American schools are becoming segregated as a result of “culturism,” not racism

Desegregated classroomA friend asked me what I thought of an Atlantic article pointing to the fact that, sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, America’s schools are once again becoming segregated, as whites (and Asians and East Indians) do whatever they can to flee predominantly black schools. Black schools are academically much, much weaker than white schools and, as the whites flee, the infrastructure of the schools declines.

The article focuses heavily on the fact that academically-oriented black children suffer badly from this de facto segregation, and strongly implies that white racism is at fault. I readily concede that this re-segregation is happening and that the tragic result is that bright black kids are having their futures destroyed. I don’t believe, though, that whites (and Asians and East Indians) are motivated by racism when they abandon previously integrated schools.

The problem isn’t race, it’s culture. (Call it “culturism,” if you will.)  Thus, white parents aren’t saying “I can’t let my little precious go to school with those black people because they are an inferior race who will taint her through contact.” Instead, what they’re saying is “I want my precious to have the best education possible and that requires, among other things, that the other families at the school have the same goal.”

What these white (and East Indian and Asian) parents know is that black culture is not education-oriented. Indeed, for some time, among the children at least, it’s been anti-education, with black children who work hard at school castigated by their black peers for “selling out” or being “Oreos.”

Hispanic culture is also resistant to education. As to that, I actually have some first hand anecdotal data from people who have worked closely with the Hispanic community in the education context.  In the late 1980s, very upper crust Hispanic friends of my family had set up an institution to try to teach Hispanic parents to encourage their children at school. These friends told me that the parents, most from rural areas, had the farmer’s mindset, which is to get the kids out of school and to work as soon as possible. Even though the parents came to America for economic opportunity, they couldn’t wrap their minds around the idea that, subject to some exceptions, education is the key to economic success in America. Children old enough to work were actively discouraged from seeking an education.

Twenty-five years later, my sister-in-law, who works in the Los Angeles school district, tells me the same story: Many Hispanic parents prefer their kids to earn some money sooner, rather than more money later. Sure, there’s a bell curve, with certain black or Hispanic kids and their families focused hungrily on an educational goal but, for the most part, neither the children nor their parents focus their energy on education.

White, Asian, and East Indian cultures, for the most part, are obsessed about education as a necessity for thriving in America. Parents in these cultures understand that the school’s intellectual environment matters.  If the school culture sees every parent in the community demanding hard work and high grades, that will trickle down to the children, who will create a competitive, exciting academic culture. So yes, white parents are fleeing predominantly black schools (and doing so in whatever way possible), but they’re not doing so for the old-fashioned racial reasons. It’s all about education cultures versus anti-education cultures.  Culturism, right?

I anticipate that someone will point out that the same article says that, when the schools were first integrated, the integration was successful. I don’t doubt that. Back then, integrated schools were thrilling, shiny, new toys. As the toys lost their gloss, though, people made less of an effort.

More importantly, though, the integration happened thirty-five years ago. That’s an important date, because it was before political correctness came along to poison things. In the late 1970s and throughout most of the 1980s, teachers could reasonably expect equal effort from Joe Black and Moe White.

Thanks to the scourge of political correctness, however, it’s now racist to expect black students to work as hard and perform as well as white students. Heck, with microaggression, a new twist on political correctness, it’s even racist if the teacher, when he walks into the classroom, says good morning to Moe White before he says it to Joe Black — never mind that Moe White sits next to the door, while Joe Black sits on the opposite site of the classroom.

Culture, not race. Culture, not race. Culture, not race…. Although that’s not quite true.

There is a horrible racism pervading the American education system, but it comes from the Left. The Left has successfully argued that blacks are so mentally inferior to other races that they are incapable of elevating their culture to include good behavior, hard work, and ambition. Until that grotesque Leftist racism is killed, and blacks are recognized as fully equal to other races, and therefore capable of academic rigor, whites, Asians, and East Indians will do anything they can to insulate their children from black (and Hispanic) culture in America’s public schools.

Higher education: desperately selling a grossly overpriced, generic product in America

collegecampusThe other night, I attended a college fair with my high schooler.  It featured representatives from perhaps 100 different colleges, each of them standing behind their particular space at row upon row of tables.  Hundreds of teenagers and their parents milled about, approaching one or another table to get the shtick about a specific school.

