January 29, 2013

The ethnic studies requirement.

We've had if for years at the University of Wisconsin. Here's an upcoming event:
The roundtable will include a presentation on the history of the requirement, an open-mic portion where attendees will be asked to share experiences with classes and make suggestions, and smaller discussions led by ASM Diversity Committee members. Attendees will also be provided note cards on which they can leave comments about their class experiences.
The committee is considering whether the requirement should be able to be satisfied with classes that "incorporate facets of personal identity beyond race and ethnicity, such as sexual orientation" and whether students should be required to take their ethnic studies class in their first 2 years of undergraduate study to enable them "to apply knowledge from the class to their educational experience." There's an idea of "revamp[ing the] requirement to make the classes a 'game-changer' for students, providing them with greater insight into their identities."

That made me want to look up the word "identity." There are lots of different meanings, but one is (from the OED):
The sameness of a person or thing at all times or in all circumstances; the condition of being a single individual; the fact that a person or thing is itself and not something else; individuality, personality.
Another is:
Who or what a person or thing is; a distinct impression of a single person or thing presented to or perceived by others; a set of characteristics or a description that distinguishes a person or thing from others.
Among the early quotes the OED uses to exemplify the meaning of "identity," we have 2 of history's greatest philosophers:
1694   J. Locke Ess. Humane Understanding (new ed.) ii. xxvii. 180   The Identity of the same Man consists... in nothing but a participation of the same continued Life, by constantly fleeting Particles of Matter, in succession vitally united to the same organized Body.

1739   D. Hume Treat. Human Nature I. i. 34   Of all relations the most universal is that of identity, being common to every being, whose existence has any duration.
If only a philosophy course could fulfill the requirement that has to do with gaining greater insight into one's identity! But perhaps students arrive at the university with a sense of identity that suggests different building blocks at the foundation of their higher education. Or perhaps — in the future — they have such as sense of their own identity that they do not arrive at all.

108 comments:

Sofa King said...

It was a boring waste of time for me, but I prefer that to the outright political indoctrination they seem to be hoping for.

Sofa King said...

And I say this as someone who took a variety of philosophy courses and belonged to a philosophical student organization.

Portia said...

'Ethnic studies' did not exist when I went to college. I am very glad of that fact. Sounds infinitely boring and I would have probably slept through the classes as I did my 'Teaching __________ in the Elementary School' classes.

dmoelling said...

Why do Universities dwell on this so much? It creates scheduling issues for Undergrads who have to check off all these special requirements. For those in the Sciences it is a true hardship.

If these are so great how come there area so few people majoring in them. Look at the 2011 graduates from Yale (undergrad Google it). I was surprised to see only a few (<4) majors in womens or african american studies. Most Yalies are going to be Poly Sci/Economics (read future Government) or Bio/Chem (read MD/s). Making your average Polysci major take a "human identity course" is no hardship and keeps the fat cat profs in the studies department funded.

EDH said...

Required ethnic studies classes should be tuition-free, pass-fail and involve those things from "Clockwork Orange" that hold your eyes open.

Matt said...

Here was my experience with the requirement. I took Afro-American 101. I had an AB going into the final. The final consisted of 10 ambiguous statements. We had to pick eight, state our position and defend it. On six of them, I knew exactly what Prof. Werner wanted to hear and I agreed with him. On the seventh, I knew what he wanted to hear but disagreed; however, not strongly enough not to give him what he wanted.

On the 8th, I knew what he wanted to hear and disagreed strongly. So, I stated my position and defended it. I ended up with a D for the course.

One other thing I remember from the course is his belief that the only reason black artists include "white" musical elements in music like string orchestral instruments is to appeal to white people. I remember thinking how ridiculous that sounded but I sure as hell wasn't going to say so!

Surfed said...

What difference, at this point, do ethnic studies make?

SteveR said...

I tend to believe academia has too much influence on young people much less the idea of "identity". Have fun, get a degree then get on with life. You'll figure things out without some dopey Phd using you as a research subject.

Matt said...

Oh! Another thing I remember from the class. During the mid-term, about half way through, Brent Moss, the star RB at UW during that time, walks in. He goes right up to Prof. Werner and says a few things quietly. Prof. Werner replies, "Yeah, yeah, that's fine." Brent Moss leaves the room. Those of us who were not star RBs looked at each other with the "WTF" look on our faces. Moss would later get busted for cocaine possession effectively ruining his football career.

Nonapod said...

