as an intolerable racial climate. Earlier today, that president, Tim Wolfe, and the university chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin [corrected spelling: thanks Diffus], both resigned from their positions.

The football team had become involved when players with ties to Concerned Students 1950 convinced somewhere between 30 and 35 players to boycott the rest of the season, effective immediately. They were ultimately joined in the boycott by the coaching staff, which probably signaled to the administration that the battle was lost. The involvement of the team, a mostly-successful program in the most competitive college football conference in the nation, almost certainly brought increased media coverage and aided the protesters immeasurably, though cynics point out that the Tigers (current record of four wins and five losses) probably wouldn’t be considering a boycott if there were 9-0 or even 8-1.

This afternoon, Concerned Students 1950 and its allies gathered on a campus lawn to demonstrate, which they immediately declared to be a “safe space” where media were not welcome, despite the fact that they were gathering on public property. In a rather remarkable (and not in a good way) video, students and faculty members, including Assistant Professor of Mass Media Melissa Click, attempt to bully student reporters from covering the gathering:

Twitchy has a round-up of reactions to the irony of a school with a prestigious journalism department blocking student journalists from exercising their First Amendment rights. In a positive development, a Mizzou journalism professor, Katherine Reed, has publicly shamed her colleague, though it’s hard to imagine a feckless administration treating this with anything other than the mildest of rebukes.

Meanwhile, Concerned Students 1950 issued the usual puerile list of demands, including mandatory diversity training for student and staff designed and implemented by their organization, a doubling of black faculty members, and the usual laundry list of impractical demands from grievance groups. The new interim chancellor has already pledged to hire a chief diversity officer for the university (you’re paying for it, Missouri taxpayers!), so no doubt further caving by cowed academic bureaucrats is in the tea leaves.

It’s easy to criticize and blame the students for their adolescent whining and grievance-mongering, but like college students throughout history they are content to get away with exactly what they are allowed to get away with. The interesting question will be whether the governor and legislature are willing to step in and restore a sense of sanity, but given today’s press release from Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, it is pretty unlikely. One is left to wonder if some aspiring Missouri politician might take a page from the Ronald Reagan playbook and campaign against “that mess in Columbia.” If so, I would imagine there could be a very receptive audience in the Show-Me State.


Yale Students Throw Tantrum At Suggestion They Monitor Their Own Behavior

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:17 pm

[guest post by Dana]

So, the associate master at Yale’s Silliman College, Erika Christakis, who is also the wife of the master at Silliman College, Nicholas Christakis, responded to an email sent by the school’s Intercultural Affairs Council about using sensitivity when wearing Halloween costumes.

Her response was thoughtful, reasonable and instructive. And that was the problem. Instead of kowtowing to the cultural monitors’ demands, Christakis foolishly hoped to stimulate conversation and critical thinking by challenging students to consider what is lost when individual choice is taken away and replaced by institutional decision making:

Even if we could agree on how to avoid offense – and I’ll note that no one around campus seems overly concerned about the offense taken by religiously conservative folks to skin-revealing costumes – I wonder, and I am not trying to be provocative: Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious… a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition. And the censure and prohibition come from above, not from yourselves! Are we all okay with this transfer of power? Have we lost faith in young people’s capacity – in your capacity – to exercise self-censure, through social norming, and also in your capacity to ignore or reject things that trouble you? We tend to view this shift from individual to institutional agency as a tradeoff between libertarian vs. liberal values (“liberal” in the American, not European sense of the word).

Unable to put to good use their privileged Yale educations and parlay this email into a fertile discussion about speech and its intrinsic value, students instead cried foul. As a result of Christakis’s audacious email challenge to students, including her husband’s admonition, ‘If you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offence are the hallmarks of a free and open society,’ students, simply unable to cope with these mind-blowing concepts, did what toddlers do when they are told no: they threw a two-year old sized temper-tantrum with all the gusto of an outraged little tyke forced to realize the world will not bend to his will. Hence, Master Nicholas Christakis was confronted by students protesting his wife’s email and his statement:

‘Be quiet! In your position as master it is your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students that live in Silliman. You have not done that.

‘By sending out that email, that goes against your position as master, do you understand that?’

When Mr Christakis said he did not agree with her, she replied: ‘Then why the f*** did you accept the position?

‘Who the f*** are you? You should step down. If that is what you think about being a master you should step down. Do you understand? It is about creating a home here. You are not doing that.

‘These freshmen come here and they think this what Yale is? They’re going to leave. They’re going to transfer because you are a poor steward of the community.

‘You should not sleep at night. You are disgusting.’

According to the Yale Daily News, Master Christakis has apologized:

‘I apologize for causing pain, but I am not sorry for the statement.

‘I stand behind free speech. I defend the right for people to speak their minds.’

Of course this is an insufficient response. It is Mr. and Mrs. Christakis’s positions at the college students are after now.

But it is more than a little telling, to learn about the screaming social justice warrior privileged Yale student in the video. According to this report, a concerted effort to erase her online footprint didn’t quite catch everything:

What limited information can be found about Luther, though, indicates a privileged background that makes her tirade against Christakis all the more baffling. Besides the obvious privilege inherent in being able to attend Yale, one of the world’s most elite (and expensive) universities, Luther also hails from the wealthy, low-crime city of Fairfield, Connecticut. Her family home isn’t luxurious but has an appraised value of more than $760,000. Her short profile at The Yale Globalist describes her as an avid traveler who wants to visit at least 3/4 of the world’s countries, a hobby that’s hardly available to the impoverished.