We must have spoken to about 15 different representatives from various colleges across the United States.  None of the Ivy Leagues were there, but there was a good sampling of top public and private colleges, as well as a representative sampling of all the other 1,400 private liberal arts colleges scattered throughout America.

I was impressed — very impressed — by how generic they were.  Barring college location and campus size, all but two of them gave the same shtick:  excellent faculty, small classroom size, a smorgasbord of study abroad programs (all of which seem to involve one form or another of staying in an American bubble), quality sports facilities, attentive faculty members, ridiculously high tuition, and a commitment to social justice.  I actually felt sorry for the various representatives, struggling desperately to distinguish themselves from each other when it was manifestly obvious that they had nothing unique to offer.

There were, though, two exceptions.  The representative from the University of Washington, which local kids consider a premium public university, appeared to have checked out.  He had no shtick and, whenever possible, answered most questions with the words “yes” or “no.”  When pushed, the only substantive information he offered was that, yes, of course UW had massive classes with hundreds of students listening to lectures, and that the smaller classes were taught by graduate students.  “Let’s get out of here,” my kid whispered to me.

The other exception was Northeastern, which has a program called COOP (short for cooperative).  In this program, students work for six months out of the year, every year, for two to three years (depending upon whether they want to graduate in four or five years).  When they work, they really work, at a full-time, salaried internship.  What the university offers them is training in resume writing and building, interviewing techniques, and workplace behavior.  More than that, the school offers them an entrée into premium work places such as Microsoft or Virgin or other hot, popular jobs, including jobs overseas.  Because the students are working for six months, they then have to attend summer school to make up for the missed classroom time.  Work and school take up their entire year.

Unlike all the other colleges assembled in that room, Northeastern had interested applicants lined up six deep.  The school was selling something new, different, and eminently practical, and students and their parents responded enthusiastically.  Having a college create a program with real world implications, even for liberal arts majors, is exciting.  People seemed to like this entrepreneurial, capitalist bent, although the Northeastern materials zealously promote their commitment to social justice too.  (Indeed, Northeastern’s home page, which shows happy graduates examining their newly issued diplomas, prominently features a woman wearing a hijab under her mortar board.)

To my teen’s delight, I was very pleasant to the representatives, and didn’t ask them to tell me about their campus’ policies towards the boycott, divest, and sanction movement or their campus’ version of Sex Week, and I kept my mouth shut about the high incidences of rape on their campuses and the kangaroo show trials that follow on the heels of these excessive rape claims.  I did break once, though.  When we were at the Sarah Lawrence table, one of the prominent displays was its boast about the five or six cities abroad in which it maintains a campus presence so that its students can have the Sarah Lawrence experience overseas.  One of the campuses is in Havana.

I assured the very nice representative that what I was about to say wasn’t directed at him personally, and then told him that it was an embarrassment and disgrace that Sarah Lawrence would boast about having an academic facility in a police state.  While Cuba isn’t as bad as North Korea, I said, that wasn’t an excuse.  It’s still a repressive regime that routinely imprisons its citizens for thought crimes and that denies them basic human rights.

The representative mumbled about the program going back to the early 1970s, which I said was no excuse, and he also said that students came back concerned about human rights.  I would have pursued this (“Whose human rights?  The imprisoned Cubans’ rights or are the returned students parroting even louder the usual “social justice” stuff that turns America’s young people into fascists at home?”), but my mortified teen dragged me away.

It’s clear that American education is a bubble that’s about to burst.  I just wish it would burst immediately.  I suspect that, with my usual bad timing, it will burst only after I’ve already spent ridiculous sums on my children’s “higher” education.

Indoctrination at schools focuses on fantasy ills, while simultaneously denying reality

GaslandAmerica’s educational institutions aren’t taking antisemitism seriously — despite the mount of proof (often from the killers themselves) showing that tens of millions have died from antisemitism over the centuries.

Meanwhile, as antisemitism surges unchecked on America’s campuses, schools are taking very seriously fracking, even in the absence of any proof that it’s killed any one, ever.

It’s possible that schools aren’t taking antisemitism seriously because, at least in some schools, denying it is part of their curriculum: Witness the now-infamous Common Core assignment in the Rialto Unified School District directing all 8th graders to read Holocaust denial literature and than write essays denying the Holocaust.

