Monday, December 22, 2014

Why are you mad, white people???

With the recent incidents of police officers killing African-American individuals and what many consider to be unfair outcomes of court proceedings dealing with those incidents, the public's attention is yet again drawn to what appears to be pervasive racism in our justice system. Just the other day, protesters blocked the interstate in Milwaukee, WI (where I live). So I've been hearing a little bit about it and I'm really disappointed with the responses I've seen from even my own family members.

"Racism is alive because blacks keep it alive. They are segregating themselves." - A paraphrased quote in response to protesters on the interstate holding signs saying "Black Lives Matter". 

 "Will the 'White Americans for Justice' be equally represented?" - A paraphrased quote in response to the, "African-American Roundtable," and their representation in these issues. 

Just to note - I'm not an expert on race relations in America. It's not my area of study, but I have had some education on the issues. Also, I was not present at any of the incidents in question. What I'm about to say is something that I think virtually every adult in America should recognize when thinking about these kinds of issues.

Whites (and particularly white males) have, since just about forever, been the privileged, default representative for just about everything, including Justice. Things have gotten better, and representation is growing for groups whose views have historically been subverted and largely ignored. Yet, it is clearly the case that many white Americans do not recognize ANY historical facts about what has led to our current state of affairs. 

The fact is, whites do not need any more representation than they already have been granting for themselves for centuries. Racism is alive because of people who are ignorant, and we know it's alive because it is reflected in our justice system and in comments such as those stated above. A sign that says, “Black Lives Matter” shouldn’t trigger a response of anger as if the sign means “only Black Lives Matter”. It should trigger a response that says, “Yes. They do matter too, and it’s time that everyone recognizes it in every way.” Even if you believe you already recognize this perfectly, you could at least support the fight for everyone else to recognize it too.

So you got trapped on the interstate for a little while. That might be "infuriating" for you, but think about how truly infuriating it is to have a hard time walking down the street without being suspected of being up to something bad. Think about how infuriating it must be to know your loved one was shot and killed, even though he was unarmed and possibly innocent. Think about how infuriating it must be to be targeted prima facie as a bad person because of your skin color. 

So why are you mad, white people?? What do YOU have to be pissed off about?? You have a moral pass. You have the upper hand. You have had the right of way since you were born. You are implicitly The Represented by default. All anyone wants to do is enjoy your status too, because we're all human, and all human life is to be valued prima facie - right?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I just caught someone plagiarizing! Now what?

In teaching, problems inevitably arise.  And on par with the messiness of life, clear solutions or responses to these problems are not always….clear.  So who better to ask for possible clarity than students!

Here’s the issue: I have a submitted paper where the student is obviously plagiarizing – paragraphs of plagiarizing.  The student has been a good student all semester and certainly appears to be earnest and sincere.  But there are substantial amounts of plagiarism in this paper.

If you were the instructor, what would be your fair course of action?  I know a bit about what other professors would do, ranging from failing the student for the course and seeking expulsion to a slap on the wrist and just dropping the paper from the student’s overall course grade.

But if you were the instructor, what would you do?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

UW-Whitewater is Shutting Its Doors?

Everyone knows that universities and colleges are in big trouble.  With education becoming virtually free on the internet, our expensive institutions of higher education need to come up with bigger revenue streams quick if they are going to survive.

Enter UW-Whitewater.

Back a few years, these revenue concerns bothered the administration so much that they formed what they call the “Growth Initiative,” which is just a fancy way of saying that they are going to let as many students as possible through their doors so that the university can still be profitable.  No one knows if this “initiative” is working.

But something funny is happening now.  The dean of UW-Whitewater’s most noted college, the College of Business and Economics, left quite unexpectedly before this fall’s semester even started.  The Chancellor, Richard Telfer, just announced unexpectedly that he’s retiring at the end of this year.  News is circulating that Provost, Bev Kopper, has been applying to get out of Whitewater and is a finalist for positions at other schools.  And UW-Whitewater’s head football coach, Lance Leipold, is leaving for the University of Buffalo.  There are even rumors that many faculty are seeking employment elsewhere.

Why are all of these top UW-Whitewater people leaving??  I guess if the ship is sinking, it’s better to get off as soon as possible.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Why are Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and CRU valid student organizations? (by anon)

An interesting development happened the other week.  The California State university system no longer recognizes Intervarsity Christian Fellowship as a valid student organization. 

The reason given is that they violate the state’s anti-discrimination clauses which state that any person regardless of gender, sexual preference, race, religion, or creed can occupy positions of leadership within the organization.  As it stands, Intervarsity will only allow self-stated Christians to occupy such positions.  Non-Christians (and practicing homosexual Christians) need not apply.  Thus, California pulled their support from the group as a valid student organization.  Presumably, the same would go for Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) and other faith-based student orgs, but things haven’t progressed that far yet.

