Bracey vs. Schlafly
- Subject: Bracey vs. Schlafly
- From: Mike Kluznik <mkluznik@HOTMAIL.COM>
- Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 17:54:03 -0400
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
I read the Phyllis Schlafly piece that Gerald Bracey forwarded.
First, in my defense, I'll say that I've never voted for a Republican. I've
always voted Democrat. In a few cases, I've voted for independents (not
last fall though...I didn't vote for Nader, even though I wanted to...I
voted for Gore). To borrow a phrase that Ronald Reagan or was it Bush, Sr.
who referred to his opponent as a "card-carrying liberal."
I'm not about to defend Schlafly. Also, I haven't spent much time on campus
since the mid-80s when I worked on a graduate degree. However, I think that
a few of the things she says might be worth reflecting on.
From what I can tell, English departments have become quite political. I
don't think they ignore "dead white guys" in favor of women and minorities.
I understand that on the Columbia campus, the English dept. (humanities?)
has dropped a few of the old classics and replaced them with works by
Virginia Wolff and other authors not in the dead, white guy category. So,
that part of Schlafly's complaint may be bogus.
However, I did get a chance to spend three weeks at the U of M campus in
1996 with the Minnesota Writing Project. I asked one of the staff about the
pc, feminist, deconstructionist controversy. The next day, she was able to
deliver a ream of photocopied material from a radical feminist who used
words like "wimmyn" to replace "women." Real Wimmyn apparently don't want
to be considered an auxiliary club of men.
I was impressed at how quickly the ream of photocopies ended up in my grimy
male paws. It made me think that maybe since such material is so handy, it
just might have some influence on the thinking of the English department at
the U of M...but then that's just my opinion, and I could be wrong. In any
case, I got the impression that things had changed a bit since the 60s in
the U of M English dept.
The nationally-known Loft Writers' group in Minneapolis seems to have
considerable influence on creative writing programs in the local
universities. Some of the Loft instructors will teach a class or two at the
Loft and also hold a teaching position at one of the nearby universities.
The Loft regularly has writing contests and programs to nurture writers.
These programs are restricted to such groups as: Chicano-Latino-Hispanic,
Gay-Lesbian-Transexual-Bisexual, American Indian, African American, Asian
Americans and a few other groups who Schlafly describes mentions. I don't
think it's a stretch to say that English departments might be show some of
the influences that are apparent at the Loft.
I'm sure those groups identified by the Loft and various English departments
have endured much. So have Jews and Armenians, two groups who were targeted
for genocide in the 20th century. Deaf people, blind people, those with
disabilities, unusual physical features, the homeless, mentally ill and
others are often silent victims who have endured truly horrible things in
America, the land of plenty; their stories, particularly, MI and homeless,
are profoundly sad. However, their stories are less important than those
identified as "outsiders" by the pc crowd on campus and elsewhere.
I'm not a researcher. I have anecdotes from my own "field study." I recall
at one of the writers' workshops at the Loft when I read part of a memoir in
which I met one of my brothers at a restaurant in St. Paul to discuss some
events from out childhood. As it turned out, the restaurant we went to was
modeled after Hooter's that was located midway between our homes; it was a
convenient location. The menu items all had risqué' names, all referring to
heterosexual acts of coupling...use your imagination. Anyway, one of the
women in my Loft workshop was sitting there with her bottle of Avian bottled
water. When I finished my reading, I heard her clear her throat. She was
angry and disdainful. She told me I was boorish, sexist, etc. She was
upset that I had given a brief description of the restaurant. It really had
nothing to do with my memoir; it was merely a way of leading from present to
past. I have a hunch that my Loft workshop simulated a lot of writing
classes/English classes on campus these days.
This past year, there was an uproar on campus about the issue of paying
reparations to descendents of former slaves. It appears that free speech
doesn't exist on campus. If one opposes such reparations, he is
automatically a racist and a bigot.
I think similar sentiments exist on the subject of Zero Population Growth
and limiting immigration. If you are for either of these, particularly the
second one, you again are automatically a racist and a bigot. I raised the
issue of ZPG along with immigration at a Democratic precinct caucus a few
years ago and was shouted down by some self-righteous female who, guess
what?, call me a racist and a bigot. Nevermind that the Sierra Club came
very close to issuing such a resolution two or three years ago. By the by,
the supporters in the Sierra Club were also called, guess what?, bigots and
Schlafly raises concerns about affirmative action. According to the pc
crowd, affirmative action is necessary because of oppression by white males.
If one raises legitimate concerns about it, he is called, guess what?, a
racist, bigot and sexist.
Same with Title IX.
I don't support most of what Phyllis Schlafly does, but at least she talks
about issues the we liberals have decided are taboo.
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