Tuesday, December 16, 2014

More PC Running Amok

It must be the Christmas - excuse me, Holiday Season, because Political Correctness is once again rearing its ugly head.

Santa Claus disinvited from Cambridge school concert
When Merline Sylvain-Williams went to her daughter’s holiday concert Friday, she knew something was missing. The music was great, as always, and the children were adorable. But a certain jolly, bearded figure was nowhere to be seen. Ho, ho, hmm.

Santa Claus, a festive fixture at the Peabody School’s concert in past years, was absent this time around, an apparent victim of a single complaint about whether he belongs in a public school. (emphasis added)

“It’s too bad,” Sylvain-Williams said after the morning show for students in grades 1 through 4. “I like to see to the joy in the children’s faces when they see him.”
So because one person - one selfish, whiny, miserable person with no trace of consideration or compassion in his or her bleak and withered heart - can't muster just a tiny bit of tolerance and understanding, everyone else has to suffer. Especially the kids.
Another mother, Salina Frazier, said it made sense to have Santa skip the show, given the diversity of the school.
Ah, yes - diversity. We are all being forced to worship at the throne of diversity.

Speaking of diversity, here's another story that makes me cringe. There are certainly different perspectives on the shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent events in Ferguson and elsewhere. It's what we in the education biz call 'a teachable moment.'

For example, when news broke back in 2010 of how the Stuxnet computer virus was used to destroy centrifuges processing uranium in Iran's nuclear program, I used that as a basis for a class project on cyber security. Half the class was assigned to develop and deploy malware that would disable a target PC, while the other half had to figure out how to safeguard the computer and data. The students had a ball, coming up with all sorts of novel methods to infect the machine (my favorite was when a couple of attractive females invited the defenders out for a drink and then tried to substitute an infected thumb drive for one of the lovestruck computer nerds' thumb drive).

More importantly, the students learned something. Not just bits and bytes, although that is important, but more significantly how to analyze a problem - to view it from different angles and perspectives, to deconstruct the situation, think through the consequences and likelihood of success of a variety of possible actions, construct a plan, and then implement it. That's a skill far more valuable than learning about a specific technology with a shelf life of 12-18 months.

Which is why I was so disappointed to see this.

UCLA law professor learns Ferguson-related exam question taboo
Law school exams often present legal conundrums ripped from headlines of the day, but one UCLA law professor is apologizing for basing a test question on what is apparently a taboo subject -- the fallout from the police shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Mo.

Professor Robert Goldstein said the exam question was designed to test students’ ability to analyze the line between free speech and inciting violence. It cited a report about how Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, shouted, “Burn this bitch down!” after a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

The question then asked students to imagine that they are lawyers in the St. Louis County Attorney’s office and had been asked to advise the prosecutor “whether to seek an indictment against Head” for inciting violence. The exam reads:

“[As] a recent hire in the office, you are asked to write a memo discussing the relevant First Amendment issues in such a prosecution. Write the memo.”
That sounds like an excellent question. Take a real-life situation, explore the ramifications in terms of a field of study (in this case, the law), and apply what you've learned. However, evidently the powers-that-be don't agree with Professor Goldstein and me.
... students complained...
BFD - students always complain.
... writer Elie Mystal at the popular legal blog “Above the Law” opined that the test question was “racially insensitive and divisive.”
In true liberal fashion, she also got the facts incorrect.
... Mystal also incorrectly alleged that the question asked students to “advocate in favor of extremist racists in Ferguson.”
Sadly, Goldstein backed down.
Goldstein has apologized for putting the question on the test and has promised not to grade the question.

“I clearly underestimated and misjudged the impact of this question on you. I realize now that it was so fraught as to have made this an unnecessarily difficult question to respond to at this time. I am sorry for this..."
Thankfully, there are other law professors with more cojones than Goldstein, and more common sense than Mystal and other whiny libs.
Other law professors say there should be no need to apologize for such a straightforward exam question.

“If there are some law students who are such delicate flowers that merely being asked to assess whether certain controversial speech that's been in the news is constitutionally protected, in a class covering the First Amendment of all things, then maybe they should find another profession,” David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University School of Law, told FoxNews.com.
That would be the best outcome we could hope for from this PC absurdity - fewer lawyers.


Well Seasoned Fool said...

What an irritating post! Things would be going along swimmingly if people like you didn't insist on pointing out minor flaws and quibbling with the approved narriatives.

CenTexTim said...

Sorry. I'll try harder to conform...