Posted tagged ‘Academia and absurdity’

Right Angle – Racist – 10/25/17

October 27, 2017

Right Angle – Racist – 10/25/17 via YouTube, October 26, 2017

(Please see also Not Satire | Professor Claims Math, Algebra And Geometry Promote ‘White Privilege’. — DM)

 

The blurb beneath the video states,

Is math racist? Does your skin color determine your ability to succeed in math? University of Illinois Professor Rochelle Gutierrez thinks so! She claims that white people are the ones able to achieve success in mathematics and therefore math only serves to perpetuate “Whiteness” because minorities are unable to conduct abstract reasoning. What does this even mean? Bill, Steve, and Scott try to sift through this madness and find some answers.

Not Satire | Professor Claims Math, Algebra And Geometry Promote ‘White Privilege’

October 24, 2017

Professor Claims Math, Algebra And Geometry Promote ‘White Privilege’, Daily Caller, Ian Miles Cheong, October 23, 2017

A University of Illinois math professor believes that algebra and geometry perpetuate “white privilege” because Greek terms give Caucasians unearned credit for the subject.

But that isn’t the professor’s only complaint. She also believes that evaluations for math proficiency perpetuates discrimination against minority students, if they do worse than their white counterparts.

Rochelle Gutierrez argues in a newly published math education book for teachers that they must be aware of the identity politics surrounding the subject of mathematics.

“On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness,” she argues with complete sincerity, according to Campus Reform. “Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White.”

Gutierrez argues that subjects like algebra and geometry, which relate to arithmetic, also perpetuate racism and white privilege. She worries that “curricula emphasizing terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.”

Gutierrez claims that the importance of math skills in the real world also places what she calls an “unearned privilege” for those who are good at it. Because most math teachers in the United States are white, white people stand to benefit from their grasp of the subject disproportionate to members of other races.

“Are we really that smart just because we do mathematics?” she asks, raising the question as to why math professors get more grants than “social studies or English” professors.

“If one is not viewed as mathematical, there will always be a sense of inferiority that can be summoned,” she says, claiming that minorities “have experienced microaggressions from participating in math classrooms… [where people are] judged by whether they can reason abstractly.”

To resolve the intelligence gap, Gutierrez calls on math professors to develop a sense of “political conocimiento,” a Spanish term for “political knowledge for teaching.”

She concludes her argument with the claim that all knowledge is “relational,” or is, in other words, relative. “Things cannot be known objectively; they must be known subjectively.”

Right Angle – Trump Derangement Syndrome: Losing Their Minds – 10/18/17

October 19, 2017

Right Angle – Trump Derangement Syndrome: Losing Their Minds – 10/18/17 via YouTube

(Please see also, Trump’s Constructive Chaos. — DM

The blurb beneath the video states,

Trump Derangement Syndrome seems to infect everyone on the Left who is incapable of coming to terms with the fact that President Trump emerged victorious a year ago. From late night shows to washed up comedians, it appears they are hell bent on making complete fools of themselves. It has even infected academia, where a Harvard Law professor named Lawrence Lessig suggested that Hillary could still be President. How is Trump able to drive these people crazy? Bill, Steve, and Scott explain this phenomenon.

“Well-Beings Are Being Put On The Line”: Berkeley Protesters Interrupt Class To Protest The Midterm Exam As Too Stressful

October 9, 2017

“Well-Beings Are Being Put On The Line”: Berkeley Protesters Interrupt Class To Protest The Midterm Exam As Too Stressful, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, October 9, 2017

(Today’s dose of absurdity in academia. — DM)

UC Berkeley Professor Harley Shaiken probably did not expect to be denounced as a tool of the racist establishment when he came to class recently.  After all, he was simply giving a midterm exam when protesters appeared to demand that he checked his “privilege” and cancel his exam due to the stress that it was causing for students.  Instead, the students demanded that he assign a “take-home essay with significant time to prepare.”  The scene was truly Felliniesque but whatever humor might be found in the moment was lost by the fact that this is not an isolated occurrence on our campuses, as we have previously discussed.

