racism

Expulsion without appeal, community service, sensitivity training: These are some of the punishments to be meted out against 25 members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma for their racist chants on a bus.

That’s according to The Oklahoma Daily, reporting on President David Boren’s press conference today following a meeting with frat, athletics and black student leaders.

The school claims it found the root of the chant:

The findings showed the chant originated on an SAE leadership cruise four years ago. The chant was brought to OU’s chapter and taught to members during recruitment.

Boren said he’ll appoint a new vice president of university community next week, which will receive “direct support” from the president’s office and “report directly and only to” Boren. The new office will handle “diversity and sensitivity” among other subjects.

Diversity and sensitivity training will also start this fall for current and incoming students, the Daily said.

Boren said: “From that understanding will come more respect, the kind of respect we need to have and the kind of community we want to develop.”

Read the story.

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IMAGE: Phil Konstantin/Wikimedia Commons

University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who has likely made himself vulnerable to personal litigation by expelling two students for their role in a racist chant on a bus, continues earning kudos for his quick and decisive action against racism.

The Staff Senate at the university’s Norman campus released a statement to the Oklahoma Daily praising Boren for his “leadership” in the wake of “recent events that have left so many angry, stunned and shaken”:

We are proud to say we work somewhere where the phrase “Not on Our Campus” is more than a slogan, it truly is a what we hold true. We appreciate that those involved are being held accountable for their actions that upset so many and we appreciate the significant dialogue that continues. …

We are willing to do what we can as staff members to make OU a national example of a place where there is a commitment to equality and nonviolence.

It’s not clear what that last part means – the frat chants didn’t personally threaten any person, and the school’s rationale for punishing the alleged chant leaders and banishing the frat as a whole didn’t include its past treatment of African American applicants.

President Barack Obama also praised Boren, who preceded him as a U.S. senator, in a Huffington Post interview:

What was heartening was the quick response from President Boren, somebody who I know well and who I know has great integrity, [as well as the] quick reaction from the student body. The way we have to measure progress here is … how does the majority of our country respond?

Certainly condemning such racist expressions is appropriate. But mob rule to punish minority viewpoints – and Boren’s unilateral action that bulldozed over due process for the offending students was immensely popular – is not something to be celebrated by a constitutional law scholar like Obama.

Certainly his former University of Chicago colleague Geoffrey Stone, who hired Obama as a law lecturer, strongly disagrees that Boren’s actions were “heartening.”

Read the staff statement and watch the Obama video.

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IMAGE: Phil Konstantin/Wikimedia Commons

The “Old South Ball,” sponsored by the Kappa Alpha Fraternity at Louisiana State University, won’t take place at an old plantation this year due to concerns that it is racially insensitive.

This, according to the frat’s national chapter.

The ball is the frat’s spring formal event where attendees dress up in costumes like those worn in the film Gone with the Wind.

This, some members of the university believe, is offensive.

Tiger TV reports:

“Just going back to a plantation and wearing the clothing of their supposive [sic] ancestors but it’s not a time that was great for everyone,” said [Vice President of Black Student Union Brent] Chapuis.

When contacted, [KA national assistant executive director Jesse] Lyons said less than half of the KA chapters in the nation call their spring formal social events “Old South.” He also said the event does not support the theme of “Partying like its 1865.” He explained that the themed events began after set costumes were left over from the movie “Gone with the Wind.”

Another African American student named Willie Jones went to the fraternity house in person to ask questions about the event.
“I just feel like the Old South Ball is something that’s racially insensitive and if you can’t celebrate something without offending a group of people or minority then you shouldn’t be doing that at all,” Jones said.

Lyons noted that Kappa Alpha is “expected to follow the fraternity by-laws” which include prohibitions on displays of the Confederate flag and uniforms.

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Have you ever been required to attend a “white privilege” seminar/workshop, or one of its colorfully dubbed siblings like “Courageous Conversations” or “Difficult Dialogues”?

Have you ever wondered just what the very purpose of the whole thing was … and why you had to sit through the vacuous nonsense?

