Ban football

It’s the only decent thing to do. It’s a thuggish sport that allows thugs to rise to positions of privilege, and fosters an environment of brutality and viciousness.

Or, if that’s too radical for you, shut down the football program at Dietrich High School in Idaho (warning: tale of gross racism and rape at that link). They’ve lost any right to ever play the game again.

Paranoia! Paranoia everywhere!

It’s another story of an airline passenger reporting “suspicious activity” and holding up a flight. In this case, the nefarious act was…doing mathematics. A woman complained about the swarthy man (he was Italian!) scribbling obscure marks intently on a piece of paper. I’m not quite sure why a terrorist would precede an attack by doing a bunch of calculations. Maybe she remembers this cartoon.

Yeah, you never can trust those sneaky math people.

Wait. The office right next to mine is occupied by a statistician…and the one across the hall by a mathematician. I’m surrounded! I should go to the division chair and beg to be relocated to a safer office, but she’s a statistician, too! They’ve taken over!

But these facts about the word “Caucasian” aren’t surprising at all!

Yeah, that word is an ugly remnant of 18th century racist classification schemes, and Franchesca Ramsey is describing it accurately.

But doesn’t everyone already know all this? Why…oh. I just read the youtube comments. OMG. “Cultural marxist” and Milo and Sargon and hate everywhere. I’ve been ignoring the youtube commentariat for so long it is shocking how flamingly racist they are. Apparently there are large numbers of horrible people who have targeted Ramsey specifically for focused bigotry.

I thought she was very good, and I’ll have to watch more of her work.

I have not seen or heard #lemonade

I am a sociocultural failure, I know. But I don’t have a subscription to either HBO or Tidal, so all I’ve got are tiny snippets. One thing I’ve heard more of is the strident yodeling about “Becky”, which is nicely explained on VSB. It’s telling, as well, that there is more irritation about a brief remark that is perceived as a slight against white people than several centuries of ongoing oppression of black people.

It also reminds me of something I experienced a few times when I worked at Temple University. There were a couple of occasions when the subway and trains were out of service, and I had to walk home to the northern suburbs…which meant strolling through North Philadelphia, which is a rough neighborhood, poor and neglected. I am a white professorial looking dude. I didn’t fit in. I startled a few people, I know, who were curious about me, and they’d ask. And that’s where the worst thing that happened to me in a black neighborhood occurred.

They all called me “Bob”.

Maybe it’s just a North Philly thing, but apparently the stereotypical white person is named “Bob”. I can sort of see it, I guess.

But otherwise, you know, I was unconcerned. I was walking through black communities, which are no more supportive of muggings or robberies than the white communities I was walking towards. And I could not get outraged at the trivial thing about a stereotypical name, because, as VSB explains…

There are two schools of thought on what qualifies something as racist. The first is that something is racist if the act stems from either a belief of racial superiority or a position of constructed/structural racial superiority. (Or both.) The second encompasses all unfavorable acts which might be race-based. Basically, one school of thought is right (the former) and one is wrong (the latter).

I agree, the first definition is the right one. “Becky” or “Bob” are not a danger to anyone. So why is that what so many people are concerned about?

And I know, I’ve got to find a way to watch Lemonade.

Looks A-rab, has an A-rab name, speaks A-rab…must be a TERRRRIST!

This is what this profiling nonsense comes down to. Khairuldeen Makhzoomi boarded a Southwest Airlines flight, and had a conversation on his cell phone with a relative.

On his way back to Berkeley, Makhzoomi, a loyal Southwest premier rewards member, boarded his flight to Oakland and called his uncle in Baghdad to tell him about Ki-moon’s event. At the end of the phone call, conducted in Arabic, Makhzoomi said goodbye to his uncle with the phrase “inshallah,” which translates to “if God is willing.”

When Makhzoomi hung up, he noticed a female passenger looking at him. Once he made eye contact with her, she got up and left her seat.

“She kept staring at me and I didn’t know what was wrong,” he said. “Then I realized what was happening and I just was thinking ‘I hope she’s not reporting me.’”

Minutes later, an airport employee arrived to remove Makhzoomi from the airplane. Makhzoomi was escorted onto the passenger boarding bridge where he was met by three security officers.

Yep. He was kicked off the flight and interrogated by the FBI. This is rank madness. If anyone should have been kicked off, it’s that paranoid woman who reported him for speaking a foreign language.

Southwest Airlines released a statement about the event.

A statement from Southwest Airlines says that prior to departure, the flight crew decided to investigate potentially threatening comments made by Makhzoomi aboard the aircraft.

We wouldn’t remove passengers from flights without a collaborative decision rooted in established procedures, the statement reads. We regret any less than positive experience onboard our aircraft. … Southwest neither condones nor tolerates discrimination of any kind.

Yeah, right. Then perhaps they could tell us all what the potentially threatening comments that informed their decision to refuse service to a customer might have been?

It’s too early in the morning to peek at the ugly underbelly of the internet

Thanks, Dave Futrelle! Now I’m sleepy and nauseated!

It seems that Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulous (and an army of unmentioned, unpaid interns), those darlings of the discredited ‘news’ site, breitbart.com, have churned out a defense of the alternative right. It’s tedious and stupid and tries very hard to gloss over reality, but here’s Shorter Breitbart:

We aren’t racists, we’re just frustrated intellectuals who enjoy shit-posting!

Hilariously, the Daily Stormer has responded. Shorter Stormer:

We are too racists, and we hate you degenerate gay jew-boys and mud people! Heil Hitler!