And here’s an interesting tidbit: this Common Core assignment took place on the watch of an Interim Superintendent named Mohammad Z. Islam. The District’s story is that Islam knew nothing about the assignment and was appropriately shocked when he learned what had happened. There’s no reason at this point to disbelieve that assertion.

Islam, 57, grew up in Bangladash, where he saw the damage done by denying people access to education. He’s a finance guy, and worked as the CFO in the San Bernardino school district. He was then invited to step into the Rialto district after the former superintendent “retired” following the district accountant’s arrest for embezzling $1.8 million. Islam was seen as the antidote to chaos and corruption. Islam could well be a stand-up kind of guy. In that case, it’s very unfortunate that he has a name that many people consider consistent with a belief system that denies that the Holocaust happened.

What’s quite obvious is that more and more American public schools are abandoning classical education — when that looks to facts and analysis — in favor of a Leftist hodge podge of propaganda on everything from climate to the Holocaust.

The dangerous rise of anti-Semitism on American college campuses

Swastika at UC DavisThis is a useful companion piece to my earlier post about the antisemitic images making the round on Facebook, comparing Jacob Rothschild to the incredibly evil Mr. Burns on The Simpsons.  Guest-posting at The Independent Sentinel, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin looks at the rising anti-Semitism on America’s college campuses, and she does so in a very clever way. Rather than just pointing to the acts of anti-Semitism, she compares the college and media responses to anti-Semitism, versus the same institutions’ responses to anti-Black, anti-gay, anti-Hispanic acts.

I cannot read Marxists — or, why I do not mourn Gabriel García Márquez’s passing

Karl MarxI was so naive when I went to Cal. I didn’t realize that, in my history and English classes, the material we read was either created in the first instance by Marxists or, if it predated Marxists, was first run through a Marxist analytical filter either before or immediately after we read it.  All I knew was that I thought the material was nonsensical and, because of their adulatory prosing about it, that my professors were idiots.

It says a lot about the quality of education at Cal that, simply by parroting the teachers’ stupidity back to them, I managed to graduate from Cal Magna Cum Laude.  I even still have my little Phi Beta Kappa key hanging from a nail on the wall in my office. I offer these snippets of academic accomplishment not to boast, but to denigrate both the material used and the quality of teaching at Cal. My academic accomplishments are an embarrassing symbol of Cal’s deficiencies as an educational institution. To the extent I consider myself an educated person, I attribute that to my being an autodidact, hungry for knowledge, not to being a high level graduate of one of the world’s top universities.

Law school, at least, had the virtue of being nothing more than a fancy trade school. I had decent professors, wonderful peers, and enjoyed myself there. I managed for the most part to avoid indoctrination. Interestingly, in a setting in which I actually had to learn stuff and think, as opposed to just parroting back cant, I was a good, solid graduate, rather than a top one. My sub-stellar performance also resulted from the fact that I was quite ill during part of my time there, which proved to be a drag on my GPA.  (And yes, my ego demands that caveat.)

When I left law school, I vowed never to go back to a formal education system, a promise I’ve kept to this day. I find it exhausting merely to attend Open Houses at my kids very fine public schools. I have to fight against the urge to run out screaming when I hear the nice teachers lecture the nice parents about the topics and methodology they use when lecturing our nice kids during the school day. As the old hippie would say, “That’s not my scene, man.”

A sport of natureAlthough I vowed never to return to school, I have been in a variety of book clubs over the years, purely for social reasons. All of them have been run by nice young or middle-aged women who trust in the New York Times, the New Yorker, and high-end fashion magazines to tell them what they ought to read. That’s how I ended up having to read two authors I’d successfully avoided during my formal education:  Gabriel García Márquez and Nadine Gordimer.

To say that I loathed the Márquez and Gordimer books is to speak in delicate understatement. I hated their writing style; I hated their topics; I hated their values — I hated everything from cover to cover. As my well-intentioned friends struggled to find meaning in the books, I kept saying that the books were poorly written, boring, and unreasonable, and that their principles and conclusions were wrong.

I did not say back then that Márquez and Gordimer were Marxist because, back in the 1980s, I did not know that they were. In any event, as a nicely indoctrinated party-line Democrat, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to criticize anything on that particular ground.

