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Old 11-12-2015, 08:39 PM   #46
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I think we've all done things at 19 or 20 that we wouldn't do today.

I find PC "calling out" culture and what might be described as liberal illiberal intolerance to be tiresome and unproductive. And, yes, kids today. I know.

But, if I were my college-aged self struggling with sexual orientation and there were straight white bros dressed up like Caitlyn Jenner for Halloween, I might find that offensive, even mildly physically threatening, because I know that sometimes there is violence that follows homo/transphobia. And I'm not trans. I'm just gay. And the difference, in a residential college, is that you have to live and eat and sleep near these people. You can't "go home" the way you can as an adult or child. You are home. That's what she's talking about when she says "it's not about creating an intellectual space." What she's saying is that she has a right to a space where she feels no threat, a feeling that white students (or straight students) never have to deal with on account of their race alone.

We can agree or disagree with her, but I don't think her point was "coddle me!" Plus, her sense of entitlement, or not, really isn't the most concerning thing about this situation. Actual racism is. And I'm uneasy with the dismissing and belittling of her concerns by people born white and male. That happens a lot.

My own view is that one of the facts about being in a minorty -- racial, sexual, religious, whatever -- is that there is a certain amount of discomfort and stress that you will have to deal with that others with their privileged majority status do not. It isn't fair, but neither is life. So we try to make the world more just while reminding ourselves that is these things that make us different that also makes us unique and beautiful.

But then, I'm a white male. So maybe that's easy for me to say.
Before we talk about the issues, can we at least agree that she went about this the wrong way? Certainly, one can take her flood of emotions into account here, but whatever point she was attempting to convey was completely buried by the spectacle.

I won't pretend that she was saying nothing, screaming CODDLE ME into the void. I think she and the senior administrator were talking past each other to an extent. College is largely about creating an intellectual space, she was absolutely wrong to say otherwise, but there is something at the heart of her claim that universities need to foster a "home" for the student body.

Where they begin to talk past each other is in their understanding of what a "home" should provide. She seems to be referring to physical safety (w/r/t hate crime), not necessarily intellectual safety (i.e. fostering the beliefs the student brings with them to the university) and the administrator seems to be focusing on the latter. There's something to this point:

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But, if I were my college-aged self struggling with sexual orientation and there were straight white bros dressed up like Caitlyn Jenner for Halloween, I might find that offensive, even mildly physically threatening, because I know that sometimes there is violence that follows homo/transphobia.
and I think that it could be a root of her concern. If she feels threatened, it's absolutely worth hearing her out (though these concerns could be communicated more eloquently if not shouted in a public setting) and acting accordingly. The Yale campus is a place where students should feel safe from physical and psychological harm. Students would leave if they felt unsafe. We could talk all day about whether racist signs or costumes qualify as a threat to personal safety or if that reaction is catastrophizing on the "victim's" part. Fear is a very subjective emotion.

So her concerns have some degree of reality to them. In fact, they could be quite pertinent. I think the consensus among the restless Yale student body is actually quite reasonable. The way that this particular student went about expressing these concerns is a terrible reflection on her university, however, and because she chose to voice herself publicly, I think she deserves criticism for that. Death threats, not so much. That's every bit the overreaction of the student herself.

To date, the student commentary on these issues has run the gamut from measured to hyperbolic, informed to hysterical. I hope that those looking in from afar choose not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and take a close look at the issues affecting these students, rather than writing them off as crybabies because of their affluent environment. They are, actually, entitled to complain if something is wrong.

Just don't scream at faculty. No one is entitled to that.
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Old 11-12-2015, 09:30 PM   #47
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I'm still confused. Was there actually an inciting incident that upset her personally? Because this honestly feels like her screaming at a person over something that MIGHT happen.
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:57 PM   #48
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I'm still confused. Was there actually an inciting incident that upset her personally? Because this honestly feels like her screaming at a person over something that MIGHT happen.


