Thursday, December 03, 2015

A university and its Muslim professor

Feminism not taught there?

A professor with an interesting birthplace is in hot water for doing the unspeakable this week:

Youssif Omar saw his teenage female relative walking to Hickman High School in Columbia, Missouri without the traditional Islamic headscarf. According to the Daily Mail, he assaulted the girl by slapping her across the face, dragged her violently by the hair down a flight of stairs and into his car, and drove away.

Omar was arrested for child abuse the following day and was released on a $4,500 bond.

According to his now defunct LinkedIn page, Omar was an assistant professor at the University of Missouri and manager of Artifacts Journal at the University bookstore. The school said that he was a graduate student with an assistantship that ended in July.

Originally from Benghazi, Libya, Omar was the head of the English department at the University of Benghazi Wahat Branch from 2003-2007.

Colleges were once fertile breeding ground for the discussion of both experimental and foundational western cultural ideals. Now that they've completed their transformation to brain scrambling day care facilities for maladjusted milennials, little in the way of culture remains. In such a vaccuum, savages run wild.

If this professor would like to live by these particularly heinous, barbaric cultural norms, perhaps he should consider going home.


You can’t ban racism

If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently, it may seem (even more so than usual) that American campuses have gone mad. There is an uprising of screeching teachers at the University of Missouri, and Yale seems to be full of equally shrill students.

Here at spiked, we are the first to admonish coddled students for censoring opposing viewpoints, policing ‘microagressions’, banning Halloween costumes or creating Safe Spaces where students won’t be troubled by worrisome ideas. The campus quote of the year surely goes to Yale student Jerelyn Luther, addressing the head of her residential college: ‘ [Your job is] not about creating an intellectual space! It is not!’ Worst of all, campus ‘radicals’ now call on administrations to re-impose the shackles of in loco parentis that student protesters of the Sixties rightfully broke.

In such an atmosphere, it’s all too easy to be dismissive. Indeed, students’ focus on trivial or even false incidents of hatred distracts from real acts of hatred. But they happen. At Missouri, the main site of campus kerfuffle this week, someone smeared faeces shaped into a swastika in a campus dorm (seriously) following incidents of reported racial harassment. At Duke, my university, someone recently spraypainted a death threat directed at a gay student in his dormitory, and a Black Lives Matter poster was defaced with racial epithets. Such acts are unequivocally despicable, and we must condemn them harshly.

But what is to be done? How can colleges prevent such acts? Students have some ideas: here at Duke, the student whose room was defaced has asked for mandatory ‘cultural competency’ training and the introduction of a ‘sexuality studies’ major. The Missouri students’ demands followed similar lines (though some were utterly fatuous – requiring the ex-president to ‘admit his white male privilege’ – and some were plain unconstitutional – demanding racial quotas).

If universities fulfil these demands, will instances of hatred stop? Of course not. The man who writes ‘God Hates Fags’ on someone’s door will not be discouraged by some freshman seminar on ‘systemic oppression’. I’m not sure what could deter the swastika-poop perpetrator.

The truth is, proclaiming your white guilt or censoring social media won’t stop racism or help minorities. Instead, we must promote moral strength, fortitude and personal autonomy, while expressing solidarity with, and support for, victims. No doubt this is not fair. But – here’s the hard part – life isn’t always fair.


Government contributions to private schools in Australia

This is a hoary Leftist whine below.  Typically of Leftism it looks only at superficialities.  The underlying point that parents who send their children to private schools relieve the public sector from educating them is overlooked.  That is a big saving for the public system so the Australian Federal government reimburses the private schools part of what their kids would have drawn from the public system. Monica seems unaware of that point -- a point that is something of a "third rail" in Australian politics -- As Biffo Latham discovered when he tried to cut it back.  It is in other words fair and seen as fair

American conservatives would wonder at Australia's system. Where they struggle to get voucher programs going, the Australian Federal government has for decades done the equivalent. They directly give all private schools substantial taxpayer money!  And that gives wider choice. Where such programs get up in America, it mostly means parents get the chance of sending their kid to a poor Catholic school.  In Australia you can send your kid to the top private school in town and only pay part of the costs.  So 40% of Australian teens in fact go to a private High School

Monica Dux

It is a myth that elite private schools are entitled to all the bells and whistles they enjoy because parents have paid for them. This quickly falls apart if you think about it. Private schools receive huge sums of money from the public purse; very nearly as much money as government schools. If that money was being used to keep struggling private schools afloat, then it might be justified. But in many cases it is in fact used to fund the educational "excellence" that we hear about in private school advertising campaigns – state-of-the-art sports grounds, pools, outstanding facilities of every kind. As commentator Jane Caro recently observed, one school is now providing on-site baristas, subsidised by our taxes.

The myth that underpins this – that parents are simply making a choice, and are themselves funding that choice – serves to obscure the gross inequality at the heart of our education system. The implication is that parents who send their kids to state schools should stop complaining about the under-resourced, overcrowded public system because they have chosen it. They weren't willing to pay, so their kids deserve what they get.

As a teenager I was acutely aware of this divide. It was first pointed out to me in grade 6, when one of my classmates informed me that the high school I'd be attending was a "dog school", the crap Catholic school where no one really wanted to send their kids.  She, on the other hand, was going to the superior private school with hats, pressed uniforms and various state-of-the-art facilities.

Naturally, I was upset by the revelation that my school was for canines, as I'd naively assumed that my parents had chosen to send me there because it was closer to our home. But my classmate's spitefulness put me in my place, reminding me where I was from and what my parents could afford.

I don't know whether my nasty classmate got a better education than I did, but I'm pretty sure she would have come away with a greater sense of entitlement, and the self-confidence that typically goes with it. For entitlement grows naturally out of the myth that justifies the system. Her parents paid for her superior education, made sacrifices to afford it, so she was entitled to the benefits that it brought her.  

Yet once you recognise that the taxpayer is footing a very substantial part of the bill, and that elite private schools are effectively siphoning away funds that could have gone into the state system, you see the equation very differently. Far from being entitled to anything, children who benefit from expensive private educations are in fact indebted to the ordinary taxpayers who subsidised their swimming complexes and their baristas. It's everyone else who made the sacrifice – sending their kids to underfunded state schools, while the private sector hogged the education dollar.

As we grow older most of us stop believing in myths such as citizen's arrest. When will Australia grow up and see through the education myths that are doing a disservice to all our children?


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