Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Cynical WisGOP CRT Fauxtrage at UW requires a fierce response.

I saw Assembly Speaker Robbin’ Vos sent a letter to UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank yesterday, and I promptly ignored it, because you knew it wasn’t going to be anything beyond another type of anti-UW whine. And it turned out that Vos was amplifying a video that GOP guv candidate Rebecca Kleefisch put on (where else?) Facebook.

Clearly someone sent out the “AM radio topic of the day” to these Republicans, and after my wife pointed out that this effluent was trying to make the rounds, I decided to finally click on Vos’s letter to Chancellor Blank to see what kind of BS these guys were trying to push. Sure enough, it’s the same old grievance from mediocre white people that we’ve come to expect.
It has been brought to my attention that under the guise of violence prevention, UW-Madison has allowed its University Health Services division to push their own political beliefs and agenda on its graduate students through a mandatory “Graduate and Professional Students Preventing and Responding to Sexual and Relationship Violence” course. Students are not only required to take this course and pass with a 100% score in order to enroll in classes but they are also required to agree that whiteness means privilege.

The course states that Critical Race Theory and Critical Race Feminism can help students understand privilege better and “how a regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color have been created and maintained in America… not merely to understand the vexed bond between law and racial power but to change it” (Crenshaw, et al. 1995, xiii). The course labels white/Caucasian, Christian, men, middle-or upper class, native English speakers, U.S. citizens, non-disabled, etc., as privileged groups in the United States.

I am appalled by the blatant attempt by UW-Madison to force students to agree with one set of beliefs to attend the University as a graduate student. I would like an explanation as to why this course is mandatory for graduate and professional students to enroll in classes at UW-Madison. Why is this a graduate prerequisite? Are undergraduate students required to take a similar course? Why does the university find this an appropriate course to require students to take? Who developed this course? What was the impetus for this course and how was it developed? If students voice opposition to this mandatory course, what is the university’s response?
I seem to remember a time when Republicans used to say "suck it up, buttercup" and not be so sensitive. All the way back in the late 2010s.

This made me investigate further, and I found the link that explains what this “course” is - a benign webinar.
The program is designed to promote the health and safety of the campus community by increasing students’ understanding of:

Dynamics of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence, and stalking
Safe and effective prevention strategies they can use
. Available campus and community resources for confidential support
Victim rights and reporting options
Much of this is typical new student orientation stuff, letting people know where to go if they’ve been victimized. It also could have the benefit of raising self-awareness for a few people, which might keep them from these types of abusive behaviors.

And it certainly isn’t “forcing” students to buy into anything. If you can get in to a grad program at UW, but your world is somehow so sheltered that hearing new info and other perspectives makes you want to cry, then you’re probably not cut out for that level of schooling. Or any leadership that requires dealing with other members of the public in diverse, 2021 America. Sorry, bro.

But Robbin’ and Rebecca aren’t talking to grad students at UW. They’re using this as another “divide and conquer” move to show the rubes they’re standing up to THOSE PEOPLE at “liberal” UW-Madison. They count on those rubes to have no clue what this training is or know what is actually being discussed. The rubes are just told it’s “CRT” (whatever that is) and makes white people like them feel bad.

The reason GOPs and their AM radio spokespeople do this is to poison the atmosphere enough that whatever facts exist get ignored for how it feels to the average low-info listener. They also hope to create enough of a spectacle that legit media decides they have to follow up on this non-issue, and by the time the facts are discussed, the WisGOPs and AM 1130/1310/620 are onto the next topic of Fauxtrage.

And on that level, the WisGOP cynicism has done its job, as Kelly Meyerhofer of the Wisconsin State Journal dutifully reported on this non-issue today.

In response to Vos/Kleefisch claims that a couple of slides in a 90-minute webinar reference white male privilege and connects prejudice to how people iuse their power to abuse others (true, by the way), the UW reps try to explain themselves instead of telling Vos and Kleefisch to shove it up their whiny asses.
University Health Services Violence Prevention developed the webinar in response to a 2016 survey conducted by the American Association of Universities, a national higher education organization of which UW-Madison is a member. The survey findings relevant to UW-Madison found that graduate students were not well informed about campus policies and resources for sexual misconduct.

The [brief] reference to critical race theory has been included in the training since it went live in 2017, [UW-Madison spokesman John] Lucas said.

"Offering a webinar like this is an important part of the university’s sexual violence prevention efforts," he said. "We will continue to review the webinar, as we do with all of our programs, and make any appropriate changes for Spring 2022."
How UW-Madison officials and Dems should respond (NOW) is like this: “Why does the GOP not want to do anything about sexual assault on campus, and to take steps to reduce violence against women? And what in the world does this have to do with race or the fee-fees of white people?”

(One other tip for Dems/UW - yes violence against transgender people is also part of this webinar. While needed, it gets into the weeds and isn’t worth bogging down the argument for everyday people).

Drill these cynical bastards, do not let up, and MAKE THEM ANSWER THE QUESTION. After the initial heat is blown back on the WisGOPs, and they’ve stammered around with their non-answers, add in this reality. Grad-level and professional students are people whose future jobs often will require them to be experts that craft policy and strategies to combat social problems like sexual violence. So how are we going to attract talent to Wisconsin if those future leaders and workers aren’t seen as keeping up with the needs of a 21st Century society?

See, WisGOPs don’t want us to compete and evolve to the needs of modern society, they just want to stay cocooned off in their own mediocrity. And if that makes Wisconsin less competitive, they are perfectly fine with it.

So let’s play a little “divide and conquer” of our own, and show Dems to be the party that wants to move Wisconsin ahead in the 2020s. That should be a central attack on the GOPs any time they try to drum up these stupid cultural issues to distract low-info, low-experience voters.

No comments:

Post a Comment