Yes. There was an incident with a "white girls only" party and an email from the professor's wife, both of whom are responsible for dorm life in this particular college within Yale, where she thought that students were too oversensitive to potentially offensive Halloween costumes.

It's all very college-specific, and Yale-specific, and much different from Missouri. But the confrontation didn't come out of nowhere.

Good post, LM.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:37 PM   #49
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Edit: this post is too short to convey what I mean. I should've waited til I got home to write something that better expresses what I mean. If you saw my post and want to respond, feel free, but I definitely did not communicate as well here as I could have and will do so later.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:52 PM   #50
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The administrator did nothing to deserve that. Even if they did, that was the wrong venue and volume with which to air grievances. It was misplaced aggression.

All I'm saying is that not all rich kids with complaints are entitled dipshits straining to be heard. This one might be, I don't know her.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:54 PM   #51
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Political Correctness

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Old 11-13-2015, 02:34 AM   #52
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http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opini...110-story.html


"One morning, when I was 10 years old, I woke up to find my normally sleepy suburban town covered in swastikas. They were on mailboxes, they were on businesses, they were in front of the home of our local rabbi. The perpetrators, as if to remove even the slightest whiff of ambiguity from their message, scrawled slogans like “Final Solution” and “Hitler’s Children” alongside their work. It was the day before Yom Kippur—the holiest day of the year for Jews.

The message couldn’t have been clearer: me, my family and those like us were not wanted in this town.

Sadly, this wasn’t my first experience with anti-Semitism. It was, however, far and away the most terrifying. This wasn’t mere casual bias. There were people out there, in my community, who hated me, who might want to hurt me, and whom no amount of reason could talk out of these feelings. And they could very well have known where I lived.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this incident as I’ve followed the coverage of the protests at the University of Missouri. I’ve been thinking about it as I’ve read and heard puzzled queries suggesting the ouster of Mizzou President Tim Wolfe wasn't really necessary. And I’ve especially been thinking about it every time I see lazy (and often malicious) conflations between the protests at Missouri and those at Yale—where, in the minds of many pundits, apparently, the school’s debate over racially charged Halloween costumes occurred in an otherwise racism-free zone.

It’s almost impossible to imagine such a zone in Missouri. Over the past several years black students at Mizzou were repeatedly called racist names to their faces, the grounds of the school's Black Culture Center were covered with cotton balls, the center was the target of arson threats, a black professor was spat at and called names by a white man flying a confederate flag from his truck, and a dormitory wall was decorated with feces in the shape of a swastika.

What happened at Mizzou was not a matter of mere insensitivity. It was not an intellectual abstraction. These were terrorist acts, meant to silence and intimidate, and they demanded an immediate and forceful response from school officials, police and the community at large.

That didn’t happen. It took a week for school administrators to issue even the simplest of public statements after Mizzou's student body president was addressed using a racial slur. The perpetrators of the cotton ball incident were charged with littering.

Contrast that with what happened at UC Davis this year when a lone swastika was found painted on a Jewish fraternity house. UC Davis officials issued an immediate condemnation, the local Anti-Defamation League offered a $2,500 reward to find the perpetrator, and Davis police launched a hate crime investigation.

When vandals painted swastikas on the campus of Northwestern University in June, university President Morton Schapiro issued a campuswide email: “These acts are offensive to the entire Northwestern community and will not be tolerated.”

There was no backlash when Jewish groups asked Schapiro to do more to combat anti-Semitism on campus. No paeans to free speech appeared in the media in defense of the swastika, suggesting Jewish students needed to toughen up in the face of bigotry.

Here is what happened in my town in the wake of our swastika spate: Local officials and police condemned the actions and vowed to find those responsible. A nearby college led an anti-racism march in support of the Jewish community. Newspaper columnists expressed their outrage and their demands for justice.