I just knew that I hated reading these much-lauded books in exactly the same way I hated reading Supreme Court opinions (this was back in the late 1980s) by the liberal wing of the Supreme Court. I knew that I ought to admire Marshall and Stevens and Brennan, and that I should hate Rehnquist and Burger, but the fact was that the former group wrote complex, unintelligible, illogical opinions, whereas the latter (as well as all other conservative justices but for the flopsy, wobbly Sandra Day O’Connor) wrote tight, well-reasoned, easy to follow opinions.  I eventually concluded that, because Marxism doesn’t work in the real world, any writing advancing Marxist principles must be muddled, vague, and unreasonable to hide that fact.

Now Márquez is dead and, while an individual’s death must always be a tragedy for his family and close friends, I feel no sense of loss. Instead, I agree entirely with the DiploMad, who has no problem speaking ill of the Marxist dead:

Love in the time of CholeraIn other good news, this time in Latin America, the Nobel-prize winning novelist Gabriel García Márquez is dead.

One of the great phonies and bootlickers of leftist dictators has passed from the scene. Those who love freedom can only be grateful.

I will speak ill of the dead. It is hard to exaggerate the damage that GGM has done to the image of Latin America and Latin Americans, portraying the region and the people as some sort of quasi-magical place, a place filled with ethereal, mystical beings without logic, common sense, and ordinary human emotions and foibles. For all his “magical realist” vision, he could not or would not see, for example, the horrors brought to Cuba and Cubans by the Castro brothers. On the contrary, he had an enormous house in Havana provided by the regime, with servants and cars at his beck-and-call, and a ready chummy access to the bloodstained brothers and their rule of terror. He convinced generations of gringo academic Latin American “specialists” that the region could not be understood in conventional terms; that supply-and-demand economics did not work there; and that ordinary people did not want individual liberty and political democracy. He helped perpetrate and perpetuate a horrid stereotype of Latin America, one in which the atrocities of leftist regimes could be ignored because the region operated on another level of consciousness, one beyond our poor powers to comprehend. Good riddance to this poseur and his unreadable sentences! An enemy of freedom is gone.

Hear! Hear! Yes! Absolutely. The DiploMad is correct in every respect. I knew then that I couldn’t stand Márquez’s loopy, unhinged prose, nor his loopy, unhinged ideas. Thirty years later, I not only understand the problem (Marxism), I have the pleasure of reading someone who gets it and states it better than I ever could.

Others have noticed that teachers think of themselves as one step removed from coal mine workers

Teacher affirmationI’ve commented before about the way in which America’s teachers paint themselves as the hardest working, most pathetically abused people in America.  In 2011, I noted that today’s teachers work fewer hours and are paid more than my dad’s generation of teachers, but the latter didn’t whine all the time.  Last year, I posited a reason for the unusual deference teachers get, and it’s not because they’re the overworked saints of their own heated imaginations:

At National Review, Jason Richwine points out that this martyrdom shtick benefits them in intangible ways, and is the flip side of the disdain with which doctors are increasingly treated in our society.  This got me thinking about the fact that, in every society that socialized its medicine, doctor’s status instantly degraded.  This is true whether you’re looking at the Soviet Union, Cuba, England, Canada, France, or anywhere else.  This is true even though doctors have the longest education and apprenticeship of any job in America and, once they’re working, they truly hold our lives in their hands.  Likewise, in every socialized society, teachers’ status improves.  This is true despite the fact that their training places a moderate demand on their time and they don’t hold our lives in their hands.

Thinking about it, of course, this socialist inversion makes perfect sense.  Teachers produce the next generation of socialists; doctors cost money by saving the lives of old socialists who no longer contribute to the commune.  The relative values assigned these jobs in a socialist society has nothing to do with their contributions to the individual and everything to do with their contributions to the state.

Richwine and I aren’t the only ones paying attention to this teacher worship phenomenon.  Writing at The Federalist, Daniel Payne, a homeschooling parent, also asks “Why Do Teachers Complain So Much?”  His theory is that teachers lack backbone.  Products themselves of America’s public school system, they have no ability to face adversity.