I'm of the opinion that schools should dump ethnic studies requirements and replace them with requirements in philosophy courses.

pduggie said...

Seen on TumbrlDOT TXT's twitter feed:

"Its called an I-dentity; not a you-dentity. Quit trying to tell me who I am"

* Tumblr dot TXT's mission ststament is quoting absurd Otherkin and identity-challenged (like trans-racial people who are white but "identify" as half Indian, half black) internet folks in their own words. Its a hoot.

Pogo said...

Basket weaving for progressives.

dbp said...

Universities require ethnic studies because students would not otherwise register for these courses.

What does this imply regarding the value of these classes?

rhhardin said...

I'd have dropped out of college.

chuck said...

I thought academia had put aside its traditional role of teaching morals and religion, but I see that that aspect of higher education is stronger than ever. The difference is that the new religion is not based on individual conscience, but on submission. In a word, Islam.

Tank said...

THANK GOD I went to college a long, long time ago. I don't think I could put up with the current crap for four years.

I am a dinosaur.

Marshal said...

There's an idea of "revamp[ing the] requirement to make the classes a 'game-changer' for students, providing them with greater insight into their identities."

Apparently they've found the indoctrination doesn't take as well as they hoped and plan to increase the intensity. Institutional evolution in action.

Clyde said...

An ethnic studies degree and a couple of bucks will get you a cup of coffee.

A job? Not so much, unless it's in the already overcrowded racial grievance industry. Bear in mind that America's race card is currently overdrawn.

Chip S. said...

Ethnic studies are essential to the process of finding out whether you're a victim or an oppressor.

William said...

I'm no scholar of Wisconsin, but isn't the majority ethnic group in that state Germans? Is there an ethnic study group devoted to the contributions of German-Americans to the culture of Wisconsin? My guess is that the answer is no.....I think assimilation is an ideal worth striving for, and for the most part that's an ideal that German Americans have achieved. After two world wars in which they were the bad guy, German-Americans made a conscious effort to ixnay the German part of their identity. Well, good for them. A lot of other ethnic groups would be wise to do as well.....A lot of American culture is disposable schlock, but that schlock is still superior to the enduring crapola of other cultures.

Larry J said...

moelling said...
Why do Universities dwell on this so much? It creates scheduling issues for Undergrads who have to check off all these special requirements. For those in the Sciences it is a true hardship.


You answered your own question later when you correctly stated these required classes are make work for ethnic studies professors. If their classes weren't required, there wouldn't be enough students to justify the department's existence.

Surfed said...

My inner city school is a placement center for refugees and immigrants. I have everything from burqa'd children to Samoan NFL wanabee's to Chaldean Christians to tiny Myanmarians and Cambodians. People from downtown cubicles are always pestering us with ethnic diversity classes. I see it and live it everyday in my classroom (and have for years) but officious cubicle people are always nosing around to make sure I'm following the dictates of pc bullshit. I'm so over their sanctimonious "caring". Get a real life and a real job. They can have mine.

rhhardin said...

Mandatory consciousness raising seminars at work were always interesting but you wind up banned from attending.

I don't know if that would work in college.

edutcher said...

Somewhere der Reichsfuhrer-SS is smiling. This was how they got all those nice civilized German boys to murder little old Jewish ladies.

It's called indoctrination.

Love to get up and say something like, "Y'know, Phil Sheridan was right", and let them dwell on it for a while.

Now that's diversity.

Hamlet's Fool said...

Somehow I suspect that my personal identity (conservative/libertarian free market loving white guy)isn't among the approved "identities" that they will be providing much insight into.

Just sayin'

Carol said...

There were ethnic & women's studies departments at my school but the classes weren't required. That was the early 80s. Later I read feminist books like the Second Sex and Feminine Mystique, and more recently caught up with black writers like Booker, DuBois, Ellison et al.

I assume that's what you would read in those courses. Maybe I'm all wet.

virgil xenophon said...

I'm with Tank!!!

Signed: Rapidly fossilizing Dino..

bagoh20 said...

How do they deal with Caucasians who are also African?

I assume that rarely is any proof required to support your claim to ethnicity, so I would like to see someone just claim to be what they obviously are not, and give it a good fight.

bagoh20 said...

"An ethnic studies degree and a couple of bucks will get you a cup of coffee."

I can't imagine a worse thing to have on your resume'. I'd prefer a couple years experience as a serial killer.

EMD said...

Ethnic studies.

Can I study Italian cooking?

Or how about Polish independence?

LuAnn Zieman said...

