Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday Open Discussion.

Enjoy making comments and exchanging
in lively discussions below.


  1. Is anyone else having trouble figuring out a way to help those who clearly supported Trump to feel comfortable and accepted on campus? I have wonderful colleagues who are organizing to support people who have felt targeted as a result of this election. Everyone wants to be inclusive----but only to a point.

    I am struggling with the fact that people who supported Trump are feeling targeted because they are being called racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, etc. I know they do not feel these labels are fair because they don't see their candidate that way (ie---"he only said that most of the Mexicans in this country were illegal and criminals----he said not all of them were!!!" and "but he hired a bunch of women, paid them well and promoted them throughout the past decades! So what that these same women admit he subjected them to sexual comments (and maybe even actions---but none of them are admitting that) just like what he is saying now----most of them say they didn't mind!!!! And the ones who say they did are just ungrateful and uptight!!" and "He said he's fine with gays, really! And that people should use whichever bathroom they identify with! At least that's the most recent thing he said! And he mentioned that he would protect gay people too, from terrorist attacks...wasn't that just great?! So brave! So inclusive and thoughtful to say that after the Pulse nightclub attack!!! And Vice presidents don't have any power anyway!! We don't count the fact that he will appoint a very conservative judge who could do considerable damage to gay rights because----just because. That doesn't count!").

    If we all hold fast to our labels, how will we ever talk? And if we don't ever talk, how will we ever get people to open their minds and maybe change? Isn't this something we need to be trying to accomplish at American colleges?

    My colleagues are angry and resistant to allowing people to talk much about why they feel the labels are wrong. I really believe we need to ditch the labels and accept that people see these things differently. You can't begin any kind of productive interaction with a clarification and insistence that one side is racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc. Can you?

    1. I have to say that it says something disturbing that we have to worry about those supporting the winner feeling marginalized.

      The one time some students asked me for my reaction to the horrible thing that just happened I told them, as gently as a could, that this was democracy in action: the people came out and spoke their will, and you don't get to complain that something is wrong with the outcome just because your candidate didn't win (neither did mine, but I never expected that).

      It always baffles me when people treat democracy as if it were some kind of fairy dust that always makes truth and justice win. Haven't they noticed that not everyone around them is kind considerate and thoughtful? Haven't they noticed that some of the issues our government deals with are hard because there is some truth and justice on more than one side?

    2. I disagree that protesters are complaining that something was wrong with the outcome as in "It was "rigged!!!" (as DT followers were going to say). Most people that I have heard and read about are accepting that the election went off without a hitch. They know he won and accept he's going to be the president.

      But democracy also involves speaking up and using your collective voice to try to prevent injustice. So...I'm not sure what you are saying, but you sound like you are disgusted with the idea of protesting anything about what Trump plans to do an has already done....say....Trump's encouragement of hostility towards Muslims and other immigrants. I respectfully disagree with that disgust. By making themselves heard loud and clear, I do believe they can make Trump think twice. I think the Trumpster wants to be wuved. He's already backtracked on quite a bit. I love the comedy of his "Just stop" order from the 60 Minutes interview! Oh, good, Donald! You took care of it then!

      What I am actually talking about in my post is people (friends of mine----nearly everyone it seems) saying all Trump supporters are racist, misogynistic sexual predators simply because they voted for him. That's half the country. Lots of good people voted for Trump. It's true that his campaign ignited racism and sexism (and homophobic ---whatever ism) in a way unheard of even last year at this time. But those people doing and saying those things no more represent all Trump supporters than the people who are burning flags and rioting represent all the people coming together to express their dismay at the exclusionary policies proposed by Mr. Trump.

    3. They don't need reassuring. That's not my point either. What I am saying is that we are vilifying each other. I think they need more SYMPATHY for the poor people who are more at risk of so many things in this election and post election atmosphere of it being okay to verbally attack (and physically attack) minorities. Most people are good. I do believe that. If the Trump supporters could see that there is a problem here (and they won't if they hear that they are the racists, etc) they can be more aware and sympathetic. At least I think they can.

