#UnMinnesotan

This ad was run in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I’m pretty sure it’s a damning example of what UnMinnesotans call the regressive Left.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Minnesotan  Pop, “Up North” and snow days all mean something to you. So do the values we’re raised with: everyday, sleeve-worn courage, goodness and kindness. Though we may be a soft-spoken bunch, we know better than to be silent or still in the face of bigotry shown to Muslims. Our fellow Minnesotans. Every intolerant social post, every prejudiced comment aimed at Muslims needs a response. Your response. We must lead people to a place of tolerance and understanding. We must come together as a diverse and vibrant community. Our values don’t take days off and neither should we. If you’re Minnesotan, you know this to be true. We know better. We can’t be tricked into betraying our values. It’d be so very, very un-Minnesotan of us.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Minnesotan
Pop, “Up North” and snow days
all mean something to you.
So do the values we’re raised with:
everyday, sleeve-worn courage, goodness and kindness.
Though we may be a soft-spoken bunch,
we know better than to be silent or still in the face of
bigotry shown to Muslims. Our fellow Minnesotans.
Every intolerant social post,
every prejudiced comment aimed at Muslims
needs a response. Your response.
We must lead people to a place of
tolerance and understanding.
We must come together as
a diverse and vibrant community.
Our values don’t take days off and neither should we.
If you’re Minnesotan, you know this to be true.
We know better. We can’t be tricked into betraying our values.
It’d be so very, very un-Minnesotan of us.

The social justice balancing act

Ally Fogg makes a very good point.

The first recourse of the racist fearmonger has always been to point to one atypical incident, a riot, a murder, a rape, and hold it to be typical, to be both representative of an entire population and the responsibility of that entire population. The left cannot win by pretending there are no criminals, no thugs, no rapists, no damaged people among the shifting sands of humanity. We can win by unequivocally condemning inappropriate and criminal behaviour while simultaneously and correctly insisting that we will not allow ourselves to judge the many by the sins of the few. We will not allow ourselves to be distracted and diverted from our humanitarian obligations by fear, because history shows us where that leads. We will not allow ourselves to turn our backs on those in desperate need, because we are smarter than that and we are better than that. That is the only way the argument can be won.

I would add that one thing that’s become obvious is that if you hesitate to condemn an act because the perpetrator is a member of an oppressed group, the racist fearmongers will then turn around and use that to condemn the entirety of the left of conspiring with the group that they hate. It’s what they do, and they’re very good at it — you might even say it is the dominant trait of fearmongers, that they’re adept at smearing everything into a giant category of blame.

It’s one of the things that makes addressing them difficult: anything you do will get you swept up into the burning shitpile of hatred they keep aflame. So you might as well just do the right thing.

Default Human Being

I am not at all a fan of anime (don’t judge me, I just never got interested in it), but in my passing glances at it I had casually wondered why the characters never seem to have any of the attributes I associate with Japanese people. I can’t say I’d ever thought about it much until now, but now I know why: because I have a lot of implicitly racist assumptions.

Why do the Japanese draw themselves as white? You see that especially in manga and anime.

As it turns out, that is an American opinion, not a Japanese one. The Japanese see anime characters as being Japanese. It is Americans who think they are white. Why? Because to them white is the Default Human Being.

stick-figure

If I draw a stick figure, most Americans will assume that it is a white man. Because to them that is the Default Human Being. For them to think it is a woman I have to add a dress or long hair; for Asian, I have to add slanted eyes; for black, I add kinky hair or brown skin. Etc.

The Other has to be marked. If there are no stereotyped markings of otherness, then white is assumed.

Americans apply this thinking to Japanese drawings. But to the Japanese the Default Human Being is Japanese! So they feel no need to make their characters “look Asian”. They just have to make them look like people and everyone in Japan will assume they are Japanese – no matter how improbable their physical appearance.

Oooh. Processing. Consciousness raised. Will try to adjust perspective from now on.

Whoa. This affects a lot of things, not just anime that I never watched much anyway.

I guess Sweden isn’t perfect after all

Friday was a wild night in which mobs of men ran around the Stockholm train station attacking people. Something must be done about these immigrants! Foreigners!

Only it wasn’t the immigrants doing the attacking. It was native Swedes concerned about the purity of their country.

Hundreds of masked men marched through Stockholm’s main train station on Friday evening, reportedly beating up refugees and anyone who didn’t appear to be ethnically Swedish.

Wearing all-black balaclavas and armbands, the men “gathered with the purpose of attacking refugee children,” Stockholm police spokesperson Towe Hagg said.

Masked men slapping children around? Sounds brave and noble. Also so logical.

After the attack, the Swedish Resistance Movement, a neo-Nazi group, released a statement claiming the attack had “cleaned up criminal immigrants from North Africa that are housed in the area around the Central Station”.

“Police have clearly shown that they lack the means to stave off their rampage, and we now see no other alternative than to ourselves hand out the punishments they deserve.”

Who was rampaging here? Who deserves punishment? It seems to me that the neo-Nazis just indicted themselves.

Well, it’s Oklahoma

redskins

There is a high school in Oklahoma that calls their athletic teams the “Redskins”. No, really — all the national debate about offensive sports team names sailed right on by them, and after years of public discussion elsewhere, it took until 2016 for McLoud, Oklahoma to stop and debate whether their name is inappropriate.

They had a public discussion, and then the school board voted to keep an ethnic slur as the proud label for their football team.

But that’s not all! Let’s abuse American Indians who argued against the name!

Bella Aiukli Cornell, a 14 year old Native American girl and a citizen of Choctaw Nation, gave a testimony against the name and mascot of the McLoud High School Redskins in December, at a school board meeting. A male peer, and a racist, yelled get off the stage, squaw!

Nice to know the rot extends to all ages.

We’ve got a lot of history, said Albert Baldwin, 74, a life-long resident of McLoud. I don’t know anyone around here that objects to being a Redskin. If there is, I don’t know about it.

That is simply the perfect explanation for this phenomenon.

I never considered Glocks and drowning as educational tools before

It’s no secret that universities suffer a steady attrition of students. We get applicants; not all the accepted decide to attend. We lose students the first year, the second year, etc.; not every student meets the graduation requirements, so not every student gets a degree. This steady loss is simply a fact of life.

But that doesn’t mean we give up and don’t try! We faculty have a responsibility to our students. Are you leaving because you can’t afford tuition? Let’s refer you to financial aid, and let’s elect Bernie. Is it the lack of social support? Let’s help you find a study group, or a campus club, let’s try to enroll more people like you to get the critical mass. Did you miss out on some essential academic skills? Here’s a remedial class, here’s our tutoring center.

Good teachers want to improve retention and shepherd more students to completion of their degree because we care about the students, every one of them. So much of my effort is spent on trying to figure out ways to make teaching more inclusive: every year, I look at the exams and see that some percentage of students are struggling to grasp some basic concepts, and my goal then is to try something different, some new approach, that will reduce that percentage.

Of course, if I were an administrator, I might have a different goal. Another strategy would be to make like so miserable for those students who didn’t get the concept that they drop out, and therefore aren’t around at the end of the term to lower the average grade of the course, and most importantly, weren’t enrolled to submit negative evaluations of my teaching.

I don’t think that way, but apparently Mount St. Mary’s University President Simon Newman does.

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