Since there are white South Africans who immigrate to the United States, would they not become African Americans upon receiving their citizenship?

MadisonMan said...

I think my daughter took a class. Not sure.

This is Job Security for Ethnic Studies professors. That's all it is.

Aridog said...

bagoh20 said...

... I would like to see someone just claim to be what they obviously are not, and give it a good fight.

This just in: di dit dit dit dot dit ... Senator/Professor Elizabeth Warren will teach a class in Native American Studies this fall...to be conducted during non-recess-recess periods in the Senate.

Mary Beth said...

bagoh20 said...

How do they deal with Caucasians who are also African?

I assume that rarely is any proof required to support your claim to ethnicity, so I would like to see someone just claim to be what they obviously are not, and give it a good fight.

1/29/13, 11:06 AM


Like an obviously white woman claiming to be Cherokee?

ricpic said...

Is there an ethnic studies course for the Norwegian-Americans or Swedish-Americans who are so thick on the ground in Wisconsin? Or does the fact that those two ethnicities thoroughly assimilated demote them to the level of the despised garden variety mongrel American-Americans.

Brew Master said...

http://jonathanturley.org/2009/05/12/new-jersey-student-claims-discrimination-over-referenced-to-himself-as-white-african-american/

White Africans claiming 'African-American' status put the lie to the term. What 'African-American' actually means is 'Black', it is a euphamism employed to not appear as racist.

Plenty of news articles and reporters have refered to black foreigners as 'African-Americans from other countries'.

The term is a way to paper over saying black, because color is no longer allowed as a descriptor (no matter how accurate), unless of course you are white.

Aridog said...

No such thing as "ethnic studies" when I was in school...nope, we had to actually meet people and learn about them first hand...especially once we enlisted in the military when you meet all sorts of different people and some of them shoot at you.

I can scarcely imagine a white professor or TA trying to teach what being an African American is all about. That would be almost as funny as white and Asian raised Obama trying to tell us about it in his ridiculous little ghost written book.

Do the instructors for these various ethic studies classes have to actually of the subject ethnicity? If not...WTF?

ad hoc said...

When I read stuff like this, I'm so glad I went to engineering school. In order to cram in all the engineering and sciences classes, we were exempted from this kind of thing. This may say something about it's value.

AlanKH said...

"Ethnic" means any ethnicity - in the spirit of accurate product labeling, an "ethnic studies" course would have to cover all of them. That is an impossibility.

Larry J said...

Whenever I encounter the part of a government questionare that wants me to specify my race, I check the "Other" box and write in "human."

There is only one race and that is human. All those people who keep trying to shove people into racial divisions are racists.

Brew Master said...

Larry J said...
Whenever I encounter the part of a government questionare that wants me to specify my race, I check the "Other" box and write in "human."

There is only one race and that is human. All those people who keep trying to shove people into racial divisions are racists.


This.

Surfed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aridog said...

Larry J said...

Whenever I encounter the part of a government questionnaire that wants me to specify my race, I check the "Other" box and write in "human."

There is only one race and that is human.


The latest of racial identity questionnaires are now greatly expanded for hospital and health care applications. They have multiple classifications under several ethnic groups...like white Hispanic verus Black Hispanic.

I now enter under "Other" also, but I fill in "Homo Erectus" to avoid any debate about my humanity per se.

Surfed said...

Whenever I am forced to write a referral on a student for bad behavior I'm supposed to write in the race of the student. The PC powers that be always keep track of white teachers to make sure we aren't writing to many refrerrals on African--American males, racists that we are. I never write in the race. I just put in a question mark and send it in. Not that anything happens to the little cherubs anyways.

MadisonMan said...

I fill in "Homo Erectus" to avoid any debate about my humanity per se.

Based on your avatar, shouldn't you be entering Canis lupus familiaris?

*ducking*

Balfegor said...

Ethnic studies could actually be a fascinating subject, if it weren't so absurdly politicised. I find regional and ethnic dialects quite fascinating, and the evolution of those dialects tracks the social history of the various regional and ethnic groups. And tracking the history of various ethnicities has been a key element of traditional Western historiography for centuries. It's not less fascinating because we're talking about the descendants of slaves or waves of immigrants or migrant workers or whatever that made up the American Völkerwanderung.

Of course, if it's just a navel-gazing exercise about students' own identities --

Akers said she wants the revamped requirement to make the classes a “game-changer” for students, providing them with greater insight into their identities.

