Disappointed reader wants Eric Holder-style discussion of the blacks-only assembly

Originally posted on Blithe Spirit:

Plunging into my Wed. Journal yesterday as usual, though also looking for a letter I’d sent in — it wasn’t there! — I found myself absorbed by discussion of the recent blacks-only assembly at the high school, including a tantalizing next-day account of the special board meeting that had drawn 100 people.

Systematically going from page to page, I came to the page where the columns are, and saw two side by side about the assembly at least as background, and I thought, OK, it’s a hot issue with Oak Parkers reportedly of several minds on the matter, let’s see what’s here.

Unfortunately, it was time to move on because there was nothing there. Both columns, here and here, by citizens who care about their community, thought the blacks-only assembly was a good idea! Say what? Nothing from citizens who care about their community who thought it was…

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Wed. Journal: 98 comments in three days

Originally posted on Blithe Spirit:

Not a record, but something on neither guns nor race in so short a time — and by ten in the morning on the 3rd day, it’s maybe one with an asterisk.

And on a River Forest story, where sleepiness took a long nap some years back.

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“People of color” or “colored people”? Cultural shaming gone wild

In her response to my blog about saying “colored people” vs. “people of color, Wed. Journal digital editor Ashley Lisenby did herself honor and me a compliment. I appreciate being called to task in a way that advances the argument and questions no one’s ancestry.

 

I particularly liked what I found on reading more of what her source said about why and how often people say “people of” — that the phrase is “most often used outside of traditional academic circles, often infused by activist frameworks.”

 

I don’t get all of this — how is something infused by a framework? — but “activist” lit a small light for me, leading me to realize that the phrase has become part of an ongoing rhetorical battle among academic elites — as much debate tool as natural progression in how people talk.

 

So someone who says one thing for the sake of clarity, naively wondering why not, finds himself on one side of a debate when he’d rather just cut through complexity and keep it simple.

 

Not so naively, yes. I’ve known about the anti-“colored” business for decades. Once in the ’60s, I absent-mindedly referred to “the colored” in conversation with a black friend. She had only to repeat it disbelievingly, and I knew I had erred.

 

Saying “black” was the rule then, decades before “African American” became the required (not merely accepted) go-ahead term.

 

Later, in a press conference in the early ’70s, an administration official told us a new presidential appointee would be “black,” not “Negro.” He said it smiling, in answering one of us. We knew what he was talking about: “black” meant with-it, progressive, civil-rights-oriented; “Negro” meant someone at least suspected, if not convicted, of uncle-Tomism.

 

There’s a history of language development-by-proscription, in other words, natural enough if you don’t take it too seriously, as the British actor Cumberbatch did when uproar ensued and he apologized for saying “colored people.”

 

“I’m devastated to have caused offense by using this outmoded terminology,” he said. “I offer my sincere apologies. I make no excuse for my being an idiot and know the damage is done.”

 

What if he had told Tavis Smiley and friends to get over it? He would have killed his career, no matter how good he is as a famous Edwardian detective.

 

People know better than to refuse to apologize. Words matter, thoughts matter, a little compulsion helps the cause. Bend over, say the activists, we know where you live. Say it our way or else.

 

Being acceptable is one thing, selective shaming is another. It’s an issue worth discussing.

“People of color” or “colored people”? Cultural shaming gone wild

In her response to my blog about saying “colored people” vs. “people of color,” Wed. Journal digital editor Ashley Lisenby did herself honor and me a compliment. I appreciate being called to task in a way that advances the argument and questions no one’s ancestry.

I particularly liked what I found on reading more of what her source said about why and how often people say “people of” — that the phrase is “most often used outside of traditional academic circles, often infused by activist frameworks.”

I don’t get this entirely — how is something infused by a framework? — but “activist” lit a small light for me, leading me to realize that the phrase has become part of an ongoing rhetorical battle among academic elites — as much debate tool as natural progression in how people talk.

So someone who says one thing for the sake of clarity, naively wondering why not, finds himself on one side of a debate when he’d rather just cut through complexity and keep it simple.

Not so naively, yes. I’ve known about the anti-“colored” business for decades. Once in the ’60s, I absent-mindedly referred to “the colored” in conversation with a black friend. She had only to repeat it disbelievingly, and I knew I had erred.

Saying “black” was the rule then, decades before “African American” became the required (not merely accepted) go-ahead term.

Later, in a press conference in the early ’70s, an administration official told us a new presidential appointee would be “black,” not “Negro.” He said it smiling, in answering one of us. We knew what he was talking about: “black” meant with-it, progressive, civil-rights-oriented; “Negro” meant someone at least suspected, if not convicted, of uncle-Tomism.

There’s a history of language development-by-proscription, in other words, natural enough if you don’t take it too seriously, as the British actor Cumberbatch did when uproar ensued and he apologized for saying “colored people.”

“I’m devastated to have caused offense by using this outmoded terminology,” he said. “I offer my sincere apologies. I make no excuse for my being an idiot and know the damage is done.”

What if he had told Tavis Smiley and friends to get over it? He would have killed his career, no matter how good he is as a famous Edwardian detective.

