Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Ladies first? Has feminism come full circle?
"Ladies first" is a traditional courtesy, the sort of courtesy that feminists once condemned. But now one feminist wants to bring it back. I am reasonably happy with that rule but feminists are not ladies so I would not apply it to them.
Women should be heard first in the classroom, a forum on misogyny at Dalhousie University heard Thursday.
“Men should not be allowed to monopolize these forums,” Saint Mary’s University management professor Judy Haiven said.
Seven panelists spoke to the crowd in the Dalhousie Student Union Building’s largest conference room on Thursday to discuss misogyny on university campuses.
Haiven suggested several ideas to combat misogyny, all of them centred on promoting female participation in events.
Her idea that women should always speak first in classroom discussions and at public events was brought up several times during the forum.
Haiven said she already tries to apply this idea in her own classroom. “(In) the management department, women get to speak first. I think that that is a primary issue that we actually have to look at, how to do question and answer (periods). And we can start today.”
The misogyny forum was held on the same day that Halifax Regional Police said it would not pursue a criminal investigation in the Dalhousie dentistry scandal, after reviewing controversial Facebook posts.
Haiven’s idea was met by a round of applause, but not everyone agreed with her suggestion.
The panel fielded a question from Twitter asking whether the idea would just “perpetuate the problem the other way?”
“Yes, I suppose at some point that could happen,” Haiven said. “But right now what we see is … women generally don’t come forward and speak up at meetings … we see women taking a backseat.
“We see that there has to be some kind of affirmative action so that women, I hope, take a more active role in the classroom, in running things, in various student affairs. We’ve got a real problem.”
More women are graduating with university degrees than ever before, and often take up the majority of classes, “yet you wouldn’t know that.”
Jacqueline Skiptunis, vice-president academic and external for the Dalhousie Student Union, said she personally has been hesitant to talk in group discussions. When she did speak up, her statements were often questioned, and believed only when a man agreed with her.
Jude Ashburn agreed with Haiven. “I think that women of colour should speak first in class,” Ashburn said after the panel discussion.
Ashburn is an outreach co-ordinator for South House, a gender and sexual resource centre in Halifax, and identifies as a “non-binary trans person.”
“When I do activist circles or workshops, I often say, ‘OK, if you’re white and you look like me and you raise your hand, I’m not going to pick on you before someone of colour.’ So I do give little disclaimers, like people of colour will have priority, or if you’re a person with a disability, you’re pushed to the front … I mean, you know, bros fall back,” Ashburn said with a laugh.
Christian nurse, 37, says she was sacked for 'harassment and bullying' after PRAYING for a Muslim colleague
A Christian nurse claims she was sacked for 'harassment and bullying' after she prayed for a troubled Muslim colleague.
Victoria Wasteney, 37, a senior occupational health therapist at a mental hospital in east London, offered support to a fellow nurse when she was unwell.
Miss Wasteney says she put her hand on young colleague Enya Nawaz's knee and asked if she could pray for her, saying: 'God, I trust You will bring peace and You will bring healing.'
The pair had been on friendly terms for months, so Miss Wasteney, who describes herself as a 'born-again Christian', was furious when she was suspended from work for 'harassing' Miss Nawaz.
East London NHS Foundation Trust suspended her for nine months on full pay, gave her a written warning and told her not to discuss her faith with co-workers.
But the nurse, from Buckhurst Hill, Essex, will on Tuesday begin a legal challenge against the trust for discriminating against her for her religion.
Miss Wasteney, who worked at the John Howard Centre - a mental hospital in Homerton, east London - told the Sunday Telegraph: 'I'm not a hard-line evangelical. I'm not anti-Muslim. I believe in freedom of speech, but I've always believed we should be sensitive to one another's beliefs and feelings.'
The nurse had previously invited Miss Nawaz, who had personal and health problems, to her church and had given her the book I Dared To Call Him Father, which is about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity.
They had a shared interest in the issue of human trafficking, a problem Miss Wasteney's church was trying to tackle, but now she fears society has reached a point where colleagues cannot invite each other to events 'for fear of offending'.
