Thursday, January 28, 2016

The poisoning of the tree of liberty

An iceberg is heading into the path of the United States Constitution.  A destructive wave of political thought that appears out of the mainstream on the surface, but which like an iceberg has 90 percent of its mass below the surface.

You see evidence of this destructive collision when the Internet takes note of a Duke University graduate student’s school newspaper column that makes the claim that, “an urgent and overdue conversation about racism — on our campus and across our country — has been derailed by a diversionary and duplicitous obsession with the First Amendment.”

The column serves as a rationale for shouting down opposing views all in the name of being heard and having a national discussion on race, while dismissing alternative viewpoints as invalid due to their racist origins.

The same week that the column appeared, the GOP-controlled Senate confirmed Wilhelmina Wright to a lifetime seat on the federal bench.  Wright’s nomination ran into controversy when it was learned that she had written an attack on private property just as racist in a 1989 UCLA Law Review article in a piece edited by Derek Bell, one of President Obama’s mentors.

Wright’s comments however are not what is significant about the article, “Racial Reflections: Dialogues on the Direction of Liberation.” Instead, it is the academic legitimizing of an assault on the legitimacy of the Constitution and America itself that stands out.

While the words white privilege are not used, Bell’s introduction lays out the radical concepts that are bubbling to the surface a generation later as acceptable in academic circles while quaint notions like rule of law and constitutional rights are either not acknowledged or dismissed as inadequate.

Outraged by stories about school districts having kids kneel en masse on prayer rugs to have empathy with followers of Islam? This empathy through doing teaching concept can be found referenced by Bell.

Can’t understand how Black Lives Matter followers reject the obvious point that all lives matter?  The foundational answer that systemic oppression makes black lives more precious can be inferred from the article.

But the real goal is to delegitimize the old, dead white guys who wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.  Bell or one of his co-authors writes, “The framers’ ambivalence founded upon white supremacy, survived and subverted the well-intentioned efforts of even those who championed abolition and the post-Civil War amendments granting citizenship rights to the former slaves.”

To Bell’s devotees, everything is viewed through the prism of race with the very design of the Constitution meant to be used as a tool of oppression.

So the next time you read something that seems just plumb loco from a college student or professor understand that what may seem nuts to you, is likely seen as being mainstream on college campuses, and it is the dissent from these teachings that must be suppressed.

GOP presidential candidates tend to avoid education policy out of the correct belief that it is not the federal government’s job, but just as Hamlet’s father was killed by having poison poured into his ear, so must our constitutional republic die if the poison of hatred for America is not cut off at its academic roots


Fascist professor Melissa Click Charged with Assault for Handling of Photojournalist

Remember Melissa Click? She’s the University of Missouri professor who sparked an outcry after being filmed confronting photojournalists and calling for “muscle” to remove them from a public area during an on-campus protest in November 2015.

Well, Click was charged with assault yesterday for her actions.

After the initial controversy subsided, the story took a curious turn and became a public battle between state lawmakers and the faculty of the university.

Over 100 Missouri lawmakers signed an open letter earlier this month that called for Click’s immediate firing. “[Click] displayed such a complete disregard for the First Amendment rights of reporters should be enough to question her competency and aptitude for her job,” the lawmakers wrote.

In response, over 100 faculty members at Mizzou signed and published an open letter in support of click. “We believe that Click has been wronged in the media by those who have attacked her personally and have called for her dismissal,” the letter said.

Click hasn’t gotten fired, but she did get charged with third degree assault yesterday. In addition to calling for muscle to deal with the photojournalists, Click was also caught grabbing a reporters camera and helping to organize the human circle that kept journalists out of the campus quad.

The Missouri Times writes that lawmakers took this new charge as another point for their case that Click should be fired. At least two of them weighed in on Twitter:

“While the University of Missouri seems to have no accountability for their professors and their actions, the Missouri criminal justice system does,” says State Representative Caleb Jones, who has led the effort to call for Click’s dismissal. “I hope that justice gets served to the fullest extent of the law.”

The Class C misdemeanor charge Click faces could be punishable by up to 15 days in jail and/or a $300 fine, reports The Missouri Times.

In a poll we ran earlier this month, which received over 1,400 responses, more than 85% of respondents believe that Click should be fired for her actions.


Education Insanity

By Walter E. Williams

Some credit Albert Einstein, others credit Benjamin Franklin, with the observation that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results." Whomever we credit, he was absolutely right. A perfect example of that insanity is education in general and particularly black education.

Education Next has recently published a series commemorating the 50th anniversary of James S. Coleman's groundbreaking 1965 report, "Equality of Educational Opportunity," popularly referred to as the "Coleman Report." In 1965, the average black 12th grader placed at the 13th percentile of the score distribution for whites in math and reading.

That means 87 percent of white 12th graders scored higher than the average black 12th graders. Fifty years later there has been a slight narrowing of the math gap leaving the average black 12th-grade student at the 19th percentile of the white distribution; 81 percent of white 12th-grade students score higher. The black-white reading gap has narrowed such that the average black 12th-grader scores at the 22nd percentile of the white distribution, meaning 78 percent of white 12th-graders score higher.