A pox on you both.

I’d go back to bed, but now I’m wide awake and disgusted.

If I’m really good, in my next life I get to be a librarian

Librarians noticed something about their clientele.

Of the 5,000 people who visit the San Francisco Public Library every day, about 15 percent of them are homeless, PBS reported. After years of watching this underserved demographic float through to get Internet access, a restroom and often, just refuge from the cold, the library realized…

Wait. Before we go on, allow me to channel my inner Libertarian/Republican.

THEY REALIZED THESE PARASITES WERE LEECHING OFF THE TAXPAYER, SO THEY INSTALLED UNCOMFORTABLE CHAIRS TO PREVENT NAPPING AND REDUCED THE HEAT TO 50°F AND REQUIRED PROOF OF HOME OWNERSHIP TO USE THE WIFI AND PUT IN PAY TOILETS AND HIRED SECURITY GUARDS TO ROUST THE RIFF-RAFF.

Actually, that wasn’t their response. They realized…

it was in an auspicious position to stage effective interventions.

So, in 2009, the library hired Leah Esguerra, who is believed to be the nation’s first psychiatric social worker to be employed full time at a library, SFGate reported. Since the program started, about 150 homeless people have received permanent housing, and another 800 have enrolled in social and mental health services, according to PBS.

The success is due in part to the fact that the library has become a hub for homeless people, and that those involved in the program approach homeless patrons with empathy.

Holy christ, Jesus has returned to Earth as a swarm of librarians.

That is so awesome. That is exactly how a community should respond to the underprivileged and needy, by helping them.

Do you have to take a test for basic humanity in order to become a librarian? I’m not sure I’m angelic enough to ever meet the requirements.


And if that tingled your feels, you are now required to read this Superman comic.

The anti-PC police are in the wrong

I’m really fed up with all the op-eds emerging now, decrying those wimpy college students and political correctness and trigger warnings and safe spaces. They’re all from obnoxious ignoramuses who are really trying to defend their sheltered privilege from criticism, so they’re all playing a game of IKYABWAI. So here are a couple of strong rebuttals.

  • “PC Culture” isn’t Killing Higher Ed (But Your Crappy Op-Eds Might Be).

    The last thing higher education needs is one more old white guy bleating about “political correctness run amok,” when it’s just a slightly more genteel phrase for “people not like me getting all uppity.” If you’re upset about other people winning in the marketplace of ideas, maybe it’s because your ideas suck. If you think today’s students are coddled, and don’t have “grit,” you either don’t teach or aren’t paying attention. To see students calling out power inequalities and inequitable behaviors is not some sort of failure, but a triumph of critical thinking and intellectual agency. If you think students calling institutions, their administrations, or other authorities out on bad thinking, institutional inequities, or general bullshit is “silly,” or “killing higher education,” maybe you’re the delicate little flower who can’t abide an intellectual challenge.

  • Straw Freshmen: Why the War on Campus PC Culture is Bullshit.

    Take the “trigger warning” as an example. There are still no colleges or universities that mandate trigger warnings as a practice in any field of study. Most cases of them being used have been in teaching sensitive issues of rape, abuse, or assault to classes with young women. The overarching point in “Coddling,” that trigger warnings actually can’t improve mental health, misses the point of the reality of these women. A new study from the Association of American Universities finds that over a fifth of all college women are sexually assaulted at some time in their enrollment. Another 47% have experienced sexual harassment and another 12% have experienced intimate partner violence. This means that any given classroom with any significant amount of women could be composed of up to a third or more of women who are processing rapes, assaults, harassment, or violence. Given the absolutely horrendous state of affairs within colleges (and largely, the country) in handling rape cases and pursuing justice and health for these women, it is likely that most of these survivors have not received or are not receiving the proper therapy and healing in order to be able to process triggering images and words without suffering further damage.

  • ‘Coddled’ students and their ‘safe spaces’ aren’t the problem, college official says. Bigots are.

    Therefore, whether one is suspicious of the merits of college as a whole or cynical about the existence of “safe spaces,” the truth of the matter is that “coddled” college students aren’t the problem.

    The real culprits — on campuses and in the real world — are the persistent effects of homophobia, income inequality, misogyny, poverty, racism, sexism, white supremacy and xenophobia.

    When students refuse to accept discrimination on college campuses, they’re learning important lessons about how to fight it everywhere.

That last one makes an excellent point: the anti-PC language does the opposite of what its obnoxious proponents claim. It’s not about advocating for free speech. It’s about using accusations of “PC” and mocking efforts to give minorities a voice to silence critics of the status quo.

I am also guilty

I promptly put up a post about the Brussels attacks, but I didn’t say anything about the Ankara attacks. I have excuses: when Turks are attacked by terrorists, my various social network feeds don’t start screaming in panic when Muslims die. But it’s all part of the same phenomenon, our intrinsic tribalism, in which we all reinforce each other in our belief that our people, defined narrowly in a way that excludes much of humanity, are important, and those other people are nobody important. And, unfortunately, as a very privileged American, we have a tendency to not look very far past our own noses.

I don’t know what to do about it, either. If I weep every time someone somewhere within the great mass of humanity commits an evil against another someone in the great mass of humanity, I’d drown in my own tears. So we struggle.

One small thing we’ve done here on FtB is to try and enlist diverse writers, so that maybe as a whole we can fill in the gaps in our individual humanity. And I’m also trying to be more aware and conscious of the entirety of the human experience. But I’ll fail and continue to fail.

That’s no excuse to not try, though.