Friday, June 19, 2015
The political left has come up with a new buzzword: “micro-aggression.”
Professors at the University of California at Berkeley have been officially warned against saying such things as “America is the land of opportunity.” Why? Because this is considered to be an act of “micro-aggression” against minorities and women. Supposedly it shows that you don’t take their grievances seriously and are therefore guilty of being aggressive toward them, even if only on a micro scale.
You might think that this is just another crazy idea from Berkeley. But the same concept appears in a report from the flagship campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana. If you just sit in a room where all the people are white, you are considered to be guilty of “micro-aggression” against people who are not white, who will supposedly feel uncomfortable when they enter such a room.
At UCLA, a professor who changed the capitalization of the word “indigenous” to lower case in a student’s dissertation was accused of “micro-aggression,” apparently because he preferred to follow the University of Chicago Manual of Style, rather than the student’s attempt to enhance the importance of being indigenous.
When a group of UCLA law students came to class wearing T-shirts with a picture of one of their professors who had organized an intramural softball game, those T-shirts were protested as a manifestation of “white privilege.”
Why? Because that professor had written a book critical of affirmative action.
“Micro-aggression” protests have spread to campuses from coast to coast — that is, from California’s Berkeley and UCLA to Harvard and Fordham on the east coast, and including Oberlin and Illinois in the midwest.
Academic administrators have all too often taken the well-worn path of least resistance, by regarding the most trivial, or even silly, claims of victimhood with great seriousness, even when that involved undermining faculty members held in high esteem by most of their students and by their professional colleagues on campus and beyond.
The concept of “micro-aggression” is just one of many tactics used to stifle differences of opinion by declaring some opinions to be “hate speech,” instead of debating those differences in a marketplace of ideas. To accuse people of aggression for not marching in lockstep with political correctness is to set the stage for justifying real aggression against them.
This tactic reaches far beyond academia and far beyond the United States. France’s Jean-Paul Sartre has been credited — if that is the word — with calling social conditions he didn’t like “violence,” as a prelude to justifying real violence as a response to those conditions. Sartre’s American imitators have used the same verbal tactic to justify ghetto riots.
Word games are just one of the ways of silencing politically incorrect ideas, instead of debating them. Demands that various conservative organizations be forced to reveal the names of their donors are another way of silencing ideas by intimidating people who facilitate the spread of those ideas. Whatever the rationale for wanting those names, the implicit threat is retaliation.
This same tactic was used, decades ago, by Southern segregationists who tried to force black civil rights organizations to reveal the names of their donors, in a situation where retaliation might have included violence as well as economic losses.
In a sense, the political left’s attempts to silence ideas they cannot, or will not, debate are a confession of intellectual bankruptcy. But this is just one of the left’s ever-increasing restrictions on other people’s freedom to live their lives as they see fit, rather than as their betters tell them.
Current attempts by the Obama administration to force low-income housing to be built in middle class and upscale communities are on a par with forcing people to buy the kind of health insurance the government wants them to buy — ObamaCare — rather than leaving them free to buy whatever suits their own situation and preferences.
The left is not necessarily aiming at totalitarianism. But their know-it-all mindset leads repeatedly and pervasively in that direction, even if by small steps, each of which might be called “micro-totalitarianism.
A major British university bullied into compliance with Greenie superstitions
The eco-Fascists report:
You can’t buy fossil fuel divestment campaigners with pizza, and deploying heavy-handed security guards doesn’t work too well either. These are lessons the University of Edinburgh had to learn the hard way.
Three weeks ago, the university was digging in its heels, doubling down on years of refusal to listen to divestment campaigners. Then, on Thursday, it backed down. It agreed to dump coal and tar sands oil from its investment portfolio.
From early on, the University made it alarmingly clear that it had no interest in meeting our targets for full fossil fuels and arms divestment. Arms were the first item dropped from the conversation, and a full fossil fuel divestment measure soon followed.
Our student activist group, People & Planet, was offered a half-hearted reassurance from the university that it would partially divest from coal and tar sands. Although we were dismayed, we thought is was at least a good starting point.
