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Letters to the Editor — May 16, 2021

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Letters to the Editor — May 16, 2021

End tribalism

Thank you to Ayaan Hirsi Ali (“The tyranny of tribalism,” May 12) for an amazing article about what is happening in America today. It’s a unique look at the old “divide and conquer” issues that have plagued Ali’s native country of Somalia, and are now plaguing America.

There is no longer freedom of speech because you are judged, called names and even canceled if you do not agree with another person’s narrative.

Our country is not perfect, and we’ve certainly have come a long way over the past century. But in the past eight years, it feels like we have stepped back in time, and our politicians and the media are turning our countrymen against each other more and more.

If we do not learn from the past, our failures or the failures of other countries, then what hope do we have?

Gina Beckmann
Salt Point

History’s heroes

Sohrab Ahmari’s column at first seemed to be another lament about “wokeness” (“Wisdom of Ages,” PostOpinion, May 10).

It was so much more. Telling Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s story of heroism transcends the loud voices of the crowd and speaks to a way of living a truly free life.

As he says, “Freedom meant choosing what one ought to do.”

We need to tell these human stories over and over to our children, so they can understand what takes a lifetime to understand, not erase them.

Jayne Lee
Rockway

Cop’s tot save

Bravo to Police Officer Alyssa Vogel for her heroic actions in rushing a wounded child out of harms way and to medical attention (“Hero cop’s assurance,” May 10).

Kudos also to the NYPD and Florida police for catching the suspect. It’s a desperately needed reminder of what police here and throughout the country face daily, and another stark example of how the vast majority of officers handle dangerous situations bravely and effectively.

Conspicuously absent are the usual tweets from the usual suspects decrying police actions. Right-minded people of all stripes need to push back against the selective outrage that fuels the anti-police rhetoric that endangers all of us.

David Perez
Brooklyn

Economy truths

Two of the primary rules in economics are that people act in their own self-interest and they respond to incentives (“Biden’s relief doesn’t ‘work,’ ” Charles Gasparino, May 8).

President Biden’s “stimulus” has created incentives that result in people not wanting to seek work. It’s in their self-interest to stay home because their compensation is on par with what it would be if they went out to work.

Democrats are creating an economy where government drives the market, and that is a recipe for disaster. History is loaded with failed societies where the collective made decisions at the expense of the individual.

When Biden says: “The economy is on the right track,” it just exposes his ignorance of basic economics.

Peter Kelly
Hazlet, NJ

Mother madness

As I read Matthew Walther’s column on mothers now being called “birthing people,” I shudder to think what’s next in the name of “political correctness” (“The Mother of All PC,” PostOpinion, May 12).

Will I be celebrating “sperm donor day” next month with my children? We all need to speak up and stop the madness before all traditions are canceled.

Lou Aiani
Staten Island

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Opinion

She’s heard the spirits’ call

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She’s heard the spirits’ call

British psychic Paula Roberts, whose work is archived at the University of West Georgia, says: “The spirit world is close by. To everyone. Sensing I was not alone, I was made aware at age 4. Spiritualist churches are strong in the British Isles. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ fame was founder of Great Britain’s spiritualist association.

“Your friend Joan Rivers believed in spirits and hired me to cleanse her apartment. She sensed something. I, too, felt unhappy, uncomfortable there and needed to be out of the place. I next learned its previous owner, living alone, was removed by undertakers who then dropped her body in the elevator. Joan called a shaman for a cleansing then summoned me. She was obviously a person who attracts spirits. When one is aware of them they jump in to play.”

Yeah. OK. So tell us about New York — and America.

“New York will have a sea shift. With empty office towers converting to apartments, youngsters who couldn’t afford it before will flood us. As to America, ambassadorships, previously awarded to friends, will discontinue. Our embassies will have envoys with specific knowledge of the country to which they’re assigned. It will help in improving relationships.”


Seasonally employed

NAMES are sleigh-riding again. Last year was Sarah Brightman’s “Christmas Symphony.” This year she’ll deck Santa’s halls Nov. 26 in Bethlehem, Pa., and end Dec. 21 in New Orleans . . . Sarah’s singing about winter and rapper Flo Rida’s new single is “Summer’s Not Ready.” How about Ella Fitzgerald’s “Autumn in New York”?

The world is awakening. Glenn Close grabbed the lead with Peter Dinklage and Josh Brolin in “Brothers.” A guaranteed comedy . . . Timothée Chalamet and Chloë Sevigny are in “Bones and All.” It’s a horror thing . . . Flat out drama? Gabrielle Union doing whatever’s called “The Inspection” . . . “Paradise City” has Bruce Willis and John Travolta together again after “Pulp Fiction” 27 years ago. It’s “Miami Vice”-ish.


