Bad Bunni posted at 4/21/2005 05:11:00 PM
Racial and Sexual Intolerance on Campus
The College Republicans at NYU held a bake sale in which the price of the cookies was based on the gender and race of the customer, while white males had to pay two dollars for a cookie, hispanic females had only to pay twenty five cents. They claimed it was to illustrate how Affirmative Action works. And thus my students learned what I have been trying to teach them for five years, the cost of a totally inappropriate analogy. My students discussed the event in a workshop and pointed out that while some of them had been accepted through AA, it was due to their own effort they remained at NYU. Once accepted they must survive the same academic perils as other students. True, the AA programs at NYU offer special help to students accepted through programs like HEOP and C-Step, but it should be noted NYU has an extensive array of students services currently including a program to help students to stop smoking. Regular NYU students can avail themselves to psychiatric and counseling services, career advisors, off-campus housing databases, gyms, tutors, support groups, clubs, health fairs, and the list keeps on expanding and will continue to expand. The regular full tuition NYU student (becoming an increasingly endanger animal as tuition rises) has a regular battalion of individuals, technical aides, and online services to help combat everything from roommate issues to failing calculus.
But I digress.
To say the least many students were more than a little disgruntled by this event and my usually barely awake, often distracted, generally apathetic students actually got interested enough in something to organize a protest of the bake sale. A flier for the protest ended up on my desk. According to the students who are objecting "This bake sale promoted racial and sexual segregation" (uh, no, it promoted discrimination and even that is arguable-they were trying to illustrate a point)"within the New York University community, and created an environment where certain students did not feel welcome to learn and grow as individuals." (When exactly did NYU claim to be a place where people grow? and the last time I checked learning does not necessarily mean a positive supportive environment. Oh it can, but I know of many important learning experiences I have taken away from places that I felt distinctively unwelcome.) "This was especially troublesome because it was our impression that NYU never wanted students to feel isolated, excluded, or condemned because of their race and/or gender." (Oh but it's ok if it is then based on sexual orientation or physical ability? Further NYU probably doesn't want to exclude students in order to get their MONEY in the form of tuition or in the form of donors. Does it care? No, no more than Nike does, but there is a benefit in creating the impression that it does. Can anyone say positive branding?)
Of course, one might think this event stirring up the students as it has warms the little cockles of my heart, but rather than fostering a serious and healthy debate, like the ones I occassionally find on metafilter, it simply has polarized the issues. Instead of disseminating information and material about how the Republican club is misguided or perhaps mistaken, or even creating a forum to discuss the issues and perhaps listen to hear what the Republicans have to say about the issue. But it has simply become our side and their side (of course, my side which is somewhere near the equator at this point). Well at least the demonstration is the park so they will unglue themselves from their laptops for a while and actually enjoy the lovelely weather. Twits.
Bad Bunni posted at 4/19/2005 04:54:00 PM
The Buddhist has been against blogging from the beginning. He mocked how many hours I spent reading posts, writing posts, combing for interesting memes, reading articles about blogging. Of course until recently he had never been to A blog, never mind MY blog, so I dismissed his dismissal. I mean, my students feel the same way about poetry, his baby, that he feels about blogging. More of my students blog than write poetry, or at least more of them talk about it, yet I never feel comfortable enough to deride him for all of the hours he spent on what appears to be a dying form (most students can't even tell you what a sonnet is nevermind more evolved forms like sestinas). A few months ago he finally ventured onto my blog and got lost in my links section, discovering that I am at least somewhat known in the racier blog circle ( I still get a number of hits from erosblog for a comment I made years ago on another person's blog regarding men and claims of sexual prowess). Occassionally he checks up on the blog, but more likely he link surfs for porn.
He comes into the office to tell me he has been reading my posts, and he is not sure what I am accomplishing here that I couldn't accomplish with say a notebook. I have been a journaler for years, and I still journal. Blogging has not become a replacement for journaling although it has been a place to present writing that wouldn't have really a place in other formats. Little orphaned snippets which haven't made it into a poem or a story or an essay can find a home here. In addition blogging has an audience participation element, which notebooks don't. Here people from all over the world (provided they read english) can not only read, but give notes, comments, suggestions, even troll creatively. (When I say here I mean the blogosphere, not literally this blog specifically, I am not nearly so egomaniacal.) In cases like the writing contest at the Big O's
the blog functions more like the Salons of France a place to show off wit and verbal dexterity as well as compete, but also to collaborate. Also, there are some forms specific to blogging ie memes. Now I could I continue with the relative benefits of blogging, but well, I am assuming, gentle readers, that you are going to go with me on this one, and perhaps supply a lot of other reasons including the reason Jen's Husband
suggested which is that blogging has opened up a new circle of friend in New York, not just in cyber space, allowing me to find a friend with good film taste who has introduced me to arepas and Payard.
When I commented about the lack of response to my disability essays, he said "Well have you linked to any other disability blogs/websites?" Well, no first because there are very few disability blogs. Most disabled bloggers are like myself it is one of several things they blog about not the central fact of their blogging or actual existence. Second, I have not because I don't want to link JUST because it's a disability blog. Certainly many bloggers over time have joined the ranks of disease/disabled bloggers ( the big O and Alexandr), but I don't link for them just for that, I link to them because I like the writing/content. Finally I don't because I don't want people to think of this as a disability blog. I am blogger who writes about disability on oaccassion, I also write about oral sex in Paris, but I don't link to other oral sex in Paris sites either. The point of writing about disability here is that it is something that EVERYONE will deal with even if it is just " I have a co-worker, grandnephew, ocelot who has a cleft palate." Disability has more and more importance as more individuals sue for disability protection, certain deaf and autistic people conceptualize their condition as a cultural choice rather than a disability, and the American ideal of "normal functioning" becomes increasingly impossible to uphold (more money is spent on baldness in the US than on finding cures for malaria). The idea that only other disabled people would find interest in posts on disability is one of the main misconceptions I am trying to fight. Yet here we have theoretically a educated person claiming that the only people interested in such posts would be other disabled persons.He didn't even address the arguments and evidence I had found to support my claims. Lord knows I have read arguments on a range of topics, but I don't recuse myself from debates on Affirmative Action or the alledgedly destructive effect of porn on how men regard women (thank you andrea dworkin
and naomi wolf
-for all the good times) because I don't have first person experience of what it is like to be a man watching porn or because I am not a mintory student. Further I can read arguments made by others and evaluate them even without personal experience. Oh wait, that's what I already do every day.
I have to go to class, if they don't behave there may be an influx of disabled NYU bloggers.
Bad Bunni posted at 4/19/2005 01:34:00 PM