Thoughts on American exceptionalism and race relations

For all the critiques I may volley at my nation, the truth remains that the American national project continues to be the highest ideal dreamt up on this planet thus far. Not that all of its ideals have materialized or been brought into fruition to their fullest extent possible, but the original dream itself is exceptional and awe-inspiring.

Unfortunately, plenty out here today wish to undermine it, spit upon it, and dismantle it. Why? Because they see it as rooted in evil due to being the brain-child of white men from long ago. White men being synonymous with everything hate-filled and exclusionary, so some like to think. They take issue with the fact that slaves were brought to this country (though it can be argued that America engaged in slavery for a shorter duration than many other countries, particularly those in the Middle East). They also take issue with this land having been “stolen” from the natives who lived here before — as if any land hasn’t changed hands throughout the course of history, typically through much bloodshed. And nowadays they take issue with what they see as inherent corruption that they assume is deeply ingrained and a natural byproduct of a powerful Western nation (though all nation-states are vulnerable to corruption, as were all chiefdoms — and this is hardly a feature unique to the West).

Some take issue with our police forces and accuse them of racism. Though current research provides evidence that cops are actually less likely to use lethal force against black people as compared against white people. Then again, other findings suggest blacks are more likely to be handled roughly than whites by cops, so the narrative that cops are racist marches onward. One could ponder the general demeanor of black folks toward cops in trying to understand why cops might opt for a more rough-handed approach in dealing with them, but that’s a taboo topic to discuss publicly, lest you be labeled a racist as well. Seems to me that the general behavior of an easily identifiable demographic has the unfortunate consequences of leading all of them, even those who comply with lawful orders, to be treated with heightened scrutiny and cautiousness. Now, does that qualify as an inherent, institutionalized form of racism? Hmm. It doesn’t strike me as so since it appears more to do with risk assessment and police taking proactive measures to deescalate any potential threats. Is that unfair? Depends on how far it’s taken and what the circumstances are in a given situation. It’s not as if police officers are known for being extremely kind and gentle to all others suspected of wrongdoing. It seems to me this issue winds up being at least partly a matter of projection, whereby individuals break the law or are highly uncooperative when being questioned by police but then become indignant when any consequences are doled out.

Take, for instance, all the talk on Evergreen’s campus about an event in 2015 where a police officer shot two *unarmed* black male brothers named Bryson Chaplin (21) and Andre Thompson (24) shortly after they attempted to rob a grocery store of beer. In a piece titled “In Solidarity with the Struggle for Racial Justice at the Evergreen State College” written by Peter Bohmer (a member of the faculty at Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA — posted May 29, 2017), he harkens back to that off-campus case:

Two years ago, May 21st, 2015, two young Black men, Bryson Chaplin and Andre Thompson were both shot in Olympia, Washington by white police officer Ryan Donald in Olympia as they were going home on their skateboards after attempting to shoplift some beer from a local Safeway. In a miscarriage of justice and emblematic of the continuing racism here, although there were no injuries to the white police officer, and Bryson Chaplin was shot multiple times by Officer Donald and is in a wheelchair; the police officer was not charged with any crime nor disciplined while the two young men, Bryson Chaplin and Andre Thompson were convicted on May 18, 2017 of third degree assault. They will be sentenced in June. This is part of the context for the movement on campus which also contains demands against racism by campus police.

Peter Bohmer proved especially prolific in writing about that event in various places, every time characterizing the situation as a white cop mistreating black youths in a completely unwarranted fashion.

Evergreen State College’s student newspaper The Cooperpoint Journal contains several articles pertaining to this case, including one describing major protests in front of the Olympia police station the very next day:

“Whose lives matter? Black lives matter!” was the chant ringing out in downtown Olympia Thursday evening as hundreds of protesters took to the streets in response to the shooting of two unarmed black men, stepbrothers Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin, by an Olympia police officer, drawing national media attention.

The two men, Thompson, 24 and Chaplin, 21, remain in the hospital and are expected to survive, although Chaplin was still listed as in critical condition as of Thursday evening.

Officer Ryan Donald shot the brothers around 1 a.m. Thursday morning, after responding to a call about alleged shoplifting from the Westside Safeway, not far from The Evergreen State College.

Olympians awoke Thursday morning to news of the incident, and began organizing throughout the day, culminating in a march to city hall, where the Olympia Police Department is headquartered.