-- that's a total waste of time. If you didn't learn it organically in the home or community while growing up, it's not authentically part of your tradition. It's not part of your ethnic identity. It's just a silly hat you're putting on for the university-sponsored minstrel show. The reputation for activism and celebration, rather than dispassionate scholarship, does the field no favours either.

Crunchy Frog said...

I'd have dropped out of college.

When I ran head first into the wall of humanities and ethnic studies, that's exactly what I did. I already had my certificates at that point.

whoresoftheinternet said...

"Professional Blame Whitey Studies desperate to prove itself worthy, relevant."

FTFY

Craig said...

The only ethnic studies course I took was called The History of Jazz. The instructor for the course was a jazz musician who knew and was highly respected by every big name in the business. He had worked for twenty years for the university as a janitor before he was finally hired as an assistant professor to teach the course. He'd been opening doors for two decades without compensation for countless students of all hues who were more interested in jazz than in classical music. Willingness to work for free should not be employed as a justification for exploitation.

traditionalguy said...

The first job of the Marine corps basic training has been to remove all old identity pre-Marine and replace it with a US Marine's identity for life.

So why play around. Just do it and quit pretending. A cadre of Jason Bournes will be created.

AEH said...

At the UW, we had to do multicultural volunteering for the education degrees, and I completed it all in my sophomore year. Then in my music ed methods course, our TA informed us that the college of education didn't want to take care of the education majors in L&S (like music ed, we are housed in the school of music in L&S but certified by the college of ed), so we had to do a different multicultural volunteering thing. I then found out everything I had done didn't count anymore. I was so angry, I threw my papers on the ground, stood up, and started yelling about being sick of doing all this bullshit. Luckily, my TA didn't get mad at me and understood my frustration, and accepted my apology after class. It turned out that the music ed TAs made a much, much better seminar series than the college of ed and made the volunteering a part of our required practicum.

Sorun said...

The ethnic studies requirement is intended to increase understanding of the cultures and contributions of persistently marginalized racial or ethnic groups in the United States, and to equip students to respond constructively to issues connected with our pluralistic society and global community.

Maybe one of the UW academics will correct me, but my guess is too many students were skating by with marginal classes (e.g. Jazz or Latin Dance). Perhaps the changes are to funnel everyone into black studies classes.

MnMark said...

Race, race, race.

It seems like the national discussion as carried on in blogs and the mass media must be about race about half the time, if not more.

We were promised that if we "judged people by the content of their character" that race would cease being an issue.

We were promised that electing Obama would finally make race a non-issue.

Instead it is more and more the issue as the country becomes more and more racially heterogenous.

How lucky the Japanese, Icelanders, and other racially homogenous people are. Think about it - living your life and never having to be lectured about how great a mix of races is! Just feeling a kinship with everyone else in your country on that basic level, and being able to get on with life.

What a lie it was to tell us that increasing "diversity" would be good for us. Just a horrible lie.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

The ethnic studies requirement is intended to increase understanding of the cultures and contributions of persistently marginalized racial or ethnic groups in the United States, and to equip students to respond constructively to issues connected with our pluralistic society and global community.

'm waiting for the moment when they have an Ethnic Studies class based on the viewpoint of the White Ethnicity.

Some views from the Scott-Irish ethnicity. Germanic immigrants ethnicity. Amish....there is a minority ethnicity. Views of life and socioeconomic injustice from the Redneck, Hillbilly ethnicity.

Not holding my breath.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

I'm not sure why, but I've always been bothered by the use of the word "identity" to mean "natural tendency". The Locke passage I think should be relevant occurs in the same An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, book II, chapter ii, par. 3:

I deny not that there are natural tendencies imprinted on the minds of men; and that from the very first instances of sense and perception, there are some things that are grateful and others unwelcome to them; some things that they incline to and others that they fly: but this makes nothing for innate characters on the mind, which are to be the principles of knowledge regulating our practice.

This is an important truth. One is born with natural tendencies (and others arise at various times in life), but one isn't born with knowledge of them. One must reflect--perceive the internal perceptions of the workings of one's mind--and think about them in order to have knowledge of what one's own true nature be. I would say one natural tendency of people is to tend to do what their understandings of their nature would suggest they would tend naturally to do. One can't have an innate direct tendency for every situation one might face, because life is too complicated. One's understanding of one's tendencies can have a huge effect on behavior.

