Looks Like Them

What I don’t get is the idea that students need a professor “who looks like them” in order to learn. That is, black students. Nobody says this about Indian, Chinese or Ukrainian students.

First of all, I’m not sure how the “looks like them” criterion is applied. Do we assume that “all black people look alike”? Or do we take into consideration that a black person from Ghana looks nothing like (to anybody but a total racist) an African-American student from St Louis?

Another issue is how that makes the professor feel. You go to school for many years, learn, read, write, publish… and then get hired because of your “look”? And what, the people at the interview evaluate you in terms of the “look”? Like, whether you are black enough? Like in, “yeah, but she’s Indian black not black black?”

I feel very uncomfortable participating in these conversations about “the right look.”

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The Totalitarianism I Know

I think many people don’t understand what it was like in the USSR. Back there, we weren’t afraid of being executed or sent to a concentration camp. Even during the Stalin era, when there actually were mass executions and labor camps, most people didn’t fear them because nobody was supposed to know. It was all done in secret.

But after Stalin’s death, it weren’t done at all. We didn’t fear physical violence from the state. Honestly, the idea is ludicrous.

We feared being publicly shamed. We feared becoming pariahs. We feared social, not physical, death. We feared being socially, not physically, cancelled. We feared being prevented from making a living, being fired, denied promotion, being told we are agents of international imperialism. We feared public humiliation.

And we feared that this was going to happen to us not if we did something egregious like molesting kids or beating up old ladies for fun. We feared that this was going to happen if somebody found out we enjoyed ideologically suspect news programs, read politically incorrect books, didn’t show up for climate strikes subbotniks, didn’t add pronouns to our email signatures Communist terminology to every sentence we wrote, didn’t condemn Trump US imperialism loudly enough, didn’t give away our jobs toys to the suffering refugees children in Guatemala, and didn’t join the Twitter mobs Komsomol leaders with enough enthusiasm when they condemned white Ukrainian nationalists and the growing threat of the KKK and world fascism.

This is what I don’t want to experience again. This is the totalitarianism I know.

Markel Murder Trial

A trial is finally starting in the case of a law professor in Florida killed by murderers hired by his ex-wife who didn’t want to share custody of their kids.

At this rate, the kids will be middle-aged before anyone goes to jail for their dad’s murder.

It’s clearly easier to be an indifferent, deadbeat dad.

Academic Freedom in Germany

The link is in German but use Google Translate. German professors are trying to stand up to government-sponsored thugs who try to destroy academic freedom. I think these professors are waking up a bit too late but at least they are trying to do something.

Kid Drawing Riddle

Klara is learning to draw faces. When she draws eyes, she always makes one about 5 times larger than the other. This is done purposefully.

Can anybody guess why?

A hint: the reason, of course, is extremely cute.

P.S. I wrote the name. She only knows how to write OL so far.