Self-made woman

KHLOÉ Kardashian has admitted she’s had a nose job (plus possibly a few filler fillers). Oh, what a surprise. Oh, be still my heart — also today’s Botox doc, electrolysist, dermatologist, cosmetologist, plastic surgeon, hairdresser, makeup artist, photographer, retoucher, assistant, dresser, stylist, designer, lighting specialist, camera man and her mother-hoverer.


Failing grads

IT’s graduation month. Ted Danson got bored at Stanford . . . Candice Bergen flunked out of Penn . . . John Waters got kicked out of NYU for smoking pot . . . Bill Gates? Like Matt Damon, a Harvard dropout . . . Due to a civil rights protest Samuel L. Jackson was expelled from his eventual alma mater Morehouse College . . . Per biographer Dave MarshBruce Springsteen left from Ocean County Community College. Why? “On grounds of unacceptable weirdness.”


Does DA dare he?

ANSWER to what is Vance considering? It’s RICO (that’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). Aimed at a “criminal enterprise” meaning “a group sharing a common purpose of engaging in criminal conduct,” it was the federal act Giuliani used against the mob. Used against seemingly legit activities — some of which are basically semi not kosher — one element is: “The defendant had knowledge of the existence of a criminal enterprise and the nature of its activities and was employed by or associated with that enterprise.”

Question: Is this a stretch by the questioning DA? Answer: We’ll see.


DUE to NYC’s rising crime problem, Biden’s next Hamptons speech will be about taking control of life, mastering one’s own fate, instructing one’s own child, asserting one’s own place in the home — at least that’s what his own wife told him to talk about.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York. 

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Are cosmic black holes racist? Take this Cornell course to find out!

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Are cosmic black holes racist? Take this Cornell course to find out!

Physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and SUNY Stony Brook recently concluded that two black holes maintained their total surface area after merging. While this research was a welcome confirmation of the theory of general relativity, it failed to address a crucial matter: What were its racial implications?

That’s a lacuna that an astronomy course at Cornell University aims to prevent. “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos” poses the question, “Is there a connection between the cosmos and the idea of racial blackness?”

Anyone familiar with academia’s racial monomania knows the answer: Of course, there is. Though “conventional wisdom,” according to the course description, holds that the “‘black’ in black holes has nothing to do with race,” astronomy professor Nicholas Battaglia and comparative-literature professor Parisa Vaziri know better.

Battaglia and Vaziri draw on theorists such as Emory University English professor Michelle Wright, whose book, “The Physics of Blackness,” invokes “Newton’s laws of motion and gravity” and “theoretical particle physics” to “subvert racist assumptions about blackness.” The course also studies music by Sun Ra and Outkast to “conjure blackness through cosmological themes.”

Many scientists, reading about Cornell’s course, might wonder: Is this a hoax?

There’s precedent, after all. In 1996, New York University physicist Alan Sokal published a paper, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,” in one of high theory’s holiest of shrines: the journal Social Text. Sokal drew on efforts among comparative-literature and American-studies professors to deploy scientific concepts toward a postmodern end: showing science to be a mere power play designed to silence “dissident or marginalized communities.”

Sokal cited such postmodern giants as Andrew Ross and Luce Irigaray on topics like “oppositional discourses in post-quantum science” and “gender encoding in fluid mechanics,” proposing a new theory of quantum gravity that could serve as the basis for a “postmodern and liberatory science.”

Sokal’s paper was a prank. Clouded in Theorese, it obscured its own scientific illiteracy and was accepted for publication—a mistake which should have triggered an academic reckoning. Instead, postmodern theory continued to fester, particularly in humanities and social-science departments.

In 2017, it happened again. Three academics submitted theory-drenched fake articles to various cultural-studies and social-science journals. Four were published, and three accepted, before the hoax was exposed. “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,” published in the journal Cogent Social Sciences, argued for understanding the penis not as “an anatomical organ, but as a social construct isomorphic to performative toxic masculinity” (with climate change identified as one of its most damaging threats). Another analyzed the rape culture of dog parks.

The humanities and much of the social sciences have been beyond parody for a long time. What’s different about “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos” is its co-listing in an actual science department. The course fulfills Cornell’s science-distribution requirement, touching as it does on such concepts as the electromagnetic spectrum.