Reading his post, it also occurred to me that today’s teachers, unlike teachers of yore and homeschooling parents today, have an infinitely harder time teaching, not because students are inherently worse behaved than they were 50 years ago, but because their pedagogical tools are so poor.  Whole language is sneaking its way back into the classroom, despite a thirty year run of failures that saw the pendulum swing, way too briefly, back to phonics teaching.  Since we have a phonetic alphabet, the latter is the only teaching methodology that makes sense.  And those countries, such as China, that do not have phonetic alphabets, spend way more than 45 minutes per day, 5 days a week, making sure their students master “whole word” recognition.

Math too is becoming increasingly impossible because Common Core has also abandoned common sense.  In addition, where teachers once taught English classes that focused on language and composition and history classes that spoke admiringly of our own country, their English classes are now Left value propaganda and their history classes are deeply depressing diatribes about how evil we are.  Kids don’t want to learn this stuff, and no wonder.

English teachers

My conclusion would be that today’s teachers whine partly because they’re not as tough as past generations were, and partly because they teach in a socialized system that simultaneously elevates their status even as it makes teaching an impossible, demoralizing, and depressing job.  The cognitive dissonance this forces on the teachers is an uncomfortable mental realm to inhabit.

Alcohol, rape, and man-hating sharia on college campuses

Drunk woman in CardiffI thought it would be interesting to juxtapose two stories about drunkenness and rape.   The first is hearsay:  I heard it from a former judge’s clerk who was telling me about the funniest case she ever worked on, back in the 1980s.  I don’t have details, but I do remember the core facts she told me.  The second is ripped from today’s academic headlines.

The first case, which happened in the mid-1980s, was a rape trial.  The alleged rape took place at a beach party that involved lots and lots of booze.  The claim was that the victim was reclining in a beach chair when the defendant raped her.

The victim testified in sobbing detail about her terrible ordeal.  The judge passed a note to his clerk saying, “She’s dumb as a post.”  How right the judge was came out under cross-examination.  It quickly became apparently that the sex was entirely consensual because the “victim” had been so drunk she thought the defendant was her boyfriend — and she thought this even though her boyfriend was wearing a heavy cast on his leg that night, while the defendant was not.  The defendant was swiftly acquitted.

I guess it was that story, which I heard almost 30 years ago, that has made me leery to this day about accepting at face value rape claims from women who were admittedly drunk almost to the point of unconsciousness.

And now for the other rape story, this one coming from Dartmouth, an Ivy League institution that prides itself on — ahem — the quality education it gives its students.  There, a young man named Parker Gilbert was arrested and tried for rape.  He was fully acquitted because all of the available evidence indicated that both he and the young women were drunk as skunks and that the sex was consensual.  (The girl’s roommate said that the sounds of “consensual sex” were present, which makes it sound as if a Dartmouth dorm is pretty much the equivalent of a brothel, with sex taking place openly in semi-public rooms.  Everyone at college is apparently an exhibitionist or, whether unwittingly or unwillingly, a voyeur.)  I pass the narrative baton to Robert Stacy McCain:

The accuser was drunk, the accused was drunk, and the witnesses were drunk — evidently everybody on campus at Dartmouth was completely hammered that night, and the only thing anyone can remember for sure is that “vaginal penetration” occurred.

Permit me to digress: Can someone get a trial transcript and provide me with verbatim quotes of Nancy Wu’s testimony? Because I’m curious to know what she says she heard, which the newspaper euphemistically describes as “sounds consistent with consensual sex.” Was the alleged victim moaning passionately, as if in a state of orgasmic ecstasy? “Oh, Parker! You sexy beast! Do me, baby!” But I digress . . .

You can see why I was so strongly reminded of that long-ago reminiscence about crazy days in the District Court.  But here’s an add-on that would, I think, have still been unthinkable back in the halcyon days of the 1980s:  In modern-day Dartmouth, even though Gilbert was completely exonerated, Dartmouth still considered him guilty:

How did the activists at Dartmouth respond? With a lengthy statement (still labeling the accuser as a “victim”) denouncing the jury, demanding a “cultural shift” in what could be considered a crime. . . .

If Gilbert had been convicted, the message would have been a need to address “rape culture” at Dartmouth. With Gilbert acquitted, the message was a need to address “rape culture” at Dartmouth (and in New Hampshire!). Facts, it appears, don’t matter.