It took only a few days to track the culprits down. They were charged with 26 counts of malicious destruction of property and two counts of civil rights law violations. They faced 10 years in prison, though they eventually received much lighter sentences.

The length of jail time didn’t matter. The entire region had sent them – and me – a message: Acts of hatred and bigotry won't be tolerated. The fear and alienation I felt was immediately quelled in this wave of support.

Yet in Missouri it took a student hunger strike and a football protest to achieve a fraction of the support my community was given without question.

“It is disgusting and vile that we find ourselves in the place that we do,” hunger-striking Mizzou grad student Jonathan Butler said in a speech after Wolfe’s resignation.

“When students were crying out for help, our administration left us stranded,” University of Missouri Students Assn. member Brenda Smith-Lezama told PBS’ Gwen Ifill.

Tim Wolfe stepped down, as he should have, because, faced with acts of terrorism committed against his students and faculty, he twiddled his thumbs. In those crucial moments of fear, anger and anxiety, the school’s African American community was not given the support it needed, the support that basic human decency demands.

In all my recent thinking about these events, I don't have an answer for one important question: Would Wolfe have done so little, and would the media narrative be so mixed, if all the victims were Jewish instead of black?"


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Old 11-13-2015, 03:14 AM   #53
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Richard Dawkins' regular whinging on Twitter also relates to this somewhat.
sometimes i tell myself there's a senile and/or drunk dawkins impersonator running his twitter account. pretty much proof that everyone's a moron when limited to 140 characters.
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Old 11-13-2015, 03:37 AM   #54
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Yes. There was an incident with a "white girls only" party and an email from the professor's wife, both of whom are responsible for dorm life in this particular college within Yale, where she thought that students were too oversensitive to potentially offensive Halloween costumes.

It's all very college-specific, and Yale-specific, and much different from Missouri. But the confrontation didn't come out of nowhere.

Good post, LM.
I was aware of the party and I was aware of the e-mail. I do feel that you're selling the e-mail a little short, as that's not what I felt the e-mail was saying in the slightest. As someone responsible for the students of the dorm, where they seem to purposefully employ faculty for reasons I can only assume are meant to encourage learning outside of the classroom, it seems to me she was doing just that by challenging them to be more in control of themselves and their life decisions. Nowhere in that did I see her calling students overly sensitive, nor did I see her do anything to bring on the rage and wrath that she incurred.

And again, what REALLY bugs me about the tirade is that the husband didn't write the e-mail. He seems to share his wife's sentiments, sure, but for a girl to scream at him and tell him he doesn't get to talk, well, that's not the behavior I'd expect from a university student. Yes, university is your home in a sense, but, it's not, not really. It's where you stay for four years and learn, and it's where you ARE challenged, for the first time, to really experience the world. In fact, for people who go to college instead of making it on their own right after high school, you still get a buffer zone before adulthood, where you're "an adult" but you also still get to have the benefit of people watching out for you.

But I don't think that means you need to be treated as though you are the center of someone's attention any more, or that you HAVE to be heard.

And the thing that I was trying to get at is that there are DEFINITELY issues. I'm very grateful I never experienced or saw ANYTHING like this while I was at TCU. But I also enjoyed having independence in college. Hell, I only ever saw the guy that ran my dorm a couple times a semester. I interacted with my RA a bit more, but not by much. That doesn't mean that I didn't expect them to care about my well-being, or make sure that things were SAFE for me (and I mean safe in the broader sense of, I didn't feel like a guy was going to attack me, or that someone was going to steal my stuff, or that I was going to be harmed in some way by conditions of the dorm) and I think they achieved that.

I'm getting a little off topic, but basically my question to you was: did something happen to THIS girl that caused her to flip out. Was there offensive costumes being ignored by their dorm master? Or is this entire thing about a hypothetical situation brought up by the e-mail. That bothers me. It bothers me that someone things it's OK to talk to another person like they are scum and human filth because they don't see eye to eye on a subject. If something happened to make her feel so passionately, I'm completely open to understanding that, but as far as I can see this guy did nothing to warrant being treated this way, and I can't find myself willing to excuse her behavior.


