Seeing Red: A professor coexists with 'MAGA' in the classroom

http://www.abajournal.com/voice/article/coexisting-with-maga-in-the-classroom

From the article:

Thus, in that moment, I was unsure whether the student was directing a hateful message toward me or if he merely lacked decorum and was oblivious to how his hat might be interpreted by his black law professor. I presumed it was the former. As the student sat there directly in front of me, his shiny red MAGA hat was like a siren spewing derogatory racial obscenities at me for the duration of the one hour and fifteen-minute class.

“Snowflake” millennials have long been a meme, but now you know where they get it from. Their professors are just as bad.

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Romans 14 (bold added)

For the sake of food, do not destroy the work of God.r Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to become a stumbling block by eating;21it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.

I Corinthians 8

Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin

Also 1 Cor chapter 13, if we do the greatest thing in America, and do not love, we are nothing.

Could you imagine St Paul, knowing that his ballcap has words that are going to hurt another person kicking back and wearing it anyway?

“Therefore if my hat causes my brother to stumble, he better toughen up because he is a snowflake” just does not seem fitting.

I think that for African-Americans who have been repeatedly told that “in the increasingly polarized political climate that is America, MAGA is an undeniable symbol of white supremacy and hatred toward certain nonwhite groups” would naturally feel this way.

What I object to is the connection put forth between white supremacy and MAGA.

OTOH, the student seems to have been something of a smart-aleck, at least as described by the writer, so who knows?

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You’re not supposed to wear hats in classrooms except for medical reasons or if it is a requirement for the subject.

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What, then, are the characteristics of that previous period of greatness that you think of, when you see MAGA? Was the period that you think of a period of exclusion? of segregation? of lynching? of slavery? What progress in the way that white people treat people of color in present day America would be undone if America were to go back to that past period?

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from the article:
Jeffrey Omari is a visiting assistant professor in the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Gonzaga University School of Law, where he teaches constitutional law and a seminar on privacy law. He researches issues of transnational internet governance.

Was America great because it was racist? No.

Was America great? Yes, in part.

America was never perfect, but did have moments of greatness in various ways. We worked towards and fought a war to end chattel slavery. We created an economic powerhouse that was able to aid many people around the world after WW2, and formed a solid foundation for the redevelopment of a world economic system which has brought an improved life for billions around the globe.

What made us great was not our mistreatment of black people here. But to hold back from regaining an economic prosperity which benefits everyone in the US and many around the globe irrespective of color simply because there was a concurrent racism would be downright stupid.

We have made strides in the fight against racism. We can keep those achievements and work towards an improved economy, which would actually make us greater than before.

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There is no suggestion of that in my post or in the comments of the professor.

The question was: what period of time do you have in mind, when contemplating the “again” part of MAGA? Then with that time in mind, how do you thing recovering that past would affect people of color?

Has the School instituted a dress code whereby nothing political or controversial may be worn?

OTOH, I’m trying to think of a scenario where any of my teachers would have ever felt threatened by me. They hold most of the power.

Oh, I think of lower taxes, record low unemployment, a growing economy. Stuff like that.

The Democrats were doing these things, to be sure, but even with our flaws , there were efforts to end their evil practices.
Part of that greatness is overcoming our flaws.

I don’t think anyone maintains that the racism and bigotry of the past is part of the greatness that Americans who support the president are looking for. In fact, much of the discrimination and oppression was done by government, denying citizens of their individual rights. In fact, the efforts to end government imposed segregation and ensure the primacy of individual rights and equal protection under the law is part of that greatness. Continuing to fight these practices in the form of white supremacy and intersectionality is critical.

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We can obviously not literally go back in time to a previous period, so no one is thinking, oh, let’s just go back to such-and-such a time.

MAGA simply means one thinks Americ was great, and we should do more to maximize our good qualities so we can be great again, although in a way suited for our times. Those who fought WW2 are called the Greatest Generation-- do we want to go back to that time? Some might say that the changes in attitude and the actions taken for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to pass were a time of partial greatness-- to admit we had been wrong and work to change-- but we’ve already moved beyond that step.