When Miss Nawaz, 25, came to her Christian colleague in tears as she was due to go into hospital for treatment, Miss Wasteney said she offered her a shoulder to cry on.
She said: 'She was very emotional and tearful and was talking to me about her fear of dying. I put my hand on her knee to comfort her – asking her if that was all right – and prayed with her, asking God to heal her.
'It was a natural and open thing for me to do and she didn't object in any way.'
But Miss Wasteney claimed that over the following weeks Miss Nawaz came under pressure to file a complaint against her on religious grounds.
In June 2013 she submitted an eight-page document accusing Miss Wasteney of trying to convert her to Christianity, telling her she would not recover from her illness and 'laying hands on her'.
Since handing in the complaint, Miss Nawaz has left her job and Miss Wasteney has left the hospital to take up a position at the trust's head offices.
Miss Wasteney denies all the accusations and says she has been singled out for her strong faith.
In documents handed to the coming week's tribunal, she said: 'My professional career has been jeopardised, my reputation damaged, relations with colleagues ruined and I was subjected to an ordeal of persecution dressed as "disciplinary action" for an extraordinarily long time. I was discriminated against because of my faith.'
East London NHS Foundation Trust said it was inappropriate to comment ahead of the tribunal.
Victims Frantically Search for Offense
Microaggression. The word may soon be knocking on your door to demand supplication or another form of payment. Microaggression is the new politically correct campaign being launched by “disadvantaged” elites who are running out of even vaguely real transgressions to complain about.
What You Can Expect to Be Accused Of
Microaggression is unintended discrimination that demeans the “disadvantaged” even if the perpetrator does not intend to do so and is well-meaning. Coined in 1970 by Harvard psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce, it described unconscious racial insults delivered by whites to minorities. An example is a white teacher who asks a black student if he needs help with a math problem.
The concept includes micro-insults or insensitive communication such as asking an Asian coworker where she comes from; the question allegedly suggests she is a foreigner and not a true American. It also includes micro-invalidations that negate the feelings or reality of a black, such as speaking well of Southern cooking; the comment allegedly suggests an approval of past slavery. These behaviors lead to micro-inequities; the behaviors are conveyed through unconscious messages that allegedly devalue the “disadvantaged” in the subtle communication of facial expressions, gestures, tone, word choice, nuance and syntax.
In 1973, MIT economist Mary Rowe expanded Pierce’s term to focus on discrimination against women. A classic example of microaggression against women is using the pronoun “he” to indicate people in general when it is also a gender-specific term. Merely substituting the pronoun “she,” however, is microaggression as well because it sweeps the insult of the original situation under the rug.
The “disadvantaged” now include racial minorities, women, sexual minorities, the poor, the disabled ... that is, any group considered to be marginalized. It includes almost everyone but white males or any white female who disagrees with political correctness.
Who You Can Expect to Accuse You
A predictable vector of transmission is PC feminism. And, as with the current gender insanity, it will begin on campuses. In fact, it already has. But seeing microaggression in everyone everywhere is not limited to feminists.
In 2013, Prof. Van Rust was fired from UCLA due to microaggressions against black students. Susan Kruth of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education reported (Jan 8, 2014), “Rust’s alleged offenses comprise his seemingly typical feedback on students’ work. As demonstration leader ... Kenjus Watson argued, Rust created a hostile climate in his class by, among other things, correcting “perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies.” Another of the alleged microaggressions appears to be that Rust required students to use The Chicago Manual of Style ...” In other words, he insisted that university students use the standard spelling and grammar they would need in professional life.
On December 5, Princeton University students set up a “Tiger Microaggressions” service through which students can anonymously report and publish microaggressions. The page calls this form of discrimination “papercuts of oppression” that are “small but slice deep.” The National Review (Dec. 11, 2014) quoted the service operators as saying “microaggressions are all around us” and literally anything can qualify as a microaggression because “there are no objective definitions to words and phrases.”
As a columnist for the Miami Herald commented (Dec. 29), “So if I write, The sky is blue you are perfectly within your rights to assume that what I actually meant is, ‘Everybody but white guys should writhe in Hell for all eternity’. Because, really, who’s to say?” His example may sound extreme ... but it is not because there is no reductio ad absurdum possible with political correctness.