      And I am in a completely different location than you, a different world. I live in a very red zone. People are smug, yes. And they think everyone is crazy to say there is any kind of hate speech going on, and that any news reports to the contrary are just lies. But you can actually have a conversation with them when you get them to see that you are not saying they, personally, are doing these things.

      Oh shit---I can't articulate this right. I'll just stop. After I say this---I don't see sour grapes or outrage (although my daughter is all surrounded by that at her fancy U). At my college I see raw fear. That's what I see. And these are not paid actors (haha) looking to make republicans look bad. It's real. They sense a change. If we can all talk to each other, the decent people out there, no matter what side of this you fall on in terms of politics, we can ALL be a part of the solution and call on politicians together to help stop it

    4. Please don't read too much into what I wrote. Many of my students are lost and worried, and most are stoically resigned to what is coming whatever side of the election they are on. But we've got a few complaining that the bare fact that the "wrong" guy won is a problem. Those are the ones that asked me for a response—I teach science and certainly don't see the election as part of my curriculum. And I'm unhappy and worried too, but that's what happens in a substantial fraction of elections: some candidate other than the one you wanted wins.

      Nor am I saying to can it, but I am saying that throwing a protest immediately after the election doesn't feel like protesting anything other than the wrong guy winning. It feels like a threat to try to change things by force, and frankly it's what I expected of some of the more extreme of Trump's supporters. It would have been anti-democratic if Trump's people had done it, and sauce for the goose will do for the gander.

      I'm not going to go into my analysis of why this happened or why the leadership of the institutionalized left needs to own up to some of the blame, because now is not the time. But if you are in favor of democracy then you have to be in favor of it when the wrong lizard gets in, too. I simply see that as a fundamental and basic thing: you can't treat something as sacred only when it is serving your own purposes.

      Take the 2016 election as an object lesson in the limits of pure majoritarianism as a moral force: on a bad day the majority of us might not be the people we'd like to be.

  2. Two post election thoughts:
    1. I don't feel like it is my job to indoctrinate students, so I kept my personal opinion about the elections private, aside from encouraging students to vote. I don't know if this was the right thing to do.
    2. I saw a comedian saying if he wanted a pointed thinkpiece, he'd ask a liberal. Are we doing our students a disservice by teaching them to write OpEds, but not not teaching them to seek out relationships with people different from themselves and maintain respectful dialogue? Serious question.

  3. On another note, I lost 40 pounds! Yay for me! I think I look hot!

    And no one notices it! I know this is a very common phenom, but it is really sort of adorable, the way it manifests in snowflake students. They look at you, cock their little heads, and say something kind of silly. Like "Hey---did you color your hair?" Oh, kids.

    My office mate had something on her face removed. On. Her. Face. She had a bandage, and then she took it off and there were black stitches.

    None of her students ever said anything. During office hours, she was helping one of them one on one and mentioned it. The student said "Oh=-=-==yeah! Hey, I never noticed that! Are you ok?"

    1. I celebrate your health!

      I sometimes get asked if I've been getting into shape, when what really happened is I got a haircut. I'm not complaining about getting a compliment, but I don't think I look like I've been taking care of myself, nor do I have much hair to begin with.

      It strikes me as unfair, this apparent opposite treatment. But maybe we just have opposite students.

    2. Yes, but you casually notice a co-ed's chest ONE TIME, and there's a cabal of women who rally to label you a perv.

    3. And I made no comment! This was in the 90s.

  4. I don't why students assume the worst.

    I came into class with horrible black bruises on my arms. Students did notice and were horrified. So, without being asked, I told them I had not been in a bar fight, but had slipped on the ice and fallen.

    That being said, when I broke my foot, I don't think any student ever commented. And I had a scooter than I used for about 4 months.


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