Education or Indoctrination?

A number of theories currently circulate regarding conservative hostility to higher education. Some argue it’s because a lack of education will keep Republican politicians in power. Others say it’s because conservatives can’t handle hearing different opinions. Let’s consider another perspective: conservatives want their kids educated, not indoctrinated.

A class taught this spring at Ohio State University will review a parade of reasons why white heterosexual masculinity is allegedly problematic…according to its syllabus.

Parents are surely thrilled at the prospect of their children learning about problematic masculinity for approximately five to six figures of debt. What could such a course entail?

The course, “Be a Man! Masculinities, Race and Nation,” includes a variety of readings to that end, including its required textbook “Dude, You’re a Fag!” by C.J. Pascoe, which analyzes masculinity as not only a gendered process, but sexual one.

Time will only tell if OSU’s Bias Response Team is deployed to examine whether Jonathan Branfam’s required textbook is considered “problematic” with a homophobic slur in the title. Perhaps other required readings make up for the gaffe.

Other assigned reading excerpts include: “Masculinity as Homophobia” by Michael Kimmel; “Advertising and the Construction of Violent White Masculinity” by Jackson Katz; “Dude Sex: Dudes Who Have Sex with Dudes” by Jane Ward; “Looking for My Penis” by Richard Fung; “Sodomy in the New World” by Jonathan Goldberg; and “Teaching Men’s Anal Pleasure” by Susan Stiritz.

Solving the heterosexual masculinity problem involves a detailed examination of homosexuality. Got it. The audiovisual material in the course is just as ridiculous for a class at a university.

The class is also expected to screen “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” the dashcam footage of Philando Castile’s murder, Key & Peele’s “Hoodie Skit,” and an episode of “The New Normal.”

Connecting any of those videos with dreaded toxic masculinity is a stretch for those outside academia. Fear not, as Dr. Branfam’s done all the heavy lifting for mere mortals.

The course is ultimately presented as a study in “feminist masculinity” that seeks to explain how ideas about masculinity “simultaneously harm yet privilege” men, the syllabus states. It also aims to explain how “beliefs regarding masculinity serve to justify certain kinds of violence by men against others, and violence against particular groups of men.”

Being a man is both a privilege and harmful. Masculine beliefs justify violence against others. Students read a “male privilege checklist” on the first day of class. If anyone can explain how this isn’t a case study of indoctrination, I’m willing to listen.

Dr. Branfam’s work isn’t confined to the halls of academia. His published material includes a children’s book teaching “gender and sexual identity.”

“It was really a result of teaching women’s, gender and sexuality studies classes at OSU,” Branfman told the [OSU] Lantern. “I often found myself thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if everyone got really clear, unstigmatized information about gender and sexual diversity at a young age instead of them having to unlearn all kinds of harmful false ideas when they’re 12 instead of when they’re 20?’”

Get them while they’re young, and they’ll sign up for your gender studies classes later. Duly noted.

The unhinged lunatics infecting academia aren’t limited to places like Oberlin or Evergreen State. Odds are your local university has someone like Branfam teaching men they are bad, evil rapists destined for a life of violence unless they rid themselves of all the harmful manly thoughts and values taught by their parents and society.

Once the diploma is secured, and the newly neutered but “educated” man walks across the stage at graduation, he will attempt to find an employer who will pay him a living wage without subjecting him to the horrific violence that is masculine thought. This “woke” individual will no doubt make every effort to point out co-workers’ problematic displays of manliness.

And he’ll blame the patriarchy when his boss finally sees him as a liability.

Conservatives aren’t willing to engage with differing opinions. Parents against sending their children to college are more wary of the gospel preached by the Dr. Branfam’s of academia. They’re paying for their children to learn useful skills and study subjects preparing them for the transition to adult life.

When the kids come back home over break and argue with their parents about the gendered violence of the NFL, Mom and Dad will call their friends and tell them to keep their children away from university.

The second call will be to the school, demanding a refund.

h/t Andrew King

Free Speech: Go Vols!

A new year means new free speech protections on Tennessee college campuses. As of today, the “Campus Free Speech Protection Act” is law in the Volunteer State. That’s great news for any parent sending their kid to college.

This new law, signed last year by Governor Haslam, addresses many concerns those of us outside academia watched unfold over the last few years. Passing with overwhelming support, institutions of higher learning will send kids back to class with a new set of rules.

Here’s a look at a few of the goodies in SB 723:

*Schools must adopt policies consistent with the University Of Chicago’s Statement on Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression.

*All open, outdoor spaces of universities are to be considered “public forums” for free speech and expression.

*Goodbye and good riddance to “free speech zones.” Colleges may no longer designate an area in which students may freely express their views.

*No school gets to deny student groups activity fees because the school might disagree with the group’s viewpoint.

*Goodbye to the imposition of “security fees” for speakers invited to campus. The same goes to the tactic of “disinviting” a speaker a college may disagree with or find upsetting.

*Teachers are protected for speaking in class, unless the speech is “not reasonably germane to the subject matter of the class as broadly construed, and comprises a substantial portion of classroom instruction.”

*With regards to the issue of “student-on-student harassment,” schools must adopt policies consistent with the decision in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education. 

This is a massive win for free speech in the Volunteer State. It’s a step forward in reaffirming a bedrock principle of our country: the right to say, be, and do as you please. No longer will outrage culture or offense be considered when someone speaks on a Tennessee campus.

I’ve often joked when I see something pop up about an incident in Tennessee that “my people don’t always get it right.” This time my people didn’t just get it right, they knocked one out of the park. A strong commitment to free speech is important in higher education, and Tennessee just took a big set towards making sure students are educated instead of indoctrinated.