Grammatically incorrect

Propagandists in the classroom are a luxury that the poor can afford least of all. While a mastery of mathematics and English can be a ticket out of poverty, a highly cultivated sense of grievance and resentment is not.

-Thomas Sowell

Jeff Jacoby has a piece worth reading at Jewish World Review on the Rutgers English department debacle.
Is English grammar racist?

A slice (but RTWT):

Today, of course, Rutgers and its champions of “critical grammar” would regard Churchill’s emphasis on acquiring “the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence” as a primitive abomination. John F. Kennedy said of Churchill that he “mobilized the English language and sent it into battle”; there is little question that the power of Churchill’s well-wrought English rhetoric helped save Western civilization in one of its darkest hours. (The power of that prose also earned Churchill the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.)…

“In short,” observes David Bernstein, a university professor and head of the Liberty & Law Center at George Mason University,

the Rutgers English Department wants to make sure that students who come to Rutgers with a poor grasp of standard written English not only remain in that state, but come to believe that learning standard English is a concession to racism. I remember when keeping “people of color” ignorant was considered part of white supremacy.

Churchill’s majestic command of English was due, in part, to rigorous training. Training of the sort that instills discipline, perseverance and clear thinking; whatever the subject. Rutgers charges over $900 per credit hour to willfully deny this opportunity to its students. Because those virtues have been racialized.

Churchill’s profound grasp of rhetoric didn’t merely serve him well during Question Period, it played a critical role in keeping all of us – including Black, Indigenous, People of Color – from slavery under a global racist tyranny. Countless LBGTQ people live today because a virulently anti­gay totalitarian was defeated.

At Rutgers, though, it is no longer enough to vilify Churchill with slipshod fantasies of racism, sexism, and colonialism: Now add to his sins an exemplary command of language.

It might be useful to bring the news to Rutgers that among those who shared that facility are Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and Martin Luther King.

Bab’l, Towr of

Rutgers English Department to deemphasize traditional grammar ‘in solidarity with Black Lives Matter’

“Under a so-called critical grammar pedagogy, “This approach challenges the familiar dogma that writing instruction should limit emphasis on grammar/sentence-level issues so as to not put students from multilingual, non-standard ‘academic’ English backgrounds at a disadvantage,” the email states. [So long as they are not Asian.]

“Instead, it encourages students to develop a critical awareness of the variety of choices available to them w/ regard to micro-level issues in order to empower them and equip them to push against biases based on ‘written’ accents.””

Well, writing that in Ebonics would be an improvement. At least it would be less confusing about the dogma Rutgers no longer favors.

But, it’s not Ebonics I want to pick on here. Like any useful vernacular it affects the everyday language of most of the population. Words creep into accepted usage as the language naturally evolves. Still, there are standards for spelling, sentence structure and grammar that need not be hastily discarded by imposing Critical Theory memes.

It’s not that Rutgers is returning to rigorous grammar instruction, the dogma most of us would expect to inform University level English courses. They are abandoning grammar/sentence level instruction entirely.

An emphasis on grammar has a place in at least some University English courses, and certainly should be required for an English degree. Poetry, obviously, has different rules from prose, and Creative Writing 201 might encourage you to break rules. But to break them effectively you have to know what they are, and why they are. Entry to a University used to assume that incoming students did know.

But, in a rush to wokeness, Rutgers “”has moved past bias awareness and prevention and into a focus on “decolonization.””

Put more clearly, bias awareness has become insufficiently patronizing – we now need to let students know that whatever ideas of English they bring with them are as valid as any other ideas, because some students aren’t capable of learning. Because “white supremacy.”

The real irony is that the pedagogical change order was written by a Professor of English trying to impress his peers. If he wanted to help those who can’t grok English grammar he might have abandoned the critical theory box checking and used a comprehensible sentence structure. Instead, we have wordy, woke, Academiot jargon.

One might wonder how those downtrodden souls came to be in an elite college English program. Surely an inability to distinguish an adjective from an adverb should have funneled them into a Grievance Studies discipline (to maintain the fiction that English hasn’t become one), where nouns are regularly made into verbs.

Ignorance of commas: “Protest, shootings, and arson,” rather than “Protest shootings and arson,” might pass in an Applied Critical Theory class where there is only one possible meaning. But it could limit your chances of entering J-school at Columbia.

And, these days, not understanding pronoun disagreement could be fatal to your career.

Lest you think this sleight of hand racism is unique to Rutgers, let’s take a similar example from a Ball State conference:
Professor says grading, good grammar are examples of white supremacy

“White language supremacy, according to [Asao] Inoue, [associate dean of the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State] is “the condition in classrooms, schools, and society where rewards are given in determined ways to people who can most easily reach them, because those people have more access to the preferred and embodied white language practices, and part of that access is a structural assumption that what is reachable at a given moment for the normative, white, monolingual English user is reachable for all.””