John McWhorter, writing in The Daily Beast this past week, asks “When students are compelled to have ‘White Privilege 101′ classes, we have every right to ask: Why, and for whose benefit?”

To anyone other than a perpetually aggrieved “studies” major, usually the answers are “I have no idea” and “radical progressives.’ ”

To wit:

“This is messy work, but these conversations are necessary,” says Sandra Chapman, director of diversity and community at Little Red School House in New York City. OK—but why? Note that the answer cannot be, “So that whites will understand that they are the privileged … etc.” That makes as much sense as saying “Because!” So I’m going to dare to ask a simple question: What exactly are we trying to achieve with this particular lesson?

McWhorter goes on to note how many progressives complain constantly that “we need conversations on race” (see: Eric Holder, for one), and rightly points out the following:

The fact that this conversation doesn’t lead to all whites bowing down to all black complaints, an outcome tacitly desired by a certain cadre of academics and journalists, does not disqualify it as a conversation.

Emphasis mine. Indeed, that “certain cadre” doesn’t want a real conversation. It wants only what McWhorter says — to give a lecture … and then a capitulation by the target audience.

But if you’re weary of being a punching bag by members of the perpetually aggrieved, you may have a remedy.

Consider: Recently, the president of the University of Oklahoma expelled several members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity due to a video depicting a disgusting racist chant. One of  UO President David Boren’s rationales for the swift action was that the video created a “hostile educational environment.”

This, even though the video was never intended to be viewed by the general public.

But even if it was, say, uploaded to YouTube, since anyone can choose to ignore the moronic recording, the charge of “hostile educational environment” remains specious.

“White privilege” seminars (and their equivalents), on the other hand, are typically a mandate — in an educational or employment setting. Meaning, you know, one just cannot choose to refuse to show up and/or exit when things get farcical.

Former Department of Education attorney Hans Bader says you don’t have to sit there and be racial quarry merely because you’re the wrong hue. And if someone insists you do, you have a legal remedy:

If [the Pacific Educational Group’s Glenn] Singleton inflicts his racist insults on a captive audience of teachers at a training seminar, they may well have a Section 1981 or Section 1983 claim against him for racial harassment. As cases such as Markham v. White (1999) and Ascolese v. SEPTA (1996) show, the amount of repeated abuse required for a hostile training environment claim by a public employee is much lower than for a hostile work environment claim, where isolated racist remarks are not actionable.

Moreover, he may be subject to individual liability for aiding and abetting discrimination under 42 U.S.C. 1981. Contrary to Singleton’s racist belief, racism is not a white monopoly, as the federal appeals courts have recognized in holding institutions liable for harassing or mistreating their white employees. See, e.g., Bowen v. Missouri Department of Social Services (2002) (racial harassment of white employee by black co-worker); Taxman v. Board of Education (1996) (school board liable for termination of white teacher).

Arlington County and Singleton should keep in mind that “diversity” training seminars that denigrate people based on their race or gender can give rise to successful harassment lawsuits, such as Hartman v. Pena (1995), which allowed a white male to sue for sexual harassment over an insulting gender-awareness seminar, and Robinson v. Reed (1978), which allowed a woman to sue for invasive questions in a race-relations seminar.

Of course, being who the perpetually aggrieved are, they might try to counter such a legal caution with something out of this playbook since the very concept of the law applying equally to everyone is often anathema to them.

Dave Huber is an assistant editor of  The College Fix. (@ColossusRhodey)

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At first I thought this column titled “Women can’t be sexist” was a parody, like the hilarious condemnation of microaggressions against left-handed people by the University of Michigan’s Omar Mahmood, which got him fired by the Puritan scolds at the Michigan Daily.

Nope, it’s sincere!

In a guest column for The Post at Ohio University, one of its own reporters shares her experience manning a table for the school’s Women’s Center on International Women’s Day last week.

Erin Davoran said she was confronted by a man who claimed the Women’s Center was “sexist against men” and who complained that he was treated unfairly in a job interview, because his female interviewer claimed that “all white men created poverty”:

I apologized for his experience and explained that one woman does not represent all women or the entirety of feminism, which works toward the equality of both sexes and all genders — not women over men — socially and economically.