The biggest protest began around 6 p.m. in Woodruff Park, directly next to the Westside police precinct, and about a mile from the site of the shooting.

As hundreds gathered—predominantly from the Evergreen community—they formed a circle around organizers and community members who spoke about their experiences with police, the larger national context of police violence against black people, and organizing and resistance tactics. The speakers continued to discuss these issues over a megaphone as the crowd swelled to an estimated 400 people by 7 p.m. when protesters took the street on the corner of Harrison Avenue and Perry Street.

Protesters marched down the hill, blocking traffic in both directions on Harrison Avenue, while yelling and chanting “black lives matter” and “no justice, no peace, no racist police.”

Crossing the Fourth Avenue Bridge into downtown, the crowd’s numbers reached an estimated one thousand people, shutting down Olympia’s main thoroughfare on their way to the city center.

Once in downtown, protesters stopped and held the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Columbia Street, for the first time becoming quiet. Organizers asked the crowd to participate in a four and a half minutes of silence, symbolic of the four and a half hours Michael Brown’s body was left in the street after being shot by police earlier this year in Ferguson, Missouri. Everyone sat silently in the street, before beginning call and response chants of victims names: “Andre Thompson, Bryson Chaplin, we honor you.”

When the demonstrators reached city hall, they blocked the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Cherry Street, many demanding that Ryan Donald be indicted for his actions. They continued to hold a rally in front of city hall for nearly an hour, with more speakers and chants, before marching back through downtown and over the bridge to Woodruff Park.

On their way back, at least two motorists instigated confrontations with demonstrators, but the march resolved peacefully, with people dispersing between 9:30 and 10 p.m.

Later that night, a smaller number of protesters rallied again at the Artesian Well and occupied the intersection outside city hall. Most wore all black and covered their faces, marching behind a large banner reading “cops=murderers,” and “judges=executioners,” and emblazoned with a circle A, an anarchist symbol.

This group was more antagonistic towards the police, and the situation escalated when they began to clash with pro-police demonstrators in front of city hall. Police then used flash grenades to disperse the crowd at about 12:15 a.m. Friday morning, leading to moments of chaos in downtown as demonstrators and confused bystanders scattered, running and yelling.

The anger of protesters and community members is exacerbated by disputes about the details of the shooting. More information and facts concerning the incident are still being discovered. However, based on what we already know, many believe that Officer Donald’s use of force was not only unnecessary, but also racist.

Even a vigil was orchestrated for the shot brothers. And this year (2 years later, mind you) they circulated news of another gathering to show more support. Why? Because those students and faculty members view the incident as a clear-cut example of police brutality and the shooting of unarmed suspects, period. This is an ideologically influenced position they are taking, convinced that police are automatically in the wrong in pretty much all cases and that racial minorities are rarely deserving of whatever consequences befall them based on their actions and choices.

This is a problem nationwide currently, the spreading of this attitude. The narrative it promotes is not only anti-police and pro-minorities but it’s also recently showing itself to be outright anti-white and anti-American.

Some would say if you can’t beat it, then burn it down. That appears to be what’s trying to unfold at present across this land…

Nevermind the history — the same sort of people are responsible for tearing down Southern statues and monuments and have since been turning their attention toward trying to remove museum displays. So the modus operandi there appears to be to erase history, or any signs or mention of it.

Take as another recent example the case of a student group called “Reedies Against Racism” protesting a required humanities course at Reed College, wherein a student reportedly stated: “forcing students to take a mandatory Western Civilization course is really harmful.” That being a course said to focus on great thinkers from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Mesopotamia.

The protest continued this school year, as students interrupted the lecture, got in screaming matches with students, boycotted classes, and vowed to have silent protests during every lecture. The student activists have also brought in mental healthcare advocates for students who have reported having “panic attacks” due to the course material.

“The course in its current iteration draws from predominantly white authors and relies heavily on the notion that Western customs are the most civilized because they are derived from those of ancient Greeks and Romans who are considered the inventors of civilization,” Alex Boyd, a main Reedies Against Racism organizer, told The College Fix via Facebook recently.

Check out the list of demands put out by “Reedies Against Racism.”

It would be funny if it weren’t so goddamn obstructive.

So, what do these types of people want? What’s their primary objective here? Do they really detest all that America is or ever was? If so, why? Totally taking for granted the privileges they themselves do in fact partake in? Ideologically-possessed, yes, but what else is this? Is looking more and more to me like a will to destroy. One obstructs when they cannot or will not construct. So how does one effectively react to this? Arguments don’t seem to work.

