social justice

Following last week’s “#FelonCrushFriday” which sprung up due to the story of one (handsome) Jeremy Meeks, Harvard’s Eva Shang, the director of the Women and Men’s Empowerment and Prison Education Program at the University’s House of Public Service (there’s a mouthful), says that Meeks is no more worthy of our sympathy than other criminals. She also holds society culpable for the US’s high incarceration rate. USA Today reports:

Call me a naïve 18-year-old, but I believe that Meeks isn’t the exception. He is not the only incarcerated person worthy of our compassion.

As a volunteer, I’ve seen firsthand how affable, kind and just human people entangled with the criminal justice system can be. Walter, one of the men I worked with, cried all of one Tuesday morning because his wife of nine years was in the hospital, and he wasn’t sure if she would make it through. Like Meeks, he had children and a family and an immense capacity to feel — just like each one of us.

The American criminal justice system currently imprisons around 2.4 million people, including 71,000 juveniles. This doesn’t mean that we are responsible for 25% of the world’s evil, but rather than we’ve failed to give 2.4 million people a fair opportunity to succeed and then, once they’ve committed a crime, shoved them into a hostile criminal justice system that further alienates them from the rest of society.

Shang continues, noting that “broader society” has “cheated” many out of “the same opportunities for success,” and that “there is no fundamental distinction between ‘good people’ and ‘bad people.’”

Read the full article here.

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A group at the University of Minnesota which dubs itself “Whose Diversity” is demanding that the college “admit it is a product of the evil actions of colonial Americans,” and as such must implement numerous remedies. Some of these … reparations include gender-neutral lavatories in every campus building, and a “faith-neutral ‘meditation and healing’ room on every campus.” Campus Reform reports:

The list of changes gives the school two years to have at least two “faculty members of color” in every single department who are “engaging in critical race and ethnic studies scholarship with a social justice emphasis.” It also demands that students with “historically marginalized backgrounds” have the opportunity to be involved in hiring these faculty.

Further demands include hiring more “medical providers of historically marginalized identities whose work is rooted in social justice” and increasing the number of “non-white” students to meet very specific proportions.

In terms of “restructuring curriculum,” the group orders the school to force every student to take at least one course on “gender non-conforming issues,” and offer “substantially more” courses on “marginalized peoples.”

In case those courses are not enough to constantly remind students about the plight of “marginalized communities,” the list also demands that the school erect a display of historical documents and photographs chronicling their activism to be placed in a “centrally located space” on campus.

“Whose Diversity” thus far has the support of over 700 students, profs, alumni, and other university faculty. But it does not want to become an officially sanctioned university group because that would make it “complicit in reproducing a homogenized notion of diversity.” Or something.

Read the full article here.

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Columbia’s School of Continuing Education offers a Master of Science in the noted field of study, stating “The care of the sick unfolds in stories.” From the school’s website:

The Narrative Medicine master’s program seeks to strengthen the overarching goals of medicine, public health, and social justice, as well as the intimate, interpersonal experiences of the clinical encounter. The program fulfills these objectives by educating a leadership corps of health professionals and scholars from the humanities and social sciences who will imbue patient care and professional education with the skills and values of narrative understanding.

Health care and the illness experience are marked by uneasy and costly divides: between those in need who can access care and those who cannot, between health care professionals and patients, and between and among health care professionals themselves. Narrative medicine is an interdisciplinary field that challenges those divisions and seeks to bridge those divides. It addresses the need of patients and caregivers to voice their experience, to be heard and to be valued, and it acknowledges the power of narrative to change the way care is given and received.

The study of narrative medicine is profoundly multidisciplinary. The curriculum for the master’s program in Narrative Medicine includes core courses in narrative understanding, the illness experience, the tools of close reading and writing; focused courses on narrative in fields like genetics, social justice advocacy, and palliative care; electives in a discipline of the student’s choosing; and field work.

The description for the course titled “Narrative, Health, and Social Justice” is … interesting, to say the least.

Read more here.

h/t to Instapundit.

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Conservative female investigative reporters Katie Pavlich and Ann McElhinney are unimpressive nonacademics whose speaking honorariums are too high and credentials too unremarkable to pay to have them give talks at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill this fall, members of the school’s student government have agreed.

Despite pleas from College Republicans to finance the speeches, which would have cost about $8,000 from UNC’s student programming coffer of $124,000, a majority of student government members voted Tuesday night against funding the campus visits, with several members voicing concerns that Pavlich and McElhinney aren’t worth the price.

On the same night, UNC student government representatives tapped the anarchist group “UNControllables” to receive $4,000 to fly in a social justice crusader/academic from South America to speak on campus, and the feminists group Siren Womyn Empowerment Magazine was allocated $5,100.