It could have ended there, but the guy came back to ask how it wasn’t sexist that the school has a “Women of Appalachia” group but not a parallel group for men. This is where Davoran goes off the rails:

I started to explain that women can’t be sexist …

Wait, what? That’s even less credible than claiming men can’t be pregnant. Back to Davoran and her airtight explanation:

… that reverse racism doesn’t exist, but he cut me off before I could finish. He started yelling, “That’s bullshit! That is complete bullshit!” and walked away. I tried calling after him, asking him to hear me out, but he just kept walking.

So, sir, if you are reading this, please listen. Women cannot be sexist; the same way people of color cannot be racist. In the 2014 film Dear White People, the main character says, “Black people can’t be racist. Prejudice, yes, but not racist. Racism describes a system of disadvantage based on race. Black people can’t be racist since we don’t stand to benefit from such a system.” Replace “black people” with “women” and “racist/racism/race” with “sexist/sexism/sex” and that is the point I was trying to convey.

I was at the Dear White People premiere in Seattle last year, incidentally. (The crowd was overwhelmingly white, of course.) The middling film’s most interesting takeaway for me was how people become trapped by their own identities and orthodoxies – only two characters show anything like personal growth and open-mindedness.

ErinDavoran.LinkedInDavoran doesn’t seem to grasp that she’s trapped within her own orthodoxy, speaking of equality between the sexes while elevating women into some theoretical construct that bears no relation to the humanity of women, warts and all.

Women can’t be sexist by definition, because they “don’t stand to benefit” from a “system of disadvantage.” Never mind they are blowing past men in higher education by practically any yardstick, short of engineering degrees.

It’s clear from Davoran’s recounting that her inquisitor indeed wasn’t interested in a good-faith debate. This is just laughable, though:

[I]f I have learned anything from my Women’s and Gender Studies and diversity studies classes, it’s about how to talk about the issues without shutting people down.

Telling someone by definition they are wrong is exactly how you shut people down, even if you call them “sir” and stay “calm,” which is just patronizing.

“We all need to have conversations about what feminism means and how to achieve equality,” Davoran says – but that’s not going anywhere if you tell men they are the problem. Only they can be “sexist.” They were born that way, to use Lady Gaga’s turn of phrase.

It’s hard to take her seriously when she encourages readers to “email me, let’s talk.” If any of you ask Davoran to talk, let us know how the conversation goes.

Greg Piper is an assistant editor at The College Fix. (@GregPiper)

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IMAGES: Frank M. Rafik/Flickr, Erin Davoran’s LinkedIn page

Two students at Ryerson University in Toronto were told they could not attend a meeting of the school’s Racialized Students’ Collective because they weren’t … “racialized.”

Trevor Hewitt and Julia Knope were informed that, “because they were not victims of racialization,” they weren’t permitted to remain in order to report on the event for an assignment.

The Ryersonian reports:

“It felt really bad… kind of embarrassing,” Knope said. “If their goal in these meetings was to end racialization then it needs to be something everybody is involved in. If some people are causing the problems, they need to know. Grouping yourself off… is not going to accomplish anything.”

The Racialized Students’ Collective is part of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU). Its website states that the group “oppose(s) all forms of racism and work towards community wellness for students,” that they focus on “building an anti-racist network” and “fostering an anti-racist environment through campus-wide services, campaigns and events.”

Knope said while she understands they are a support group for each other and don’t want others there, she doesn’t understand why the events are then listed as public and as an RSU campaign.

“It seemed really ironic to me that the meeting was about racialization and they were prohibiting certain people from entering,” she said.

RSU coordinator Vajdaan Tanveer told The Ryersonian that the Racialized Students’ Collective just wanted “a safe space on campus” where they could talk “openly.”

He also confirmed that Hewitt and Knope were denied attendance merely because of the color of their skin … somehow missing the irony he was referring to an organization dedicated to anti-racism.

Read the full story.

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