anti-racist, black lives matter, critical grammar, Decolonization, decolonized spaces, diversity and inclusion, Ebonics, grammar, Juneteenth, Rebecca Walkowitz, Rutgers University, standard English, William Butler Yeats
Just when you thought wokeness could not possibly become any more bizarre, something new, or in this case, something raised from the dead, sinks it’s rotting fangs in the necks of Normal Americans. Back in 2018, in This Is How Civilization Is Lost, I wrote:
Not long ago, there be Ebonics. You remember that gentle readers? “Dey be, dem be, dat ho be?” It was the idea that slovenly, inarticulate, grammatically incorrect speech and writing were as valuable as–hell, superior to–standard academic English, even standard American English. Therefore, anyone using the unique and unimaginably valuable “language” of Ebonics dare not be held to the same standards of speech and writing as those not so blessed.
That was an earlier time when the Left was not quite so ubiquitous and powerful, Ebonics died a well-deserved death. But in academia circa 2018, Leftism rules.
So too does it rule, and ever more frantically, in 2020. The topic of that article was American University’s push to banish remotely coherent grammar in writing, the better to give all minority students “A”s. I continued:
In other words, minority students are incapable of college-level writing. We must therefore adjust ‘assessment ecologies’ to prevent them from feeling microaggressed against and unsafe when competent professors actually take points for the kinds of mistakes one sees in a second grade class.
‘Oh, you can’t write a simple sentence? You have no idea what capitalization and punctuation are? There isn’t a single sentence in this paper that actually makes sense? No problem! I’ll just adjust my assessment ecology because your unique culture is invaluable and a beacon unto the nations. 100%, and don’t bother to come to class the rest of the semester; you’ve already passed with an ‘A”
This is how civilization is lost.
Rutgers University is doing their part to destroy us, as The College Fix reports:
The English Department at Rutgers University recently announced a list of ‘anti-racist’ directives and initiatives for the upcoming fall and spring semesters, including an effort to deemphasize traditional grammar rules.
The initiatives were spelled out by Rebecca Walkowitz, the English Department chair at Rutgers University, and sent to faculty, staff and students in an email, a copy of which was obtained by The College Fix.
Walkowitz sent the email on ‘Juneteenth,’ which celebrates the commemoration of emancipation from slavery in the United States.
Titled ‘Department actions in solidarity with Black Lives Matter,’ the email states that the ongoing and future initiatives that the English Department has planned are a ‘way to contribute to the eradication of systemic inequities facing black, indigenous, and people of color.’
One of the initiatives is described as ‘incorporating ‘critical grammar’ into our pedagogy.
Hmmm. What, pray tell, might “critical grammar” be?
It is listed as one of the efforts for Rutgers’ Graduate Writing Program, which ‘serves graduate students across the Rutgers community. The GWP’s mission is to support graduate students of all disciplines in their current and future writing goals, from coursework papers to scholarly articles and dissertations,’ according to its website.
Good grief. They’re actually planning to allow graduate students to write on a second grade level, which they apparently think will work well for “scholarly articles and dissertations.” Of course, if these students took their bachelor’s at Rutgers, that level of writing is probably all they can manage.
Under a so-called critical grammar pedagogy, ‘This approach challenges the familiar dogma that writing instruction should limit emphasis on grammar/sentence-level issues so as to not put students from multilingual, non-standard ‘academic’ English backgrounds at a disadvantage,’ the email states.
‘Instead, it encourages students to develop a critical awareness of the variety of choices available to them w/ regard to micro-level issues in order to empower them and equip them to push against biases based on ‘written’ accents.’
Translation: Write anything and any damn way you please. You’ll be praised for your revolutionary fervor, and if anyone dares criticize your obvious illiteracy, we’ll just call them racists. This is expected:
A recommendation endorsed by leaders of all instructional units is to require all fall 2020 instructors in English to attend at least one workshop remotely on ‘how to have an anti-racist classroom,’ the email states.
Not being in the least bit racist is no longer sufficient. One must be “anti-racist,” which involves all manner of virtue signaling, posturing, and mastering an ever-changing pantheon of gestures, terms and most importantly, dark attitudes.
The committee will also be ‘launching a web page to provide access to events, resources, and affiliated groups,’ while also ‘organizing two teach-ins focused on Black Lives Matter, ‘anti-racism,’ police brutality, and prison reform.’
With concern to the amount of inclusivity and diversity present within the Writing Center at Rutgers, Walkowitz noted that there is an internship scheduled to launch in Spring 2021 dedicated to the mission of ‘decolonizing the Writing Center.’
I was unaware Rutgers had ever been colonized? I wonder who did it? Mostly, I wonder why anyone would bother?
‘The Writing Centers have developed two internship initiatives to support the goals of diversity and equity,’ the email states. ‘The Plangere Writing Center currently offers a spring advanced tutoring internship called ‘Tutoring Towards Diversity and Inclusion’ and the Livingston Writing Center is developing an internship to launch in Spring 2021 titled ‘Decolonizing the Writing Center.’
‘Both critically engage the history of ‘English studies’ and how we can both continue teaching/tutoring English composition, even as we work to make the writing centers linguistically diverse and decolonized spaces.’
Translation of “critically engage”: spit on and abuse in every possible way the common language and literature that have made advanced civilization possible, while substituting and praising racist claptrap and trendy, angry and incompetent contemporary racist writings.
Consider, for a moment, gentle readers, The Second Coming, by William Butler Yeats:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
This is the kind of writing that won the Nobel Prize for literature, when the Nobel Prize actually meant something. Imagine what the graduates of Rutgers University’s graduate English Department will produce, particularly when they can’t write coherent sentences and think that inability somehow makes them superior to those that can. And if this is what the Rutgers English Department is teaching, who at Rutgers is teaching English?
This too is how civilization is lost.