As McCain notes, it’s not a matter of ignoring facts, it’s a matter of not knowing facts — but in the absence of knowledge, the man is guilty.  In other words, America’s finest educational institutions have come up with a mirror image of the sharia standard:  when it comes to sex, it’s always the man’s fault.  While Islam holds that women always ask for it, meaning a man cannot be guilty of rape, America’s universities hold that men are always forcing it and must, even in the absence of knowledge or the presence of consent, be deemed guilty of rape.

Girls and STEM

bubblechamber2My daughter is taking high school physics.  This morning, she told me about the class results following the midterm.  “Four people got A’s; four people got B’s; and six people got C’s.”  Then she giggled and added, “All the people who got C’s were girls!”

Deadpan, I said, “Your teacher must be a sexist.”  (I was thinking, of course, although she couldn’t know this, about the way the Ivy League feminists tried to destroy Larry Summer’s career for daring to suggest that there might be a connection between gender and women’s low representation in STEM degrees.)

“No, that’s not true” my daughter replied, quite shocked that I would suggest such a thing.  “He teaches everyone the same way.”

“I was just joking,” I told her.

“Well,” she answered, “A lot of people aren’t joking when they say that.”

Leftism sucks both humor and reality out of just about everything.

New editions of the old antisemitism problem at San Francisco State University

My friend Stella Paul got a huge, deserved shout-out at Power Line for her expose of the antisemitic rot at America’s campuses, something that started with a bang right in San Francisco, in 2002.  I mentioned yesterday that this wasn’t anything new to me, since my father experienced it in the early 1970s when he got his Masters there.  My sister reminded me that she too experienced it in the mid-1970s, when she attended SFSU for a few years.

I also remembered that I too wrote something about SFSU’s toxic environment.  I wrote it more than seven years ago, but it’s as pertinent today as ever.  Here are the key parts of that old post:

***

San Francisco has been in the press a lot lately (and inspired some pretty funny Jay Leno riffs) because of Gavin Newsom’s sexual misconduct with his ex-campaign manager’s wife. It’s sordid, it’s sexy, and, at bottom, it’s not troubling. That is, as with all good sex scandals, we can purse up our lips disapprovingly, look for the scintillating, salacious details, and know that, in the grand scheme of things, this story will have absolutely no effect on our lives.

The problem with this sex scandal is that it’s been useful to depress two other, much uglier and more significant stories out of that same city. [You can read more about the first story, involving Holocaust deniers and Eli Wiesel, here.]

The second story goes beyond Western dhimmitude and into the realms of psychotic identification with murderous thugs. A little background first. San Francisco State University (“SFSU”) is an old and once respected San Francisco institution. Its roots go back to the last days of the 19th century. It boasts some famous and some infamous graduates, including politician Willie Brown; comedian Dana Carvey; actress Annette Bening; novelist Anne Rice; sorry-excuse-for-a-comedian Margaret Cho; singer Johnny Mathis; Kennedy buddy and naive conspiracy theorist Pierre Salinger; and conservative writer and radio host Michael Medved,* among others. My father, a nice Jewish guy, was also an SFSU graduate (in the same Masters program as Michael Medved, although their paths did not cross).

Many of our family friends, all of them nice Jewish guys, were professors at SF State too. They were good professors, but they were also all old-time Jewish liberals who felt it was the right thing to do to invite Black Pantherette and Communist Angela Davis to become a professor there. Sadly, my dear old Jewish liberal friends seem to be reaping what they so inadvertently, and with the best intentions, sowed.

San Francisco State University has become increasingly radical, even by San Francisco standards, in the past few years. Palestinian groups, which have been an increasingly dominant campus presence, almost succeeded in having expelled a Russian immigrant who verbally challenged their violent anti-Semitic rhetoric. Eventually, even the University administration, which supported the Palestinian efforts against her, was forced to concede that Tatiana Menaker had done nothing wrong — she was just being persecuted for exposing the dominant anti-Jewish politics at SFSU.

Jews aren’t the only ones in the radicals’ crosshairs at SFSU. Republicans are also a target. In 2004, SFSU’s administration did absolutely nothing when Palestinian student groups violently attacked College Republicans who were distributing Bush/Cheney materials. That 2004 event educated the administration to the fact that, when verbally threatened, Palestinian groups get violent; and assured the same Palestinian groups that, when they got violent, the administration woudl leave them in peace to attack another day.

