Monday, December 24, 2018

UK: Oxford students uninterested in minorities

A vocal minority does not stand for the whole.  Efforts to downgrade dead white males in favour of "vibrant" minority creatives seem mostly have gone in one ear and out the other. It seems that most students were not in tune with the vibrations concerned

Oxford history students have been accused of hypocrisy after they largely failed to mention any prominent black figures in their essays on post-colonialism, despite protests over Rhodes Must Fall.

Professors complained that “we are supposedly in the midst of a consciousness raising era as exemplified by Rhodes Must Fall”, yet students barely mentioned anyone from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

History dons noted that the most popular exam question last year was “How useful is the term post-colonial in understanding Britain since 1947?” but scripts were “almost universally devoid of First Class quality”.

The lack of BAME figures in the essays was “downright alarming”, according to the examiner reports. Professors said that students were preoccupied with the “decolonisation” narrative, and there was little discussions about how immigrants have shaped life in modern Britain.

Oxford University has previously refused to give into calls from the “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign to tear down a statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College over his links with Britain’s colonial past.

In recent years, Oxford students have become increasingly vocal about the need to “decolonise” curriculum so that it is less dominated by western, white men, and includes more female and BAME figures. 

Earlier this year, the Oxford student activist group Common Ground held an event titled “Decolonising the History curriculum”. The event, publicised on the History Faculty’s website, was part of a symposium which included a “de-colonial tour” of the Pitt Rivers museum.   

Professors said that they had hoped students would use this question to discuss the legacy of Britons from black and ethnic backgrounds. But they noted:  “There were no BAME actors. No Meera Syal, no Lenny Henry (whose career has seen remarkable change), no Idris Elba.

“A similar point can be made about art and literature. No mention of Benjamin Zephaniah or Chris Ofili (or again Steve McQueen), no mention of Zadie Smith, Hanif Kureishi, Andrea Levy (all best sellers, all adapted for prime time television) or Monica Ali.

“Popular music in these essays was invisible but it was implied it had stopped somewhere around Tommy Steele. No Reggae, no Two-Tone, no Northern Soul, no Bhangra influences, no Grime.”

Examiners acknowledge that the students who are the most conscious about decolonising the curriculum may not have taken this particular paper. They say that students might object “but this wasn’t in the reading” or “this wasn’t in the lectures”, which they say is “not unfair”, but add that none of the information is hard to find.

Academics also complained that a question about protectionism before and after the Wall Street Crash “inadvertently and worryingly” revealed that many history undergraduates “don’t seem to understand what the word ‘protectionism’ means”.

Professors have previously used examiner reports to lament students’ “basic common sense” in essays, adding that some found it “difficult to express their thoughts in writing” and spoke as if they were a “bloke down the pub”.


2 Students Explain Why They Defended Teacher Fired Over Transgender Pronouns

Two high school students say they organized a walkout in support of a teacher fired for not using pronouns preferred by a transgender student because they thought they should speak out on a cause they believe in.

“When I wanted to speak out about this, I just found this a great opportunity,” Forrest Rohde, a junior at West Point High School, told The Daily Signal in an interview. “I knew that a lot of people in my school would follow with me.”

School officials, Rohde said, are pushing “a false ideology” on teachers and students.

Rohde’s friend Wyatt Pedersen, a senior at the school in West Point, Virginia, said he thought school administrators were “suppressing” French teacher Peter Vlaming’s First Amendment rights.

The West Point school board voted 5-0 on Dec. 6 to fire Vlaming, saying his refusal to follow orders to use male pronouns in referring to the transgender student “harassed and discriminated against the student” and meant the teacher was “insubordinate.”

Vlaming, 47, told the school board that he did not use male pronouns in referring to the student, who was born female, because of his own religious convictions. He said he also didn’t use female pronouns to refer to the student.

The teacher “read a 10-minute statement to the board and hearing attendees about his intentions, respect, and love for all of his students and their rights,” The Virginia Gazette reported.

Rohde, 17, told The Daily Signal that he “was already kind of into politics in general.” He said he helped organize the walkout of about 100 students Dec. 7 after his father encouraged him to do what he could to show he backed the teacher.

“He’s like, ‘Hey, you want to stay home? Or do you want to not go to school but protest in front of it?’” Rohde said of his father. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, sure. That sounds like a plan.’”

“So, I head out to the school like around 7:30 that morning, and I stayed out there for an hour and a half … holding these signs,” Rohde said.

Rohde said he had started texting friends and posting on social media about supporting Vlaming, and Pedersen came up with the idea of a walkout.

Pedersen, also 17, is what Rohde calls a “co-leader of the #JusticeforVlaming movement.”

Pedersen told The Daily Signal that he supports Vlaming because the teacher “just is an amazing man” and a “devout Christian.” For Vlaming, using male pronouns in this situation would be a “violation of his conscience,” the student said.

