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.

Never is heard a discouraging word

COVID-19 shows we’re more risk averse than post-World War II Americans

Of course. Because the Nanny State has been reaching out from university campuses for decades: Where ‘safe spaces’ segregated by race and ‘gender’ are festooned with the adult coloring books, Play-Doh, blankies, and puppy videos with which the road to serfdom infantilization ‘maturity’ is now paved.

I remain convinced the students who flocked to beaches during Spring Break were foolish given what we didn’t know about the CCP virus. Still, they behaved admirably compared to those adults somewhat older people who now huddle in their houses, swaddled in bubble wrap, providing the fodder for Karen memes, and cheering Governor Witless’ arbitrary edicts.

Stop it!

Harvard researchers say social distancing may be needed into 2022
Detailed models suggest the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could resurge as late as 2024.

The worst secondary effect of the CCP virus pandemic is the press coverage. CNET should be ashamed and so should Harvard. The idea that CCP virus will come back is intuitively obvious, but the article hawks it as unexpected.

A couple of snippets that tell you the model and the article were unnecessary:

[S]ome social distancing methods, like avoiding hugs and handshakes, could persist beyond the end of the pandemic

“The authors are aware that prolonged distancing, even if intermittent, is likely to have profoundly negative economic, social and educational consequences,”

Maintaining ‘no hugs nor handshakes’ would surprise precisely no one as a natural public response.

This behavior will not be intermittent, it’s going to be a fact of life, like more hand-washing. The lack of “hugs and handshakes” will not have “profound” effects. If they’d mentioned the six feet distancing rule, they might have made a case for “irritating effects.”

Harvard bases this on a “detailed model.” OOOh! Models. Harvard. Scientists. Changes in public behavior after a world historical pandemic. Run!

The CCP virus modeling has been wildly wrong – as bad as CAGW models. They specify 2024. Because putting a number on it makes the model seem more precise and insightful, but it is a WAG generated by a spreadsheet. Why not 2028 and 2035? People wouldn’t worry so much, and wouldn’t click on it.

A 2024 resurgence would be tempered by a vaccine, likely by effective drug treatment, likely (and sadly) acceptance of cell-phone-based contact tracing apps by those who care nothing for privacy, and by handy, 5 minute, inexpensive self-testing kits available at CVS and Walmart. If the FDA gets out of the way.

I question whether they factored those changes into their model. If they did, I’d call BS on the values they used.

To help determine the way forward, the researchers say a better understanding of immunity to the virus is key, as is epidemiological surveillance of the disease, which can be done through widespread testing and contact tracing.

They had to have a model to reach that insipid conclusion? While admitting the key element of their model, immunity, is not understood?

A plea for funding, and a quest for clicks.