“Modern Times: Camille Paglia & Jordan B Peterson”

Great to listen to those two discuss what’s going on in academe, between the sexes, and in society in general. I will return to this post later to highlight key points of their discussion.

Evergreen State College’s Greatest Hits

Check out this insanity:

Naima Lowe, an educator at this publicly-funded institution, demonstrates her own flair for racist rudeness:

That that woman was ever (and remains) included on ESC’s equity council is completely mind-bending.

A silly parody of their 2017 graduation ceremony from Badger Pundit.

Glad I don’t have kids to worry about winding up indoctrinated in schools like this. Thank goodness. The universities I attended were nothing like this. Here’s hoping my friends’ kids find better institutions to attend.

“LIVE with Bret Weinstein: Evergreen State College Racism Controversy”

From The Rubin Report:

“Unrest at Evergreen State | Glenn Loury & Bret Weinstein”

Now watching:

Two professors weighing in on Evergreen State College protest, Race/IQ, and fundamentalist ideologies

What I’m watching currently, professors Glenn Loury & John McWhorter discussing current events and trends:

From bloggingheads.tv. That site and YT channel are brand-new to me as of tonight. Subscribing.

“Eric Weinstein LIVE: Trump, Mathematics, and the ‘Thinkuisition'”

From The Rubin Report:

Hadn’t heard of Eric Weinstein (or his brother, Bret Weinstein) before today and only clicked on this video initially to learn what a “Thinkuisition” was about. Very good talk there. Interesting to now listen to self-described liberals and progressives describe feeling abandoned by the Political Left (reminiscent of self-styled conservatives expressing similar disdain with the Republican Party in years past, resulting in them being pushed more toward libertarian positions instead — though, it deserves to be noted that a number of liberals appear to be heading that direction now too). There’s no home for many of us in either of the polarized political camps since they’ve come to very much demand conformity from their adherents and nowadays actively censure all who even slightly step out of line. That trend being most pronounced currently among the Political Left, particularly where it involves racial/social justice agendas.

Sad state of affairs we have going on at present. But then again, perhaps we have to go through this and get to the other side of it in order to appreciate which values matter more as a society. Assuming we make it to the other side and don’t wind up dissolved in the process. Nada es imposible.

Eric Weinstein’s BigThink presentation on “artificial out-telligence”: http://bigthink.com/videos/eric-weinstein-how-even-dumb-ai-could-outsmart-humans

Tidbits of wisdom and advice from Dr. Jordan Peterson

“How To Stop Procrastinating”:

“Wasting Time and Opportunities”:

“Daily Structure Keeps You Sane”:

“Go Out and Make Something of Yourself!”:

“Defending Postmodernism: An Open Letter to Jordan B. Peterson”

Interesting. I’ve long been troubled with all the talk over Marxism and Post-Modernism. Will have to explore these topics in greater depth going forward.

Early morning ponderings on common core education and an update

Stayed in last night and remained totally sober after my situation the other night. That sucked. Knee is still healing and will be for a while. Partly my fault but to hell with any guy who plays that rough with a woman while drunk. Given up that bar for at least the month of June and perhaps forevermore considering that sort of shit is allowed to go on there and seems to be celebrated as spectacle. Already heard it from my close guyfriend and my former and a couple other bar-pals from another location who encourage me to leave that shit alone.

Ever since my last bar closed in March I have been set adrift with nowhere new to land and set down roots. Have also been frequenting another local bar that’s far less busy yet calm and not known for drama. That other watering hole was a hell of a place, and I had been warned in advance. Proved too rough and tumble for me. Hence why so few women like to go in there alone. I’m just not cut out for a joint like that, despite it being so close to my home. In past years I typically avoided it and only on rare occasion went in for a beer or two and stayed to myself on the end, usually when particularly ticked off at my former partner and not wanting to head to my usual bar. That’s all it ever was to me until my bar closed. Gave it a try — unable to assimilate to the atmosphere there, particularly late in the evening. Just too no-holds-barred. The lawyer that owns the joint doesn’t much care about it or what goes on in it, so says everybody. Only interested in money and the police not being called over incidents occurring there. C’est la vie. Didn’t pan out for me there. I don’t have the patience to put up with bullshit when I’m spending money to go out and relax.

