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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Another one of these rants--notice it's always tenured white men who are writing them. (Full disclosure: I am a tenured white man. Full prof, even). That's actually the key to understanding all of these pieces' fatal flaw (1/) .
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
Zimmerman--and others who write these coddled-snowflakes-threaten-my-free-speech pieces--uses the "slippery slope" argument, arguing that taking down Silent Sam, for example, is tantamount to historical erasure, like getting rid of "historical remnants".
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
3. But Zimmerman's already pulling a sleight-of-hand here. Silent Sam is not a "historical remnant." The statue of Davis at UT is not a "historical remnant." They are monuments, occupying prominent and privileged spaces at these institutions.
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Kevin Gannon
4. The real analogy to make here is how many monuments do you see to, say the "genocidal regime" in Germany? Are there statues of Hitler at the University of Berlin? Of course not. There are "historical remnants" across Germany. But that is different than erecting monuments.
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
5. Zimmerman doesn't want us to think that way, though; he's too hell-bent on making the case that "free speech" is under attack at these universities with their uppity minorities wanting Confederate statues down. This disingenuousness is a warning sign.
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
6. Aside from its slippery "logic," Zimmerman's argument is fatally flawed by a false equivalency. It's the same one every piece of this tenured-white-male-is-the-arbiter-of-speech genre contains. Here's Z.'s conclusion:
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
7. On the surface, this appeals to all those convinced that Kids Today are entitled snowflakes. The rhetorical moves here, especially the repeated use of "comfortable" throughout the piece, signal Zimmerman's desire to tap into that Quilette-reading demographic.
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
8. Also, his use of a South Carolina effort to reduce higher ed funding bc of readings with "gay related themes" as the bogeyman for what happens when you "limit speech" is a weasel move, too. It's not the same thing as stanning for Silent Sam or the Confederate Flag on campus.
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
9. The difference is that what Zimmerman wants to uphold as legitimate discourse to be consumed by all students in some benign "marketplace of ideas" are things that REPRESENT A LITERAL DENIAL OF THOSE STUDENTS' FULL HUMANITY. That goes way beyond "being uncomfortable."
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
10. A monument to white supremacy (which is actually how Z describes Silent Sam!) is a physical reminder of the fact that some UNC students come from groups whose humanity would have been denied by the university's slaveholding and segregationist forebears.
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
11. That's a little different than reading a controversial book, debating which economic growth policies are more equitable, or encountering a different faith tradition in a world religions class. "what makes you uncomfortable" at college should not be denials of your humanity.
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
12. to imply that the movement to remove "monuments to white supremacy: (Again, his language) is akin to not wanting to talk about something difficult and complex in class is the type of insulting condescension that only a well-off white dude can manage.
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
13. Because Zimmerman has never had to be in an educational space that cedes its public spaces to symbols of regimes who denied his right to exist as a full human being. What he condescendingly calls the "Safe space doctrine" does NOT "declare any discomfort out of bounds."
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
14. It does declare, though, denials of humanity to be out of bounds. As it should. Because those racist appeals to "inferiority" and less-than-humanness have been thoroughly debunked by scienctific and empirical evidence. They have no place in higher ed.
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
15. But Zimmerman's equation of memorials to racism and "uncomfortable conversations" is an erasure of what the real stakes are here, and leads him to argue against a grossly distorted caricature of "safe spaces."
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
16. So what we're left with is a tenured full prof at an Ivy telling students of color to suck it up, and just deal with the slights to their rights to exist as human beings. Because "uncomfortable conversations" are what it's about.
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
17. Why this article saw print is beyond me. It's sloppy, disingenuous, and deceptive. It's rhetorically duplicituous, pandering to the Steven Pinker crowd to establish Zimmerman's bonafides as a privileged white-dude scold. I'd give it a D+ at best, mostly bc its logic sucks.
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Kevin Gannon Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
18. Anyway, I have to go to a meeting. I realize I'm a bit late to this piece, but it showed up in my inbox today and now I'm all stabby.
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Joel Bernstein Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
Also there are completely valid ways of building monuments to the horror of an atrocity or commemorating its victims but they generally do not involve one of the perpetrators posing heroically on a horse.
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Rouged Individualism Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
As a Brit I demand the restoration of the statue of George III in New York that was pulled down in 1776.
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Galahad Jan 28
Replying to @TheTattooedProf
Can I ask you something on this? Germany might not have anything of sort. However, there is the news organization here in the US called the Young Turks. Isn't that similar?
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