And thus laxity becomes the official policy when enforcing the rules–any rules, because a kid can’t be counted on to be making good judgments about which ones you think are important and which ones are just silly, and the graduation dress code is one you stressed quite a bit–against anybody, including your anti-gay people and your cat callers and your smokers and … you get the picture. Officially, the school’s position is that each student decides which rules apply to his or her self, based on their notions of fairness. I have a feeling it wouldn’t end well.
And that policy is also hugely culturally biased, granting implicit favor to those which cultivate anti-authoritarianism and disadvantaging cultures which cultivate rule following.
And those dumb rules are arrived at through a process, maybe even one with input from your colleagues and even students who happen to want uniformity at the graduation ceremony. But of course all that matters is what you think is right, everyone else’s feelings on the matter can go to hell. All you are doing is replacing the authority of policy with the authority of your personal will. If I were the kids, I’d go for the rules.
Funny thing about authority. Whether it’s pissed off or not, what it says is as given. This conversation seems, somehow, to be about how he submitted to authority, and rather needs to be about what he was made to submit to, and how it was enforced on him.
As described the ejection was an abuse of authority, it was not two equals having a spirited debate and one of them losing that debate.
Trouble is, when the matter of race is involved, and the people you’re assuming the best instead of the worst about are white and the abused are not white, then such an assumption usually works out fine for the white people involved, and more of the same old biased shit for those who aren’t white.
So now you’re saying this kid did this because he comes from a culture that likes to break rules and “cultivates anti-authoritarianism”? Um, that’s not at all the reason he chose to break a rule. I guess I can see why, given his race, you would be inclined to hold such an unwarranted, blind bias against him. Do you also assume any black man you meet has to prove himself before you can trust him?
I didn’t say that. I said cultures differ in this regard and that setting up a system where there are rules that are expected to be and even encouraged to be selectively followed, and consequences are selectively enforced doesn’t take those differences into account. I was mostly thinking about mainstream American culture as a whole, which tends to be noncompliant.
Both parties were in the wrong in some senses, but one party’s wrongdoings were more serious than the other’s.
The student was in the wrong in some ways. Students were previously informed about the dress codes, so he really should have been trying to work out an exemption for the kente cloth beforehand. He was breaking a dress code rule and disobeying authorities telling him he had to comply which is very mildly wrong. The more authoritarian you are, them more you’ll see that disobeyment as a more serious issue, of course.
The problem is that his wrongdoings were a minor slap on the wrist offense, and while his treatment could certainly have been worse (it’s sad that we’re at the point that we should be glad the black kid didn’t get shot by the armed police removing him for breaking a dress code), it was still completely out of proportion to the trivial infraction. If I were the authority, I’d have made him write an essay about better ways to have handled the situation before I gave him the diploma or some similar thing that didn’t involve hauling him away. Getting the cops involved in any sense whatsoever was a far greater wrong than anything that happened prior in that situation and is completely out of proportion to the trivial infraction and smells like it’s coming from some unchecked race-based assumptions. While assuming race as a factor isn’t provable, at this point in our history Occam’s Razor cuts that direction.
Snark aside, graduation dress codes are not some culturally neutral magic designed to make everyone equal. They’re directly descended with little change from white European formal robes, the same culture that had a go at “civilizing” all those savages. You’re not expected to see this. It’s your privilege that you came up in a culture where these symbols are merely part of the background tapestry. But rest assured that minorities see the history in these symbols every day, and aren’t allowed to forget where they came from even if they want to.