racist

While conceding that it’s nice that Apple’s coming set of multicultural emojis will reflect their ethnicity, some minority students are already saying the new emojis will be offensive or still leave them feeling unrepresented digitally.

The University of Georgia’s Red & Black reports on its multicultural student groups and members:

[Hispanic lesbian women’s studies major Maria] Matta said some of the emojis could create stereotypes, such as the flamenco dancer in a red dress that has been an Apple emoji staple and will now have skin color options.

“I don’t know if she’s supposed to be Latina, but she’s in the dancing pose and I’m like ‘What is she supposed to be?’” Matta said. “She definitely creates stereotypes. Just because you’re Latina, you’re a dancer? That’s not how that works. I know plenty of Latinas that don’t know how to dance.”

The new emojis are still showing too much pixel skin, according to this student:

Yusra Aurangzeb, a senior psychology and cognitive science major from Pakistan and president of the Muslim Students Association, said she wishes often that there was a woman in a hijab, a headscarf that Muslim women use to cover their hair, as well as the turban-wearing man.

“I would love it if they had a hijab,” she said of the need for representation of female figures.

One of her fellow members thinks it’s cool, though:

Jasim Mohammed, a sophomore biology and psychology major from India and treasurer of the UGA Muslim Students Association, said he likes the Arabic-looking emoji with a turban, and he said he hasn’t thought about the way it could perpetuate stereotypes.

“I use the turban guy all the time, and I don’t think it’s racist. But maybe I’m desensitized,” Mohammed said. “I don’t think it’s important per se that there be emojis that include all races, but it’s nice to have more options.”

Read the story.

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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

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

ANALYSIS

There’s a growing movement afoot at Amherst College to replace the 195-year-old school’s longtime mascot – Lord Jeffery Amherst – with a moose.

What may seem to outsiders as some sort of satirical joke is being taken quite seriously by many on the Amherst campus. A small, private institution enrolling 1,785 students and tucked away within rural Massachusetts, it takes its title as a “liberal arts” college quite literally and seriously.

The clamor began oddly when a moose, whose origins remain unknown, wandered onto the school last May, parading the grounds and catching the attention of the quad’s granola crunchers.

“Most of us are dissatisfied with our current mascot, Lord Jeffery Amherst, but as far as I know no one’s come up with a sufficiently popular replacement,” bemoaned a disgruntled Amherstian on Facebook last May. “Today, a fantastic potential new mascot wandered up the hill and onto theMoose quad: the moose! The moose is a noble, strong animal. It’s fun. It’s got antlers. It could totally take Lord Jeff in a fight. What’s not to like? … Reject Lord Jeff! Accept the Moose! Who’s with me?”

It was the call to arms the school’s pacifists had been waiting for.

Born in England in 1717, Jeffery Amherst hailed from a middle-class family and joined the military, proving to be an effective soldier who rose through the ranks and was eventually sent to America during the French and Indian War.

Known for his savvy with logistics, he basically led the effort to successfully kick the French out of North America; thus we have New England today. When next faced with battling Indians, he suggested smallpox-laden blankets on natives, a military tactic that remains the unforgivable sin.

Far before the moose sighting, workshops and hand wringing over Lord Jeffery ensued, and it’s within this context that the moose movement grows today, as documented by “The Moose: A New Mascot for Amherst College” Facebook page, complete with the tagline: “Out with the old, in with the moose.”

Someone in a moose costume made an appearance at homecoming in November. Then a moose sculpture was spotted in Frost Library. Come Christmas time, a painting of a moose donning a cap and gown found its way into the campus chapel. In January, moose fliers were plastered along school hallways.AmherstMoose The tipping point came in late January, when a moose mascot design competition was launched. The deadline to enter was March 1.

“Amherst College did not have an official mascot during the nineteenth century,” explains the school’s website. “The evolution of ‘Lord Jeff’ as the mascot for the school was a gradual process that began in the early decades of the twentieth century.”

That tradition is defended by many. A slim majority of 1,706 voters, or 51 percent, favored keeping Lord Jeff as mascot in an online poll conducted by the Amherst Student newspaper. An op-ed in the Student in defense of Lord Jeff by student Michael Johnson argued that while Jeffery Amherst treated Native Americans as enemies, that’s what they were to Amherst at that time.