So I headed to the other calmer local watering hole this evening and met up with a buddy there. Because I apparently am not interested in pursuing full sobriety at present. Right or wrong. This buddy in question seems pretty smitten, albeit a bit too clingy. Says he’s been married 3 times already. Wow. Not a whole lot older than me. Has one child out of the mix, which he’s involved in serious court battles over at present. Likes to get on to me for not being more of an advocate for fathers or children and whatever else. Because, ya know, those of us who opted to not have kids should totally concern ourselves with yours. Feels like tangling with an MRA sometimes.

He was complaining tonight about the common core curriculum being introduced in schools these days. Yeah, it sucks. I’ve looked into it and detest it, particularly what I’ve viewed pertaining to mathematics. Absolute waste of time, IMO. Told him your options are either to try to change the educational curriculum (with the aid of other parents who feels as you do), put your daughter in a private school (assuming they don’t teach common core there), or figure out how to home-school (or at least supplement school teachings with home lessons). To which he got all haughty and threw a fit because he’s paid property taxes for over a decade at his house and he’ll be damned if that money is all for naught. Hey man, I’m just stating your options. Didn’t make the rules and I didn’t change the curriculum. I personally was pissed when they first talked about doing away with phonics however many years ago. Been disinterested in the education system as a whole ever since, particularly after being subjected to 9 different schools across 3 states before dropping out and getting my GED at the beginning of the 11th grade (circa 1998). Went on to attend the university (and rack up student loan debt) — three actually across three states — and eventually graduated from all of that in 2008. Done dealing with formal education.

My own educational experiences at least have been varied enough to where I gained a bit of a perspective on how much schools can and do differ. Mississippi is known for having the lowest and poorest educational system in the nation. Alabama was a little better, depending on what school you attended. Nebraska proved to be a step up, at least until high school. Attended three years overall at private schools in two Southern states during my k-11 education as well, so I am somewhat familiar there too.

Anyway, he wanted to argue and get irritated because I recommended homeschooling. Well, either you provide your child’s education or you, as the parent, at least supplement it, but if you choose to allow the schools to provide ALL of your child’s education, you’re a fool. That is my firm opinion. Placing way too much trust in these schools while knowing that they are teaching a crazy curriculum that is confusing and likely to hinder your child’s understanding of the subject matter, particularly in mathematics.

Need examples? Here ya go:

I don’t hate it, just don’t find it appropriate on its own, especially for the youngest ages whom I prefer to see the traditional algorithms taught before later moving on to this sort of breakdown as supplementary material. But I don’t have kids and therefore apparently don’t have a dog in that fight.

Still, it’s complicated for young minds whereas memorizing traditional algorithms is less so. First learn the facts of the matter, then later learn the details as to WHY. Because our brains can only comprehend so much when young. Memorization and shorthand is easier at an early age than complex, behind-the-scenes explanations as to how that answer was derived.

At least that’s how it strikes me. Hence why folks need to properly educate their own children more and more if the schools refuse to do so. I don’t like the situation any more than any parent, but THIS is what you’re currently up against. Whether you like it or not. Reason #243 for why I opt to not have kids. Yes, it’s bullshit, I agree. BUT you bred in this day and age, knowing shit has been going insane since the 1960s (or at least should have some sort of inkling in that direction), and now have kids subjected to the bureaucratic nightmare known as the U.S. education system, particularly public schools (and most especially those in low-income areas, rural and urban). Welcome to it. Yes, it indeed does suck. I wouldn’t want to be subjected to any further bullshit beyond what I experienced during schooling in the ’80s and ’90s — yet, here we are as a society, dealing with an even more defunct education system in this country. Not improving. Why? Lots of reasons. Not an easy topic to tackle.

But a big problem certainly is NOT due to learning to carry over numbers in multiplication problems and comprehending in your head what the adding of zeros below means, now claiming that tried-and-true methods are somehow too complex for young minds to grasp. What young minds? Which ones? I’d like to see a breakdown of who this actually entails, specifically among elementary students. Math scores tend to drop as youths approach and enter high school, which many believe is more of a cultural matter than anything else (i.e., teen peers and the wider “pop” culture encourage kids to not appreciate Math and English and whatever else because that’s supposedly nerd behavior, which we all know is deemed lame). I know. I went through it too. So did plenty of others. Just ask around. Nerds aren’t en vogue in middle or high schools typically. And most especially among certain sub-cultures, excluding many Asian students.

