New insanity from higher education

If you want to look “inclusive” and as non-sexist as possible, you now use the @ sign at the ends of Spanish words that would normally end either in O or A. To wit: the new “themed floors” in the residence halls at UCLA, one of which will be the “Chican@/Latin@ diaspora” floor. The @ sign, being an A inside of an O, is supposed to encompass both male and female, and thus be less likely than insensitive words like Chicano and Latina to emotionally scar someone for life.

Good Lord, shield us from an overconcentration of buzz-words.

Read the article at the Daily Bruin. It may be the first and only time in your life that you laugh while vomiting, both uncontrollably.

But I have a problem with this. (Big surprise.) I want to know how the idea of a Chican@/Latin@ diaspora floor is more “inclusive” than any of the themed floors it is replacing:

an academic floor, a social justice floor, an art floor, a community service floor and a health and fitness floor

These cover EVERYBODY. Chican@ etc. covers only Chican@s. Funny thing, too: they plan to introduce new themes in the future if Chican@ et al. prove successful. One of the projected future themes is “health and fitness.”

And what’s up with the O encompassing the A? Like the A needs the O’s protection? And what about the letter O belonging to women, for its likeness to feminine anatomy? (See this book for an example.)

The whole thing—focusing on my race rather than on “academics” or “art”—is like a piano player taking lessons to master the trill, without caring ever to learn the circle of fifths.

Do read the whole article. It’s ridiculous.

OH, there is another something I read this week that could induce joint laughter and horking. As reported on the Phi Beta Cons blog, the Madonna Constantine plagiarism case at Columbia University has been subjected to a profoundly moving analysis by one Anthony Kelley. In the piece, entitled “Is Professor Constantine Guilty of Plagiarism?”, Kelley, a self-described “advocate of black radical feminism,” is concerned less with whether plagiarism occurred than with making sure nobody’s feelings get hurt:

By staying committed to the principles of compassion and love, I trust that we may be able to preserve both the integrity of all individuals involved and the community to which we are all committed.

If you see Kelley, tell him this: a plagiarizer forfeits his or her (can I just write “h@” and be understood?) integrity, and betrays the trust of the community h@ belongs to. However, to Kelley, the whole thing “is just another instance of white supremacy and sexism at work wherein a black woman’s credibility is systematically made illegitimate.”

I suppose the mournful saga of oppression begins when an Ivy League school hires a black woman and then awards her tenure. The depths of white supremacy’s evil are indeed fathomless.

I will say, though, that if she did not plagiarize, then her accusers need to pay, big time. If she did plagiarize, she needs to pay.

Anyway, I have work to do, so I’ll leave you with the ending. Anthony Kelley makes Mr. Rogers look like Rambo in this dripping performance:

We do not know whether or not Professor Constantine committed plagiarism. Neither do we know her motivations if she did indeed plagiarize. Nonetheless, we should have fewer conversations about punishment and more conversations about redemption and healing. Only after constructive dialogue can we even begin to discuss “punishment” or “sanctions.”

Imagine a forum in which Professor Constantine and her accusers engage in the life-sustaining practice of dialogue, actively listening to each other’s concerns and extending heart-felt compassion in understanding each other’s pain. Imagine the reconciliation that could arise from such a space. Imagine the impact such a forum would have on our community. Instead of just giving lip-service to the idea of dialogue, we would be demonstrating its importance and effectiveness, even when it is difficult and uncomfortable. Imagine an end to the lies. Imagine embracing truth. Imagine healing.

Anthony Kelley is a Columbia College junior majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. Strength to Love runs alternate Tuesdays.

HAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!! Dangit, sign me up! I want love! I want Columbia WGS love!

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