Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sleight of word from HLS

I see Prof. Pull up Your Pants is at it again, and I hope people who enjoy a good goalpost shifting caught this one, buried (and rightfully so) in paragraph nine of 13:

I have asked dissidents to tell me with as much particularity as possible the circumstances that led them to say that they feel burdened, alienated, disrespected, oppressed. They complain of a paucity of black professors, courses in which racial issues, though pertinent, are marginalized, teachers whose interactions with black students display far less engagement than interactions with nonblack students, white classmates who implicitly or even expressly question the intellectual capacity of black peers (“You know, don’t you, that they are here only because of affirmative action”)* and campus police officers who subject black students to a more intensive level of surveillance than white students.


While some of these complaints have a ring of validity, several are dubious. A decision by a professor to focus on a seemingly dry, technical issue rather than a more accessible, volatile subject involving race might well reflect a justifiable pedagogical strategy. Opposition to racial affirmative action can stem from a wide range of sources other than prejudice. Racism and its kindred pathologies are already big foes; there is no sustained payoff in exaggerating their presence, thus making them more formidable than they actually are.
To review: A person makes a racist statement, which in common with bigoted statements, can't be proven, to wit - every black student was admitted due to affirmative action.

This assertion Kennedy accepts without blinking, and for perfectly legitimate reasons that you must not question, quickly transubstantiates it into the airy realm of debate about policy.

What sort of reasonable person would object to a reasoned debate about policy? None. And since objections to policy are always reasonable and could have any number of reasons, persons seeking to assign a specific reason to the objection are behaving unreasonably.

No. Stop. I know what you're thinking, and it cannot be done. Goalposts only travel away from their original position. You cannot carry them back to the original statement and say "This is not an objection to policy, that's a racist insult."

Now please wait quietly until someone provides a list of objections to policy.

And pull your pants up.

*If one accepts Kennedy's quote as accurate [polite cough], I will concede that the Kids These Days are slightly less obnoxious. Way back in the days when I was in college people would use "You" rather than "They," and look surprised when the person they were addressing became irate.

Yay. Progress.


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