Safe spaces vs. dangerous spaces and why it’s sometimes hard to talk to extreme liberals

Illustration credit: Eleanor Taylor from the NY Times

Illustration credit: Eleanor Taylor from the NY Times

There’s a FANTASTIC article in the NY Times today about the notion of safe spaces: In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas. “Safe spaces” are places where people decide not to offend one another. They are conceived with the idea that dangerous ideas can be not only offensive but harmful. We’ve seen this concept on the internet where people issue “trigger warnings” before talking about ideas that supposedly could cause trauma to the reader.

Oklahoma racist chant

CNN has a great video sequence on the latest news with the fraternity that had the racist chant. (I’m not sure why I can’t find the embed code.)

The basic story is that the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon got videotaped singing a song: “There will never be N** at SAE. There will never be a N*** at SAE. You can hang them from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me, there will never be a N** at SAE.” University President David Boren has come out full force in condemning this racist chant. He’s severed ties with the frat, and he’s ordered them to clear out all their stuff from the frat house. The national fraternity SAE has cut ties with the Oklahoma chapter. The football team protested yesterday by marching instead of practicing. There could also be some fallout from future recruits:

When Whitey Blames Chang, and how primary education is failing

We’ve had our share of liberal Kool-Aid commenters on this blog, people who are so liberal that their philosophy can be reduced into four words: “Blame Whitey and Chang.” So if a violent criminal who happens to be Black hassles an Asian shopkeeper and steals from him, you blame Chang. If the same violent criminal tries to go for a cop’s gun and ends up getting shot, you blame Whitey.

But what happens when there’s a conflict between Whitey and Chang? What do the White Liberals do then?

Should football be a college major?

I just saw this article. Two former UNC college athletes are suing their alma mater and the NCAA for not educating them. The column raises the question of whether it makes sense to turn sports into a college major, or whether it makes sense to give college credit for athletics. Many of these athletes spend upward of 60 hours a week in their athletic programs, and they have little time for study. As the first paragraph hints, athletics for college athletes isn’t an extracurricular activity for college athletes–academics is the extracurricular activity. Some professors are making the argument that we let people major in music–so why not let them major in football? Another argument is that lots of companies value athletes for their teamwork, grit, and determination. Why not allow people to major in this, if that’s in fact what companies want?

Are the humanities easier than STEM subjects?

Some of y’all may wonder why bigWOWO tolerates debate and discussion in the comment section, especially when so many people get their feelings hurt from time to time. The reason is and has always been the comments. By having relative freedom of speech, people bounce around new ideas and educate one another. And when something interesting comes up, sometimes I’ll front page it. A good example is this question: Are the humanities easier than STEM subjects? I double majored in Comparative Literature and Chemistry, so I have a background in both. Plus, it’s relevant since we’ve had two podcasts on the issue, here and here. So here’s my opinion, and as usual, feel free to add your own in the comment section.

The importance of rote memory in Asia and everywhere else

The battle over school testing continues. As I’ve said many times, I think that standards are important. I think it’s good to rate students, and I think it’s great to rate teachers so that schools can promote the good ones and fire the bad ones. My oldest is going to undergo some Common Core testing this year, and while I can understand the nervousness that testing can create, it’s the right thing to do for public schools. Every child should have age-appropriate goals. Of course there should be a reasonable amount of testing–kids shouldn’t be tested every day, and schools shouldn’t waste three weeks on a single test because they don’t have computers–but the idea is right. Kids should be able to pass tests.

D.C. school goes after Asian American “truant”

Meet 13-year-old Avery Gagliano. She is a piano and concert prodigy, the daughter of a Chinese mother and Caucasian father. She travels the world, entering and winning competitions, playing before large audiences. Last year she played at a prestigious event in Munich. She’s a straight-A student.

But no longer. The problem was that she missed a lot of school in order to pursue her musical education. In the D.C. public school she attends, that’s a big no-no. After she missed ten days, her record was permanently marked: Avery was considered a truant for missing school.

New Common Core math

Sorry for not posting more on Asian American issues, but I’m Asian American’ed out.

For you parents with elementary/primary school kids out there, this article will ring familiar: Math Under Common Core Has Even Parents Stumbling. In the first few paragraphs, the article tells the story of a family that moved to a better school district in Louisiana only to pull their children out of school because they didn’t like Common Core Math. The father, who is a pipe designer at an engineering firm, had to watch YouTube videos to understand the new math. The parents have now decided they will opt-out and homeschool their children in the fall.

Affirmative action, and the rift between the Asian American media and the rest of us

Bronx School Stands Out

Pic from Time

It’s an oft-quoted statistic in the ethnic media that Asian Americans support affirmative action. But those organizations reporting this statistic are mostly liberal-biased organizations that use questionable statistical methods. As we’ve seen from SCA-5 and other popular uprisings among Asian Americans, lots of us, if not most of us, are against affirmative action. Affirmative action discriminates against Asians, but I thought I’d talk a bit more about the rift between the ethnic media and the rest of us.