THIS, btw, has nothing to do with the Whites Only party, or the hugely terrible things happening at Mizzou in my eyes. The Halloween costume thing has been a growing issue for years now, especially on college campuses, and it's definitely not the easiest thing to get to the root of, because I do believe a lot of people don't believe they're doing anything wrong when they choose certain costumes. I don't think the intent is malicious. That doesn't mean it's not offensive, of course, and that's where the need for meaningful dialogue needs to come in to play. What's going on with this party, with what's happening at Mizzou? That intent is clear. THAT is malicious.


Anyways, I'm not trying to be a person who is ignoring racism and I didn't want it to come across as though I was. I hope that clears up my POV a little better.
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Old 11-13-2015, 03:47 AM   #55
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sometimes i tell myself there's a senile and/or drunk dawkins impersonator running his twitter account. pretty much proof that everyone's a moron when limited to 140 characters.
I just find it amusing that he is single handedly destroying what's left of his reputation on a social media site, and that he just can't stop.
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Old 11-13-2015, 01:18 PM   #56
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Twitter is far and away the worst possible medium for him. He's so trained to a very specific kind of blowback to his ideas that he doesn't recognize it when people are trying to take the piss out of him for his self-seriousness. And he's a classic case of a guy who needs to stay in his lane, because whenever he talks about any issues outside of his area of expertise he looks like a moron.
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:22 PM   #57
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I'm getting a little off topic, but basically my question to you was: did something happen to THIS girl that caused her to flip out.

supposedly she received a death threat.



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A popular misconception of Yale University students, and Yale students of color in particular, has solidified in the media this week: They’re so fragile, over-sensitive and entitled that they can’t handle an intense exchange of ideas or an off-hand personal slight. They’ve been cast as politically correct, coddled millennials — “crybullies” who just need to grow up.

Yes, these students — my students — are making demands. But not because they’re pampered or looking for shelter from opposing points of view. It’s because the Yale they’ve found isn’t the Yale they were looking for.

In the 21st century, Yale admits students from all over the world and from ethnic, racial and socioeconomic communities that have had scant representation on its campus for most of the university’s 314 years. This shift is similar to the one that took place in 1969, when Yale first admitted women and began broadening the admission of students of color. Today’s incredibly diverse student body makes me proud to be part of the Yale community. The makeup of our faculty, though, has not kept pace with the student body. In the events on campus this week, students sent a clear message to the administration: Another Yale is possible.

By now you know how we’ve arrived at our current crossroads. A campus committee sent a university-wide e-mail asking, not telling, students to consider others before donning potentially offensive Halloween costumes. In response, Erika Christakis, one of the college masters — Yale’s version of a faculty dorm adviser — sent her own e-mail challenging the idea that it’s anyone’s business to “control the forms of costumes” students might opt for.

On Monday, rather than letting the controversy devolve into a zero-sum grudge match between black and white, over 1,000 students and faculty from all campus communities came together in a “march of resilience” to hear upbeat speeches and musical performances that eventually segued into an impromptu dance party. In my nine years as a Yale professor, this “teachable moment” was one of my proudest, because our students, not we professors, were the ones doing the teaching.

Our students’ aim isn’t to suppress the free expression of their classmates, but to press the university that recruited them, and that they chose, to provide an academic environment where they’re afforded respect. When young students of all backgrounds join a community where they’ll compete academically with the brightest minds in the most intellectually and culturally rich environment possible, some of them wind up finding a campus that sends mixed messages about race despite its stated commitment to diversity, inclusion and, yes, providing a safe space.

For example, our campus is also in the middle of a debate about a reported racial incident at a recent frat party, where a member is alleged to have said, “We’re only looking for white girls.” To minority students, that reflects a systemic feature of Greek life at Yale, in which students of color are discouraged by their peers from rushing particular sororities and fraternities with reputations for racial preferences.