However, at UW-Whitewater, these organizations are still able to function as valid student organizations.  And they shouldn’t.  Consider these UWW policies regarding student orgs:

“As part of the criteria for University Recognition, all student organizations must adhere to the concepts of non-discrimination and equal opportunity as they relate to race, color, gender, creed, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy, political affiliation, marital or parental status, Vietnam-era veteran status, or arrest and conviction record, in their educational programs and activities. In holding with the tenets of non-discrimination, the University stresses the importance of eliminating discriminatory and/or culturally insensitive language, behavior and content from University sponsored activities and urges all recognized student organizations to cooperate in this effort.
With very narrow exceptions, student organizations may not discriminate in their selection of officers or members.”
Clearly many faith-based student orgs violate the above policy in the election of their leaders, but even more importantly, they violate the “discriminatory language” clause part because they are quite open in their beliefs that anyone who does not believe the way they do is going to hell.

They have a very particular reading of the Bible and they are not afraid to share it.  Campus Crusade for Christ, for example, has a tract called, “Heaven or Hell: Which will you choose?” and this is what it says:

Jesus and the New Testament writers use every image in their power to tell us that Hell is real, terrible, something to be feared and avoided at all costs. Never forget that the talk about outer darkness and the lake of fire came from Jesus, who died to save us.

In His parable of the last judgment Jesus taught that some would go to eternal punishment, some to eternal life (Matthew 25:46). In other words, Hell will be as real and lasting as Heaven.

The most frightening thing about Hell is that it is spiritual separation from God, moral remorse, the consciousness that one deserves what he is getting. Hell is total separation from the love, joy, and peace that come from God.

Are you going?
“He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41-42).

Which will you choose?
You must decide where you will spend eternity. Jesus Christ has paid the full penalty for your sins on the cross. “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Now you must come to Him just as you are—a guilty sinner unable to save yourself. Commit your life to Christ today! You can pray something like this:

God, thank You for sending Jesus to take the punishment for my sins that I might spend eternity in Heaven with You. I turn from my sin and invite You into my life to be my Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Portions of this text were written by Leighton Ford. ©1974 Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The language above is clearly discriminatory.  If you believe, you are fine.  If you do not believe, you are damned.  That’s the height of discriminatory language.  Couple that with their discriminatory practices in selecting leaders, these faith-based student organizations violate UWW’s anti-discrimination policies.  So why are they still here?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Poor People Should Not F**k

Dear Critically Pissed,

Recently, I read a bumper sticker which said, "Can't Feed 'Em? Don't Breed 'Em!"

I sighed in frustration and disappointment at the ignorance of those who support such messages, mainly because my guess is that supporters of this probably consider themselves conservative and, ironically, are also against abortion, planned parenthood, sex education, and the Affordable Care Act, which provide means for people to safely engage in sex and properly care for their bodies. I thought for a little bit and came to the conclusion that supporters of this bumper sticker are most likely a bunch of religious conservatives (RCs) saying this: Poor people should not f**k.

First of all, if abortion were not so vehemently opposed by RCs who are convinced that a fetus, while unable to sustain itself without the mother's body, is somehow laden with a "God-given" right to be sustained at the expense of someone who actually HAS the right to live via the fact that she is an independent body, then perhaps poor mother's and fathers would not be forced to bring into the world a child they cannot feed.

Second, if planned parenthood were not constantly under attack by (again) RCs who supposedly believe sex is only meant to be had between well-off married couples, then maybe poor mothers and fathers would have access to contraceptives/birth control, making it much less likely for them to (again) bring into the world a child they cannot feed.

Third, if (again) RCs weren't so freaked out and paranoid about schools teaching detailed sex education courses, maybe young people would have a fuller understanding of sex and gain an appreciation of what it could truly mean for them in the big picture.

Fourth, if RCs (yet again) weren't so critical of birth control and the ACA overall, maybe affordable birth control would always be a part of everyone's insurance plan.

Many of the viewpoints established by people who promote messages like the one I saw on this bumper sticker are inherently contradictory, and pretty much all rely on phony religious doctrine, which I do not buy into. It is clear to me that people who engage these viewpoints are simply in favor of one thing, that is: Poor people should not f**k.

So, to you RCs, I just have to say this: Thanks to you, abortions can be difficult to have in a safe manner. Condoms and birth control can be difficult to acquire (also thanks to you). Young people often don't have the resources to understand what sex is about (again thanks to you). And now, you say to the world: "If you are poor and cannot afford to feed a child, then you should simply not have a child, and if you are to have sex at all, we will do everything we can to make it extremely difficult for you to AVOID having a child." So essentially, I'm right when I say all you pretty much are for is this: Poor people should not f**k.

Oh, and I might as well add that, according to your doctrine, poor people should also avoid watching television or movies, reading magazines, playing video games, viewing advertisements, listening to music, or even checking the daily news, because SEX is often promoted via these media outlets (whether you realize it or not). Also, poor people should avoid drinking alcohol because this can induce the urge to fornicate. As a supporter, you should probably make sure that poor people have enough personal lubricant, pornography, vibrators and/or fake vaginas so they can manage their sex drive while you a) merrily appease yours with the condoms and/or birth control you deserve because you happen to be able to afford it, OR b) successfully repress your sinful urges like the good Christian you say you are.

Reality - YOU should go f**k yourself.

A Sympathetic Supporter of Sex AND Pregnancy-Prevention