The campus College Republicans, showing exceptional bravery for a small and persecuted minority (which is what they are at SFSU), have been at it again, trying to exercise their First Amendment rights. This time, they held an anti-terrorism protest on the campus’s “Malcolm X Plaza” (clearly Martin Luther King is too tame for SFSU). Debra Saunders explains the insanity that subsequently ensued:

This story starts with an “anti-terrorism rally” held last October on campus by the College Republicans. To emphasize their point, students stomped on Hezbollah and Hamas flags. According to the college paper, the Golden Gate (X)Press, members of Students Against War and the International Socialist Organization showed up to call the Republicans “racists,” while the president of the General Union of Palestinian Students accused the Repubs of spreading false information about Muslims.

In November, the Associated Students board passed a unanimous resolution, which the (X)Press reported, denounced the California Republicans for “hateful religious intolerance” and criticized those who “pre-meditated the stomping of the flags knowing it would offend some people and possibly incite violence.”

Now you know that there are students who are opposed to desecrating flags on campus — that is, if the flags represent terrorist organizations.

But wait — there’s more. A student filed a complaint with the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development. OSPLD Director Joey Greenwell wrote to the College Republicans informing them that his office had completed an investigation of the complaint and forwarded the report to the Student Organization Hearing Panel, which will adjudicate the charge. At issue is the charge that College Republicans had walked on “a banner with the world ‘Allah’ written in Arabic script” — it turns out Allah’s name is incorporated into Hamas and Hezbollah flags — and “allegations of attempts to incite violence and create a hostile environment,” as well as “actions of incivility.”

At an unnamed date, the student panel could decide to issue a warning to, suspend or expel the GOP club from campus.

When FIRE took up the cudgels on the Republicans’ behalf, SFSU went even further down the dhimmitude path, and into the realm of Stockholm Syndrome. As Saunders reports:

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group that stands up for free speech on campus, has taken up the College Republicans’ cause. FIRE sent a letter to SFSU President Robert Corrigan that urged him to “spare SFSU the embarrassment of fighting against the Bill of Rights.” The letter noted, “Burning an American flag as part of a political protest is expression protected by the First Amendment.” And: “Speech does not constitute incitement if a speaker’s words result in violence because people despise what the speaker said and wish to silence him or her.

“By punishing students on the basis of how harshly, violently or unreasonably others might react to their words,” the letter argued, “SFSU would create an incentive for those who disagree to react violently, conferring a ‘heckler’s veto’ on speech to the least tolerant members of the community.”

The university’s response? Spokesperson Ellen Griffin told me, “The university stands behind this process.”

And: “I don’t believe the complaint is about the desecration of the flag. I believe that the complaint is the desecration of Allah.”

To which FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley responded, “It really doesn’t make any difference whether it’s the flag or a religious figure.”

If the College Republicans had denigrated Allah, I would defend their right to do so, while noting I have no use for the gratuitous Islam-bashing endemic in certain circles.

But it is not the students’ fault that Allah is on the Hamas and Hezbollah flags — in a language they don’t read.

Besides, every freshman should know that students have a right to say what they will about any religion, while believers enjoy the right to talk back.

Charles Johnson summed it up the whole thing at Little Green Footballs when he titled his post on the subject “insulting Allah now a crime at SFSU.”

This is truly the world turned upside down. In the sane world, it’s puerile but allowable under the First Amendment to step on someone’s flag to make a statement. (Indeed, in the insane world of the Middle East, it’s de rigeur to burn the American flag on a regular basis for precisely this reason.) However, in the topsy turvey world that is radicalized SFSU, even though Hamas and Hezbollah are murderous terrorist organizations, the fact that they’ve incorporated the word Allah (in Arabic script) on their flags means that those who protest these organizations’ violent acts by using symbolic speech in turn find themselves accused of committing hate crimes and inciting violence.

As I noted above, what happened at SFSU goes beyond the usual dhimmitude. That is, to the extent SFSU mentioned that the flag stopping could “possibly incite violence,” it’s clear that the school, in good dhimmi fashion, learned its lesson in 2004 when the Palestinians actually engaged in violence against speech that offended them. SFSU isn’t going to get in the middle of that fight any more, that’s for sure (“that fight” being any fight in which Muslims/Palestinians are one of the combatant groups).