A month ago, on Yale’s anniversary, student activists displayed a poster with statistics and graphs detailing the school’s diversity gaps, which read: “A 1% increase in black faculty per century! The students are waiting. Your move, Yale.” (Last week, Yale’s administration finally did announce its multimillion-dollar initiative to diversify its faculty.)

Though I’m a Muslim, in 2009, I opposed the decision by the Yale University Press to censor the infamous Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad — I was offended, but did not believe the cartoons should be suppressed. At the same time, I was disappointed when a colleague chose to honor the cartoonist, who had depicted the prophet as a terrorist, with a special invitation to our campus, casting aside regard for how such an invitation might marginalize Muslim students who felt deeply betrayed.

Then, just as now, the right-to-offend crowd showed that it can be tone-deaf when it comes to understanding the point that the unquestioned freedom to mock the powerful is qualitatively different than the freedom to, effectively, bully the most vulnerable members of our community.

Enter the college masters of Silliman residential college, who, you’ve been told, have been attacked by a mob of students who can’t seem to understand that blackface and other forms of provocative racial caricature as Halloween costumes are merely “transgressive” forms of free speech, and that if they find such garb offensive, their solution should be to simply “look away, or tell them you are offended.”

In the garish viral version of this debate, our campus has been polarized into the “good” intellectual side that believes in free speech and nurturing personal fortitude, versus the “bad” identity politics side populated by “little Robespierres,” quasi-intellectuals who want their hurt feelings indulged and campus scrubbed of triggers and micro-aggressions. It casts our students as whimpering, fragile minority activists, based on a stray quote from an op-ed taken out of context or a few seconds of viral video footage of a black student shouting at a calm, white professor. That last one, in particular, appeals to many because it fits so easily into two preexisting stereotypes that fuse together: the angry black woman and the entitled millennial.

[There’s a reason Mizzou protestors didn’t want the media around]

Yes, a student wrote about wanting a space, outside of class, not to argue, but “to talk about my pain.” (After the reaction off-campus to the piece, the student requested that the Yale Herald unpublish it.) And yes, the widely-viewed video in which a student curses at Nicholas Christakis, one of the Silliman masters and an esteemed sociologist, is difficult to watch. But the antipathy directed toward our students from afar has been disturbing — it’s been less widely reported that the woman in the video has received a death threat. The tone has obscured both the specific set of circumstances involved and what the discussion at Yale right now is about.

The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf went out of his way not only to disagree with the students but to portray them as crying wolf. Central to his critique was a description of the amenities of the dorm in which they live: “safe, heated buildings with two Steinway grand pianos, an indoor basketball court, a courtyard with hammocks and picnic tables, a computer lab, a dance studio, a gym, a movie theater, a film-editing lab, billiard tables, an art gallery, and four music practice rooms. But they can’t bear this setting that millions of people would risk their lives to inhabit because one woman wrote an email that hurt their feelings?”

The implication there, of course, is that living in such environs must mean students couldn’t possibly have cause for complaint. But frustrations over race issues at Yale extend far beyond hurt feelings and stretch back over years. Students realize that it’s an enormous privilege to be at a world-class university, but they also know that a dorm with two Steinways is worthless if you don’t feel welcome there. They want to be treated as full members of our community at Yale — and not tenants who should be happy to have access to a few hammocks. Tuesday night, students discovered more signs with racist messages in a campus courtyard. How safe can you feel when threatening messages are left on the lawn outside of your bedroom window?

These students aren’t oversensitive; they’re “sensitive to that which is not over.”