Eric A. Hanushek is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His Education Next contribution is "What Matters for Student Achievement: Updating Coleman on the Influence of Families and Schools." Hanushek concludes, "After nearly a half century of supposed progress in race relations within the United States, the modest improvements in achievement gaps since 1965 can only be called a national embarrassment.

Put differently, if we continue to close gaps at the same rate in the future, it will be roughly two and a half centuries before the black-white math gap closes and over one and a half centuries until the reading gap closes." I would like to know what American, particularly a black American, can be pleased with that kind of progress and the future it holds for black people.

Many see smaller class sizes and more money as part of the general solution to our nation's educational problems. It turns out that since 1955 the average number of students per teacher has fallen from 27 to 16. During the same period real per-pupil expenditures have increased more than fourfold. Today, expenditures per pupil in the United States exceed those of nearly every other country in the world. The Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, ranks 15-year-old student academic performance in 34 OECD countries.

In 2012, the U.S. students performed below average in mathematics and ranked 27th. In reading, U.S. students ranked 17th; and in science, they ranked 20th. Such a performance gap suggests that smaller class sizes and bigger budgets, in and of themselves, are not a cure to our nation's educational malaise, particularly that of black students.

The most crucial input for a child's education cannot be provided by schools, politicians and government. As such, continued calls for more school resources will produce disappointing results as they have in the past. There are certain minimum requirements that must be met for any child to do well in school. Someone must make the youngster do his homework, ensure that he gets eight to nine hours of sleep, feed him breakfast and make sure that he behaves in school and respects the teachers. If these minimum requirements are not met, and by the way they can be met even if a family is poor, all else is for naught.

What the education establishment can do is to prevent youngsters who are alien and hostile to the educational process from making education impossible for those who are equipped to learn. That is accomplished by removing students who pose disciplinary problems, but the Barack Obama administration is even restricting a school's power to do that. You might ask, "Williams, what are we going to do with those expelled students?"

I do not know, but I do know one thing: Black people cannot afford to allow them to sabotage the education chances of everyone else.


Angry Cal State Prof Responds, Makes Dubious Libel Allegations

The California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) professor who denounced a group of campus conservatives as white supremacists and offered to fight them, has authored an angry response email to The Daily Caller News Foundation, accusing the publication of libel.

Over the weekend, assistant sociology professor Robert Weide became deeply upset over an event planned by CSULA’s branch of Young Americans for Freedom, which will feature conservative author Ben Shapiro and discuss the topic “When Diversity Becomes a Problem.”

Weide claimed the mere title of the lecture was meant to “intimidate” racial minorities, and offered to fight supporters of the event at the campus gym’s wrestling facilities.

The DCNF reached out to Weide for comment prior to the publication of Sunday’s piece. He didn’t reply in time for publication, but did finally send a response early Monday morning.

In it, he accuses TheDCNF of libel and claims his offer to battle supporters of the event was actually an effort to tone things down by offering an “alternative” to an “actual fist fight.” But Weide’s narrative appears inaccurate, as the conversation before his challenge consisted only of some meme-heavy ribbing — Weide appears to be the first person to seriously suggest an actual fight to determine who is stronger.

Bellow is his full message to TheDCNF. Readers are welcome to read the event page online to determine the truth of Weide’s statements:

"Greetings Mr. Neff, Actually there is only one Cal State LA student who has participated in the dialogue on FB you refer to. I did not call her a white supremacist. However, unabashed white supremacists who are not students on our campus have been posting all manner of racist, xenophobic, misogynist and homophobic memes and comments in order to intimidate our students and faculty, myself included. I will always speak in defense of our students when they are being intimidated and provoked by outside agitators.

I would be happy to give an interview to a real journalist, but Tucker Carlson’s pet project right wing hack site doesn’t quite fit that definition. I saw your slanderous hack job attempt at journalism. I was not impressed. It was a disingenuously inaccurate attempt to purvey a false narrative that I was challenging students to a fight. That is a flat out libelous lie. A white supremacist YAL supporter who is not a student on our campus was intimidating someone who is a student on our campus, in addition to the racist xenophobic memes and comments they posted.

As an alternative to fighting, I suggested that anyone who wants to prove their physical prowess, do so in a safe and controlled space where we practice Jiu Jitsu on campus, rather than engage in an actual fist fight. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is both a part of our university’s curriculum and a club sport on campus, for which I am one of the two faculty advisors. Suggesting a sporting competition as an alternative to a fight is not in any way shape or form picking a fight, nor was the person my comment was directed at a student on our campus, making your story doubly inaccurate. Of course you only posted my comment, and not the others that preceded it, as any hack job writer worth their salt would. However I used screen shot to capture all of them.

Thanks for making me famous. I couldn’t have gotten this amount of exposure from a decade of research and community activism. Being targeted by the reactionary right wing media raises my profile considerably among critical scholars. Thank you for the small role you played in that. Best, Robert Donald Weide PhD Assistant Professor Department of Sociology California State University, Los Angeles   Faculty Advisor Lambda Alpha Epsilon American Criminal Justice Association MU Chapter CSULA"

In a follow-up email, Weide also claimed to have received death threats over the incident.


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