Pavlich is news editor for the popular conservative website Townhall.com, as well as the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller “Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up.” As a reporter, she broke the so-called fast and furious scandal, and has also covered the White House, the 2012 presidential election, and Second Amendment and border issues.

McElhinney, co-producer of the feature documentary “FrackNation,” is well-known as a debunker of extreme environmentalist claims. As a filmmaker and investigative journalist, she has produced documentaries for BBC and written for various newspapers covering countries including Indonesia, Romania, Vietnam, Cambodia, Uganda, Madagascar and Uzbekistan. She has appeared on an array of international media organizations including ABC, BBC, CBC (Canada), ABC (Australia), RTE (Ireland) and Fox News, and is a regular guest on talk radio shows and at conferences across America.

Several UNC Chapel Hill student government representatives, however, dismissed the women as lackluster, and said they would serve no educational purpose by visiting the campus and talking to students.

“My concern why I supported removing this is that the educational value – her work has been called  … ‘unreliable as a Wikipedia page,’” ​ vice-chairman of the student congress finance committee Austin Root said regarding McElhinney, citing a two-paragraph review of “FrackNation” in the New York Daily News.

Another member of the finance committee, student Rep. Harrison Touby, took a shot at the women by saying “we’re talking about $5,000 for a lady who made a movie, and $3,000 for a contributor to Fox News. That is a lot of money for two non-academic speakers to come to an academic university to speak.”

“It has nothing to do with political party,” he added. “I couldn’t support even spending $3,000 on a contributor to any news organization; you can get professors, political campaign runners, politicians – you can get them for much less than $3,000. … We’re cutting what we believe to be the cost of a speaker that may not actually be beneficial to the university.”

The amount of their speaking fees and the validity of their biographies became the recurring theme during the contentious meeting, with phrases such as “non-intellectual,” “no value,” and “costs too much” often tossed around.

But at least one student government representative on the finance committee, Chairwoman Brittany Best, defended the conservative female investigative reporters, telling her peers their fees don’t seem exorbitant, adding: “I think we need to caution ourselves … These are well-known speakers in the conservative community and I don’t think this is a large amount to pay for speakers that would bring a lot of interest.”

Best suggested paying for both speakers wouldn’t bankrupt the student congress budget, that after doling out cash to plenty of campus groups already they still had about $90,000 left in the bank.

College Republicans leaders also pitched intellectual diversity to student campus leaders as they pleaded their case.

“What we set out to do is promote intellectual diversity and bring more opinions to this discussion,” said 21-year-old junior Peter McClelland, president of the College Republicans at UNC Chapel Hill.

He went on to cite the university’s student code, which calls on campus leaders to promote a diversity of ideas and opinions with its student-fee-bankrolled budget. The student congress oversees how student government fees collected annually – $39 from each of the university’s 29,000 students – are used.

McClelland, a member of the student Congress who abstained from voting on the issue, said he believes well over 100 students of all stripes would attend each speech – not just College Republicans.

“We are one of the few groups that promotes this opinion, and getting every side is what liberal arts is about,” McClelland said.

In the end, the student Congress voted 21 to 1, with three abstentions, to allocate only $3,000 to College Republicans, $5,000 less than what the group sought. Now College Republicans are scrambling to determine how to continue with their plans to bring in the two guest speakers.

Fix contributor Ben Smith is a student at UNC Chapel Hill.

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Ben Velderman at EAGnews.org reported Monday on a 286-page book aimed at K-12 educators called “Rethinking Mathematics,” which explains how to teach kids math with social justice lessons.

“The book is a mix of math lesson plans and essays from activist educators who explain how they’ve used their classrooms to advance a progressive political philosophy,” Velderman wrote.

How does something like that work, you ask? Instead of Suzy having five apples, and she eats two, how many does she have left? – it goes a little something like this:

In a chapter titled, “Write the Truth: Presidents and Slaves,” “Rethinking” editor and Milwaukee teachers union President Bob Peterson explains how he used Freire’s approach with his fifth-grade students:

“Specific objectives for this mini-unit (about slave-owning U.S. presidents), such as reviewing the use of percentages, emerged as the lessons unfolded. But its main purpose was to help students critically examine the actions of early leaders of the United States and become skeptical of textbooks and government websites as sources that present the entire picture.

“I figure that if kids start questioning the ‘official story’ early on, they will be more open to alternative viewpoints later on. While discovering which presidents were slave owners is not an in-depth analysis, it pokes an important hole in the godlike mystique that surrounds the ‘founding fathers.’”

… In another chapter, geometry teacher Andrew Brantlinger chronicles how he turned an ordinary lesson about calculating the area of a circle into an analysis of the South Central Los Angeles community that rioted after the 1992 “Rodney King” verdict.

During Brantlinger’s lesson, students learned that in 1992, South Central L.A. had no movie theaters or community centers, but it had 640 liquor stores. That led one student to conclude, “All they want them to do is drink.”

…“Rethinking Mathematics” is filled with similar anecdotes, all of which suggest activist teachers are transforming an untold number of our students into future “change agents.”

There are plenty more egregious examples. K-12 schools (and colleges) have become indoctrination camps, and they don’t even hide it, they flaunt it.

“In their introduction, editors … acknowledge that some school administrators and parents won’t like this radical approach to math education but they advise social justice teachers to make no apologies for their efforts,” Velderman wrote.

Read the full story.

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A racially motivated prank against white male students is ignored. Conservative professors are vilified. White male students are labeled oppressors, perpetrators of rape, or willing bystanders.

That’s part of a shocking list of examples of extreme leftist bias at Amherst College detailed recently by a student in an opinion column published in the school’s student newspaper.

“Though it may not be the worst amongst its peers, Amherst College is notorious for putting the liberal in liberal arts education,” junior Katrin Marquez, a Cuban-American studying political science at the small, liberal arts college in Massachusetts, wrote in her Amherst Student campus newspaper op-ed.

“From anonymous attacks on The Student website after Andrew Kaake’s pro-life article last year, to gleeful comments concerning the retirement of conservative professors and distinguished scholars Hadley Arkes and Walter Nicholson, to private ridicules of the Amherst College Republicans regardless of their impressive work in the last few months, hostility against conservative ideals is rampant on our campus,” Marquez wrote in the piece, published last month.

Marquez’s column was titled “Social Justice,” and its main thrust was to argue against talk on campus of hiring someone with a social justice background to head up the school’s Multicultural Resource Center. She argued that would only make the divisive atmosphere on campus worse.

“Already the campus promotes liberal ideas in the way in presents certain issues to its students, but to continue this pattern with the one person whose primary purpose is to promote inclusivity on campus is going much too far,” Marquez wrote. “This move will serve as the College’s way of saying that conservative values and ideologies are not really welcome here, that notions of inclusivity go only as far as race, ethnicity and socio-economic status will allow.”

In her piece, she also cited several recent examples of how white male students are targeted and vilified.

For one:

Everyone at Amherst has been excluded at some point or another, even those within groups that are generally thought of as privileged. This past weekend, a presumably racially-motivated prank occurred on campus. At approximately four in the morning on Saturday, a student discovered that piles of white powder were left in front of the doors of the white male students living in the second floor of Moore dormitory. Because the resident counselor responded quickly to the incident, the police wrote a report and the powder was cleaned up before many knew anything had happened. That was it. No campus-wide email. No discussion. Having spoken to a student that actually witnessed this event, I know they were deeply troubled, but no one else seemed to care. Last semester, there was a huge backlash when the n-word was found written in snow, and rightfully so. Why is it, however, that attacks against students that are generally labeled as privileged do not garner such attention?

She also noted:

Last semester, as one of the discussion leaders for the Day of Dialogue, I saw how calls to dismantle privilege put certain peoples on the defensive. The group I co-led was composed primarily of white, affluent male athletes and it was easy to see that they felt attacked by Professor Cobham-Sander’s presentation on privilege; even the white male facilities staff member in our group seemed uncomfortable. At first all discussion was stifled because these men felt labeled as oppressors, as perpetrators of rape or willing bystanders. As soon as the conversation moved away from the accusatory tone of privilege, these students opened up and had insightful recommendations for needed changes. As a community, we need to make sure that our campus promotes inclusive dialogue, not the blaming and awkward floor-staring that results from the politically-motivated perspective of social justice.

To back up her point that a diversity of ideologies is not welcome at Amherst, Marquez also wrote about reactions to a piece she penned in which she criticized affirmative action:

When I wrote an article last semester criticizing affirmative action, I received emails from students and professors alike that felt as I did, but could not articulate those feelings because they feared being publically attacked as people who could not understand the struggles of minority students. One alum wrote a caustic blog post about me in which he argued my ideas were wrong simply because I looked too white to actually understand what it means to be a person of color in America; he had never seen me in person or spoken with me. When it comes to issues of diversity and inclusivity at Amherst, we need to move beyond what we know will only perpetuate the divisions on campus. We need to do this because it matters, because it is of dire importance that we create one community, not many disparate ones.

Click here to read Marquez’s entire piece.

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