“Figures from history must be treated within the context of their time and circumstances,” he wrote. “… Weapons of mass destruction were used by both sides in both World Wars, but we must recognize and understand that the generals in these wars were operating in a situation that had no morally correct solution. … If the mascot must be changed because it is offensive to the Native American community for us to be called the Lord Jeffs, then the name of the college must be changed as well if we are to have any semblance of ideological consistency. Why stop at the mascot?”

“When I think of a Lord Jeff, I don’t think of Lord Jeffery Amherst. I think of excellence, in the humanities, science, music, theater, art and athletics,” Johnson continued. “… The mascot Lord Jeffs provides a common ground for all of us with past and future generations of Amherst students. Changing the mascot loses this connection. They were Lord Jeffs. We are Lord Jeffs.”

Indeed, the Amherst Student has been the choice conduit for the wide variety of opinions on the topic.

A letter to the editor by alumnus David Temin in late January argued “by enabling communities of fans, students, alumni and administrators to suppress these histories, racist mascots embolden institutional racism and colonialism and give tacit shelter to the rampant ignorance of and vitriol often directed towards Native American communities in the present.”

The newspaper weighed in a week later with a Feb. 4 editorial: “Moose-scot: A Call to Arms.”

“At this point, it’s hard to defend keeping the Lord Jeff as our mascot,” it declared. “Lord Jeffery Amherst advocated genocide against Native Americans. By celebrating him as our mascot, we tacitly condone both the man and his actions. Not only does this conflict with the values of any modern-day liberal arts institution, our designation as the Jeffs is a cruel irony in the face of increasing pushes for more diversity and representation from Native American students.”

Amherst skirted the issue directly in a prepared statement for reporters who have asked where the school stands on the issue.

A college spokeswoman told The College Fix in an email: “Students have begun exploring the various traditions, old and new, at the college, including the mascot. It’s a meaningful conversation and we’re pleased our students are leading it.”

College Fix reporter Michael Sorge is a student at SUNY Purchase.

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IMAGES: Facebook screenshots

Who knew that ignorance was a legitimate excuse for falling behind in course work?

The University of Iowa removed an anti-racist statue from campus shortly after it was erected because several students mistook it for a racist statue. Some thought it heralded a return of the KKK.

Some students were apparently so traumatized they couldn’t focus on coursework – and the school pressured faculty to grant their extension requests, The Gazette reports:

The next day, Vice President for Student Life Tom Rocklin sent an email mentioning social media buzz around “extensions for students affected by current and recent events” and said Helena Dettmer, associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, had advised faculty to approve it. Rocklin also provided a contact in the Dean of Students Office for others “who need accommodations” to help them “sort through options and sometimes advocate on their behalf.”

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences policy states students can make up exams missed due to illness, religious obligations, authorized university activities, or unavoidable circumstances. Such circumstances could include jury duty, family tragedy, or a car accident, according to the policy.

UI spokeswoman Beck said, “It is up to individual faculty members to determine if an academic accommodation should be made.”

Though he eventually caved, chemistry professor Christopher Cheatum wrote in an email to administrators this was a bad idea:

Cheatum said one student missed a makeup exam at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 — about eight hours after the statue in question was dismantled and more than an hour after meeting with administrators on the topic. That student emailed a professor just before midnight Dec. 5 to report he had missed classes and “was not in my right mind to be able to think about chemistry concepts tonight.”

“This student, by his own admission, had 1.5 hours after the event(s) in question were over to gather himself and prepare for the exam,” Cheatum wrote in his email to administrators. “If we were to allow an exception in this case, we would then set a precedent that being involved in some protest or political action is a legitimate basis for missing an exam, which we might then have to accommodate for other protest situations, to which we would not be so sympathetic.”

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Columbia Law School did the same thing for its students traumatized by the non-indictments in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.

Wonkette had some fun with these delicate students in a post headlined “Poor Dears At U Of Iowa Terribly Upset By Anti-Racist Art Piece. Makeup Tests For Everyone!” (the “KKK” subhead is great too):

So yay for Doc Cheatum (who really sounds like a character in a Western) both for being nice and recognizing that This Sort Of Thing Could Get Out Of Hand. Yes, it was upsetting art (art often is!), and yes, the protests over censorship were also very intense, but come on, kids, you’re college students, too, and neither an upsetting art installation nor a protest about its removal is a car crash or a death in the family. For heavens sake, we couldn’t sleep after the finale of M*A*S*H in 1983, but we certainly didn’t try to duck out of any exams, even though it wasn’t a chicken, it WAS A BABY!

Read the Gazette story.

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IMAGE: Gregor.Maclennan/Flickr