We know this shit. And yet we can’t seem to communicate it to one another effectively as often as needed. This man got mad at me, called my idea of home-schooling “stupid” repeatedly, and got all indignant over how much he’s already paid in property taxes before his daughter even entered school. Yeah, well, tough titty said the kitty. What does a man like that expect me to tell him to remedy his plight? Tried relating that property taxes are obviously computed into my rent by my landlord (i.e., we all pay property taxes), but he dismissed that as not counting. Guess only home-owners get to weigh in on this one. And parents.

Yet people still wonder why I choose not to involve myself in matters pertaining to kids? Parents freak out if you’re not 100% in line with their way of thinking. He actually agreed with me by and large but couldn’t cease reacting long enough to figure that out until several minutes had passed in our conversation. Got all self-righteous at the start. Parents like to do that, from my experience. Just prone to do so. Can’t take criticism well, which I can understand to a degree, but damn. It’s not even criticism of you personally, just taking a look at your options.

You as a parent are unhappy with what your child is taught in school.

SO…your choices are:

1.) Tolerate it anyway (and keep bitching while doing little to nothing to alter the situation)

2.) Change what your child is being taught (via lobbying your school boards and whatever else)

3.) Send your child to a different school that doesn’t teach what you’re objecting to (likely at a high financial cost)

4.) Home-school your child so that you can control their curriculum to the best of your ability (though standardized testing from the state remains in force)

5.) OR, supplement your child’s learning with what you deem more valuable and/or preferable so that they learn other approaches to material (which requires a great deal more effort and time on the part of parents)

THOSE are your options. Other than not having kids in the first place, tell me what your other options might be. I can’t think of any.

So when parents get pissed off at me for weighing in and not sounding like I am 100% in accord with whatever their positions are, I have to say rubbish. These are your options and YOUR kids. I can only tell you what I theoretically would be inclined to do, but I am not in your position and therefore am not burdened with that conundrum. Which seems to tick parents off for some reason, probably the mere fact that I am not having to endure this experiment alongside them.

That’s something I run up against time and time and time again. Beginning to think parents are just jealous of those of us who don’t have kids. Because, yes, life is simpler. Might be more shallow too, I don’t doubt it, at least compared up against parents who care (since not all do, as news stories regularly enough attest to). Probably good for most folks to have families and give a damn about them and find ways to improve their children’s odds of succeeding in life. If that’s your thing, go for it. Please don’t breed if you’re not going to give a damn about your kids and show it in meaningful ways. That’s my only request, though it falls on blind eyes and deaf ears since only a caring potential parent would heed such a moral request. But it’s a warning too, because those who breed haphazardly without regard for the fathers’ involvement or the child’s genuine welfare are unfortunately out-breeding everybody else. Sad fact of life at present. I don’t like it any more than the rest of you.

Yet some folks out here squawk at people like me, saying we’re selfish assholes for not breeding so as to counteract this trend. LOL  As if it were that easily solved. Already over-populated enough, at least according to my own sensibilities. (Tired of so many of you. Ha! True though.)  We can’t breed ourselves out of this conundrum. Way too easy to do and so incredibly not likely to work. Because I’m not having 6 kids to offset what some welfare-collecting single mom is doing. Nope. Not about to happen. And even if it had happened, my kids likely (possibly?) wouldn’t be raised to be such depraved hooligans that they’d stand much of a chance up against those who are. And I don’t wish to subject my child to that, nor do I want the responsibility of raising a child in the first place. Certainly wouldn’t know how to prepare them for the future, that much I do know. Crazy times ahead. Not going to be pretty. People are going to get hurt and killed in the process of whatever is unfolding politically and socially. Extends way beyond our educational system at this point. Do we not know this?

Yet ya’ll breed. And then complain that life is not conforming to your expectations and wishes. Then you berate people at the bar with no more power to change this shit than you have. And give grief to those of us who don’t have kids since “it must be nice” (Ha! Yes, actually it is. No lie.). We’re a bunch of whiners. Become a nation of assholes and idiots. How long has this been the case? Sixty years? More than that? Yes, it sucks. So much sucks. And what are we going to do about it? Bitch louder? That’s mostly all I hear.

We’re cowards. Proving to be not a whole lot better than the naive Swedes, come to find out. Apparently. This is so far what we’re demonstrating. How many of us will actually step up and in what ways, to what extents? Time will tell…