To acknowledge that does not undermine the basic point expressed by Erika Christakis, that sometimes being provocative has its place. But what was missing from the analysis in her e-mail was any understanding of the history and politics of blackface minstrelsy. It’s not the same as the example she used of “a blonde-haired child’s wanting to be Mulan for a day.” And one college student asking another not to wear a sombrero or feathered headdress, as Christakis also suggested, isn’t exactly a straightforward conversation: So, we haven’t met, but I’m in your econ class. Would you mind not making a complete mockery out of my heritage?

It’s possible — necessary — that we figure out a way as university communities to avoid censorship and at the same time acknowledge that there is such a thing in college as collegiality. Led by students, Yale has already seen a model of how to build community and transcend political differences over divisive issues. Last fall, swastikas scrawled in chalk were discovered in a courtyard that connects several dorms. The university administration responded swiftly, with a moving e-mail from Dean Jonathan Holloway: “There is no room for hate in this house.” And in a display of solidarity, two pro-Palestinian student activists who have differed with some Jewish students on contentious questions related to the movement to boycott Israel, led an effort to erase the swastikas and cover them over with chalk messages of love.

That is the spirit of a recent faculty letter in support of our minority students acknowledging that “calls for diversity do not themselves resolve the experience of racism.” I signed it, and I am heartened, but not surprised, that Nicholas and Erika Christakis did, too.

Like them, I believe the edge of learning must sometimes be an uncomfortable place. I do not coddle my students in class. I do not teach around an inexhaustible list of trigger warnings. And my students and I understand the paramount importance of free speech.

But we shouldn’t demand that our students coddle professors or administrators. They are voicing an uncomfortable truth: Despite its vast resources, Yale is stunted on the issue of race. They are asking us to grow. As sophomore Ivetty Estepan told the crowd Monday, “Healthy communities don’t just happen, they are made. We are showing Yale University how to make that community today.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/poste...lly-exclusive/
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:38 PM   #58
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supposedly she received a death threat.
Afterwards, yes. But that wasn't my question. And again, I think that there's a strong desire to not look at a middle ground here. The quotes you highlight again suggest that the e-mail was insulting and suggested that blackface costumes are OK. This seems to be the EXACT situation that the e-mail and professors were trying to draw attention to. TALK to people instead of looking to extremes in situations. Don't scream at people who don't agree with you. Talk to them. Have a discussion with another human being instead of just saying, "I'm right, you're wrong."
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:43 PM   #59
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Afterwards, yes. But that wasn't my question. And again, I think that there's a strong desire to not look at a middle ground here. The quotes you highlight again suggest that the e-mail was insulting and suggested that blackface costumes are OK. This seems to be the EXACT situation that the e-mail and professors were trying to draw attention to. TALK to people instead of looking to extremes in situations. Don't scream at people who don't agree with you. Talk to them. Have a discussion with another human being instead of just saying, "I'm right, you're wrong."


I took the article to mean that she had already received a death threat before this incident, which would better explain her anger. (Other than being young and passionate).

It's ambiguously phrased, though.

But, really, how much should she have to explain an intense moment that was unfortunately caught on camera?
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:47 PM   #60
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I took the article to mean that she had already received a death threat before this incident, which would better explain her anger. (Other than being young and passionate).

It's ambiguously phrased, though.

But, really, how much should she have to explain an intense moment that was unfortunately caught on camera?
Why was it an intense moment, though. That's my problem here. It shouldn't be like that. There's no reason to get that angry because of an e-mail that was aimed at starting conversation, not telling people to "lighten up". This is not the way people should treat one another.

And I'm sorry, but it was certainly not "unfortunate" that it was caught on camera. She wanted to be heard. She stood in front of a group of people and made herself a spectacle. If she DIDN'T expect that to be filmed, I'd be shocked. Why else do it? THAT is a big thing that bothers me about this.

Ugh, look, I'm not trying to say that passion is misplaced. It's misplaced here, and vilifying anyone isn't necessary. Learning to communicate is. That's all I want to say.

And yes, it's TERRIBLE that the aftermath is what it is. For that, I pity her. I just don't use it to justify her initial actions.
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