“I also feel like the school is suppressing [his] First Amendment rights,” Pedersen said.

Rohde said school officials have the right to disagree with Vlaming, but went too far in firing him.

“The school board can disagree with Vlaming all they want,” Rohde said. “I just think they shouldn’t have fired him over it, or given him any consequences, because it’s a false ideology they’re trying to push onto him, and basically everybody else.”

Rohde said he circulated a petition for fellow students to sign in the school cafeteria, which was met with opposition from teachers. The petition eventually was confiscated, but later returned to him.

Rohde said he would tell peers facing similar situations in schools across the country to speak up politely, respectfully, and “in a peaceful manner” for what they believe in. “Nothing that incites hatred,” he said.

“If you want to spread a message about something, you shouldn’t be afraid of the consequences,” Rohde said. “You should be proud of getting in trouble because from getting in trouble yourself, you’re kind of changing the world, basically, and changing everything for the better.”

In a statement emailed to The Daily Signal, West Point Public Schools Superintendent Laura K. Abel said the high school is supportive of students who openly back Vlaming.

The walkout “gave students an opportunity to publicly show their support for their teacher,” Abel said. “We encourage student involvement in issues that affect the school division.”

Pedersen said he thinks the high school has been unjust in its treatment of Vlaming.

“The government has a purpose in protecting students, but not to the degree of harming other people,” Pedersen told The Daily SIgnal. “I think that it’s disgusting that one student’s beliefs and ideology is being put over the teacher’s beliefs and ideology.”


White referee who ordered a black high school wrestler to have his dreadlocks chopped off or forfeit the contest is BANNED from overseeing matches as investigation is launched

Dreadlocks would provide a good handle for an opponent to use in controlling the fighter

The white referee who demanded that a black high school wrestler either cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit a match is being investigated by state officials.

Alan Maloney has been banned from overseeing contests while the probe is conducted, sources explained to TMZ Sports.

The embattled referee is also said to have felt that he was merely enforcing the rule concerning hair maintenance.

Video showed the moment that Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson had his locks cut off so that he could eventually win his match against Oakcrest Regional High School. 

Alan Maloney has not been formally suspended or disciplined but an investigation into his decision to force Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson to have to cut off his hair

In the footage, a white woman can be seen chopping off Johnson's hair and leaving it in shabby condition

While Maloney asserted that his motives weren't racist and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has worked to find out what exactly took place.

'The NJSIAA has been in direct contact with school officials and is now awaiting official incident reports. A report also has been requested from the referee involved,' it said in a statement.

'In addition – and as per its formal sportsmanship policy – the NJSIAA has provided initial information to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights and will continue to send updates as they become available.

'At this point, the NJSIAA is working to determine the exact nature of the incident and whether an infraction occurred.'

'As a precautionary measure, given the degree of attention being focused on this matter, the NJSIAA will recommend to chapter officials that the referee in question not be assigned to any event until this matter has been reviewed more thoroughly in order to avoid potential distractions for the competing wrestlers.'

David C. Cappuccio Jr, Superintendent of the Buena Regional School District, released a statement stating that the school was complying with investigations and added insight as to how they perceived the events. The statement was obtained by the

'The student-athlete made the decision to have his hair cut, at that moment, in order to avoid a forfeiture of the match,' the superintendent said in a letter on Friday. 'No school/district staff member influenced the student into making this decision.'

He later added: 'The Superintendent of the Buena Regional School District spoke with the NJSIAA Assistant Director and stipulated that, although the investigation in the matter is ongoing, the assigned referee will no longer be permitted to officiate any contests that include any Buena Regional School District student-athletes.'

'The staff and administration within the Buena Regional School District will continue to support and stand by all of our students and student-athletes.' 

The now viral clip shows Andrew Johnson subjected to the impromptu hair cut right before his match competing for Buena Regional High School in Buena, New Jersey.

'A referee wouldn't allow Andrew Johnson of Buena @brhschiefs to wrestle with a cover over his dreadlocks,' said SNJ's Mike Frankel in the Thursday clip.

'It was either an impromptu haircut, or a forfeit. Johnson chose the haircut, then won by sudden victory in OT to help spark Buena to a win.'

Under the National Federation of State High Schools Associations Situation 17, natural hair that is non-abrasive is allowed but 'must be contained in a legal hair cover.'

Frankel added that the move showcased that Johnson was the 'epitome of a team player.'

But many on social media noted that Johnson is black and the fact that he had to cut off his hair showcased obvious racist practices that are enacted towards black hairstyles.

Journalist and author George M Johnson asserted: 'This is racist. There is nothing good about this story. It's anti-Black AF to tell someone they must forfeit bc of their hair.' 


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