Friday, June 29, 2018

The Layers of Social Justice Conferences

Academic or organizational conferences centered on social justice form a two-sided ecosystem, like the ocean on either side of an equatorial thermocline: the well-lit layer where professionals bask and sport about the dim reach of the slow-moving clients—or constituents or stakeholders, members or customers, special interest group or community, depending on the agency and the year. What never changed was the dynamic. The conference was organized around those at the top of the food chain, who made their living from those below. If you ran a nonprofit, or wrote papers about those who needed the services of a nonprofit, you floated in the warmth of power and influence. You were approached by corporate reps and interviewed for jobs, you hung out in the bar in good clothes and laughed with the journalist who had just sucked dry an angry, badly dressed member of the latest social justice struggle then tossed the husk back into the cold, oxygen-starved depths.
Nicola Griffith, So Lucky (New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux: 2018), p. 85

Friday, June 8, 2018

Why Would Students Choose Cheating over Learning?

What are his thoughts on the fact that two hundred cheaters in his class of six hundred presumably felt that they could benefit more by passing the class than by learning from it? It seems fair to assert that Quinn and his university sowed the seeds for this type of blatant disregard for the honor system by failing to create a "community devoted to learning." When at least one-third of all students are proven offenders, it is the environment and not the individual that must explain itself.
Dave Tomar, The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012), p. 81.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

University Excels at . . . Parking Enforcement

No department was as well organized as Parking and Transportation. The school couldn't issue a schedule without two overlapping classes. It couldn't approve your financial aid without losing your paperwork. It couldn't print your transcript without accidentally faxing your medical records to the student listserv. But if your meter had expired twenty seconds ago, you could be damn sure that a parking attendant was already writing your ticket out nineteen seconds ago. Such graceful efficiency.
Dave Tomar, The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat (New York: Bloomsbury, 2012), p. 22

Monday, May 14, 2018

MacKinnon, asked to summarize something really, really complex

Interviewer (James R. Hackney, Jr.): The other theoretical approach that is discussed in the two Signs articles is the liberal theory and the deficiencies of liberal feminist theory, which is the dominant paradigm, at least in the United States. What do you find to be the deficiencies in liberal theory vis-à-vis feminist theory, and the general shortcomings of the liberal theoretical approach?
Catharine A. MacKinnon: You know, it is kind of wild to be asked to recapitulate work that it took years and volumes to properly articulate. If it could be explained right in a few sentences, I would have done that in the first place. Anyway, one basic problem is liberal theory's individualized, rather than group-based, approach to issues. And also in law its "let's pretend" methodology, as if we can get where we are going by pretending we are already there and making rules accordingly. A lot of the problems can be traced to Aristotle. Social change was not on his agenda.
James R. Hackney, Jr., Legal Intellectuals in Conversation: Reflections on the Construction of Contemporary American Legal Theory (New York: N.Y.U. Press, 2012), p. 134

Thursday, May 10, 2018

MLK on the Importance (and Limits) of Law

Let us never succumb to the temptation of believing that legislation and judicial decrees play only minor roles in solving this problem ["an evil monster called segregation and its inseparable twin called discrimination"]. Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless. The law cannot make an employer love an employee, but it can prevent him from refusing to hire me because of the color of my skin. The habits, if not the hearts of people, have been and are being altered everyday by legislative acts, judicial decisions, and executive orders. Let us not be misled by those who argue that segregation cannot be ended by force of law.
But acknowledging this, we must admit that the ultimate solution to the race problem lies in the willingness of men to obey the unenforceable. Court orders and federal enforcement agencies are of inestimable value in achieving desegregation, but desegregation is only a partial, though necessary, step toward the final goal which we seek to realize, genuine inter-group and interpersonal living.

Martin Luther King, Jr.,  On Being a Good Neighbor (sermon), p. 10

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

MLK on the Philanthropy & the Big Picture

Philanthropy is marvelous, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the need for working to remove the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.
Martin Luther King, Jr.,  On Being a Good Neighbor (sermon), p. 5

Thursday, April 5, 2018

MLK Describes "True Altruism"

True altruism is more than the capacity to pity; it is the capacity to sympathize. Pity may represent little more than the impersonal concern which prompts the mailing of a check, but true sympathy is the personal concern which demands the giving of one's soul. Pity may arise from interest in an abstraction called humanity, but sympathy grows out of a concern for "a certain man," a particular needy human being who lies at life's roadside. Sympathy is feeling with the person in need—his pain, agony and burdens.
Martin Luther King, Jr.,  On Being a Good Neighbor (sermon), pp. 7-8