Archive for June 2006

Francie was wrong…

A noncommital attitude to others breeds an irresponsible attitute towards oneself and a lack of emotion to your peers.

We are asked to kill our emotion for ourselves for the sake of emotions of another, asked to throw away our rationality for the sake of social justice without ever asking ourselves whether our society even comprehends the word “justice.”

turn off the radio
turn off that bull****

The Horrors of Racism

I was placed in a very… “interesting” situation today.
As I was talking to a newly admitted student, another new admit walked by with some friends and was in the middle of some conversation about the racial make-up of Berkeley. I was in the middle of a very affable conversation with this new admit when the group walking by made an extremely disgusting, purely racial attack on a specific culture group here at Berkeley. It was not aimed or directed as us, but the new admit I was talking to was part of this culture group, and I could literally see the shock running through his body as he pulled back when he heard this comment, and my blood boiled…

I pulled the student apart as he walked by (the one who made the remark) and directly told him that “we try to respect all the different races on our campus” and he replied with something along the lines of “I would…”.

I have so much more to say to that student, and so much more to do in a situation like that, that I am partly disappointed in myself, party disappointed in students like these who walk under the Cal banner and call themselves Bears. My first reaction is still to pounce on this student and drive him into the group for such purely racial remarks, so casually and disgustingly made. Yet maybe something happened which prompted it which involved a person of that specific race, so that the fault also lies to blame with some unknown third party who tried playing their racial card. All in all I want more information, and I really want to lead this erring student to a brighter outlook on life than the boxed-in black-and-white existence that racial boundaries tries to enforce.

I was disappointed, and I did not gain any hope during our discussion on diversity at Berkeley. I find it hard to deal with seemingly so much indifference, yet I can identify because I too had (and still sometimes have) to push myself to recognize the issues and not be indifferent, and acting on your perceptions if hard when you are going against society norms, working towards social justice. Yet I have gained hope during the evening. At first I was purely anger and sadness, until I realized that it is the sodcial system which forces people into this zombie-like mode around painful/hot issues. Finally I found some solace in my own experience – that many of those who don’t talk as much or who might seem unrepsonsive often also gain a large amount from thse sections, thus…

Go Bears!

First Parent Program!

5:45 wakeup call survived… 11pm goodnight achieved!
What a FAN-TAS-TIC day!!!

Today was a Big Day

June 4th… Another Significant Day… once more

The official naming of TheCafeTable.com
The day before CalSO starts!

w00t!

The Night Before…

The First CalSO Program Starts Tomorrow Morning

Wake Up Call… 5:45am

Bedtime… 10:00pm

Assigned Group… L&S Parents

Counselees… 13 Parents

Job… Niels Joubert, CalSO Counselor Extraordinaire

That feeling of excitement, nervousness, worry and impulsive mad scramble is right there in the pit of my stomache…

What does Hitler have to do with Universities?

Too often have I heard exclamations of disbelief at the Holocaust and the Nazi regime in Germany. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard the question “Why did all the people go along with such pure evil?” in all its forms and nuances. How did one man – Hitler – manage to ‘control’ a nation to execute such horrors?

I’m not a historian or a psychologist, yet I find this question laughable. Why? Because I’ve encountered every aspect of regimes of control that turns normal people in monsters in the educational institutions around the world. Whether it be the psychology, the physical embarrasment, the mental battering, the taking advantage of emotions or the righteous indignation of the individuals who seems to take the authority figure position, it’s right there in the core of every educational system i’ve encountered. British-influenced high school, South African elementary school, American universities.

Take a look at the amount of articles and news stories on hazings, multiply that by 10, and you have a conservative view of the amount of actual pure discrimination against groups by those on a higher position on the social ladder. Why the factor of ten? This is a question in disguise – the real question is: Why are people who are discriminated against, quite happy to continue those values, even build them higher, if they are subjected to such treatment? This is one of the big mysteries i’m still wondering about, but a major part of the answer lies in the trick of promoting these people – the discriminatees – to the authority position, and somehow instilling in them the idea that they “earned” that position through their “hard work”, oblivious to the fact that the obstacles they faced were constructed by their peers and “superiors” specifically to create that response in them.

I still have loose ends and many unanswered questions around politics and execution of this form of discrimination – hazings, psychological hammering and fear induction – yet it is all too apparent that it lies rooted in our educational institutions. How can you expect a person trained to further political correctness to perform his job if he had to go through a process of discrimination to “earn” that position?