March 08, 2006

PC Mania -- 3/8 edition

Looks like authorities are reluctant to call the plowing into U. of North Carolina students by a disgruntled Muslim with a SUV a "hate crime" -- even though the culprit has explicitly stated he did it to avenge the American treatment of Muslims. When asked if he was trying to kill people, Mohammad Taheri-azar said "Yes."

Hey, speaking of colleges, how 'bout this? You can get a "Masters in Social Responsibility"! Check out the list of "Social Responsibility Topics!" Check out some of these neatly titled courses! Here's a mere sampling: "Minorities in the Capitalist World-Systems;" "Sociology of Aging and the Life Course;" "Feminist Scholarship and the Construction of Knowledge;" "Diversity in the Workplace."

Next, Britain is changing the wording of certain nursery rhymes so as not to "offend" anyone. Instead of singing "Baa baa, black sheep" as generations of children have learnt to do, toddlers in Oxfordshire are being taught to sing "Baa baa, rainbow sheep."

"In keeping with the new approach, teachers at the nurseries have reportedly also changed the ending of Humpty Dumpty so as not to upset the children and dropped the seven dwarfs from the title of Snow White."

Sounds like the UK is ahead of the curve on defining "acceptable" speech. The United Nations wants to halt "anti-Muslim" speech.

The Islamic campaign against free speech continues to pick up steam. With the backing of the visiting High Representative of the European Union for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Javier Solana, and of a visiting Russian delegation, the Permanent Representatives of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Member States convened at the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah on February 14, 2006 to approve the following five points (emphasis added):

* making joint efforts by the EU and the OIC to adopt UN Resolution on the lines of existing UN Resolution 60/150 (Combating defamation of religions) which should prohibit defamation of all Prophets and faiths;

* the adoption of an International Communication Media Order by the United Nations which should cover a definition of freedom of speech in case of religious symbols;

* the inclusion of an operative paragraph prohibiting blasphemy, defamation of religions and incitement to hatred in the text of Human Rights Council resolution presently being negotiated.

Kofi Annan is hip to all these. "He has endorsed the language prohibiting blasphemy or defamation of religions which the Organization of the Islamic Conference wants to add to the text of the new Human Rights Council resolution."

Lastly, back to the UK, "Students and lecturers are calling for a Leeds University don to be sacked after he said he supported a theory that black people were inferior to whites."

Frank Ellis said he supported right-wing ideas such as the Bell Curve theory, which held that white people were more intelligent than black people. '[It] has demonstrated to me beyond any reasonable doubt there is a persistent gap in average black and white average intelligence.' Repatriation would get his support, he added, if it was done 'humanely'.

Now students are preparing to picket his lectures, protest on campus and bombard the vice-chancellor with emails calling for Ellis to be removed from his post.

Hanif Leylabi, a student at Leeds and a member of Unite Against Fascism, said: 'Knowing that he's a lecturer and that he holds views that black people are inferior and that women can't achieve the same as men, it's disgusting and certainly not conducive to an academic environment.'

Amazingly, school officials are holding firm against ousting Ellis (in Europe, at that!) despite what they (rightly) dub his "abhorrent views."

A spokeswoman said that there was no evidence his extreme theories had affected his teaching. 'The question of discrimination does not arise in student assessment. All work counting towards a degree in Russian and Slavonic studies is double-marked. Ellis has a right to his personal opinions, but he does not have the right to treat students or colleagues in a prejudicial or discriminatory manner. We have no evidence that this has happened, but we will look carefully at any such evidence if it is presented to us.'

Sounds sort of like someone closer to home. Or this guy, on the "other side." Or even this guy. Speaking of that last guy, I wonder if Ellis could use as his excuse (if he ever brought up race differences in class) that he was "only trying to 'challenge' his students ... try to get them to 'think critically' and to 'challenge him'" ... ?

Posted by Felix at March 8, 2006 06:32 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Hey Kofi, while you're at it can we get a resolution that states that burning someone else's national flag in front of a TV camera is a hateful act and a deliberate provocation? Well then, don't expect the cartoons to stop coming any time soon.

Posted by: G Rex at March 9, 2006 10:24 AM

Please don't comment on such things before knowing the facts. His views are abhorrent, but since they don't impact on his teaching quality (incidentally his rep is first class) or lead to bias (many people who are taught by him have spoken out in defence of him, including many gays and minorities), he really should stay. He shouldn't have used a student paper perhaps, but this is also a reason the stir has been caused. These are young, idealistic students, without true understanding of the genetic and anthropological issues he raises. They dismiss wholeheartedly and misquote, rather than reasoning out why his conclusions are wrong (and, incidentally, they are). He also speaks in favour of judging people as individuals. There is a difference between someone that is a closed-minded fascist, and someone that hs prejudices they allow to be proven wrong.... Although, obviously, neither is particularly good.
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Posted by: Leeds Uni Student at March 11, 2006 06:56 AM

I believe, LUS, that Felix would agree with you.

Posted by: Hube at March 11, 2006 08:07 AM