That became clear in a column by microaggression advocate Jessica Valenti in The Guardian (Dec. 10) in which she claims to love everything about Christmas. Except one thing. Gender oppression makes her responsible for wrapping presents for family and loved ones. While women are being trafficked in Africa, raped in Afghanistan, killed for ‘honor’ and having acid thrown in their face, the gender oppression of Western women devolves to being surrounded by what Valenti says is a loving family who hopes you wrap your presents to them. That expectation, in her own words, makes Christmas into “a godd*mn clusterf**k.”
Why the Utter Madness?
A seeming simply question, the answer is multi-layered. Addressing just two aspects of the madness:
1) “There are no objective definitions to words and phrases.” Without becoming philosophical or providing details, this statement comes from the belief that there is no reality whatsoever beyond what is constructed by the culture through its language, texts, history, assumptions of biological sexuality, philosophy, legal theory, etc. Objectivity and conclusions through reason and evidence do not exist; only the subject narrative presented by voices exists. In order to radically change society, it is necessary to deconstruct the current narrative and replace it with a desirable one; it is necessary for their voices to be the ones that are heard. The deconstructionist approach dates back to the postmodern philosopher Jacques Derrida and has been adopted in a wholesale, cartoon version by gender feminism.
2) Politically-correct victims are desperate to preserve their own victimhood. In terms of gender feminism, this means preserving the myth of the “rape culture”; this is a culture that so profoundly encourages rape, “rape” becomes the one word defining the culture. This may be an appropriate description of Afghanistan but it is palpably untrue of North America. In order to sustain the myth, therefore, it is necessary to define more and more innocuous behavior as sexual assault so that words, attitudes and other non-violence become assault. Equally, in order to sustain the myth that the “disadvantaged” are being constantly victimized, it is necessary to define more and more innocuous behavior as acts of violence. Or, even worse, the need for definition is being trashed and a victim now self-defines him—or herself by an entirely subjective standard.
As insane and vicious as it seem to reasonable and decent people, micro-aggression is the new cutting edge of political correctness and its subset of gender feminism.
The claim of microaggression is a justification for censorship and social control. To advocates, the slightest hint of insult becomes evidence of epidemic oppression in society. What you say, what you don’t say, when you do not show up either to speak or stay silent ... all of these can be evidence of microaggression. That is, as long as the act or non-act is committed by a white male or by someone who disagrees with the PC theory of victimhood.
The actual oppression occurs, of course, when micro-victims band together and harm those who have been “constructed” as oppressors, as they harmed Prof. Van Rust for requiring proper grammar. Those targeted by the micro-warriors are the true victims. And the self-righteous crusade of the privileged masquerading as the oppressed will continue until one thing happens. Individuals (especially white males) need to stop feeling guilty for their innocuous acts and non-acts. They must stop apologizing for the whiteness of their skin, their genitalia, their system of belief ... Individuals must stop apologizing for the hubris of peacefully occupying space on the planet.
Your guilt is the main weapon wielded by the politically correct. Take it away.
Fueling the Western paralysis in dealing with radical Islam is the late 20th century doctrine of multiculturalism.
Multiculturalism is one of those buzzwords that does not mean what it should. The ancient and generic Western study of many cultures is not multiculturalism. Rather, the trendy term promotes non-Western cultures to a status equal with or superior to Western culture largely to fulfill contemporary political agendas.
On college campuses, multiculturalism not so much manifests itself in the worthy interest in Chinese literature, Persian history, or hieroglyphics, but rather has become more a therapeutic exercise of exaggerating Western sins while ignoring non-Western pathologies to attract those who see themselves in some way as not part of the dominant culture.
It is a deductive ideology that starts with a premise of Western fault and then makes evidence fit the paradigm. It is ironic that only Western culture is self-critical and since antiquity far more interested than other civilizations in empirically investigating the culture of the other. It is no accident that Europeans and Americans take on their own racism, sexism, and tribalism in a way that is not true of China, Nigeria or Mexico. Parody, satire, and caricature are not Chinese, African, or Arab words.