One of the most fascinating revelations regarding Luther’s identity, though, is the fact that she played a role in Christakis becoming master of Silliman College in the first place. In her tirade, Luther screams “Who the fuck hired you?” at Christakis. But further research reveals that Luther actually served on the search committee that chose Christakis as the master of Silliman College. So, when Luther screams “who the fuck hired you,” the answer is, in some part, herself.


CNN Insults The Intelligence Of Black Americans

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:37 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Coincidentally or not, in the midst of the Ben Carson hit-job last week, CNN jumped in with their own ugly, racist rant directed at the candidate. One can’t help but notice how the unassuming, soft-spoken, political outsider – and “token” – causes delicate Democrats to quiver in their toe shoes.

Although the writer of the inflammatory piece is not someone I’m remotely familiar with, let alone have ever met, he seems to think he knows us, and knows that we are racist:

Many in the GOP and tea party have been accused of bigotry for denying the legitimacy of and being unwilling to work with the nation’s first black president, although many conservatives will argue that their disdain for the President has nothing to do with his race, but with his politics. Even so, the “racist” label has begun to take a toll on the party’s brand and, I believe, their conscience.

Whoa! Stop right there. From the get-go, the writer reveals his true racist colors by ignoring an easy-to-see truth: the first black president embraces principles and policies that run 100% counter to conservative ones. Thus, to the logical mind, it then makes perfect sense that Conservatives disavow policies based on such principles, and those who push for them. After all, shouldn’t politicians actually stand firmly on the foundational principles their platforms were built upon? But through the racist eyes of writer David A. Wilson, there can be no other reason than racism for conservatives not surrendering all that they hold dear to this president. That’s what he refers to as “working” with the president.

Further, in a weaselly move, while the writer acknowledges that although conservatives have clearly made the distinction between politics and race, he summarily dismisses it as of no consequence. And he does that because even he knows without discarding the reasonable distinction, his racist attack would collapse. (On a side note, that the left ever stooped to accuse the GOP of chronic racism as a way to defend this president, only confirmed at every step that they had no weapons to attack their opponents with other than skin color. How sad that not even the substance of the president’s arguments, politics and policies weren’t substantive enough to hold their own.)

From there, bringing absolutely nothing original to the table, the writer unabashedly jumps right into the deep end of insulting Ben Carson. And although he throws evangelicals, conservatives and Republicans in the whole bowl of slop, it’s the direct insult to the intelligence of Carson and other conservative blacks that makes me see red:

However, Carson is their latest “magic negro;” he is someone who makes them feel good about themselves and their beliefs. The divine intervention that transformed him from being a violent, quick-tempered black boy in an impoverished Detroit to a celebrated Yale-educated brain surgeon is what evangelicals’ dreams are made of. He presents himself as an example of how minorities can lift themselves up from poverty through God and with little government intervention. Although some of the accounts of his childhood are now being questioned, it may do little damage to his reputation with his growing conservative fan base.

His harsh criticism of Obama, the Black Lives Matter movement, Muslims, and Mexican immigrants [Ed. note: these are not all racial groups] provides the political right with racial cover. Their logic is that if a black man says it, then it can’t be racist. Their support of him is proof to progressives that they too are willing to vote for a black man. If you’re trying to boast your racial tolerance credibility these days, “I’m voting for Ben Carson” sounds a lot more convincing than “some of my best friends are black.”

But for many African-Americans, Thomas, Steele, Cain and now Carson’s popularity with the right is reminiscent of an old racial dynamic. During and post slavery, white slave owners and employers would often provide special treatment to select blacks, who in turn would help assuage their white guilt. It became the role of these black servants — who were often deemed a “credit to their race” — to heap praise on the “good” and “God-fearing” white boss, often at the expense of their own people.

Wow. Who comes off as the racist here? This childish tripe is nothing new: whites are guilty of racism, so they have to use a black man, who doesn’t know any better, to atone for their sin. But, if that’s so, what is the writer, and those of his ilk, really saying about black Republicans? They are saying that they have no ability to think and reason as individuals and draw their own sound conclusions. They are saying they are without backbones, because if they had any, they would say no to the GOP and conservatism – and instead roll over in submission to Democrats. Clearly, these black Americans who value individualism while rejecting the assigned roles laid out for them by Democrats, reveal themselves as little more than malleable simpletons to be unwittingly used by guilty white people. These people of color who don’t toe the Democrat line, like Thomas, Steele, Cain, Carson and others, are not permitted to think and reason as individuals and determine their own path in life because there is, and can be no other viable path other than the Democrat party. Their masters have spoken. That they dare to think and believe in principles contrary to those of the Democrats, can’t possibly speak to a mental acumen, individualism, and critical thinking skills that contribute to their political identities. No, it *must* be because they are foolish and unwise as they allow themselves to be used by white racists. They are “tokens”, if you will.

Because you can’t have it both ways. If you accuse white people of using blacks like Carson, et al, to assuage their white guilt, then you also have to believe that Carson, et al, have willingly rolled over for white people and are too dumb to see what’s happening. Or worse, that they think so lowly of themselves and their race, they are willing to debase themselves in this way. But if that were truly the case, would these successful black Americans have ever gained the stature of prominence they have? I don’t believe so. To suggest that they are Uncle Toms, because that is what the writer is indeed suggesting, is to fully insult the intelligence and mental capabilities of black Americans. And how is that not racist?

Sadly, it is the writer’s own racial bias that prevents him from coming to terms with the fact that these independent thinkers know that conservative principles and ideals serve Americans better than what Democrats offer.

The reality is, it is the writer of this article who is the token in this game of racial politics. Unfortunately, because he has been rendered so deaf by the noise, he can’t hear the crack of the whip over his head.


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