People know better than to refuse to apologize. Words matter, thoughts matter, a little compulsion helps the cause. Bend over, say the activists, we know where you live. Say it our way or else.

Being acceptable is one thing, selective shaming is another. It’s an issue worth discussing.

The limits of gadgetry in teaching kids. A D97 candidate makes points.

Candidate for D97 board John Abbott makes some attractive points about how to teach kids.

Being critical of some “learning initiatives,” technologies which he finds

expensive, disruptive to classroom learning and, in the case of the iPads, unproven with respect to their pedagogical justification.

The limits of gadgetry. He argues

that the technological measures Supt. Al Roberts pushed are exemplary [ouch! means marvelous, wonderful, just what we are looking for; try “examples”] of a series of administrative decisions that have taken away from classroom-based, teacher-centered learning. The measures, he said, have frustrated a lot of the district’s teachers.

I believe him.

“I’m not against technology; it’s been enormously helpful,” he said. “But with Fast ForWord and the iPads, it’s been technology for its own sake that’s been driving the process.

The current board should’ve done its job and exercised due diligence and oversight,” he added, noting that the board was so enamored of [good call! did not say “enamored with”] Roberts’s managerial competence, they overlooked what he may [have] lacked in the area of education.

I get his point, particularly in its recognition of the importance of the managerial.

“Do we simply want a competent manager or do we want someone with solid educational credentials and experience and who remains passionate about education?” Abbott asks.

He wants both, of course, making his pitch reasonably enough for teacher-student interaction.

Wages of socialism

Originally posted on Blithe Spirit:

You sigh, the song begins, you speak and I hear violins
It’s magic.
— Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne

Like the alleged living wage, which if mandated by government magically adds to prosperity, as we hear from our socialist friends and neighbors, who have unswerving belief in the power of government to save the world.

He can who thinks he can. The little engine that could. Socialists, democratic or the other kind — think Soviet, think National as in Germany in the ’30s and ’40s, think autocracies all over the world who run the banner of gummint uber alles.

These living-wage people need a new name. C’mon, reinvent yourselves. The red flag don’t fly hereabouts. We are too bourgeois, for all our flirting with pie in the sky before we die.

Such as Illinois Democrats spending, borrowing, spending some more, and look where we are now, will you?…

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Angela Bowman and friends with cajun music at Hideout Dec. 29

Originally posted on Blithe Spirit:

SF Bay Area’s Andrew Sa leads the evening off at 8, then comes Hey Chere!

Hey, Chere!

Hey, Chere!

It’s the happiest sad music around! Inspired by the plaintive, wild sound of Dennis McGee and other Cajun greats, Hey, Chere! plays early traditional Cajun music, a close cousin to high-lonesome old-time and early country. Angela Bowman, featured on fiddle and voice, has taken this short step from country to Cajun, joined by Sean Colledge (Le Travaillant) on accordion and fiddle and John Huber (The Wandering Boys, the Lantern Kickers) on guitar and t’fer.
Evening closes with Steve Hinds and John Huber on fiddle and guitar. Fun!
The blogger swears he’s not unduly prejudiced about this show.

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Oak Park’s Ginny Seuffert on elite prep schooling AT HOME

Originally posted on Blithe Spirit:

How Your Homeschool Child Can Access Any Workplace in 3 Steps – Seton Magazine

This is the seventh article in the series How to Get an Elite Prep School Education on a Homeschool Budget.
Read

more at http://www.setonmagazine.com/mom/ginny-seuffert/how-your-homeschool-child-can-access-any-workplace-in-3-steps#D9GZY78oblTXQRYX.99

Ginny is a story in herself as mother and grandmother of a carload of lovely children, is a former columnist for the Wed. Journal of Oak Park & River Forest and frequent worshiper at St. Edmund Church.

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Oak Park’s Chris Meister helped to defuse bad press for alderman

Originally posted on Blithe Spirit:

Oak Park’s Chris Meister was in the thick of it in February 2011 when highly placed governor’s men and women worked in emergency mode to protect Ald. Deborah Graham in her re-election campaign. He emailed three of them with her complaint of opponents’ tactics — a “last-minute attack” that “stoops to a new low,” she said — and they got to work.

The opponents had called a news conference to accuse her of steering thousands in neighborhood anti-violence money to supporters, including her pastor. It was “questionable appropriation of anti-violence funding directly benefiting the incumbent alderman,” they said.

Meister was having none of it. “The potential exposure for the governor’s office from the factually incorrect press release alludes to a scenario where the governor and Alderman Graham made these funding decisions [on] their own,” he emailed his fellow strategists. He further noted that four of the opponents had “received …

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Oak Park’s thieves on bicycycles — nailed by OP cops

Oak Park is handy to young thieves:


“Criminals can simply hop on a bicycle, cross the border to commit crimes and then flee back into a dense urban neighborhood,” said Police Chief Rick Tanksley. He described the situation as “among the disadvantages of sharing a border with [Chicago].” 

Wow. It’s a border. Used to be the city line. Border crossings are at the heart of this problem.

But cops are on the job. Crucial job it is.

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