No. Just, No.

In one of my classes, we were introduced to the next assignment. It makes no sense for me.First: we are supposed to imagine we are the president of SGA – strike one. Second: we are in groups as if the president of SGA put together a group of people – strike two. Third: This group of people is supposed to write a report about including four nonexistent Muslim students and one that exists, but already went to college, is 47 years old, and has no reason to come to this college – strike three.

If I were the president of SGA, I would immediately resign. I have negative interest in being the president of an organization whose job it is to care, because I really don’t. I would never run for the position, I would never accept the position, and I think I would rather transfer schools than be in that position.

As I mentioned, it is not a good idea to put me in a position where I’m supposed to care. Being on a panel with the president of SGA (which, by the way, is apparently all of us. According to the description, we are all the president of SGA, making a panel out of other presidents of SGA, ‘cause that makes sense.) is not a good idea. I am the last person anyone should ask to be part of a panel of carers.

Finally, I just don’t care about the inclusion of Muslim students. Don’t get me wrong, I want them to feel included; I want them to feel welcome, but I’m not the one to figure out how to make that happen. I don’t think that way. If you want someone to figure out how to benefit the most people the most given certain information (utilitarianism), but don’t ask me to care.

I am not going to like this assignment. I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to write it. I guess we’ll see how much I can bend the assignment once we actually get the hardcopy version of the assignment, as we’ve only discussed it. Oh, and you know how BSing is a thing? Yeah, no, not for me, so I’ll be having fun…

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4 thoughts on “No. Just, No.”

  1. A report about including people? Define “include”? Either this should be dealt with by the admissions office (and they should be admitting people either without seeing their ethnicity, gender, etc., or with whatever preferences are required by law), or it is a fuzzy feeling-accepted sort of thing.

    You can steal a tactic from me and start by working out a definition of “include” which works for both the assignment and ordinary English usage. Then produce a sketch of the moral issues thereby drawn in. I suspect “including”, in this technical sense, is a social phenomenon, and thus such a report would primarily focus on suggesting ways to encourage the social phenomenon to occur, i.e., largely, in my opinion, providing opportunities for it to occur–assuming it is event-like. I’m not sure if it is the kind of thing where x’s being accepted by group g is dependent on subjective states in x, but if so, then there is only so much one can do if they do not want to be included (whether consciously or subconsciously).

    Is this a paper for a sociology class, an anthropology class, a social psychology class, an interdisciplinary class, or is it off topic? Because, to do this well, you really need to find several studies from those three fields about how including-type behavior can be encouraged and how belonging-ness is conceptualized by various Muslim populations (assuming they are not telling you which kind of Muslim these are, in which case you might be able to narrow it down), engage with those studies (analyzing their relevance and any holes in reasoning), and cite them.

    As a policy proposal, I would also want to see criteria for success/continuation. If they are successfully included, how will we know? This is a hard thing to measure, perhaps it would be acceptable to just give a sketch of failure conditions–if x, then we should change our method of promoting inclusion.

    http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2016/03/western-washington-university-undergraduates-take-demands-to-a-new-level.html and leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2016/03/a-shrewd-diagnosis-of-the-pathologies-of-the-juvenile-left-in-universities-from-a-young-person-commi.html may be of interest/relevance–context for where I suspect the teacher is coming from (either expecting you to be where those students are, or being their him/herself).

    I suppose it is obvious, at this point, that such an assignment interests me far more than it does you… and I don’t really care about the substantive issue that much, either. It is the conceptual side that draws me (and social/political theory stuff). Perhaps also my enjoyment of arguing.

    Speaking of which: you can BS. I know, because I am the victim of it rather frequently 🙂 Trolling is a form of BSing.

    1. I don’t know the exact written details of the assignment, so I don’t know if ‘include’ is the word that will be used, but that is the sort of bending I would try to do.

      The paper is for a technically interdisciplinary class, but primarily a general writing/English class. And yes, that is basically the process the teacher seemed to be saying we would use, but the scenario was the problem for me.

      If that is where us students are expected to be, I don’t want to be called a student anymore. Those articles were more scary than anything. I don’t have a lot of faith in humanity, but I’m not sure I have any left after reading those (mainly the first).

      That isn’t BSing as it applies to papers. Trolling I can do in my papers; it’s basically just deconstructing an argument with things that sound right, regardless of how right they are. What I am not good at is creating an argument I do not believe in. It sounds odd saying that, because one would think that they would not be that far removed; one has me deconstructing, another one is constructing, an argument with stuff I don’t believe, but for some reason I am only good at deconstruction.

      1. It is something of a truism that deconstruction is the easy part. I tend to operate easiest working against something I am taking apart.

        That’s just where the loud students are, but not all. Also, inventing terms like “microaggression” (a blog post on which: http://schwitzsplinters.blogspot.com/2015/09/microaggression-and-culture-of.html).

        I’d ignore the role assignment, mostly, and just analyze the problem, argue for a solution, and add rhetorical flavor to taste. The role is probably mostly there to give sense to writing on the problem (else, I hope, it will be less confusing than what your description sounded like, which I took to be a SGA president constituted by a large body of people).

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