Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Racial Classification ...

... begets hypersensitivity to race

From today’s Columbia Spectator (sent by a reader), about new federal requirements for the collection of racial data from educational institutions:
Now, members of some campus groups are dismayed to see their complex ethnic identities boiled down to a simple box, one they say is both demeaning and inaccurate....

The campus Arab students’ organization Turath expressed dismay with this new set of guidelines and Yasmina Raiani CC ’12, the group’s secretary, sent a personal message replying to University survey requests, saying she would not participate in a classification system that she found both insulting and inaccurate.

“It clumps individuals of North African and Middle Eastern descent into ‘white,’ which is not only superficially inaccurate—in that the actual skin tone range of North African and Middle Eastern peoples is more akin to that of Hispanics/Latinos than it is to Caucasians—but also historically insensitive,” Raiani wrote to the University. “To identify Arabs as ‘white’ is to disregard our history as members of the colonized world and to dismiss all acts of racial discrimination against our community.”
The group, Raiani says, objects “to any identification system that requires people to fit themselves in a category that they cannot be defined according to their individual experiences.”

What a relief! All these years I’ve thought that the sense of “otherness” imposed on me at Stanford reflected some personal failing. Now I know that it’s because I was deprived of the opportunity — no, right! — to define myself on any application or form as “American/Southern/Jewish.” And, now that I’ve asked her, I learn that my wife has been a long-suffering victim of the same hegemonic oppression, since Penn never allowed her to define herself as Half Jewish/Half Irish.

Jessie, our soon-to-be Ph.D. daughter, is barely aware of the fact that she’s half-Southern, three-quarters Jewish, one-quarter Irish, but I blame that not on her upbringing, such as it was, but on the fact that neither Bryn Mawr nor Caltech ever allowed her to confront and express her true identity.


Planned Parenthood drops lawsuit against former director

Planned Parenthood has quietly dropped its lawsuit against the former director of its Bryan health center who quit her job after observing an abortion procedure. Among other accusations, Planned Parenthood falsely claimed she violated a confidentiality agreement and breached an employment contract, though she never had one with the clinic. ADF attorneys provided legal assistance to Johnson and the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life.

“This was the latest in a series of national Planned Parenthood scandals,” said ADF Senor Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden. “It wasn’t about one woman or one clinic. Planned Parenthood is a national organization that has been kept afloat by hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding. The American people need to understand that this organization has been involved in scandal after scandal and has never owned up to them. Like so many Planned Parenthood lawsuits, this lawsuit was baseless, so we are pleased that it has been withdrawn.”

The order withdrawing the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas v. Johnson, was issued by the Brazos County District Court, 85th Judicial District.

Employed with Planned Parenthood for eight years, Johnson, the 2008 employee of the year for Planned Parenthood’s southeast Texas region, says she was put under duress by her employer in August when her clinic was economically pressured to perform more abortions to raise profits. After recently being required to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion procedure which she observed on screen, Johnson decided to resign.

Johnson says she changed her view about abortion after seeing the pre-born child--of 13 weeks--in the ultrasound curl away from the abortion instrument inserted to end his or her life. She has since accepted employment with the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life, a community-based Christian pro-life organization.


British paedophiles continued as social workers because of watchdog failings

The bureaucracy can harass ordinary blameless Brits but not deal with actual offenders in its own ranks

Social workers who abused children were left free to carry on working because of critical failings by the watchdog in charge of them, an inquiry has found. Hundreds of social services staff accused of disciplinary breaches, including paedophile offences, were left free to look after vulnerable people while decisions about whether they should be suspended or struck off were delayed.

Hearings into their cases were put off for months, and in some cases years, so that the regulator could delay paying the costs, according to a report for ministers. Some of the most serious cases were abandoned with "little or no" investigation, by staff who felt under pressure to shelve cases regardless of the dangers to the public.

The head of the General Social Care Council (GSCC) was quietly sacked this month after investigators unearthed a catalogue of failings by the watchdog. Mike Wardle, the organisation's chief executive, was dismissed under the GSCC's own conduct procedures.

On Tuesday, the Government will announce proposals to extend training for junior social workers, and to increase pay for the most experienced practitioners on the front line. Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary, has defended his handling of the Baby Peter scandal and said a new Royal College of Social Work would speak up for the profession.

Among the social workers who remained free to work for months after allegations were lodged with the GSCC were individuals who were later struck off for sexually abusing their own children, or for repeated attacks on young girls in care homes, according to evidence seen by The Sunday Telegraph.

Delayed cases for which adjudications have been published by the GSCC include:

– Senior social worker Douglas Makey, struck off in September for grooming and sexually abusing girls at a children's home in Gravesend, Kent, stayed on the social work register for eight months after the complaint against him went to regulators.

– A man struck off last month for a seven-year campaign of sexual abuse of his partner's young daughter, remained on the register for 11 months after the allegations were raised. Another who abused his three-year-old son was only suspended three months after the complaint was lodged.

– It was three months before Christopher Hardman, from Batley, Yorkshire, was removed from the register after regulators were told he had encouraged vulnerable teenagers to pose naked for cash.

– Craig McLoughlin, from Sheffield, was free to work for four years after an incident in which he encouraged a recovering alcoholic to drink whisky, while informing pubgoers that he was the man's social worker.

– The GSCC's conduct committee said it was "lamentable" that Andrew Forbes McLauchlan, from East Sussex, had carried on working for three years with complaints against him pending. A charge of dishonesty was upheld but no sanction was imposed, due in part to the time elapsed.