More significantly, though, the administration’s claim that it is acting to protect the desecration of Allah indicates that this far Left, presumably secular institution, has completely embraced the ethos of a group that is holding it psychology hostile through the ongoing threat of violence. James Lewis, writing at American Thinker, explains what he sees happening to so many institutions and governments worldwide:

Psychiatry is familiar with an odd syndrome called “identification with the aggressor.” It’s sometimes called the Stockholm Syndrome, after the behavior of air passengers taken hostage by PLO terrorists at the Stockholm Airport in 1973, who, when they were rescued, came out singing the praises of their murderous captors.

***

The most infamous examples come from World War II Nazi concentration camps, where some prisoners were placed in charge of others. According to witnesses like psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, these “Kapos” would wear discarded pieces of Nazi uniforms and often abuse their fellow victims. Unconsciously they were identifying with the aggressors, to ward off the awful awareness of their own vulnerability. People do things like that in extremis.

Now look at the behavior of the Left since 9/11, both in this country, Europe, and even Israel. Rather than feel righteously angered by the terrorist mass murder of 3,000 innocent people, large parts of the Left have adopted the aggressors’ point of view. They keep telling us that the Islamic fascists were right to blow up innocent people who had done them no harm; some of them have taken on conspiracy theories, claiming that Bush or Israel really committed the atrocities. At the same time they are in deep denial about the danger of future terrorist attacks on American soil, and blindly refuse to see the rising threat of nuclear proliferation by stateless terror groups. Instead, they “displace” their fear and anger on George W. Bush. To the Left, once Bush is gone, the terror problem will simply and magically go away.

***

The Left claims to value “peace” above all things; but that means that self-defense ranks nowhere. It’s not an option — at least not when Republicans are in office. If we leave out self-defense against Iranian nukes or El Qaida truck bombs, there is no option except submission. That is what “identification with the aggressor” comes down to. It is a Stockholm Syndrome for millions of people — most of the readers of the New York Times and the UK Guardian, just for starters.

To make things worse, the Left itself is ruthlessly aggressive against conservatives, democratic individuals who happen to disagree with them. There is a true persecutorial viciousness in the Left’s attacks on Republican presidents, from Herbert Hoover to Dwight D. Eisenhower and George W. Bush. Emotionally, these people want to destroy those who defy their demands. Almost all the assassins and would-be assassins of American Presidents since JFK have been Leftists, starting with Lee Harvey Oswald. So their rage is not exactly harmless.

(This is another article I urge you to read in its entirety.)

The way I see it, SFSU has gone from fearing its excitable Muslim students, to actually embracing an ideology that ought, in theory, to be completely at odds with the radical secularism that characterizes the Left. It’s reasonable to believe that this counterintuitive outcome results from the fact that the campus Left deeply fears these new radicals, people whose ideology is much more frightening than the chic Communism that Angela Davis embodied, and they have come to associate with the Islamofascist values as a way of distancing themselves from their fear.

And that’s why, while it’s fun to giggle over a titillating and sordid little sex scandal in San Francisco’s City Hall, the real stories in San Francisco, the ones with repercussions that ripple far beyond the San Francisco Bay, are the ones that took place in a downtown hotel and on a uninspiring little university campus.

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*Funnily, the website that lists famous grads doesn’t mention Michael Medved. I only know he went there because he said so on his radio show.

What does Obamacare have in common with teaching math?

Dan Meyer gave a TED talk about the fact that America’s public schools teach math in the same way that sitcoms present comedy:  As a neat, meaningless package that leaves the brain unengaged throughout the process and empty at the end of it.  It’s a good talk and I recommend it on its own merits.  But I especially recommend Meyer’s intro (emphasis mine):

Can I ask you to please recall a time when you really loved something — a movie, an album, a song or a book — and you recommended it wholeheartedly to someone you also really liked, and you anticipated that reaction, you waited for it, and it came back, and the person hated it? So, by way of introduction, that is the exact same state in which I spent every working day of the last six years. (Laughter) I teach high school math. I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it, but is forced by law to buy it. I mean, it’s just a losing proposition.

The audience laughed at that last line. I didn’t laugh, but I did wonder if Meyer and/or his audience understood that this laugh line applies perfectly to Obamacare.