What will it take to change our culture?

This is my university, as it was about 130 years ago. UMM was only established as a university in the 1960s, and before that it was an agricultural school, and before that, it was a Catholic school for Indians — one of those places dedicated to ‘helping’ the poor backwards people of the continent to assimilate into superior white culture by taking their children away and raising them the White Man’s Way. For the past week, students have been busily chalking the outlines of the old buildings around campus, as part of a project to remind us all of our history as an Indian boarding school. I am glad to see that we don’t whitewash this shameful part of our past, and that my university tries to make amends by offering free tuition to Indian students — but nowadays we don’t force them to attend, it’s entirely voluntary, and the curriculum isn’t about telling them how bad their culture is.


Jennifer Raff writes about another side of America’s history with indigenous people.

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Status report on the Ada Initiative donations

I promised to pass along everything donated to Pharyngula until the end of the month to the Ada Initiative, less whatever it costs to take my wife out to dinner this weekend. You’re a generous bunch: the total so far is $1583. I know many of you also donated to Janet Stemwedel’s similar fund drive, and that’s just fine — we’re not competing, and it’s all good no matter how the money gets there!

Oh, no! Thought Leaders are being picked on!

Read Amanda Marcotte on Sam Harris and Penn Jillette. And Adam Lee doesn’t love Richard Dawkins anymore. You know, I’m getting a little bit tired of hearing self-appointed Leaders of Science, Skepticism, and Atheism repeatedly saying sexist bullshit, and then getting indignant and rather than retracting the sexism, getting loud and defensive and macho and insisting that declaring women to be intrinsically less critical is just rational, or that calling them ‘cunts’ is necessary for little girls to be able to appreciate great literature someday. It makes me uncomfortable. I think it does real harm to the advancement of critical thought and atheism.

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