In the two years ending in March, the average delay between a complaint being lodged and a resulting suspension was more than seven months. Most complaints against social care staff are handled by councils, but the most serious allegations, such as those relating to child abuse, are referred to the GSCC, which holds the register for social workers. Ministers ordered an investigation after the watchdog was discovered to have built up a backlog of hundreds of complaints. A report to Parliament says:

* Staff at the regulator felt under pressure to delay or abandon complaints against social workers, "regardless of the public protection implications," in order to ensure the regulator kept within its budget.

* The risks of allowing social workers accused of abuses to continue working were ignored, or decisions were left to junior clerical staff.

* Many cases were abandoned before reaching disciplinary proceedings, with little or no attempt to seek information from police or the councils employing the social workers. In some instances, even evidence of criminal convictions went unprobed.

* One case was dropped on the insistence of the social worker under investigation that there was no danger to the public – with no corroborating evidence.

Ministers ordered the investigation by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE)- an independent body which reports to Parliament – after a backlog of 200 complaints was discovered at the GSCC. The inquiry's report concludes that the watchdog's practices were so poor that it was impossible to estimate the level of danger posed to the public by social workers whose conduct failings were delayed or never fully investigated.

The CHRE found that a backlog of disciplinary allegations against social workers had been allowed to grow for several years. By early 2007, more than 700 disciplinary proceedings against social workers were "delayed in the system".

But the CHRE identified a deliberate change in policy immediately after the appointment of Mr Wardle, a former private secretary to David Blunkett, as GSCC chief executive in September of the same year, when the board decided not to schedule any conduct hearings until the start of the next financial year – six months later – in order to save money. Investigators said: "All the staff we spoke to within the conduct team were consistent in informing us that they felt pressured by the executive in 2007/2008 into not proceeding with conduct cases, regardless of the public protection implications, because of budget restrictions". Board meetings noted the change in policy from September 2007.

Of a backlog of 200 cases found in July this year, many had not been risk-assessed, and 21 were quickly identified by the GSCC as involving an "ongoing risk of harm" to members of the public. The regulator insists employers were aware of and "managing the risks" or the person was no longer working as a social worker – as far as the council which had previously employed them was able to ascertain.

The inquiry found that cases involving serious allegations, and even cases where social workers had already been convicted in criminal courts, were closed with "little and sometimes no attempt" to seek further information from employers or police.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, described the investigation's findings as "absolutely shocking". He said: "The situation the report describes is a total abdication of responsibility, which has left children, and vulnerable adults at risk. These failures bring the whole system of social work into disrepute."

The GSCC's chairman, Rosie Varley, appointed last November, said: "As soon as we identified potential risks to public protection, we took immediate action to address these. We now risk-assess all cases within 24 hours of receipt and apply for an interim suspension order within 48 hours. The backlog of cases is cleared and our chief executive has been dismissed."

Harry Cayton, chief executive of the CHRE, which carried out the inquiry, said investigators were shocked to discover that the whole operation of the regulator was "fundamentally flawed". He accused the GSCC of a "significant failure of governance" in allowing the situation to develop.

The Department of Health said it was working closely with the social work regulator to ensure it had the right systems in place to carry out its duties.


Kneejerk British regulators lose one

It has survived a cocaine scandal, incontinent elephants and vandals in its world-famous garden, so perhaps the odds were always against Blue Peter being sunk by Gordon Brown. Yet that is exactly what the BBC feared would happen when they heard of Whitehall reforms that would have banned children under 14 from taking part in factual television programmes.

Senior broadcast executives and programme-makers are said to have “nearly had a fit” after learning of the Government’s plans to ensure that younger children could appear on television only if they were singing, acting or dancing.

Now the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has scrapped the plans after being told that it would make long-running and respected programmes such as Blue Peter and Newsround impossible to produce.

The industry lobbied to scrap the proposals, which were introduced after concern about the treatment of children in shows such as Boys and Girls Alone, a Channel 4 programme in which primary school children were filmed fighting and crying as they apparently lived without adults. The proposal was to be published in September but was postponed after broadcasters, including the BBC and Channel 4, presented ministers with a list of more than 100 programmes that they claimed would be unworkable. They said that shows such as Junior Masterchef and Me and My Movie, a CBBC programme in which children send in their own productions, would have to be withdrawn.

Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, telephoned senior broadcasting executives this month to say that the plans had been abandoned. It is understood that ministers did not want another public spat in which they were accused of extending the nanny state, after an embarrassing row over whether parents who look after each other’s children should have to register with Ofsted, the education watchdog. A committee of experts will now be formed to draw up a report on the issue.

John McVay, the chief executive of Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact), which represents independent production companies, said: “This is a victory for common sense. The industry has really got itself together and demonstrated that it can all pull together in the right direction.”

The child protection lobby is angry about the decision to scrap the plans, and is also unhappy with a ruling by Ofcom last week that ITV had not broken broadcasting rules when Hollie Steel, 10, to burst into tears after she forgot the words to a song while performing on Britain’s Got Talent. The watchdog said that due care had been taken of Hollie’s welfare and that of other child contestants on the show.

One group, led by Melanie Gill, the forensic child psychologist, called for an ethics panel to be set up under Ofcom that would have the power to block children participating in programmes considered not psychologically safe.

The DCSF said: “The Department has been working closely with broadcasters, local authorities and other stakeholders in reviewing the Children’s Entertainment Regulations to identify whether the rules dating back to 1960s need updating. “This is not about clamping down on popular talent programmes but making sure that the regulations and guidance, which haven’t been updated in 40 years, enables children to take full advantage of the opportunities television and other forms of entertainment can offer in a safe and sensible way.” [Bulldust, Bulldust, Bulldust]



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, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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