I remember in high school in sex ed, English class, etc., teachers forever telling us about how this was an important awkward time when we form our identities, blah-blah-blah. It was clear to me they mostly looked down on us like some sort of ugly-looking early-stage-pupa pupils they had to turn into something graceful. I internally scoffed at them because I found their attitude disgusting.

I will say that if young people doubt whether their tendencies have become unnatural, adults are better judges than youth, because that's like a main part of a parents' job. But ideally it's parents' (or other close relatives') job.

There are so many lies about what constitutes human nature, and in particular, human sexual nature. The academic classroom setting is not an ideal place to discover any of that. I doubt anyone can discover something profound about human nature and more particularly human sexual nature by ignoring subjective experience. One's own reflections concerning one's natural tendencies are a bounteous source of data on human nature, and what is more, it is the only source of which one can be certain as regards a subject replete with lies and falsehood. Religious meditation, masturbation (whether ejaculatory or tantric) and romantic fantasy, wandering about in reverie amid nature or beautiful people--those are perhaps the most important tools for in understanding human nature, and they are free. Reflection is cheap, not requiring tuition or teachers, and so it will always be inappropriately derided in expensive-university settings. Taking classes about sexual or human nature is likely just worse than worthless; psychology, supposedly striving for an objectivity that would be ridiculous in a researcher, one of most worthless fields.

Black history would be fine. I liked the recent series on the abolitionists on PBS. But now "diversity studies", etc., tends to be infested with gender studies, etc.

Shouting Thomas said...

Communist Party Re-education Camp.

MnMark said...

Don't these university curriculum people know that American students graduating from high school have been heavily indoctrinated for 12-14 years with "ethnic studies" already?

What do they really think they're going to teach them in a college "ethnic studies" class that they haven't been lectured about every year of their lives since preschool?

Shouting Thomas said...

Here's an interesting question:

Given this bitter and relentless browbeating that a young hetero white man is going to endure at the University of Wisconsin from Althouse and her colleagues, would you send your son there?

I could see two ways of looking at this.

On the one hand, it's sort of like "The Girl Named Sue." Enduring this gauntlet would certainly toughen him up if he survived it.

On the other hand, maybe it's better to just skip it and get a tech certificate and a job in the trades.

Aridog said...

MadisonMan said...

Based on your avatar, shouldn't you be entering Canis lupus familiaris?

Nah, my Health Insurance Supplementary provider plus Medicare might not pay for anything then. It happens that the dog in the Avatar does have prescription medications purchased through Henry Ford Hospital as "Thompson, Canine Ari" ... they still ask me every time if this is a cash purchase. Uh, why yes it is :-)

Shanna said...

I am so glad I didn't have to take these sorts of classes.

Greek/Roman plays was about worst of it (and that only because we actually had to act them out).

Sorun said...

I was mad I had to take a foreign language. I paid my own way through college.

mccullough said...

Why do blacks in the US have a 72% illegitimacy rate, despite the proliferation of ethnic studies?

Aridog said...

This topic just makes me crazy (crazier?). WTF happened to just getting to know people, of different ethnicities relevant to where you are in time and space. Jesus F'ing on a Corn flakes box, if you want to know about black family life go meet some blacks, be a friend, become friends and meet their families. Same thing for any other ethnic group. It has worked for me here, there, and half way around the world, even in hostile lands and conditions.

There is simply no way, none, nada, zip, zero, way any college professor is going to teach you diddly squat compared to what you learned by DOING. That they THINK they can is astounding to say the least. It is bullshit courses using up education dollars for precisely nothing productive.

Here's my for free ethic relationship advice: Be a friend, everything else follows from that.

Shanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shanna said...

The only ethnic studies course I took was called The History of Jazz.
Because of desegregation which happened approximately a million years before I went, my high school (or maybe it was the district) had a desegregation guy. The only contribution I remember him making was telling my Jazz Band conductor that we needed to add rap to the Jazz music we were playing, because of diversity.

That’s about how much sense most of these people make. I think she just started at him like an idiot, and ignored his advice.

Oh! And we had to rearrange who sat on our band busses (we had 4) so they were a racial mix, because apparently it looked bad if a bus of mostly black band students showed up, with three buses of mostly white students. So we literally had a sign up sheet with 10-15 black student slots and 20-30 white student slots for each bus.

Michael K said...



1/29/13, 11:19 AM
Blogger MadisonMan said...

"I think my daughter took a class. Not sure."

My daughter at U of Arizona took a class (I can't remember the title) that was history or something like that. The ONLY textbook for the course was on Whiteness Studies. I wouldn't have cared if that was the course she chose but it wasn't and it wasn't a sociology course.