Astronomy departments have been on the forefront of campus identity politics — and so has Cornell. Cornell’s astronomy department won’t even allow prospective graduate students to submit the physics GRE since female, black and Hispanic students score lower on average. Meanwhile, Cornell’s engineering department accepts female undergraduates at over two and a half times the rate of male students, even though the average male math SAT score is significantly higher than the average female score.

Today’s academic charlatans mistake rhetoric for knowledge and words for things. This sleight of hand is particularly prevalent in matters relating to race. Hunter College professor Philip Ewell argues that the concept of tonal and harmonic hierarchies in music theory is a stand-in for pernicious racial hierarchies. Black business school students at USC protested in 2020 that hearing a professor use the Mandarin phrase for “that” — “nèi ge” — constituted racial harassment, since the Mandarin expression can sound like the N-word. The professor was sent on leave.

For decades, science has stood guard against the racial hysteria and postmodernism besetting the rest of the academy. Bit by bit, it is succumbing.

Heather Mac Donald is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal, from which this column was adapted.

Twitter: @HMDatMI

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Kudos to black AND white parents mounting an uprising against race theory

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Kudos to black AND white parents mounting an uprising against race theory

The headlines call it “parents erupting” at school-board meetings. But what we’re seeing is an inspiring surge in parents across the country sticking up for kids, and their education, in unprecedented ways.

These parents are fighting the critical race theory being implemented in schools. The left argues parents don’t actually know what CRT is, that an unwashed rabble is blindly opposing something it doesn’t understand.

Liberal talking heads and politicians are trying to pretend these parents want to stop schools from teaching about slavery or Jim Crow. That’s simply untrue. Every viral speech of a parent speaking out against CRT shows how clearly they understand what CRT is and why it’s a threat to their children.

Some of the most powerful speeches have come from black parents, such as Keisha King in Duval County, Fla., who argued, “Telling my child or any child that they are in a permanent oppressed status in America because they are black is racist.”

Illinois father Ty Smith went viral for saying, “How do I have two medical degrees if I’m sitting here oppressed? . . . How’d I get where I am right now if some white man kept me down?”

It’s true that CRT isn’t a curriculum, it’s a framework. Christopher Rufo, the nation’s preeminent critic of CRT, defines it as “an academic discipline that holds that the United States is a nation founded on white supremacy and oppression, and that these forces are still at the root of our society.”

In this framework, all the academic subjects are taught through the lens of race.

Math, for example, long considered a strictly egalitarian subject, is now racist. That isn’t a bad joke — it’s America’s grim reality. The Oregon Department of Education sent a toolkit to middle-school teachers in February alleging that the focus on getting the right answer, and making students show their work, was “white-supremacy culture.” California took things a step further in May, introducing a draft framework for teaching math that prioritizes “equity” over, you know, quantitative reasoning.

Then parents in California rose up, forcing the state to drop the equity language in the draft framework.

Parents also fought back in Southlake, Texas, with anti-CRT candidates winning the mayoralty and sweeping the city council and school board. CNN framed them as opposing efforts “to incorporate cultural awareness into the curriculum.” Parents are seeing through this mendacious jargon. Thanks, but no, thanks, on that “cultural awareness,” CNN.

Loudoun County, Va., has been in the national spotlight because of its explosive school-board meetings. Parents there are trying to recall six members of the board who support CRT.

Cherokee County, Ga., banned CRT after a particularly contentious board meeting. So did Cobb County, Ga. (with the Democratic members of the board notably abstaining from the vote). The Gallatin County School District board of education, in Kentucky, voted unanimously to ban CRT. The uprising is spreading.

Why is this happening now? It could be because parents had a front-seat view into what their kids were learning during the pandemic. And why are they responding so ferociously? Adults may stay quiet as they are told they are inherently racist or oppressed based on the color of their skin. But they won’t allow the same fiction to be sold to their 4-year-olds.

CRT advocates and their media defenders are gaslighting parents when they claim parents don’t “get” this curriculum. That’s insulting. Parents are talking to their children, and they aren’t liking what they are hearing. They know what is being taught and, most important, how it’s being absorbed by their children. It’s professors in liberal ivory towers and their media epigones who don’t “get” this.

We get it. And we care about our children more than ourselves. These school-board battles prove it.

Governments are catching up. At Gov. Ron DeSantis’ urging, Florida’s Department of Education has banned CRT in schools. The Georgia State Board of Education also passed a resolution prohibiting CRT in schools. Twenty other states are considering such bans. In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little has signed such a law, as has Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds.

But to really defeat this insidious framework, parents will have to keep paying attention to what their kids are learning in school and continue to speak up and fight the good fight. America’s kids deserve nothing less than our vigilance.

Twitter: @Karol

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