The protesters insisted that their “well-beings are being put on the line because of the emotional, mental, and physical stress that this university is compounding with what is already going on in [their] everyday lives.”  Shaiken (who is an expert on Latin American studies) balked at the notion that Berkeley was an oppressive environment: “This is a campus that is truly related throughout Latin America to the notion of free speech.”  The effort to dialogue with the protesters only made things worse and one shouted: “Have you ever checked ‘unlisted’ or ‘undocumented immigrant’? I don’t think so!”  The students further objected that Shaiken could not teach workers rights in Mexico as a white man.

Shaiken begins by trying to say that he “admires” their passion, but the protesters quickly cut him off.  He then tried to give his own bona fides as a regular protester and denounced right-wing protesters on campus. He said that he is part of protests on the left all of the time but refuses to let “right-wing demonstrators” shut down the school.  When he mentions the “integrity” of the school, the protesters smirked and dismissed him. Shaiken offered to give them a forum in the Thursday class to discuss this issue (though it is a bit unclear why the other students have to sit through another diatribe on the issue as opposed to setting aside time outside of class).  He then tried to get the students to let the other students complete their exams and speak with him outside.

When other students objected to their disrupting their class they were then attacked and told to shut up and listen: ” Are you trying to silence us right now? Is that what you’re trying to do? . . . you need to listen to us.”

Finally, rather than speak with Shaiken outside of class, the protesters took their complaints to the Department of Ethnic Studies.  However, they remained long enough to denounce the students who waited to take their midterm exams as fostering white supremacy  . . . because they were at Berkeley for an education.  The student insisted “I don’t know why you’re still, like, sitting down, y’all. I don’t understand. I really don’t understand. Y’all can take your fucking test, but people are dying out there.”  She added “you can take your f–king exam but people are dying out there.”

We have seen students openly block speakers and disrupt classes on campuses across the country without any discipline from their schools. I recently discussed how students prevented a Northwestern professor from teaching a class with a visitor from INS — leading only to an expression of disappointment from the university.  I do not view such disruptions as exercises of free speech but the denial of free speech and free thought.  Universities have always protected free speech and fostered debate and dialogue.  Schools like Northwestern are not only undermining academic freedom but free speech in not taking action against students who disrupt classrooms and events on campus.  These students at Berkeley did not hide their faces or identity.  They felt . . .  well  . . .  privileged in disrupting classes.  The response from schools should be clear.  Students should be suspended for such actions and, if particularly egregious or repeated, they should be expelled.  As this video vividly demonstrated, there are students who worked hard to get to Berkeley and want an education.  Shaiken clearly wants to give them an education.  As educators, we do not run our classes by plebiscite or subject to some “heckler’s veto.”  The fact that students at Berkeley and Northwestern feel entitled to disrupt classes is a chilling statement about our priorities as academics.  They are clearly being reinforced in these views by university administrations have fail to protect the sanctity of classrooms and the principle of academic freedom.

As a final note, Shaiken does not actually fit the image of a tool of white supremacy and has been recognized for not just his work but his teaching:

Harley Shaiken looks at the role of schooling and skills in the global economy. He explores issues at the intersection of information technology, work organization, labor, and globalization. In particular, he has examined issues of economic and political integration in the Americas, with a focus on the United States and Mexico. He is currently the recipient of grants from the Ford and Hewlett foundations. Since 1998, he has been chair of the Center for Latin American Studies at UC Berkeley. In 1991 he was presented with the Outstanding Teaching Award at the University of California, San Diego. He has served as an adviser on globalization to key leaders of the United States Congress and to policy makers throughout the Americas. His article, “The New Global Economy: Trade and Production under NAFTA,” was published in the Austrian Journal of Development (2001). He is also the author of several books, including Mexico in the Global Economy (1990); Automation and Global Production (1987); and Work Transformed: Automation and Labor in the Computer Age (1985).

Like the Northwestern professor, Shaiken was extremely supportive of the students despite their disruption and he openly identifies with the causes of the left. That does not matter.  These students repeat terms like “privilege” like some mindless mantra that shuts down any dialogue and dismisses the arguments of the speaker.  Indeed, as previously discussed, some members of groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa have expressly denounced free speech and the liberal democratic model.  Such views reject the very foundation for learning and higher education on our campuses.  Yet, too many university officials are cowed by these protesters and evade their responsibilities of protecting academic freedom.  The videotape below shows vividly the inevitable result of such academic acquiescence: