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Author Topic: Mizzou President resigns
Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
So anyone can speak freely about anything in a safe space?

In terms of private , safe discussion groups. Absolutely, if you're asking honestly. That's the point in terms of private discussion forums. When you create an environment carefully shaped to have all threats excluded, people who are otherwise silenced in public where they will be judged, attacked, abused, etc... for speaking are able to learn to express themselves freely without fear of such recrimination. This allows them to begin to build the foundation of confidence needed to deal with the world at large on a healthier and more productive basis.

When expanded to unfiltered public areas, though, they have nothing to do with restricting people from talking, but rather with providing people with the resources needed to not be vulnerable to attacks and to have their concerns actively heard and responded to before small problems escalate into large ones.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
A safe space only works by suppressing speech. There is no other operative mechanism. It excludes the unwelcome.
And by not being able to force they presence on others, they're somehow not able to speak? I think you're confusing the freedom to speak with the power to force people to listen to you. Nice play for the "right to abuse" though.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
So anyone can speak freely about anything in a safe space?

In terms of private , safe discussion groups. Absolutely, if you're asking honestly. That's the point in terms of private discussion forums. When you create an environment carefully shaped to have all threats excluded, people who are otherwise silenced in public where they will be judged, attacked, abused, etc... for speaking are able to learn to express themselves freely without fear of such recrimination. This allows them to begin to build the foundation of confidence needed to deal with the world at large on a healthier and more productive basis.

When expanded to unfiltered public areas, though, they have nothing to do with restricting people from talking, but rather with providing people with the resources needed to not be vulnerable to attacks and to have their concerns actively heard and responded to before small problems escalate into large ones.

Unless the sole rule for inclusions or exclusion is based on some bright line identity feature, this is...not true.

The "careful shaping" includes shutting out certain viewpoints.

This can serve a valid purpose, IMO, but it's not useful to pretend that such a safe space doesn't include some restrictions on speech.

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NobleHunter
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Pyr, how can threats be excluded if anyone is allowed to say anything? Your response to ScottF implies that a white supremacist wouldn't be excluded from a safe space for people of colour. Even if he showed up spouting the worst sort of racism.

Safe spaces or even just places expected to be free of harrassment and abuse must suppress certain kinds of speech. Any messageboard that has any visibility figures that out quickly enough.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Would JoshCrow lose his job should he speak against the protesters?
Of course not; I've already made that clear in my responses to your less rigged questions that almost seemed like you were starting to be earnest instead of just trying to make a trap.
Your responses to the other scenarios were that you would never let the situation get out of control to the point where there was a protest in the first place. Aside from the fact that you're not a wizard who can foretell what will or won't cause a protest to begin, you may also note that there might be protesters about progressive issues no matter what kind of president there is. No matter how much the administration does there will always be a farther goalpost, a new freedom to fight for. There will always be a protest fighting for the next thing.

But back to your answer here: in the other cases you said you'd listen to the upset students and it would never get out of hand. But this scenario is one where you didn't let anything get out of hand and did everything you could in good faith. However a student's group released a campus message saying they believed that Halloween costumes should be vetted and offensive costumes banned. In response to this a staff member (who is not under your mind control and can therefore ignite anger despite your best intentions) writes a reply email saying that banning costumes is a bad idea, that it infantilizes people who are supposed to be learning to act as adults, and that it is a suppression of expression and liberty. In response to this the students form a protest to go after the Prof's job and they rally the football team behind them who go on strike. WHAT DO YOU DO? You can just dodge again, of course, but it's not enough to say JoshCrow shouldn't lose his job; you have to also say you would accept WHATEVER consequences come with standing up for him and his right to speak his mind. You would tell the protesters that their opinion is noted but he's retaining his job? You would tell the football league they'll have to do without your team for a while? What about your board? What will they say about the lost revenue? Would you supply JoshCrow with a bodyguard to make sure he can come and go from his classes unmolested and unthreatened?

[ November 16, 2015, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
This one was only slightly warped, assuming of course that you ignore any racism other than white on black. If you include other kinds of racism them it completely fails to demonstrate comprehension. But even if you do ignore other forms of racism, you're still left with a statement of opinion of factual consequence - that racism increases rather than decreases, which if true detracts from the presumed goal. Your opinion on this is irrelevant Pyr, it's either true and therefore a bad idea, or not true and therefore possibly a good one (in each case judged from the perspective of the protesters).


Except that implies that the racial prejudice of others (which is what I take it you're incoherently applying rasim here to mean) is relevant to the goals of the protestors. They're seeking redress for issues on campus and administrative support for establishing a mechanism that would ensure that concerns they had were heard and responded to. They realistically have no control over the number of prejudiced people in the world, as Josh otherwise acknowledges, so the threat that prejudiced people might be annoyed by it is a very hollow criticism. It's a bogeyman threat that actively distract from their actual desires and objectives.

quote:
He didn't give them permission, nor did he condition it on anything.
He said "I want you to this" that's a staement of permission, and presumes that what _he_ wnts matters to them.What he wants them to do, what I want them to do, what you want them to do are all irrelevant unless we're considering them to be subject to our desires.As free and equal people what they want should be what matters and what we're paying attention to.

quote:
He actually expressed agreement with your stated goals (not that you acknowledge anything that others say) by validating that their views and opinions should be heard.
Except, of course, for his objection to measures that it took to actually get people to hear them. So we have a nominal claim that he want them to be heard, but apparently by someone else because he immediately followed that up by saying he didn't want them to take the kind of action it took to get him to hear.

quote:
Hard to say if they have merit until after you hear them, unless you're buying whatever they are selling sight unseen.
Indeed, but we have just the opposite problem- people dismissing them based on the fact that they managed to get heard without actually looking at the content of the message, just the nature of what it took to get attention to it.

quote:
And yes no one is permitted to take physical action in this case. The state has pre-empted our self-help rights in all but a limited set of circumstances. Are you proposing a change to the history and right of physical self help?
We seem to have a long standing right of freedom to assembly and to protest injustice, or are you just glossing that over here? And hey, don't forget that MLK wrote many letters from jail as part of his efforts. Sometimes it takes standing up to the law in the face of injustice to get people to listen. EVen Pete later conceded, once he'd actually reviewed the action instead of just speculating, that they conducted their physical actions with full propriety and in lines with respectful protests.

quote:
What very real threat of physical harm? Please cite examples.
You're actually denying that black people, of all races, are at a significantly higher risk of physical harm than others? What do you want, assault and homicide stats? Testimony from black people about how every day they have to keep in mind that, at any moment they could be targeted because of their appearance (or stories about how forgetting that for even a moment, like the kid with the toy gun did) means they end up in trouble or dead?

I mean, if you're asking me to prove what the black experience in the US is to you, then at least have the decency to admit that you have no clue about it instead of trying to hold the mutually contradictory position of not being ignorant but yet requiring a prove basic facts.

quote:
Like I said before, when you jump to physical harm to confront the entire range of mental and emotional harms possible it demonstrates the weakness of your philosophy.
Nice a complete tangent to once against claim that consistency is weakness. Or is it failure to conform to a degenerate status quo that you're asserting is a weakness? Either way, for all of its irrelevance, this is begging the question at its finest.

quote:
I think the fairer interpretation is that he was talking about everything BUT PHYSICAL HARM with his statement. He even took it a step into physical acts to threats with his Swastika example (not that you really are paying attention).
That doesn't change the fact that black people face the real and imminent threat of everything, including physical harm, as part of their day to day reality.

quote:
These are my favorite ones, where you ascribe actions to "institutions" rather than people, as if they monolithic and not capable of the individualize reactions of the people that make them up. This one though is a bit of a cause of the day, and not without good reason given how far the police take things these days.
Mob psychology changes human behavior, lie it or not. And institutions that refuse to police themselves and prevent bad behavoir will consistently degenerate toward it. If the police don't want to have the reputation for being biased against blacks, then they need to make greater efforts to stop abusive behaviors within their own ranks, not to blame others for the legitimate fear they invoke because those bad actors are common enough to represent a pervasive threat.

quote:
In any event, you have to have a bad act that would actually evoke police protection, it didn't seem as if any were actually implicated here.
And yet reference to police were in the original message, so what that communicated needed to be addressed.

quote:
Who is taking their life into their own hands exactly? What evidence of this is there? And what context?

You're talking about a university campus, how common is racial murder on university campuses?

Again, back to fundamentally questioning what day to day life is for black people. That would be a relevant question, I supposed, if black students were born on campus, lived their whole lives on campus, and then went to school there. But remember, they were born in other places in the world, lived their lives there, and now come to this place, so when they see the same signs that telegraphed impending harm to them growing up, are you really suggesting that the safe raction for them is "Oh, this is a university, so those can't mean what they've meant to mean for almost two decades of my life" or "Oh, wow, this place is no safer than anywhere else I've been, regardless of what people try to really, really assure me is different". I mean there might be some as trusting as Charlie Brown was of Lucy with the football, but odds are most of them didn't live long enough for college to be a thing for them.

quote:
The "because" is unwarranted. You don't have any idea what kind of world he lives in, or whether he's come up through the kind of personal circumstances that are more potentially damaging than the group identity issues that are all you seem to care about.
Actually, yes I do. He said as much when he said that he could dismiss them without lasting concern. HE made it very clear that, while insulting, he did not feel at real threat of physical harm from seeing them. If he felt a real threat of harm when he saw them, then he would not feel confident that he could just dismiss them. VEry notably, he did not say that he felt confident because he knew he was capable of handling any harm that may be implied by them; that would communicate a much different experience (one that would almost certainly get him labeled as a thug if he happened to be black)

quote:
quote:
quote:
This is difficult for most people, and *certainly* harder for black people (which is why gangsta-culture was so much insecurity made manifest), but it's not going to become more possible for them if they embrace their own identities as "oppressed". Once you internalize that, the game is over.
"The insecurity that black people fell because they live under constant threat isn't justified. They should ignore the danger around them and act in ways that align with how I want them to behave instead. If they acknowledge that danger in any way, I will accuse them of embracing oppression/victimhood as an identity."
Was this one just completely made up? He said internalizing a status of oppressed makes having self-worth more difficult, which your thesis inherently acknowledges and you routinely bash everyone nearby with. Yet when he says it you "reinterpret" it into nonsense?
No, and I see you're not above making things up here to claim that I'm making things up.

I said that _being a victim_ regardless of whether one "internalizes" the status makes it impossible to ignore the signs and signals that society gives you to remind you of your status. Signals that it punishes you for ignoring by subjecting you to abuse and violence. His final statement essentially dismissed the reality of the threat they live under and the necessity of remaining aware of it and reacting to in in favor of acting in ways that let their guard down out of a false confidence that there is no real treat behind the signs of threat they face. To effectively say that if they ignore the things that they've seen people get killed because of they'll be just fine, regardless of a preponderance of evidence in their lives to the contrary.

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scifibum
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Fenring, I think the problem with your hypotheticals is that you want to use them to demonstrate something about a real situation, but in the real situation under discussion, there were mistakes that already happened prior to the crisis that can be blamed (at least in part; how big a part is obviously contested) for how things went down.

By reducing the complexity or picking an arbitrary starting point for the crisis, you might be missing the forest for the trees.

Should he have been fired? That depends on what he did before the crisis as well as on what he did during the crisis.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Your responses to the other scenarios were that you would never let the situation get out of control to the point where there was a protest in the first place. Aside from the fact that you're not a wizard who can foretell what will or won't cause a protest to begin, you may also note that there might be protesters about progressive issues no matter what kind of president there is.
First of all, not all protests should be discouraged. If anything I should be providing a well organized forum for people to protest if they feel they're not being heard.

And I don't have to be a wizard here at all, because you're effectively presuming that I need to pick who to pay attention to and who to ignore. My point is that if I'm ignoring people, then I'm failing at my job. People who are being listened to don't protested because the point of a protest is to gain attention when people don't listen. It's not the first reaction that they jump to, it's the last resort after continued failure to be heard. One doesn't need to be a wizard to sit down and listen to people instead of ignoring them until they feel they have no alternative left but to rally to be heard.

quote:
But back to your answer here: in the other cases you said you'd listen to the upset students and it would never get out of hand. But this scenario is one where you didn't let anything get out of hand and did everything you could in good faith. However a student's group released a campus message saying they believed that Halloween costumes should be vetted and offensive costumes banned. In response to this a staff member (who is not under your mind control and can therefore ignite anger despite your best intentions) writes a reply email saying that banning costumes is a bad idea, that it infantilizes people who are supposed to be learning to act as adults, and that it is a suppression of expression and liberty. In response to this the students form a protest to go after the Prof's job and they rally the football team behind them who go on strike. WHAT DO YOU DO? You can just dodge again, of course, but it's not enough to say JoshCrow shouldn't lose his job; you have to also say you would accept WHATEVER consequences come with standing up for him and his right to speak his mind. You would tell the protesters that their opinion is noted but he's retaining his job? You would tell the football league they'll have to do without your team for a while? What about your board? What will they say about the lost revenue? Would you supply JoshCrow with a bodyguard to make sure he can come and go from his classes unmolested and unthreatened?
Why don't I get to respond to the professor's letter and instead have to, for no apparent reason sit on my thumbs until things get bad enough for a protest? I mean, the only reason that they're protesting at this point is because I tacitly put the weight to the institution behind the professor's defense of racial prejudice and cultural ignorance, never mind already being in talks with the student organization that raised the original issue to find a balance between their request and what it was reasonably within the scope of appropriate responses to help them feel their their concerns about the harms of culturally demanding costumes had been met.
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Pyrtolin
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And to note- Kate posted, early on, a great alternative to what happened at Mizzou. The way an institution that creates administrative infrastructure and forums for students to be heard works, such that people aren't so left out in the cold that they're forced to resort to protest to be heard.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Fenring, I think the problem with your hypotheticals is that you want to use them to demonstrate something about a real situation, but in the real situation under discussion, there were mistakes that already happened prior to the crisis that can be blamed (at least in part; how big a part is obviously contested) for how things went down.

By reducing the complexity or picking an arbitrary starting point for the crisis, you might be missing the forest for the trees.

Should he have been fired? That depends on what he did before the crisis as well as on what he did during the crisis.

This is true, and although the hypotheticals were imperfect by virtue of not being real I was going after the principle of dismissing staff to satiate a protest movement. The causes or what led to the protests are not strictly relevant to my question. I hope you agree with me that Pyrtolin's answer that under his guidance there would be zero chance of a protest, and even with a protest, zero chance they would be calling for anyone's job, is absurd. I wanted to know to what extent he'd resist the demands of protesters while still engaging them in a dialogue, but he won't participate in that thought experiment. He wants to have his cake and eat it too: JoshCrow would be free to write emails or speak publicly about his beliefs, and that this could never possibly result in protesters calling for his job as a result. That is his answer for what to do. Wave away the scenario as impossible. In short JoshCrow should have no reason at all to believe his job would be safe at Pyrtolin University. EVERY administrator at a school has to eventually take a stand about whether to stick up for their staff or to get rid of them for PR reasons. For a tenured Prof this would have to be a resignation, but that's certainly on the table if things are looking bad.

It reminds me of certain schools of martial arts that ignore ground fighting and grappling. They teach stand-up long and mid-range striking, and in response to the question "what happens if your opponent knocks you down? How do you deal with him when he's on you?" the answer comes back as "You prevent it happening by knocking him down first! That is what we'll teach you!" It doesn't occur to them that this is a paper fantasy and that in the real world s**t happens and you need to have plans for contingencies. You WILL get knocked down and you WILL have to deal with it.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
JoshCrow would be free to write emails or speak publicly about his beliefs, and that this could never possibly result in protesters calling for his job as a result.
Indeed. Because it's not letters about the beliefs of individuals that lead to protests, no matter how much you try to falsely imply that you can go from 0 to massive protest overnight on the basis of a single letter, regardless of how hurtful it is.

If the university administration has done its job properly then the students should feel safe enough that they can, in fact, respond the way that Josh suggested was better and shrug it off as a jerk that doesn't have power over them, rather than having to treat it as the latest in a series of events that demonstrate that they're under threat because of administration inaction or incompetence.

(You'll note, that beyond Kate's example, the _vast majoirty_ of Colleges and Universities somehow manage to prevent the campus environment from becoming so bad that protests are needed to call attention to it and rectify it. Are you saying they're all staffed by wizards who magically keep things in check?)

[ November 16, 2015, 05:45 PM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Indeed. Because it's not letters about the beliefs of individuals that lead to protests, no matter how much you try to falsely imply that you can go from 0 to massive protest overnight on the basis of a single letter, regardless of how hurtful it is.

The Yale letter ignited a firestorm, and could have easily been written by me (particularly since I agree with it). And no, I don't mean it happened in a cultural vacuum - but that letter and reaction could have happened out of the blue even at a place with plenty of diversity programming and safe spaces.

quote:
If the university administration has done its job properly then the students should feel safe enough that they can, in fact, respond the way that Josh suggested was better and shrug it off as a jerk that doesn't have power over them, rather than having to treat it as the latest in a series of events that demonstrate that they're under threat because of administration inaction or incompetence.

Did... did you just wait until I left the thread in frustration so that now you could say something nice about my ideas? I don't know how I feel about this. [LOL]

It's nice to see you lay the entirety of systemic racism at the feet of University administration, though, by suggesting they could fix it if they just cared to. It must be one helluva diversity program to do that. It took me many years, even starting from a place of privilege, to get to that kind of place.

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Pete at Home
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The "vast majority" of campuses don't have protests? Pray tell, do you live in the Peoples Republic of China?

When I participated in Take Back the night, we were "counter_protested" by a n ostensibly pro life group waving banners of bloody dismembered fetuses. Don't know where those inbred momma jumpers got the idea that anti rape meant pro abortion. Tried to talk to one of them and her husband came over and got threatening.. But I will never just assume that someone has a good reason to wave a banner and yell slogans. If you have nothing coherent to say then you have said nothing at all.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
The "vast majority" of campuses don't have protests?

Of the type, severity, and administrative focus that Mizzou was having. I'm sorry was was being a little brief instead of pedant proofing my remarks. Especially in light of my earlier notes that I thing that campuses should actively encourage protests such as the one you mentioned.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
The Yale letter ignited a firestorm, and could have easily been written by me (particularly since I agree with it). And no, I don't mean it happened in a cultural vacuum - but that letter and reaction could have happened out of the blue even at a place with plenty of diversity programming and safe spaces.
The letter didn't start the firestorm. The lack of response to the letter started the firestorm. Had the administration been on the ball and done its job, the situation would not have snowballed. And it was also against the background of an administration that, again, had been ignoring endemic problems.

It did not "come out of nowhere" ignoring it was the last straw in long history of not addressing issues. It caught the administration by surprise because they weren't paying attention, not because they had no warning.

To pull some bits from the intial article you poseted on the matter:

quote:
Yet some students complained that there was only silence at first from Dr. Holloway and from Peter Salovey, the university president, about the Halloween-related incidents and the broader issues.

By contrast, some students noted, the dean had moved swiftly last year to condemn the appearance of swastikas on campus, sending an email to the student body that said, “There is no room for hate in this house.”

So when black students encircled Dr. Holloway this month, some chanted, “Where’s our email?” Others asked: “Where are you? We need you.”

So at the very top of the issue, we have the lack of reply to a hurtful message, that demonstrates either a lack of connection or outright apathy, especially since it was the Dean's office that circulated the initial request (and note: it was a request, with a bit of education information. Not a ban. It can only be construed as a "ban" if you think that most people would take good information on how their behavoir can hurt others as a "ban" on hurting others, rather than a commonsense appeal to human decency. IS it really reasonable to say that it's better to let someone go on hurting others than to inform them of how what they're doing is harmful for fear of "banning" them from acting in harmful ways?)

quote:
She said she had faced racist attitudes from campus security guards who questioned whether she belonged at Yale and from people who suggested that “we’re only here for affirmative action.”

She said she was shocked at how unaware Dr. Holloway seemed to be of students’ situations before the meeting where scores of black students confronted him.

“If he did understand it before, he didn’t understand it well enough because he didn’t act on it,” Ms. Baker said. “Silence speaks volumes.”

Dr. Holloway, who issued an email in response the next day, acknowledged last week that he had not grasped the depth of the students’ concerns. “I wish I had understood better,” he said.

And this is the core of it. There were issues, but for one reason or another, the Dean and other elements of the administration simply weren't maintaining awareness of it. THere may be any number of reasons, but at the root of it, that awareness was their fundamental responsibility to work to maintain.

quote:
And he was shuttling from one meeting to the next, as Yale’s administrators weighed the latest demands from protesters, including requiring that all undergraduates take an ethnic studies class, the hiring of mental health service providers for the cultural centers geared to minority students, and the renaming of Calhoun College, which honors John C. Calhoun, the 19th-century American statesman, who was an ardent defender of slavery and a white supremacist.
So here we see that firing the professor isn't the focus of the protests, even if it may be one of the nominal demands. That means there's a lot of room for someone who knows what they're doing to meet the real functional demands while pointing out that regardless of how hurtful her support of cultural degradation (under the pretext of comparing it to anti-authoritarian boundary pushing that's been a hallmark of academic environments) she can say things like that in a public forum if she wants and is willing to deal with the critical backlash for being so insulting to others.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Did... did you just wait until I left the thread in frustration so that now you could say something nice about my ideas? I don't know how I feel about this. [LOL]
I never had an objection to the fundamental idea of allowing others to cultivate that feeling. What I had an objection to was you telling others that they should feel that way instead of using a protest to start the ball rolling on trying to create an environment where they could possibly feel that way, after all other efforts to work toward it had failed. Even the best of ideas amount to an offensive attack when presented as unsolicited advice to someone whose position you don't fully understand.

quote:
It's nice to see you lay the entirety of systemic racism at the feet of University administration, though, by suggesting they could fix it if they just cared to.
In as much as the University is the system in question, I'm not sure what the point of the administration is except that it controls the system. It has the power to change the system. It may not be able to evoke full trust overnight, but we're not talking about solving the entire problems, we're talking about just taking the first visible and effective steps to demonstrate that they acknowledge and understand the problem and are willing to cooperate in the hard work of getting it untangled. Something that Wolfe blatantly and egregiously failed to do, to the point of diminishing the entire issue through a horribly uninformed and offensive answer to the most basic question possible about it.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
The "vast majority" of campuses don't have protests?

Of the type, severity, and administrative focus that Mizzou was having. I'm sorry was was being a little brief instead of pedant proofing my remarks. Especially in light of my earlier notes that I thing that campuses should actively encourage protests such as the one you mentioned.
Well, in response to our protest, the college did get the campus safely lot up, especially the dangerous placplaces we were complaining about. Within 18 months, which is good for a bureaucracy. But I was pissed that we had to apply weeks in advance for permission, and then those inbred morons were allowed to get in our faces within sign swinging distance, without any permit beforehand.

I remember getting home and having my roommates telling me that Rush Limbaugh was blasting our organization and protest. Like that should make me embarrassed? LoL.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
If the university administration has done its job properly then the students should feel safe enough that they can, in fact, respond the way that Josh suggested was better and shrug it off as a jerk that doesn't have power over them, rather than having to treat it as the latest in a series of events that demonstrate that they're under threat because of administration inaction or incompetence.

I like how you sophistically go from "done its job properly" to "the students should feel safe enough" Where did you pull this tautology out of? Putting aside for the moment the campus being physically safe from mugging or beatings or whatever, let's say the admin inserts sensitivity courses, fliers, safe zones, etc. Now let's say a white male conducts a lecture about how intersectionality is evil, or feminists are misguided, or whatever anti-protest he believes in. As a result people are going to say they feel unsafe with that kind of 'hateful' rhetoric on campus. And you know damn well this will be the response; such a lecture would be protested maximally. How do you square "the admin did its job properly" with the fact that people now feel unsafe anyhow? You've completely lost the fact that the university admin isn't the university, nor is the admin the university's culture. They can guide it, but not dictate it by fiat. Similarly, unless the admin wants to outright ban contentious speech or contrary views there will be people who disagree with what the protesters say, and those people will anger the protesters. Your two options are to have people on campus who feel unsafe due to offensive ideas being spoken, or else to have a censored campus. There is no third option.

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:

So when black students encircled Dr. Holloway this month, some chanted, “Where’s our email?” Others asked: “Where are you? We need you.”

So at the very top of the issue, we have the lack of reply to a hurtful message, that demonstrates either a lack of connection or outright apathy, especially since it was the Dean's office that circulated the initial request
Your mistake here is to classify the Halloween email as being a "hurtful message." Now, you could have said it offended some people or was hurtful to them, which is obviously true, but no: you called it hurtful, outright. In other words, you are casually inserting into your sentence the premise that the students were objectively correct that it was hurtful, which in turn suggests that only a lack of sensitivity or empathy could lead to such a hurtful email (and you have the audacity to say so yourself anyhow). In fact the email is completely respectful, civil, and intelligent. Certainly it isn't everyone's cup of tea, but calling it hurtful exhibits your massive allegiance to the protesters before you even examine the facts. Incidentally, suggesting that the person who wrote this email lacks empathy, specifically, is the kind of libelous leaping to conclusions that I really think is both disrespectful and dehumanizing. You do it to people here too, so if you actually cared about sensitivity you might consider this.

quote:
quote:

She said she was shocked at how unaware Dr. Holloway seemed to be of students’ situations before the meeting where scores of black students confronted him.

“If he did understand it before, he didn’t understand it well enough because he didn’t act on it,” Ms. Baker said. “Silence speaks volumes.”

Dr. Holloway, who issued an email in response the next day, acknowledged last week that he had not grasped the depth of the students’ concerns. “I wish I had understood better,” he said.

And this is the core of it. There were issues, but for one reason or another, the Dean and other elements of the administration simply weren't maintaining awareness of it.
The irony here is that you completely misunderstand what Dr. Hollaway meant about wishing she had understood the situation better. You assume she meant you wish she had taken the reasonable requests seriously, since you assume they were reasonable requests and the only reason she wouldn't agree is because she was unreasonable. But what she actually meant by that is she didn't foresee the reaction to her comments being so vitriolic and hostile. She knew what they believed; she didn't know they were out for blood. In a sense that does make her naive in a way, but it's the kind of naive that I might actually applaud since it assumed the best of people - that they won't go right for the neck if you open yourself up to attack. Her statement reminds me of the scene in Anchorman when Ron Burgundy jumps into the bear pit and then says "I IMMEDIATELY REGRET THIS DECISION." He, too, thought of doing the right thing, but lacked awareness of what it really means to jump into a pit of hungry bears.

quote:
quote:
And he was shuttling from one meeting to the next, as Yale’s administrators weighed the latest demands from protesters, including requiring that all undergraduates take an ethnic studies class, the hiring of mental health service providers for the cultural centers geared to minority students, and the renaming of Calhoun College, which honors John C. Calhoun, the 19th-century American statesman, who was an ardent defender of slavery and a white supremacist.
So here we see that firing the professor isn't the focus of the protests, even if it may be one of the nominal demands. That means there's a lot of room for someone who knows what they're doing to meet the real functional demands
You've just stated your position truly for the first time. An admin "who knows what they're doing" will have to "meet the real functional demands." This is what a university administration is for, to you, and failing to meet demands means you don't know what you're doing. And if you think that acknowledging the demands respectfully and engaging in dialogue and yet refusing to meet the demands would stop the protests then you're dreaming. By the way I like how in saying the admin should meet these reasonable demands you are indirectly agreeing that all undergrads should have to take am ethnic studies class. I find that most intriguing, since I can think of a number of classes that I think of more of a civic responsibility to know than that. How about American history? Surely that would cover some of the black/white race issues. How about...say...logic? There's a good one if you want people to increase their understanding. What about intro to economics? Surely the ethnic issues cannot be understood in an absence of understanding the way the economy works; heck, you can't even properly define systemic racism unless you understand economics. So how do we come to the point where you think the admin has to give in and force all students to study THE ONE TOPIC THE PROTESTERS THINK IS IMPORTANT? No s**t they think it's important, it's like, their thing. To suggest that the topic you value is what everyone would benefit most from is ethnocentrism at its best.
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Pete at Home
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If I was native to Georgia I would certainly March to protest the Calhoun name of a major street in Augusta. If one man could be blamed for the civil was and subsequent sheerness atrocities, that man would be Calhoun. But I am not from here and think dimly of outsiders who move in and demand cultural changes to sip their tastes
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
People who are being listened to don't protested because the point of a protest is to gain attention when people don't listen.

I think this right here encapsulates a fundamental flaw in your thinking. People who are being listened to, will in fact protest if they are not getting the changes they demand. There is a big difference between hearing someone and agreeing with them.

You leave no room for what happens when a group is heard and disagreed with, or where they are heard but their demands are unreasonable. In fact you just seem to assume that all disagreement is just a matter of misunderstanding, and any honest person who truly listens will instantly switch positions to mirror the complainers' position. It's intellectually naïve. In fact avoiding a protest requires compliance not just listening. And if compliance is contrary to the needs of another group, including the majority - as is appropriate in a democracy, its not necessarily reasonable or possible to meet that need.

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AI Wessex
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You might be thinking Pyrtolin's use of the word "listen" is passive. I think he means that they hear, digest and respond accordingly.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
People who are being listened to don't protested because the point of a protest is to gain attention when people don't listen.

I think this right here encapsulates a fundamental flaw in your thinking. People who are being listened to, will in fact protest if they are not getting the changes they demand. There is a big difference between hearing someone and agreeing with them.

And, as Al notes, there's a big difference between letting someone talk and actually listening. Even if you don't agree, actually listening, in context, is a process that involves dialog, seeking understanding, and then eventually working toward a mutually acceptable resolution.

quote:
You leave no room for what happens when a group is heard and disagreed with, or where they are heard but their demands are unreasonable.

No, you fabricate that on my behalf and ignore the fact that I have directly said otherwise.

quote:
In fact you just seem to assume that all disagreement is just a matter of misunderstanding, and any honest person who truly listens will instantly switch positions to mirror the complainers' position.

At no point have I suggested that. It's you who seem to equate responding honestly to someone's concerns with agreeing with them, while insisting that if you disagree you need to misrepresent them rather than simply articulating your own position.

It would be one thing if you were talking about how a message I was expressing to someone else would come across from their perspective, based on an honest understanding of what I was trying to say, as per my discussion with Josh, but you insist on, over and over again, inventing things and putting words in my mouth that actively contradict what I've said, and then pretending to make arguments against them.

quote:
In fact avoiding a protest requires compliance not just listening. And if compliance is contrary to the needs of another group, including the majority - as is appropriate in a democracy, its not necessarily reasonable or possible to meet that need.
No, it requires ensuring the people who have a compliant feel that they've been heard and that effort has been made to respond to them. That doesn't mean blind compliance, that means listening, responded, and making a real, active and visible effort to come to a mutually agreeable accommodation that respects everyone's rights. Not, as the universities in questions have been doing, ignoring them and making no effort to take even basic acts toward acknowledging that their complaints have been heard.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Except that implies that the racial prejudice of others (which is what I take it you're incoherently applying rasim here to mean) is relevant to the goals of the protestors.

Josh said their actions increased racism, you misinterpreted him. Doesn't matter if it's relevant to their goals, its just a factual question with potential results you don't like.

I can accept the possibility that the protesters may be seeking a personal benefit that leads to an increase of racism generally, but I doubt that is truly the case. And I doubt that they would agree with that if you asked them.
quote:
It's a bogeyman threat that actively distract from their actual desires and objectives.
It may be, or it may be a factual reality. I don't believe your theory leaves you capable of acknowledging that, but winning a battle and losing a war is a well understood concept.
quote:
quote:
He didn't give them permission, nor did he condition it on anything.
He said "I want you to this" that's a staement of permission, and presumes that what _he_ wnts matters to them.
No actually he didn't (at least in the passage you quoted), that what's you said. He said, "I do not want them to "be silent" about their experiences..." So again, he didn't grant them permission, conditional or otherwise that's just you using a strawman.
quote:
As free and equal people what they want should be what matters and what we're paying attention to.
No. As equal people their wants and our wants are equal, not better or worse. It's certainly respectful to pay attention, but it's not a requirement of equality or freedom. In fact, you're contra-logically asserting that we have to pay attention to them, but that the inverse is unacceptable (that they would have to pay attention to us). You wrap your head around this illogic by ascribing views to a group called the "majority," which you assert speaks for everyone else with a single voice and therefore every individual who even tangentially is related to that "majority" has already been heard (whether or not they have actually been heard).

You love to mix group and individual concepts willy nilly to create whatever result you're looking for and to denigrate anyone else pointing out the logical flaws in that approach.
quote:
quote:
He actually expressed agreement with your stated goals (not that you acknowledge anything that others say) by validating that their views and opinions should be heard.
Except, of course, for his objection to measures that it took to actually get people to hear them.
And? Goals and measures are not the same thing. One could support one side or the other in the old Irish conflicts but not agree that terrorism was acceptable.
quote:
So we have a nominal claim that he want them to be heard, but apparently by someone else because he immediately followed that up by saying he didn't want them to take the kind of action it took to get him to hear.
Which is just more motive speculation on your part, rooted in your inability to comprehend that other people may pursue the same goal in their own manner. Which again given your absolute demand that we respect the methods of your favored grievance group, no matter what they are, is rankly inconsistent and hypocritical when you reject anyone else's methods for how they choose to listen or respond.
quote:
quote:
Hard to say if they have merit until after you hear them, unless you're buying whatever they are selling sight unseen.
Indeed, but we have just the opposite problem- people dismissing them based on the fact that they managed to get heard without actually looking at the content of the message, just the nature of what it took to get attention to it.
Which are two different things. Again one can criticize terrorism, but support the Palestinians.

Your real compliant here is not about being heard, it's about compliance. What you're celebrating is not that concerns were heard, understood and accommodated from a position of mutual respect, but just that the University complied. Doesn't matter at all WHY they complied, and that's what puts the lie to what you're saying. It's not about being heard at all, its just about effectiveness. That's also why it's important to you to conflate the message and the measures, so you can cloak any "means" in a justified "ends."
quote:
quote:
And yes no one is permitted to take physical action in this case. The state has pre-empted our self-help rights in all but a limited set of circumstances. Are you proposing a change to the history and right of physical self help?
We seem to have a long standing right of freedom to assembly and to protest injustice, or are you just glossing that over here?
He said by application of physical force. I don't want to speak for Josh, but I don't believe that he meant anything other than violence with what he said, so focusing on protests (which are uncontroversial) seems like another misdirection.
quote:
quote:
What very real threat of physical harm? Please cite examples.
You're actually denying that black people, of all races, are at a significantly higher risk of physical harm than others?
No, I'm denying that any of that is attributable to the University environment. In fact, I'd expect that the statistics would indicate that being a University student is probably safer than not being a University student by demographics. But more importantly, why do you think this is relevant? You've just lectured me on how the protesters are only talking about the University environment and it's unreasonable to expect them to consider the greater impact on racism, and now you want to pull general demographic information from the entire non-University population into the conversation?
quote:
What do you want, assault and homicide stats?
From the Missouri campus, sure. Or are we to pretend that changing its President has any ability to impact assault and homicide statistics somewhere else?
quote:
I mean, if you're asking me to prove what the black experience in the US is to you, then at least have the decency to admit that you have no clue about it instead of trying to hold the mutually contradictory position of not being ignorant but yet requiring a prove basic facts.
Lol, you seem to love running away with illogical connections if they give you a chance to go off on a soap box point. No one asked you to prove a "basic" fact, I asked you to demonstrate the threat on campus, which is as you pointed out where redress of the grievance is being sought.
quote:
quote:
Like I said before, when you jump to physical harm to confront the entire range of mental and emotional harms possible it demonstrates the weakness of your philosophy.
Nice a complete tangent to once against claim that consistency is weakness. Or is it failure to conform to a degenerate status quo that you're asserting is a weakness? Either way, for all of its irrelevance, this is begging the question at its finest.
The weakness in your argument is your inability to craft a convincing argument for a remedy that isn't connected to an act that is already generally agreed to be illegal. Its the association fallacy full blown. Because we agree that physical threats and harms deserve a remedy, and mental and emotional threats and harms can be described with the same terms, it must follow that they deserve the same kind of remedy. There's no logic there, just an association fallacy.

So make your case, if you can.
quote:
quote:
I think the fairer interpretation is that he was talking about everything BUT PHYSICAL HARM with his statement. He even took it a step into physical acts to threats with his Swastika example (not that you really are paying attention).
That doesn't change the fact that black people face the real and imminent threat of everything, including physical harm, as part of their day to day reality.
Which does not have to be connected to how they would choose to interpret everything else. That's a choice that is being made. Is your philosophy too narrow to explain why such things have to be considered only through the lense of violence?
quote:
quote:
These are my favorite ones, where you ascribe actions to "institutions" rather than people, as if they monolithic and not capable of the individualize reactions of the people that make them up. This one though is a bit of a cause of the day, and not without good reason given how far the police take things these days.
Mob psychology changes human behavior, lie it or not.
True but not every institution is a mob or acts like a mob.
quote:
If the police don't want to have the reputation for being biased against blacks, then they need to make greater efforts to stop abusive behaviors within their own ranks, not to blame others for the legitimate fear they invoke because those bad actors are common enough to represent a pervasive threat.
And there's an active (and always has been) process to monitor the police and to bring them back in line with our shared values. I agree we've let them go too far, their training is far too aggressive and hostile for the role they are supposed to be playing.
quote:
quote:
In any event, you have to have a bad act that would actually evoke police protection, it didn't seem as if any were actually implicated here.
And yet reference to police were in the original message, so what that communicated needed to be addressed.
Yes, but you keep addressing it because its easier to address than the much larger group of issues that do not warrant police intervention. You keep dodging questions about the resolution of conflicting rights of two parties, and you won't come out and say HOW you intend to keep mean people from being insulting and making other people feel unsafe. It's fine and good to state they have the right to feel safe, but nothing you've put forward actually makes that happen without abusing someone else. You just waive that harm away because they are part of the monolithic "majority" (even when of course they aren't).
quote:
quote:
Who is taking their life into their own hands exactly? What evidence of this is there? And what context?

You're talking about a university campus, how common is racial murder on university campuses?

Again, back to fundamentally questioning what day to day life is for black people.
No, questioning why this is a University issue that a president of a university somehow could have addressed.
quote:
That would be a relevant question, I supposed, if black students were born on campus, lived their whole lives on campus, and then went to school there.
Sigh, or maybe its relevant because they are protesting at a University and claiming their greivances are with failings at the University.
quote:
quote:
The "because" is unwarranted. You don't have any idea what kind of world he lives in, or whether he's come up through the kind of personal circumstances that are more potentially damaging than the group identity issues that are all you seem to care about.
Actually, yes I do.
Again, you demonstrate that despite all your demands for listening, it's not something you are actually willing to do. That your demands are for other people to listen to and accept your own ideas (their yours by proxy, as you claim to be speaking for a group rather than on your own behalf).
quote:
quote:
Was this one just completely made up? He said internalizing a status of oppressed makes having self-worth more difficult, which your thesis inherently acknowledges and you routinely bash everyone nearby with. Yet when he says it you "reinterpret" it into nonsense?
No, and I see you're not above making things up here to claim that I'm making things up.
Really, what did I make up? Show it, cause I go no respect for your arguments by assertion.
quote:
I said that _being a victim_ regardless of whether one "internalizes" the status makes it impossible to ignore the signs and signals that society gives you to remind you of your status.
That's illogical, its only through internalization that it becomes impossible to ignore the signs and signals that require you to acknowledge your "status". Without internalization its not your status in your own mind. You can't switch to third person omniscient and define someone else as a victim to avoid that process.
quote:
Signals that it punishes you for ignoring by subjecting you to abuse and violence.
Really, specifically when and how. Where is the majority culture imposing abuse and violence for ignoring signs and signals. Be specific now, cause I think this is one of those areas where you're hiding behind generalities because you either have no on point examples (which allows you to assume the truth) or where your examples are completely disputable as to whether your interpretation is accurate.
quote:
His final statement essentially dismissed the reality of the threat they live under and the necessity of remaining aware of it and reacting to in in favor of acting in ways that let their guard down out of a false confidence that there is no real treat behind the signs of threat they face.
What threat at the university again?
quote:
To effectively say that if they ignore the things that they've seen people get killed because of they'll be just fine, regardless of a preponderance of evidence in their lives to the contrary.
Your argument really seems to be that the University President failed to correct the dangers of an entire society. There's no evidence that any of the conditions that cause the demographic issues you're citing are not actually reduced in the university environment, and there's certainly none that a university could correct the general societal environment.
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Gaoics79
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Seriati Pyr's memory chip is set to "read only". You are wasting your time.
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Fenring
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I'll add on to what jasonr said that Pyr has already stated he knows no more facts about Mizzou than we do, and so he won't be able to answer questions about the specifics of life on campus there. He is basing his comments on the general basis of inequality in America and on the statements of the protesters and that's it. The only answer you'll get, Seriati, is that Wolfe lost his job for failing to do his job and listen to the protesters. What that boils down to is compliance with their demands, since Pyr defined "know what they're doing" as meeting demands.

I'll also add in that Pyr's equivocation on his answer to "was it good or bad that Wolfe lost his job" is telling. He said it's bad, but bad on the grounds that Wolfe let it get that far in the first place. While that fact may be bad, the answer suggests that it was Wolfe's own incompetence that led him to lose his job, which from a standard of justifiability means that him losing his job was just and correct. That is what I meant by "good and bad", so in short Pyr's view is that it's appropriate that Wolfe lost his job.

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Seriati
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I appreciate that guys, but I don't argue with Pyrtolin because I think there's any possibility he'll change his mind (or even acknowledge a point). I do it because his entire argument style is based on layering assertions and assumptions on top of each other until he moves the meta-debate to a point where his underlying assertions become the baseline assumptions. I mean look at the debates over the meaning of racism. There's nothing there but an attempt to change the meaning of the term to make the default be that he wins. Trying to point out the fallacies, logical flaws and unwarranted assumptions is a bit of civic duty in a free society.
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JoshCrow
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I just want to express appreciation to Seriati for his line-by-line rebuttals to Pyr based on my comments. I honestly didn't have the time or energy to do it at that level (managing line-by-line html quotes is intensely annoying to me) but I was majorly heartened that someone did. Kudos.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
Now let's say a white male conducts a lecture about how intersectionality is evil, or feminists are misguided, or whatever anti-protest he believes in. As a result people are going to say they feel unsafe with that kind of 'hateful' rhetoric on campus.


No they're not. They're only going to say that if it happens as part of an extension of an overall attitude that makes them feel unsafe. you're back to trying to make things out to be magical single instances as if history and context weren't important.

I mean, I get that it's beneficial to you to try to cast the people protesting as being irrational and oversensitive instead of even giving a moments consideration to the notion that they might have a legitimate gripe about how they've been treated and left open to attack over a long period of time, but it is actively insulting to them for you to keep presenting that as axiomatic.

quote:
And you know damn well this will be the response; such a lecture would be protested maximally.
No I don't. That's begging the question. If you want to assert that, show some proof. In even a reasonably safe environment, most people will not feel treateded enough by it to need to respond so strongly, and those that do should feel safe and encouraged to carry on a reasonable counter protest to ensure that people realize that there's an alternate point of view.

quote:
How do you square "the admin did its job properly" with the fact that people now feel unsafe anyhow?
Mostly? Begging the question and constructing a narrative based on bias, rather than honest understanding.

quote:
Similarly, unless the admin wants to outright ban contentious speech or contrary views there will be people who disagree with what the protesters say, and those people will anger the protesters.
Absolutely. But there's a wide gulf between being angered by and feeling under threat by. And a safe public environment includes measures, such as safe private environments, reasonable general security measures, then people aren't put in the position of feeling under imminent threat by implicit support of disagreeable positions, even those that support oppressive attitudes toward them.

quote:
Your two options are to have people on campus who feel unsafe due to offensive ideas being spoken, or else to have a censored campus. There is no third option.
No, there's a third option. You provide a baseline of safety so that disagreeable ideas aren't a threat to them as they are in an unsafe environment.

quote:
Your mistake here is to classify the Halloween email as being a "hurtful message." Now, you could have said it offended some people or was hurtful to them, which is obviously true, but no: you called it hurtful, outright.
This is confusing. you acknowledge there that it was hurtful to them, but object to calling it hurtful? As if being honest about the fact that it was hurtful (of course to them; didn't you object way up thread about the notion of speaking up, unasked, because of a assumably flawed perception that it was hurtful to others?) is somehow a mistake.

quote:
In other words, you are casually inserting into your sentence the premise that the students were objectively correct that it was hurtful,
Something that you acknowledged as well, even.

quote:
which in turn suggests that only a lack of sensitivity or empathy could lead to such a hurtful email (and you have the audacity to say so yourself anyhow).
I say they lack an understanding of the hurtful nature of what they're saying. How else do you characterize a lack of understanding of the harm that your doing? Unless you are suggesting that it was deliberately intended to hurt them?

quote:
In fact the email is completely respectful, civil, and intelligent.
And? Those just speak to presentation, not content. None of those prevent ignorance, none of those prevent doing harm to others, intentional or not. You can find very erudite, civil, and respectful defenses of colonization, slavery, and whatever other hurtful philosophy from people who earnestly believed that they were doing good for everyone.

quote:
Certainly it isn't everyone's cup of tea, but calling it hurtful exhibits your massive allegiance to the protesters before you even examine the facts.
So even simply acknowledging the fact they were hurt means complete allegiance? Do you draw no distinction between simple human empathy and capitulation? How do you expect to carry on a reasonable dialog at all if you come out of the gate not even granting them the basic human decency of trusting to report their own feelings?

quote:
Incidentally, suggesting that the person who wrote this email lacks empathy, specifically, is the kind of libelous leaping to conclusions that I really think is both disrespectful and dehumanizing.
you suggests that they understood the harm they'd be doing and committed it intentionally? And I don't suggest that they lack empathy. I suggest that they lack understanding.

quote:
You do it to people here too, so if you actually cared about sensitivity you might consider this.
Ah, better to let people go on making ignorant attacks on others that to point out how they're hurting others through their ignorance? BEcause it's far better to let people remain comfortable in their ignorance than face them with the possibility that there may be unintended consequences to their actions that they didn't realize or understand?

Or are you saying that I should assume people here are fully aware of this and are intentionally being dismissive and dehumanizing of others? I mean there are a few that I could probably safely assume that of, but I make a point of giving them the benefit of the doubt regardless.

quote:
The irony here is that you completely misunderstand what Dr. Hollaway meant about wishing she had understood the situation better. You assume she meant you wish she had taken the reasonable requests seriously, since you assume they were reasonable requests and the only reason she wouldn't agree is because she was unreasonable.
He said he didn't understand how deep the problems ran. Again, you seem to be talking as if you're assuming that the letter was something that happened in isolation, as if teh reaction was to just the letter and nothing else. And the problem was that the administration treated the letter as if it were an isolated event. And that assumption was wrong- it was very evident to someone that actually looked that there was a ongoing and growing problem.

quote:
But what she actually meant by that is she didn't foresee the reaction to her comments being so vitriolic and hostile.
No I think you're completely confused. We're talking about Dr. Holloway here, the Dean who circulated the initial letter to educated people on the harmful nature of certain costumes, so that they could apply reasonably empathy to their choices, not the Professor who responded to it.

This is the Dean regretting ignoring that response and not making it clear that the university supported those that may have been hurt by her. He's expressing regret for not realizing how deep the tensions ran leading up to the event leading him to inaction instead of taking prompt action to diffuse the situation.

But I guess it would be an unfair attack on my part to point out just how much you were willing to backfill to meet your bias here to build an argument out of ignorance?


quote:
You've just stated your position truly for the first time. An admin "who knows what they're doing" will have to "meet the real functional demands." This is what a university administration is for, to you, and failing to meet demands means you don't know what you're doing.
Refusing to engage in a reasonable discussion about the issue, sort out the reasonable demands and seek to build accommodations, is absolutely a failure on the part of the administration.

quote:
And if you think that acknowledging the demands respectfully and engaging in dialogue and yet refusing to meet the demands would stop the protests then you're dreaming.
Ah, not pretending to engage in reasonable dialog, then ignoring everything requested in favor of preserving the status quo. Yes, I expect that kind of superficial appeasement in order to ignore the concerns being expressed would not go over well.

quote:
By the way I like how in saying the admin should meet these reasonable demands you are indirectly agreeing that all undergrads should have to take am ethnic studies class.
Am I? Is that, for sure the request that I found most reasonable? Or are you picking one that you want to trump up attacks on here? Am I to take it from this that you consider mental health services trained in there specific needs to be an even less reasonable request?

For the record, given the issues at hand, I think this is likely a pretty reasonable request overall.

quote:
I find that most intriguing, since I can think of a number of classes that I think of more of a civic responsibility to know than that.
I'm sure you can. But of course we're back to arguing from ignorance again. Here you are on the outside, without even enough familiarity to recognize the names of the big players, trying to tell people on the inside what they need because you magically know more about their situation than they do by pure assertion.

quote:
How about American history? Surely that would cover some of the black/white race issues.
Because that would address baseline cultural sensitivity and respect issues? From what are you drawing this certainty that the history of issues is the biggest lack of current knowledge?

quote:
How about...say...logic? There's a good one if you want people to increase their understanding.
Not really. Improve factual reasoning, sure. But it's a lack of respect that they're facing not a lack of ability of others to build rigorous arguments.

quote:
What about intro to economics? Surely the ethnic issues cannot be understood in an absence of understanding the way the economy works;
Some solutions and deeper understandings, perhaps, but they're not asking for a degree level understanding, just basic respect in communication.

quote:
heck, you can't even properly define systemic racism unless you understand economics.
sure you can. You may not be able to fully dig into the deepest implications, but you can certainly define it. I can tell you what an electron orbit looks like without you needed to understand the complicated math and quantum physics that went into determining that shape.

quote:
So how do we come to the point where you think the admin has to give in and force all students to study THE ONE TOPIC THE PROTESTERS THINK IS IMPORTANT?
I don't think that. I think they need to openly and honestly discuss the issue with the students, and perhaps figure out a compromise that might lead to better overall education of the campus community on the issues. The initial demand, like with all negotiations is just the starting point for discussion, not the expected final outcome. Any well planned protest will demand far, far more than it realistically wants or needs so that it has room to negotiate to a reasonable outcome.

quote:
No s**t they think it's important, it's like, their thing. To suggest that the topic you value is what everyone would benefit most from is ethnocentrism at its best.
And to suggest that it's unreasonable purely on the basis that same people would benefit from it is just outright contrarianism. Never mind the implications of attacking them simply for trying to advance their own interests in the only ay they can get attention called to them.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
]Josh said their actions increased racism, you misinterpreted him. Doesn't matter if it's relevant to their goals, its just a factual question with potential results you don't like.


No I didn't I pointed out that I fully agreed that it might inflame racial prejudice. Just taht taht was irrelevant, because the prejudice of individuals is a personal matter and completely irrelevant to their needs or goals.

and more to the point, suggesting that it's their job to try to appease people who harbor such prejudices, at the expense of their own needs, is actively casting them as second class to those with the prejudices. RAising this factual threat only serves to remind them that they're not being treated as equals, but as subservient to those that they dare not offend

quote:
I can accept the possibility that the protesters may be seeking a personal benefit that leads to an increase of racism generally, but I doubt that is truly the case. And I doubt that they would agree with that if you asked them.
Especially if you confuse the matter by substituting racism - which, to them, will mean overall discrimination against minority races - for persona prejudice - which is actually meant here; the antipathy toward them of those that harbor biases against them.

Guess what. Their goal is to move toward more equitable treatment at the university and by the university administration, even if it means a handful of people in New Jersey, Montana, or even right there in the same city in Missouri don't like them as much.

quote:
quote:
It's a bogeyman threat that actively distract from their actual desires and objectives.
It may be, or it may be a factual reality. I don't believe your theory leaves you capable of acknowledging that, but winning a battle and losing a war is a well understood concept.
That a freak accident may occur whenever you walk outside; lightning strike, meteorite striking you, blue ice from a plane, or what have you, that may injure or kill you may be true. But it doesn't make a reasonable argument to advise someone to not walk outside. It's just a bogeyman to scare them into changing their behavoir.

I did not contest the factual accuracy of the claim, only the relevant of including it. It raises the spectre of a threat that's not relevant or even, in any practical sense externally addressable, as Josh himself notes elsewhere by acknowledging that such prejudices are internal battles, not policy battles.

but it does imply that they have a greater duty to appease those that are or may possibly be biased against them than they do to stand up for their own interests.

quote:
No actually he didn't (at least in the passage you quoted), that what's you said. He said, "I do not want them to "be silent" about their experiences..." So again, he didn't grant them permission, conditional or otherwise that's just you using a strawman.
You missed the "I do not want" there? The part where he injected his personal blessing, or at least lack of prohibition into the argument, as if what _he_ wanted were relevant? If he did not wish to imply that his wants were relevant here, then he should not have inserted his own desires into the question. By doing so he states that his desire for the to behave or not behave in a certain way matters. That his permission is effectively necessary. And that's without even getting into the presumption inherent in giving unsolicited advice in the first place.

quote:
No. As equal people their wants and our wants are equal, not better or worse. It's certainly respectful to pay attention, but it's not a requirement of equality or freedom. In fact, you're contra-logically asserting that we have to pay attention to them, but that the inverse is unacceptable (that they would have to pay attention to us).
not at all. In fact, up to this point you freely ignored them. You still don't have to pay attention to them, but not they made you have to actively choose not to instead of passively doing so. You couldn't just keep on passively ignoring them like you had in the past.

quote:
You wrap your head around this illogic by ascribing views to a group called the "majority," which you assert speaks for everyone else with a single voice and therefore every individual who even tangentially is related to that "majority" has already been heard (whether or not they have actually been heard).
No I don't. That's nonsense you're making up. I do state that the concerns of the racial majority is not implicitly ignored or dismissed based on their race, as racial minorities are. That's a very different claim than what you're inventing. They may have other ways that the status quo works to defend itself by silencing them, but it's not based on their race.

quote:
You love to mix group and individual concepts willy nilly to create whatever result you're looking for and to denigrate anyone else pointing out the logical flaws in that approach.
No I don't. But it is, I suppose, easier to claim that than it is to actualyl address what I'm saying. Better to keep up the smokescreen of strawmen and personal attacks than to risk honestly representing my position.

quote:
quote:
Except, of course, for his objection to measures that it took to actually get people to hear them.
And? Goals and measures are not the same thing.
quote:

THey are when the measure are the last resort someone has to accomplish the goals, and the only actual way those goals have ever realistically been accomplished.

quote:
Which is just more motive speculation on your part, rooted in your inability to comprehend that other people may pursue the same goal in their own manner.
How so? Or are you simply asserting your ignorance here that they'd repeatedly tried other manners, and this was finally what they had to turn to in order to get anything to happen, as it the case with all such protests?

quote:
Which again given your absolute demand that we respect the methods of your favored grievance group, no matter what they are, is rankly inconsistent and hypocritical when you reject anyone else's methods for how they choose to listen or respond.
On what evidence are you basing the claim of inconsistency or hypocrisy here? I do not object to criticism them as such if there is evidence to prove its true. What I object to is what you're doing here and asserting its true, de facto, without any evidence at all to back the claim. A respectful position assumes justification until proof of misconduct can be found. My position is not that you should laud the protest, or even agree with the protestors. Just that it's dehumanizing to attack them by default without any evidence to support the criticism.

Do you have any basis, aside for the fact that you dislike the fact that they're protesting or the results of their protest to hang that claim of hypocrisy on? Any evidence that they do not actually stand for the principles that they claim to be standing for at all?

Innocent until proven guilty and all. Treat them as if they're innocent until such time as actual evidence to support accusations emerges instead of doing what's been done here and manufacturing accusations while demanding that people prove their innocence.

quote:
Your real compliant here is not about being heard, it's about compliance. What you're celebrating is not that concerns were heard, understood and accommodated from a position of mutual respect, but just that the University complied.
No I'm not. I'm not even talking about what the university did at all. In fact I'm avoiding going to that stage as best as possible because it's a distraction from my point. which is addressing the way the people here are, without evidence attacking the protesters instead of honestly trying to ask about and understand what's going on first so such arguments can be made from an informed position.

quote:
Doesn't matter at all WHY they complied, and that's what puts the lie to what you're saying. It's not about being heard at all, its just about effectiveness. That's also why it's important to you to conflate the message and the measures, so you can cloak any "means" in a justified "ends."
And here you're making things up again to attack me instead of actually even trying to represent your own opinions on the topic. Insult, attack, daemonize. And not one word to defend what that's a proper method of discourse to counter the criticism of it that's my entire point here.

quote:
He said by application of physical force. I don't want to speak for Josh, but I don't believe that he meant anything other than violence with what he said, so focusing on protests (which are uncontroversial) seems like another misdirection.
Well, since the protests are the only form of physical force involved, are you suggesting that he's trying to claim that protests are inherently violent? Or are you saying that he's misdirecting by making false accusations of violence? Forgive me for sticking to things that actually happened instead of discussing pure fantasy.

quote:
[quote]You're actually denying that black people, of all races, are at a significantly higher risk of physical harm than others?
No, I'm denying that any of that is attributable to the University environment.
So you're suggesting that these kids have grown up in the university environment and have had their response to stimuli condition only in that environment?
quote:
In fact, I'd expect that the statistics would indicate that being a University student is probably safer than not being a University student by demographics.
I'd expect that a suburban neighborhood is safer than a warzone too. That doesn't stop conditioned response from the latter kicking in when someone hears a car backfire in the latter. And if the university is full of real signs, things that matter far more to the average person than abstract numbers, that it's not safer, the real signs are going to win, regardless of the numbers. People, by and large, only pay attention to numbers when they confirm their beliefs, they dismiss them when hey don't.

quote:
But more importantly, why do you think this is relevant? You've just lectured me on how the protesters are only talking about the University environment and it's unreasonable to expect them to consider the greater impact on racism, and now you want to pull general demographic information from the entire non-University population into the conversation?
Yes, because that represent the world they were raised in, that set their expectation, and that they need to defend themselves from on a daily basis. A world that the university has an active obligation to set itself aside from to facilitate openness and academics. When it fails to do that, it allows in the external threats that force students to have to be on their guard.


quote:
From the Missouri campus, sure. Or are we to pretend that changing its President has any ability to impact assault and homicide statistics somewhere else?
No. He has an obligation to keep the campus free of the warning signs that those stats will be the same on campus as they are elsewhere. He has an obligation that a segment of his population lives under those statistics and that it's his job to communicate clearly to them that he's making every effort possible to not contribute to them. It is a failing of his when he ignores complaints that he's failing to do that and allowing students to feel threatened- to feel like that world is invading the university environment that he has a duty to protect.


quote:
Lol, you seem to love running away with illogical connections if they give you a chance to go off on a soap box point. No one asked you to prove a "basic" fact, I asked you to demonstrate the threat on campus, which is as you pointed out where redress of the grievance is being sought.
On what basis are you claiming that the students testimony to the threat they feel is false? This the the core of my point, right here. You're starting from the effective accusation that the students are lying about their own experiences. That's disrespectful and dehumanizing.

Fenrig did actually come back and inquire into this in a way that was actually respectful and nonjudgmental. I'm willing to look into that when I have a chance to, but as long as I'm engaged with ongoing arguments over whether or not its okay to just insult and attack them out of the gate instead of showing an honest interest in understand the situation, my time for that is rather slim.

quote:
The weakness in your argument is your inability to craft a convincing argument for a remedy that isn't connected to an act that is already generally agreed to be illegal.
Ah, so the problem is that I don't automatically support the broken status quo. Gotcha. Conformity good, pointing out deficiencies, bad.

quote:
Its the association fallacy full blown. Because we agree that physical threats and harms deserve a remedy, and mental and emotional threats and harms can be described with the same terms, it must follow that they deserve the same kind of remedy.
No, rather, because there is no meaningful difference between mental harms and physical harms- because the distinction between them is entirely nominal, they're useful for comparisons in terms that are less subject to biased dismissal.

quote:
Which does not have to be connected to how they would choose to interpret everything else. That's a choice that is being made.
Sure. And those who chose wrong end up dead. So were left with the ones who made the choices that kept them alive.

quote:
Is your philosophy too narrow to explain why such things have to be considered only through the lense of violence?
They don't have to be, but if you live your life under threat of violence and don't, then you end up dead because you've chosen to ignore the real threats around you and act in ways that provoke them.

quote:
True but not every institution is a mob or acts like a mob.
Every group of people acting as one are a mob and follow the rules of mob psychology. They may be a very civilized mod, but they're still an aggregate and subject to the ways that people act in aggregate. Or are you confusing "mob" (a large group of people) and "riot" here?

quote:
And there's an active (and always has been) process to monitor the police and to bring them back in line with our shared values.
Which, particularly for black people, has completely field for decades, short of targeted consent degrees from the DoJ, which have to fight significant outcry if and when the situation becomes bad enough that they have to be brought to bear.

quote:
You keep dodging questions about the resolution of conflicting rights of two parties, and you won't come out and say HOW you intend to keep mean people from being insulting and making other people feel unsafe.
The is blatantly untrue. I've explained it top to bottom. Controlled private discussion groups so that people can have a place to go where they can associate only with safe, trusted people. Moderated forums that allow the same for online communication,. Unmoderated public spaces where basic rules against harassment are enforced and reasonable and organized protests are permitted as needed, also with programs like safe walk, so that students are never forced to travel alone and vulnerable to possible attacks or harassment from others. Channels for active dialogue with the administration with those that have concerns and real and visible efforts to address those concerns as needed, just as the discussion forum that kmbboots posted early in the thread.

quote:
It's fine and good to state they have the right to feel safe, but nothing you've put forward actually makes that happen without abusing someone else.
Oh really? No wait- that was what you put forward and then claimed I put forward.

quote:
No, questioning why this is a University issue that a president of a university somehow could have addressed.
Because the university has to make an active effort to distinguish itself from day to day life. It can't just say "trust us, we're a university" as if that was magical protection in and of itself.

[QUOTESigh, or maybe its relevant because they are protesting at a University and claiming their greivances are with failings at the University.

Indeed- a university that has ignored their attempts to raise concerns that ti's failing to do it's basic job in keeping out those signs of danger from the outside to ensure safety.

quote:
Again, you demonstrate that despite all your demands for listening, it's not something you are actually willing to do. That your demands are for other people to listen to and accept your own ideas (their yours by proxy, as you claim to be speaking for a group rather than on your own behalf).
Well then please do present your argument in favor of attacking and demonizing others by default as the proper baseline for conversation. You're certainly enamored of the technique, but all you seem to be willing to do is attack me for objecting to it, not actualyl stand up in defense of it. If you want me to listen to you, then say something, rather than simply continuing to make things up about me instead of saying much to support the position that you're weighing in on the side of.


quote:
Really, what did I make up? Show it, cause I go no respect for your arguments by assertion.
quote:
He said internalizing a status of oppressed makes having self-worth more difficult, which your thesis inherently acknowledges and you routinely bash everyone nearby with.
The bolded part is 100% fabrication on your part none of which has anything to do with my philosophy or points. Those are your assertions about it, not anything I've ever actually said, and in fact things I've actually contradicted. The very notion that someone must "internalize a status of being oppressed" actively contradicts my assertion that oppression is a factual state, not an identity. Peopel may be oppressed on the basis of their identity, and it's important for them to recognize when that's happening, but the oppression comes first, not the identification as being oppressed as "internalizing" suggests.

quote:
That's illogical, its only through internalization that it becomes impossible to ignore the signs and signals that require you to acknowledge your "status".
That's conditioning, not internalization. Conditioning happened whether you understand what's going on or not. Whether you put a name to what's appening to you or just accept it as the natural way people live. As Pete pointed out, in the worst forms of oppression, people don't even realize that tehy are victims of those more powerful from them, never mind internalize the status.

quote:
Without internalization its not your status in your own mind.
WIthout internalization, it's not your _identity_. You can understand your factual status without bowing down to it and accepting it as your lot in life. NOte specifically that the intial claim was effectively taht if someone acknowledged that they are oppressed or are a victim, they've effectively given in to being a victim- they've internalized the status and there's no hope for them. As if it were identifying as being oppressed that resulted in the negative being oppressed. The truth is that one cannot begin to fight off the effects of being oppressed and fight for equal treatment until one understand the nature of how one is oppressed. Understanding and coming to terms with oppression is the first essential step to overcoming it, not, as JOsh suggested, the point at which people are lost.

quote:
Really, specifically when and how. Where is the majority culture imposing abuse and violence for ignoring signs and signals. Be specific now, cause I think this is one of those areas where you're hiding behind generalities because you either have no on point examples (which allows you to assume the truth) or where your examples are completely disputable as to whether your interpretation is accurate.
Jordan Miles
Jonny Gammage
Tamir E. Rice
John H. Crawford III
Levar Jones
Eric Garner
...

I could keep piling on names. Surely not all completely innocent people, but at the same time all people who ended up dead because they didn't respond to signs that they were under threat properly.

quote:
Your argument really seems to be that the University President failed to correct the dangers of an entire society. There's no evidence that any of the conditions that cause the demographic issues you're citing are not actually reduced in the university environment, and there's certainly none that a university could correct the general societal environment.
No. Again, since you seem to be missing the point, because the University president did not make the basic effort needed to exclude the threats of society at large from the university environment, thus making it communicate the same level of danger as that of the entire society. No one was demanding that the President make all of society safe, just that he make the university safe. Something that he refused to take even basic actions to begin to accomplish.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Your two options are to have people on campus who feel unsafe due to offensive ideas being spoken, or else to have a censored campus. There is no third option.
No, there's a third option. You provide a baseline of safety so that disagreeable ideas aren't a threat to them as they are in an unsafe environment.
You have no idea how unsettling it is to hear you say that disagreeable ideas can be a threat to anyone. Unless you mean physical safety? But you've yet to demonstrate any evidence that the students at Mizzou were under physical threat. This line is really not the way to go if you want to dispel the spectre of crypto-Soviet thinking.

quote:
quote:
heck, you can't even properly define systemic racism unless you understand economics.
sure you can. You may not be able to fully dig into the deepest implications, but you can certainly define it. I can tell you what an electron orbit looks like without you needed to understand the complicated math and quantum physics that went into determining that shape.
Is this comment for real? You can't tell me one specific thing about an electron orbit without speaking in mathematical terms. The little picture of the circle around the dot they show in high school is a nursery rhyme told to children so they can understand there is such a thing as a molecule and that there are certain numbers of particles involved. If you think you can speak of the nature of a molecule in other terms than the data collected from experiments then you fail to recognize why quantum requires "interpretations". It's precisely because we don't have a physical diagram that means anything. It's all math and numbers. The rest is a well-meant but inaccurate attempt to explain the math to laymen. This point is actually irrelevant since you used it merely as an analogy, but it irritated me on principle since obviously this is one area where you thought you could show that a lack of real understanding could produce rudimentary knowledge when in fact it cannot.

Also I think you're right that I confused the names of the two people at Yale. I stand by my point regarding what the statement meant, but I was attributing it to the wrong person, good catch.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
You have no idea how unsettling it is to hear you say that disagreeable ideas can be a threat to anyone.
Indeed. Now imagine hiving to live with that kind of threat hanging over your head on a daily basis, instead of just having to consider how the world might look from someone else's eyes that doesn't have the same benefit from being secure from verbal threats implying real physical threats. Where you might end up dead if you don't show the proper deference to authority and take whatever insults they dish out to you. You're free to stand up for yourself whenever you need to and disagree with people that you feel are wrong without having to remember to keep your head because that kind behavior doesn't put you under threat.

For all of your spurious accusations of " crypto-Soviet thinking" (Based entirely on your made up assertions of what I want to do, not on anything that I've actualyl advocated), you should, maybe wake up to the fact that entire segments of our population here, now, actively live under that kind of threat because of how their appearance or identity differentiates the from the majority and the status quo.

You find that thought horrifying>? Then spend some time listening to people living it instead of getting upset that they had to hold a mass protest just to get you to acknowledge them, even if you didn't spend enough time listening to them to understand that that's part of their reality right now.


Re: orbitals. See the diagrams here. You can show these pictures without dealing into the complex mathematics that leads to the shapes to convey what the different patters for the s,p,d, and f energy levels look like.
http://socratic.org/chemistry/the-electron-configuration-of-atoms/arrangement-of-electrons-in-orbitals-spd-and-f

I don't need complex math so convey that the S region is a spherical with bands where the probability is higher and others where it is lower. Or that the p levels are all somewhat tear dropped shaped pairs. The D level that's the pair of drops with a donut around it is pretty astounding, but again I don't need to know the math to see the shape. The math can help make the shape understandable, but they graphs are understandable on a high level without it.

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Pyrtolin
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Actually, this is a more awesome set of renditions:
http://www.webelements.com/shop/product.php/137/orbitron_gallery_of_atomic_orbitals_poster

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JoshCrow
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Lol, Pyrtolin and I basically had this exchange:

Me: <on page 3 or so, makes suggestion about how black people could handle racism differently>

Pyr: So, you want them to suffer in silence

Me: Uh, no, I don't want them to suffer... I think they should-

Pyr: "I do not want"?? THIS IS NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT! They don't need your permission!

Me: ...


I actually started laughing so hard when I thought about this exchange today that tears came out. There was literally no way to escape this line of argument from Pyr. I suggest he use it often - it's awesome. The minute somebody makes a suggestion (about anything), just pretend they are dictating terms... and if they insist they are not, tell them that they are, and do so even if they then say they do NOT want something. It's almost infallible as a debate strategy.

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Fenring
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JoshCrow, how dare you say the problem is with how black people handle racism? It sounds like you're blaming them for it! [Wink]
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Pyrtolin
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Seriati- looking back to try to find the exchange that Josh referred to (which I was unable to) I will now that I did forget to put quotes around my wedding of the word "internalized" to him in my initial reply, which made it possible to interpret me as accepting the term instead of punt out that the notion is absurd, because the attitude in question is learned as a result of being under attack and defending oneself from it, not a result of deciding to identify as being under attract. One siren nor internalize the notion of being a victim/being oppressed. On is a victim/oppressed and learns a certain manner of behaviour as a result in order to survive. Understanding that one is under such duress is the first step to being able to overcome it, not giving up and losing the fight as his spin effectively implied.

[ November 18, 2015, 01:09 AM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
JoshCrow, how dare you say the problem is with how black people handle racism? It sounds like you're blaming them for it! [Wink]

You're sorely doing pretense here and actually going to bat for victim blaming? The problem with oppressed people is that they complain to much about being oppressed?
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ScottF
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Whoosh!
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Seriati- looking back to try to find the exchange that Josh referred to (which I was unable to) I will now that I did forget to put quotes around my wedding of the word "internalized" to him in my initial reply, which made it possible to interpret me as accepting the term instead of punt out that the notion is absurd, because the attitude in question is learned as a result of being under attack and defending oneself from it, not a result of deciding to identify as being under attract. One siren nor internalize the notion of being a victim/being oppressed. On is a victim/oppressed and learns a certain manner of behaviour as a result in order to survive. Understanding that one is under such duress is the first step to being able to overcome it, not giving up and losing the fight as his spin effectively implied.

Pyr - on the subject, I would invite you to read this piece from Time magazine on the Charleston shootings. It is basically a collection of smaller vignettes sketching the victims' and their families, centered around the question "what does it take to forgive?". I just read it this morning and was surprised to find the Stoic philosophy that I espouse highlighted in one of them.

I think you'll be highly critical of it - and I think you'll even see that you are certainly not alone (the article acknowledges as much). But I think it nicely captures what I believe is a road forward for people of all stripes in the face of adversity.

quote:
In September 1942, an Austrian doctor named Viktor Frankl was enslaved along with his wife and parents and many other Viennese Jews in a Nazi camp called Theresienstadt. After two years in this supposed “model” ghetto—where prisoners were not gassed, although thousands died of disease, abuse and overwork—the Frankls were transported to Auschwitz, where they were immediately split up. Three were sent to their deaths, while Frankl was marched to yet another slave-labor camp where he clung to life until the place was liberated. Apart from one sister who fled Austria ahead of the Germans, his entire family was wiped out.

As he set about shoring up his fragments, Frankl turned his study to the question of human dignity under such conditions. What allows a person who has been stripped of everything to hold on to an essence of humanity? His conclusions are set down in a slim book with the English title Man’s Search for Meaning. Published in the U.S. in 1959, the book had sold more than 10 million copies by the time of Frankl’s death in 1997.

In it, Frankl describes the conditions that led some prisoners to commit suicide and others to become kapos, the turncoat slaves who supervised, often brutalized and even killed their fellow prisoners. But his real interest is in the prisoners who, in spite of everything, “walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

In interviews with those who were victimized by the attack at Mother Emanuel, something of this determination recurs again and again. Anthony Thompson, while explaining his decision to forgive Roof, frames his choice in terms of his own freedom. “When I forgave him, my peace began,” he says. “I’m done with him. He doesn’t have control of me.”

Ina Jackson, who lost her grandmother, says, “It’s easy to react and destroy things around you. I think it’s harder to show peace and how strong you can be amidst something so tragic and hurtful. It’s strength to show that this situation isn’t going to make you be out of character.”

Behind their words of forgiveness lies a determination to choose their own reaction, to be the same people after this monstrous event that they sought to be before it happened.

It is no coincidence that Frankl distilled his philosophy from the experience of captivity, enslavement and mass murder, nor that his prescription bears a strong resemblance to the ancient Stoic philosophy of the Roman slave Epictetus. Maimed by a cruel master in the time of Emperor Nero, Epictetus taught that everything apart from one’s own will is beyond one’s control. That includes health, wealth and the behavior of others—loved ones as well as enemies. Freedom lies in mastering one’s responses and moral decisions, for the only things “under our control are moral purpose and all the acts of moral purpose.”

Prisoners and slaves are forced to reckon with the guttering candle of their freedom. Multiplied through centuries of enslaved and degraded generations, the reckoning becomes a cultural heritage. The forgivers of Charleston trace their beliefs to a communion of forebears stripped of all liberty—except its essence. This culture has been nurtured in churches that promise, someday, the vindication of the just, the liberation of the captive and the exaltation of the downtrodden. They worship a teacher who forgave those who crucified him even as he was dying on the Cross.

This notion of forgiveness has little to do with the offender. Indeed, it says little about the future paths and attitudes of the forgiver. It is the choice made by Anthony Thompson, who says emphatically that he wants nothing ever to do with Roof. But it is also the path of Polly Sheppard, who hopes someday to minister to Roof in prison and lead him to Christ.

Because it says little or nothing about future actions or the demands of justice, this philosophy has always attracted critics who condemn it as a form of surrender or acquiescence to oppression. The world is admirably arranged for racists and tyrants when their victims acknowledge the limits of their own control.

But it need not be surrender. Many have found strength in these ideas. By stripping away illusions of control and focusing on what actually can be achieved, one is free to steel one’s courage and sharpen one’s determination. Nelson Mandela, during the 15th of his 27 years in prison, was moved to mark a passage and sign his name in a volume of Shakespeare. The text, from Julius Caesar, is a variation on Frankl’s theme: no one can control death, only the attitude with which one faces it. “Cowards die many times before their deaths:/ The valiant never taste of death but once./ … death, a necessary end,/ Will come when it will come.”


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Pyrtolin
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I'm not critical of the philosophy. I share the philosophy, personally. What I'm critical of is _preaching_ the philosophy, rather than working toward an understanding of why others do not share it.

I object to the attitude of "Well, if you were more like me all of your problems would go away" instead of "Help me to understand your problems so I can help you create the opportunity to try the things that work for me"

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
I'm not critical of the philosophy. I share the philosophy, personally. What I'm critical of is _preaching_ the philosophy, rather than working toward an understanding of why others do not share it.

I object to the attitude of "Well, if you were more like me all of your problems would go away" instead of "Help me to understand your problems so I can help you create the opportunity to try the things that work for me"

To be perfectly honest, I'm not even sure all humans are even capable of practicing this philosophy with success. Mileage will vary.

Nevertheless, I still strive to teach it wherever I see occasion to - most people are not familiar with it!

We do not agree on whether "understanding their problems" is necessary. Our disagreement is at least now crystal clear: you believe opportunity must be created for blacks and all other such groups to practice this philosophy, and I believe opportunity is already here (indeed it even existed in the concentration camps). At least we've distilled things down to the main point! This is encouraging to me.

[ November 18, 2015, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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