I don’t understand your comment. Is it a criticism of Professor Bright, or a criticism of the way the students reacted? Or both?

@Pat I’m criticising the students who complained, and coward #MIT which caved in to the mob.

@tripu @Pat

“allow for a positive learning environment”

cancel professor for not giving context

i really have to doubt that we are still dealing with adults.

@bonifartius @tripu

Although it is difficult to form any type of conclusions from a single article, not actually being in the room at the time, I think that the fact that the woman who complained was a freshman and most likely a young person, contributes to the reaction. One of the purposes of college is so young people can learn how respond appropriately in social situations. To learn to be adults.

I don’t know if she questioned Sheng contemporaneously during the class or waited until afterwards to complain. Questioning him during the class would be the proper way to do it. Then they could discuss it in the classroom and sort it out. It sounds like she became very confrontational about it.

As for Sheng, you never actually know for sure what is going on inside someone’s brain. He seems rather clueless about the whole situation. The article said that he had attended awareness training, and I don’t understand how someone could not know that blackface in almost any context is inappropriate today and so he should have either picked an alternative composition adaptation example or explained prior to the showing that that blackface was inappropriate even in the 60s when it was made.

The reason why that kind of contextualization is required before showing the film is because older productions of that sort are designed to promote and perpetuate racism, which was largely tolerated before the civil rights movement during the 60s. It was designed to make people more racist. If those films are shown to a young audience who may or may not understand that, then it could have racism-promoting effects on those young people. By explaining all of that up front before the film is shown, then it helps to mitigate and inoculate against that and instead it can show how racism is bad.

@Pat @bonifartius

“Older productions of that sort are designed to promote and perpetuate racism. […] It was designed to make people more racist.”

I don’t think so. Blackface in Othello was not there “to make people more racist”.

Imagine that humans of the 22nd century have abolished farming and breeding animals for food and clothing. Are all contemporary depictions of farms, farmers, laying hens, pigs, etc — in film, rhymes, paintings, children’s books, animation, etc — “designed to promote and perpetuate” farming, or just a reflection of every-day life and common values?

Imagine a future when fossil fuels are gone at last. Will our descendants see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Fast & Furious, and Cars as material “designed” to keep us enamoured with combustion engines, consuming petrol, and minimise our worries about climate change, or will they see those vehicles there as mere reflections of the times?

reading your posts i had an epiphany why the woke behavior bothers me so much:
people who demand “safe environments” in turn create hostile environments for others.

@bonifartius @tripu

The Reason piece appears to just be using the Daily article as their source, along with whatever original documents they could find online. The NY Times picked up the story (nytimes.com/2021/10/15/arts/mu) and likely has additional research on it, but I can’t get past their paywall.

The practice of using blackface perpetuates racism whether or not the people doing it understand that it’s wrong. So the future examples you cite are indeed also in that very general category – many people today do not know that what they are doing is wrong, but some do.

When Olivier did Othello, most people didn’t see a problem with it, but forward-looking people did. (Othello is actually much more complicated – it was written before the US was even founded, which is why I said, “…productions of that sort…”, meaning productions using blackface.)

Regarding “safe spaces”, I think that’s a bunch of bullshit. College is for exploring and learning and discovery. It’s about discourse. Shutting down people who earnestly have a different view in order to prevent them speaking does not promote progress, it stifles it.

To damage somebody’s career like they did to Sheng is wrong. As I said, when somebody tries to apologize like that, you can never see into somebody’s brain to know for sure if they are consciously racist or just slow at becoming “woke”. The students should have confronted him directly and respectfully and discussed the issue.

If he would have continued to hold the position that blackface was ok, then that’s a different story. That means he has some kind learning disability and probably shouldn’t be teaching if he can’t learn simple things like that.


@Pat @bonifartius @tripu
> "The students should have confronted him directly and respectfully and discussed the issue."

That doesn't virtue signal enough, and it is all about "Look at me/us, we struck down on this....", not about educating, debating or strengthening our consensus.

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