But when the university dropped the hammer again, announcing it would take a company-by-company divestment approach, and planned to use its £9 million investment to change polluters from the inside, we knew it was time to take more serious action.
So we occupied.
Over the period of a 10-day occupation of the university’s finance department, we had a staff member liken us to Nazis, among many other disdainful comments directed at our cause and ourselves.
Despite our protest being peaceful, shortly after our arrival private security companies were brought in to be, in the words of the security guards themselves, “much more heavy-handed”.
Later, a security guard was charged with assault after a video emerged of him choking a student on the ground. As a response to the unsafe situation, the University met with occupiers and offered to buy them pizza.
The students who took action understand the challenges they will face due to systemic inaction on climate change and will not be satisfied by a university which considers buying pizza an apt response to an assault charge.
The reason the University of Edinburgh occupation was so successful is largely because of the resolve of students who can’t be deterred by verbal and physical threats and certainly won’t be appeased by party food.
When it came down to it, what made the difference was that 30 students were willing to set aside their holidays and take a stand. Whether it was planned or not, in 10 days those 30 occupiers caused a movement to swell up outside the University of Edinburgh’s finance department building.
A Nobel Laureate and member of Scottish Parliament visited, Naomi Klein supported us from afar, we received backing from academics and people around the world. Locals brought us pastries and kindergarten children wrote us thank-you letters for not letting the university make money by sacrificing their futures to dirty energy.
Last but certainly not least, 300 alumni delivered the final blow by sending an open letter to the University of Edinburgh, announcing that they would no longer donate to the university if that money was to be invested in companies involved in climate destruction.
UK: Leftist nutjob was so left wing that he divorced his wife when she refused to send their son to a failing "comprehensive" school
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn has admitted that he divorced his wife of 12 years – because she refused to send their son to a failing comprehensive school.
Mr Corbyn, speaking about the split for the first time since making it onto the Labour leadership ballot paper this week, admitted that he felt 'very strongly about comprehensive education' and could not agree to send his son to a grammar.
The issue came to a head in 1999 when couple's son Ben was only offered a place at a comprehensive which had been placed on a list of failing schools.
His then wife, the left-wing Chilean campaigner Claudia Bracchitta, refused to let the then 11-year-old pay the price for his father's political beliefs and decided to send him to a grammar school nine-miles away from their home on the outskirts of London.
Speaking to the Guardian, Mr Corbyn admitted that he 'hated' that period in his life. He said: 'I hated the pressure put on my kids as a result of it, and it was very unpleasant. We divorced.'
Mr Corbyn, who will face Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall in the run off to be Labour leader, insisted he still gets on 'very well' with his former wife.
He said: 'I don't like dragging personal things into my political life. And I think it's very sad when that happens. I don't criticise anybody else for what happens with their children, and I don't expect people to interfere with my children's lives.'
But asked if it was an issue of principle, Mr Corbyn replied: 'I feel very strongly about comprehensive education, yes.'
Mr Corbyn – who believes Ed Miliband was not left wing enough to convince voters to back Labour – also admitted that he could not be friends with anyone who was not left wing. 'At the end of the day, it's the question of your values - they get in the way,' he told the Guardian.
Speaking about the divorce at the time, Ms Bracchitta said she had 'no choice' about it. She said: 'I couldn't send Ben to a [sink] school where I knew he wouldn't be happy. 'Whereas Jeremy was able to make one sort of decision, I wasn't. It's a position you are pushed into rather than one you choose.'
At the time Labour-run Islington council was the third worst education authority in the country and the only comprehensive school prepared to offer their son a place, Holloway, was on a list of failing schools.
Ms Bracchitta refused to let Ben attend the school, and instead got a place for him at Queen Elizabeth's grammar school, nine miles away in Barnet.
She says: 'I didn't have a premeditated idea that I had chosen this school years ago. 'I didn't know until after Ben got in that it was one of the top five in Britain. I only wanted a school that was near here and would be really good for Ben.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:52 AM