Translated: Grades should be given in mysterious ways (though with extra credit for the oppressed) to those who have the most to learn – whether they learn or not. We must assume these people can’t learn another dialect.

A Masters (A word on the way out, and I don’t think we can use “He da man,” either.) in English is now a purely political credential.

So, now I’m wondering about what happens when the “pedagogy” meets the rubric. Starting with why someone would pay over $900 per credit hour, plus room and board, for a English degree from Rutgers?

The English language is the remit (noun) of Professors of English. They are choosing to trash it.

Unified Grievance Theory

Intersectionality, (noun)
in·​ter·​sec·​tion·​al·​i·​ty | \ ˌin-tər-ˌsek-shə-ˈna-lə-tē

1. Selective, tribal conflation of every conceivable human grievance.
2. Creative categorization and augmentation of one’s victimhood credentials.

Example (links omitted):

“The physics professor who argued “white empiricism” somehow creates a “barrier” to black women trying to enter the sciences field recently went on a Twitter rant about the recent antisemitic attacks in New York City.

Ultimately, those attacks are the fault of white gentiles, the University of New Hampshire’s Chanda Prescod-Weinstein claimed.”

According to Campus Reform, on her now-protected Twitter account (archived version is here) Prescod-Weinstein wrote on New Year’s Eve that antisemitism in the US historically has been “a white Christian problem,” and anti-Jewish feelings expressed by blacks are due to the “influence of white gentiles.”

Further, the prof wrote that people demanding black leaders speak out against antisemitism are “probably a garden variety racist[s].”

“White Jews adopted whiteness as a social praxis and harmed Black people in the process,” Prescod-Weinstein said. “Some Black people have problematically blamed Jewishness for it.”

Let’s see if I get this: “White Jews” culturally appropriated antisemitism from “White Gentiles” so as to deny agency to blacks. Some blacks, then, can be racist? I’ve been assured by many Professors sharing Prescod-Weinstein’s sense of things that that isn’t possible.

Speaking of speaking out and garden variety anti-semites, Al “Crown Heights riot” Sharpton, Louis “Satanic Jews” Farrakhan, Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson, Ilhan “Benjamins” Omar, and Linda “Stop humanizing Jews” Sarsour go unmentioned. Maybe toning down their agency – i.e., just refrain from fomenting antisemitism – would be enough? Did these leaders-of-color also witlessly absorb their antisemitism from white gentiles? Even so, do they have some responsibility for spreading it?

Professor Prescod-Weinstein is very well qualified to speak her epistemological conclusions to racial, ethnic, religious, sex, and gender intersectionality questions:

I proudly hail from the east Los Angeles neighborhood of El Sereno. The 63rd Black American woman* to earn a Ph.D. in physics, I am a descendant of Afro-Caribbean and Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants.
[link]

I am a proudly out and was a founding member of the American Astronomical Society Committee for Sexual-Orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy (SGMA), where I served as an executive member for six years.
[link]

She checks off more victimhood boxes than most. She has a PhD in physics. She enjoys a visible internet presence – writing dozens of articles for Medium. For example: Intersectionality as a Blueprint for Postcolonial Scientific Community Building

One wonders how she is allowed any agency as a gay, black, female of Jewish descent. Her example is inversely proportional to her theory.

Rainbows everywhen

87983-poppyIf Ye Break Faith With Us…
-Mark Steyn on 11/11/2001

[T]hough we can scarce grasp what they symbolize, this year the poppies are hard to find. Three Canadian provinces had sold out by last Monday, and by the time you read this the rest of the Royal Canadian Legion’s entire stock of 14.8 million will likely be gone.

Canada today…
Former Conservative party candidate apologizes for viral rainbow poppy tweet

The apology was mistaken:

Rather than having been suspended for rejecting the poppy during choir practice as Bird’s initial tweet read, Natalie outlined that she had been suspended for “rejecting the idea” of the rainbow poppy…

It’s worse that Natalie was suspended for “rejecting the idea.” The idea is the problem.

I do know why Cyara Bird apologized: Unless you enthusiastically support the appropriation of Remembrance Day at SJW whim, and embrace compelled speech, YOU are a bigot.

The LGBT+ folks already have a plethora of their own days, weeks, and months – with parades and celebrations.

Every other occasion for reflection or pride does not require fealty to a group of aggrieved, narcissistic activists who occupy the space at the very edges of the Bell curve of human sexuality.