A multicultural approach to the conquest of Mexico usually does not investigate the tragedy of the collision between 16th-century imperial Spain and the Aztec Empire. More often it renders the conquest as melodrama between a mostly noble indigenous people slaughtered by a mostly toxic European Christian culture, acting true to its imperialistic and colonialist traditions and values.
In other words, there is little attention given to Aztec imperialism, colonialism, slavery, human sacrifice, and cannibalism, but rather a great deal of emphasis on Aztec sophisticated time-reckoning, monumental building skills, and social stratification. To explain the miraculous defeat of the huge Mexican empire by a few rag-tag, greedy conquistadors, discussion would not entail the innate savagery of the Aztecs that drove neighboring indigenous tribes to ally themselves with Cortés. Much less would multiculturalism dare ask why the Aztecs did not deploy an expeditionary force to Barcelona, or outfit their soldiers with metal breastplates, harquebuses, and steel swords, or at least equip their defenders with artillery, crossbows, and mines.
For the multiculturalist, the sins of the non-West are mostly ignored or attributed to Western influence, while those of the West are peculiar to Western civilization. In terms of the challenge of radical Islam, multiculturalism manifests itself in the abstract with the notion that Islamists are simply the fundamentalist counterparts to any other religion. Islamic extremists are no different from Christian extremists, as the isolated examples of David Koresh or the Rev. Jim Jones are cited ad nauseam as the morally and numerically equivalent bookends to thousands of radical Islamic terrorist acts that plague the world each month. We are not to assess other religions by any absolute standard, given that such judgmentalism would inevitably be prejudiced by endemic Western privilege. There is nothing in the Sermon on the Mount that differs much from what is found in the Koran. And on and on and on.
In the concrete, multiculturalism seeks to use language and politics to mask reality. The slaughter at Ford Hood becomes “workplace violence,” not a case of a radical Islamist, Major Nidal Hasan, screaming “Allahu Akbar” as he butchered the innocent. After the Paris violence, the administration envisions a “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism,” apparently in reaction to Buddhists who are filming beheadings, skinheads storming Paris media offices, and lone-wolf anti-abortionists who slaughtered the innocent in Australia, Canada, and France.
The likes of James Clapper and John Brennan assure us of absurdities such as the Muslim Brotherhood being a largely secular organization or jihad as little more than a personal religious journey. Terrorism is reduced to man-caused violence and the effort to combat it is little more than an “overseas contingency operation.” The head of NASA in surreal fashion boasts that one of his primary missions for the hallowed agency is to promote appreciation of Muslim science and accomplishments through outreach to Islam. The president blames an obscure film-maker for causing the deaths of Americans in Benghazi (when in reality, it was a preplanned Al-Qaeda affiliate hit) — and then Obama makes it a two-fer: he can both ignore the politically incorrect task of faulting radical Islam and score politically correct points by chastising a supposedly right-wing bigot for a crime he did not foster.
What is the ultimate political purpose of multiculturalism? It certainly has contemporary utility, in bolstering the spirits of minority groups at home and the aggrieved abroad by stating that their own unhappiness, or failure to achieve what they think they deservedly should have, was due to some deep-seated Western racism, class bias, homophobia, or sexism otherwise not found in their own particular superior cultural pedigree that was unduly smothered by the West.
For the useful idiot, multiculturalism is supposedly aimed at ecumenicalism and hopes to diminish difference by inclusiveness and non-judgmentalism. But mostly it is a narcissistic fit, in which the multiculturalist offers a cheap rationalization of non-Western pathologies, and thereby anoints himself both the moral superior to his own less critical Western peers and, in condescending fashion, the self-appointed advocate of the mostly incapable non-Westerner.
Multiculturalism is contrary to human nature. Supposedly if Muslims understand that Westerners do not associate an epidemic of global terrorism and suicide bombing with Islam, then perhaps Muslims — seeing concession as magnanimity to be reciprocated — will appreciate such outreach and help to mitigate the violence, all the more so if they also sense that they share with the more radical among them at least some legitimate gripes against the West.