From the most popular review: "Jensen has let the cat out of the bag: White humanity is just short of a fraud built on the quicksand of propped up privileges, unfair advantages, unjust prerogatives, structural injustices, four-century-old myths, four centuries of violence and genocide, and lies, all insulated and protected by a system of soft tyranny and spatial Apartheid. In short, if one understands Jensen correctly, America has sacrificed all of the little humanity it has, on the altar of skin color superiority."

These kids are just trying to get an education. Fortunately, she ignored it.

Marshal said...

Aridog said...
This topic just makes me crazy (crazier?). WTF happened to just getting to know people, of different ethnicities relevant to where you are in time and space


This philosophy does not advance the effort to direct resources to Democratic constituencies and is therefore considered disproven.

Marshal said...

Shouting Thomas said...
On the other hand, maybe it's better to just skip it and get a tech certificate and a job in the trades.


This is the leftist goal. Drive the non-leftists from the academy and government. While the predominantly non-leftist private sector is generating the goods people want only leftists remain in the back room deciding how much they and their cronies "deserve".

chickelit said...

Sorun said...
was mad I had to take a foreign language. I paid my own way through college.

Apprendre une langue, c'est vivre de nouveau!

Shanna said...

WTF happened to just getting to know people, of different ethnicities relevant to where you are in time and space

Because then you would realize that black people in real life talk more about tv shows like Scandal and regular work stuff that everybody talks about instead of all these priviledge crap.

'Girl named Sue'

Boy! Boy named Sue :)



Sorun said...

"Apprendre une langue, c'est vivre de nouveau!"

I think the language nerds should take more math so they appreciate the language of science and engineering.

Balfegor said...

Re: MnMark:

How lucky the Japanese, Icelanders, and other racially homogenous people are. Think about it - living your life and never having to be lectured about how great a mix of races is! Just feeling a kinship with everyone else in your country on that basic level, and being able to get on with life.

I still find it a little moving that when you arrive at Narita, the signs say, in every other language, "Welcome to Japan." But in Japanese, the signs say "Welcome home" (okaerinasai). It's not meant for me, of course, but there's something beautiful in the message it sends.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'll ask again.

Would you send your white hetero son to UW to incur $100,000 in student debt to suffer through this incessant, merciless browbeating from Althouse and her colleagues?

MadisonMan said...

Would you send your white hetero son to UW to incur $100,000 in student debt

I doubt an in-stater could accumulate that kind of debt as an undergraduate.

I don't know why anyone would send a kid out of state to College. But ask me in a couple years when Kid #2 is matriculating.

chickelit said...

I don't know why anyone would send a kid out of state to College.

Madison Man answers ST's question for me.

Rusty said...

Judging from the dearth of reason when discussing money on this site, instead of ethnic studies,(whatever that means), every undergraduate should have to take an basic economics class.

Shouting Thomas said...

Just looked it up. UW tuition, fees, room and board can amount to $20,000 per year.

Since many, if not most, undergraduates take more than four years to complete college, $100,000 in debt is quite easy to attain for an in-state student.

LordSomber said...

Didn't we just have a holiday celebrating a man who emphasized character over identity? Guess I had a dream.

Shouting Thomas said...

As I said in another post, this browbeating and recriminations campaign against whites, and especially against white hetero men, was already in progress on when I started school at the University of Illinois in 1966. It wasn't so formalized back then. More of a spontaneous campaign waged by humanities professors and TAs.

Since then, the browbeating and recriminations campaign has seemed to grow like the Blob. It seems to have no end. Now that campaign is hyper-institutionalized and massively funded.

Is there ever going to be a statute of limitations? Will enough ever be enough?

Synova said...

I think that an ethnic studies class (of whatever sort) could be really great or else really horrible. The problem is that you can't possibly know which it's going to be.

It's like advertising a class on Mein Kampf... it could be great or it could be horrible. It's not likely to be taught by an instructor who admires the ideas, but what if that was a possibility?

If a requirement of the class is that the instructor is going to ask students to put aside their own cultural and ethnic experiences and then only explicitly mentions that white male students need to do this... it's a clue.

If one could count on the focus of the class being how we're all the same and should ignore the things that seem to separate us... that could be wonderful. But the fact of the existence of the class implies (infers?) that some people need instruction, and since minorities don't need to be taught how to be minorities, who might that be? And if there is a reasonable chance that the purpose of the class is going to be to demand that white male students learn that their identity itself is a problem that needs to be set aside in order to learn the truth... well.

There's something to be said for requiring a common experience for all students that will be something they all, then, have in common... like basic training functions as something that everyone in the military has done, a commonality between you, no matter who you are.

But having that *thing* be a class about how you don't have anything in common is just stupid.

hawkeyedjb said...

This reminds me of the phys ed requirement I had as a freshman. It provided students for the phys ed majors who had to do some teaching. It didn't really have any other purpose, just as I suppose ethnic studies and other hate/grievance bullshit doesn't really have any purpose except to employ the aggrieved.

But at least I learned how to paddle a canoe, which is probably more than the ethnic studies fodder can say.

Synova said...

One of my English instructors (she's getting her PhD this spring) let slip more or less incidentally the notion of "theory". Not scientific theory, but theory as a premeditated prejudice used to interpret everything. So "feminist theory" is all of History and literature and everything twisted to serve feminist theory... same "queer theory" or anything else.

What all students should be required to do and have in common (in the sense of a trial that can be complained of and commiserated over) is a *stringent* philosophy course designed to tear down those deliberate and preferred prejudices in favor of objective processes.

Synova said...

Then they can all feel sorry for themselves and each other and spend four or six years complaining about that awful required Freshman year class and when one of their humanities instructors casually explains that it's good scholarship to look at a subject through the lens of a particular view point it will be more than just one old lady returning student who *notices*.

bagoh20 said...

" I fill in "Homo Erectus""

That's my gay porn star name.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Homo Erectus.....Kinky Friedman

Anthony said...

I was at Berkeley when the movement to adopt an ethnic studies retirement hit. The traditional humanities and social science profs pulled a fast one on the ethnic studies profs: they write the requirement to only accept classes that discussed more than one (or two?) race group, which made most ethnic studies department classes ineligible. The classes which meet the requirement were all in history, sociology, anthropology, etc.

Patrick said...

a distinct impression of a single person or thing


I really doubt the university is interested. If you're not willing to accept your group identity, either as oppressor or oppressed, they don't want anything to do with you.

SteveR said...

" I fill in "Homo Erectus"

That's my gay porn star name


Don't you co-star with Home Receptus?

MadisonMan said...

Just looked it up. UW tuition, fees, room and board can amount to $20,000 per year.

Tuition is $10K. Sure, you CAN spend an additional $10K on room and board. You CAN live life in a 2-BR apartment with a Lake View. You CAN just go to school and not do a day's worth of work and earn nothing. You CAN go to the UW and not seek out scholarships.

People who do this are called idiots. ST you need to up your respect of most college students.

Patrick said...

Would you send your white hetero son to UW to incur $100,000 in student debt

I doubt an in-stater could accumulate that kind of debt as an undergraduate.


It would be hard, but I bet it would be fun!

Revenant said...

Tuition is $10K.

Books and course-related fees are probably $3k a year, and $7k/year doesn't sound like much for food, housing, and transportation costs.

Rusty said...

Synova said...
I think that an ethnic studies class

It's called Anthropology. Another monumental waste of parents money.

Smilin' Jack said...

The committee is considering whether the requirement should be able to be satisfied with classes that "incorporate facets of personal identity beyond race and ethnicity, such as sexual orientation"

Totally unacceptable. Students must be trained to see identity as purely a function of race and ethnicity. Once you start considering sexual orientation, it's a slippery slope to considering content of character, and where would we be then?

MarkD said...

The Marine Corps had my undivided attention seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day for eleven weeks, with far more power over my life than any college could ever have.

You can compel people to go along. You cannot compel people to believe.

MadisonMan said...

Books and course-related fees are probably $3k a year,

That has not been my experience with my daughter so far. More like $1K or $1.5K

Howard said...

MarkD

Boot camp is a psychologist designed brainwashing method that eliminates the natural instinct not to kill another human being. It's about 95% successful.

The diversity bullcrap studies sways nobody either way: it hardens peoples preexisting opinions one way or the other.

Apples and Oranges.

Synova said...

"Boot camp is a psychologist designed brainwashing method that eliminates the natural instinct not to kill another human being. It's about 95% successful."

You're kidding, right? There is so much wrong with that statement that I don't know where to start.

About the only correct thing you said was that it was brainwashing.

Synova said...

And even as brainwashing goes, mostly it's washing idiot adolescent stuff like "you ain't the boss of me!"

CWJ said...

You wouldn't want to fulfil an ethnic studies requirement by having a foreign language requirement. No no no! Because then you might gain some actual insight into how other people think and communicate. Besides, it would be like hard or something.

Howard said...

Synovia:

You shouldn't assume anything about an institution that you do not have direct experience with.

It is well documented and common knowledge that military training made a seismic shift in the Viet Nam era that resulted in huge increases in the leathality of US troops. The training is very similar to cult indoctrination. Kubricks FMJ does a decent job showing how it works.

Synova said...

Er... Howard? Do *you* have any direct experience with boot camp? I'm not talking about infantry school or something, nor was MarkD. Boot camp, basic training... those first 9 to 11 weeks. (Marines tend to overachieve.)

First error... asserting that human beings have a *natural instinct* NOT to kill. Bull. We're socialized not to kill. In our natural state we do it very well.

Second error... asserting that boot camp is training people to overcome that *socialization* so that they will kill. Not so. It's laying down the basis for a new culture and group membership such that when the highest ranked enlisted man in the Marines (who was black) gave a speech about the Navaho Code Talkers he spoke of them, first and last, as fellow Marines who were an example to all the Marines who came after them. I did say that Marines were overachievers, but the other services are similar in their focus on esprit de corp. "...is metaphorical in that it refers to a group of people that are so unified as to be like a single body. Refers to solidarity, pride, devotion and honor of each member with respect to the group."

Third error... failing to understand that all modern military discipline beginning before the roman legions is focused on conditioning troops to maintain discipline when under attack and to obey a *cease* fire while completely hyped on adrenaline.

It's never in History been a problem to convince humans to slaughter, rape and pillage. Military discipline is about NOT doing what our natures demand.

That and being where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there and all pointing in the right direction.

Synova said...

Final error... assuming I don't have direct experience.

Not that many people spend much time thinking about the *why* of military training or what the point of it is just because they go through it.

Synova said...

OH GAWD... I just realized you were referencing a MOVIE.

Pardon me.

Howard said...

Synovia:

OK, you know better than what they teach at West Point. For front-line combat troops actively engaging the enemy: 25% firing rate in WWII, 55% in Korea, 90% in Viet Nam. These are US Army statistics. The WWII numbers prompted changes in training that was enhanced after Korea to a fine art. It is thought that the atrocities and PTSD of Viet Nam conflict was one result.

The point is that basic military training is proven effective brainwashing that turns boys into potential cold-blooded killers. It is in a different league of indoctrination than some silly ethnic studies program.

Larry J said...

OK, you know better than what they teach at West Point. For front-line combat troops actively engaging the enemy: 25% firing rate in WWII, 55% in Korea, 90% in Viet Nam.

The studies they did on why so few WWII soldiers actually fired at the enemy indicated that one big reason was due to the semi-automatic M-1 rifle most men carried. They believed their contribution wasn't all that much to a firefight, especially when going up against machine guns. By Vietnam, soldiers were carrying selective fire weapons (M-14s and later M-16s) that could easy be switched to full automatic fire. They also changed the shape of the rifle range targets from circles to human siloettes. Soldiers in Vietnam would spray vast amounts of ammo at the enemy because it's better to give than to receive. On average (and including recon by fire and high volume weapons like miniguns), tens of thousands of rounds were fired for every enemy kill in Vietnam. I've heard the number was as high as 250,000 rounds per kill in Iraq and Afghanistan but can't confirm either number. By contrast, in Vietnam, snipers averaged about 1.3 shots per kill.

When I went through basic and infantry training in 1975, we were taught about the rules of war including the requirement to disobey an unlawful order such as firing on unarmed civilians. The Nuremberg Trials set the legal precedent that "I was just following orders" was not a defense against war crimes charges.

Synova said...

Okay, Howard... you repeat the old disproven canards, conflate West Point with boot camp, and cite a movie.

I never disagreed that boot camp was different from ethnic studies, certainly it is. But MarkD (no doubt trained to be a cold blooded baby killer, dur) was making the point that 11 weeks of 24-7 didn't compel him to believe, so a piddling little college class wouldn't do so either.

"Turning boys into cold blooded killers" is so freaking insulting and wrong, on par with the execrable Murtha portraying his own as walking on the knife edge of atrocity, I felt the need to speak up. But what do I know... I've been brainwashed.


Synova said...

The stupidity actually angers me. The military, all branches, are so focused on strengthening the moral fiber of those "boys" that a charge otherwise is more than wrong, it's slanderous of anyone and everyone who has served.