So multiculturalism is the twin of appeasement. Once Americans and Europeans declare all cultures as equal, those hostile to the West should logically desist from their aggression, in gratitude to the good will and introspection of liberal Westerners. Apologizing for the Bush war on terror, promising to close down Guantanamo, deriding the war in Iraq, reminding the world of the president’s Islamic family roots — all that is supposed to persuade the Hasans, Tsarnaevs, and Kouachis in the West that we see no differences between their cultural pedigrees and the Western paradigm they have chosen to emigrate to and at least superficially embrace. Thus the violence should cease.
At its worst, multiculturalism becomes a cheap tool in careerist fashion to both bash the West and simultaneously offer oneself as a necessary intermediary to rectify Western sins, whether as a -studies professor in the university, an activist journalist or politician, or some sort of community or social organizer.
It is always helpful to turn to Al Sharpton for an illustration of the bastardized form of almost any contemporary fad, and thus here is what he once formulated as the multicultural critique of the West: “White folks was in the caves while we [blacks] was building empires. … We built pyramids before Donald Trump ever knew what architecture was … we taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.” Note that Sharpton was not calling for new mathematics academies in the inner city to reclaim lost African arts of superior computation. Note also that Sharpton himself did not dream up these supposed non-Western superior African achievements.
In the psychological sense, multiculturalism also serves as a way of dealing with affluent Western guilt: one does not have to put his kids in an inner-city school, visit the barrio to shop, or invite undocumented aliens over for dinner, when one can both enjoy a largely affluent and apartheid existence in the concrete, while praising the noble Other in the abstract. In the European context, the liberal French or British elite welcomes in the Muslim Other for low-wage jobs and to feed his multicultural sensitivities — only to outsource the immigrants to outlander suburbs that devolve into no-go zones even for the police. In the Clinton context, when Hilary lectures us that we must understand and even empathize with the minds of our enemies, we assume that Chelsea is not on the barricades trying to fathom what drives the violent Other.
Ultimately multiculturalism is incoherent, claiming that all cultures are equal, but then (privately) disturbed that Iranians behead gays or Saudi women cannot drive a car — or radical Muslims prefer to live in Europe than among the believers in Yemen. Yet even multiculturalism cannot quite equate honor killings with the glass ceiling.
Radical Muslims both emigrate to the West and yet, once there, seek through Sharia law to destroy the very foundations of what made the West attractive to them in the first place. Clean water, advanced medicine, entitlement support and free speech ultimately cannot exist in a society that routinely assassinates the outspoken satirist. In a less dramatic sense, the entire open-border, La Raza movement is based on the anomaly that the United States is such an inhospitable and racist place, while Mexico is such a benevolent homeland, that 11 million risk their lives to reach the former and abandon the latter.
In the end what is multiculturalism? A global neurosis. For its elite architects, it is a psychological tic, whose loud professions square the circle of enjoying guilt-free the material comfort that only the West can provide. For the rest, multiculturalism is a sort of fraud, a mechanism to blame something that one secretly desires in lieu of addressing the causes of personal or collective self-induced misery.
For Muslims of the Middle East, there is a clear pathway to economic prosperity and a secure lifestyle; countries as diverse as South Korea, Japan, and Chile are proof of it. Within wide parameters, success only asks adherence to a mostly free market, some sort of freedom of expression, religious tolerance, a separation of science from orthodoxy, the rule of law, and consensual constitutional government — along with a cultural ethos of rough parity between the sexes, merit-based evaluation instead of tribal favors, and tolerance for ethnic and religious minorities.
Fail that, and human misery follows of the now familiar Middle East sort, in turn followed by the tired blame that the Jews, the Americans, the Europeans, or the West caused these self-generated pathologies.
If the Western establishment were truly moral, it would reject multiculturalism as a deductive, anti-empirical, and illiberal creed. It would demand that critics abroad first put their own house in order before blaming others for their own failures, and remind Western elites that their multicultural fantasies are cheap nostrums designed to deal with their own neuroses.
Finally, it would also not welcome in newcomers who seek to destroy the very institutions that make the West so unlike the homelands they have voted with their feet to utterly abandon.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.