As for people of color, I would hope that they too would benefit equally, as they have already benefitted as shown by the low unemployment numbers. I do think a strong economy would allow for us to be able to help more people on need of help.

I wonder what your vision is, and what effect it would have on people of color? What do you think would be some good ideas? What would you like to see happen?

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I think the school would need to have a dress code for this rule of etiquette to be enforceable.

I don’t think there is much telling that had to occur. The general trend as we look back further in American history is that the United States wasn’t kind to people that it didn’t classify as “white” (there were changes to this classification over time) and cruel to people of African Ancestry. (I want to acknowledge that there were also struggles and obstacles for women though those won’t get much discussion here )As time moved forward government policies and societal behaviours that were unkind to minorities reduced. In that context it is difficult to see good intentions in trying to put things back to how they had previously been.

How was the student to know that a middle aged law professor was such a sensitive soul that the presence of a hat supporting a mainstream political candidate would cause him such emotional trauma? Is that a normal way for a middle aged man with a doctorate in the law, who teaches other people to be lawyers to react?

The truly crazy thing, IMO, is that people think having an emotional breakdown is reasonable reaction for a middle aged, law professor being in the presence of a hat supporting a mainstream political candidate.

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When someone says they are going back to college, do they mean they will return to their alma mater, study the same subject at the same level, and take the same courses they took the previous time?

No, they will go to college again, but they will do it differently. They will study a new subject or get an advanced degree.

To make America great again would necessarily require inclusion of all citizens, because we have learned that racism is not great.

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You have to remember that dvdjs actually believes that 30-50% of people who voted for Trump really are that “basket of deplorables” that Clinton references, ergo the MAGA hats really are worn to express deplorable ideas.

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Yes… I am often reminded of the apocryphal joke of the NYT editorial room on the night of the big election as they watch the Republican candidate win: How could he have won? I don’t know a soul who voted for him!

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Only someone who believes the absolute worst of his fellow Americans would presume that when someone says they want to “make America great again”, they mean they want to bring back racial discrimination and Jim Crow, as opposed to reinvigorating American prosperity and/or manufacturing and other jobs that moved overseas with free trade agreements in the 90s. What kind of twisted mindset do you have to have that the first thing you think of when someone says MAGA that you automatically think, “racism”. That is a made up association by Democrats and I am sorry so many here believe it.

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What period of time?
Why the deflection?

What period of time?

Remember? I have asked about what fraction of Trump supporters are racist, sexist, homophones, and Islamophobia. I have steadfastly disputed the false contention that anyone said that it is all of them. I am sure, moreover that the fraction is not zero, and may be more than many Trump fans recognize, probably owing to their intersecting perspectives on what actions are required to show these ism and phobias.

But I cannot remember ever saying what you said that I have said.

What time period?
Why are people some loathe to answer that fundamental quetion?

No, you have in the past said that (1) it is an important distinction that Clinton said “half” of Trump supporters are deplorable and that (2) you think it is as high as 30%. And I answered your second question that you keep saying no one will answer in the bit that you edited out. When people say “make America great again”, they are referring to a time when their jobs didn’t move out of the country on the backs of new trade negotiations in the mid-late 90s.

For example, basically the entire American textile industry moved to Mexico and other countries with NAFTA. Entire towns in my home state revolved around textile mills, almost all of those mills are gone now. You can say what you will about how NAFTA was good for America overall, but those mill workers saw their jobs disappear as policy, not any failure of their own.

“Make America Great Again” can refer to different things for different people, just like Obama’s “Change we can believe in”, or any other political slogan. But for basically everyone who wears those hats and/or voted for Trump, it refers to economics and has nothing to do with race. The ONLY people insisting it is racist are people who don’t vote Republican and want to paint all Republicans and/or Trump supporters as racists so they can dismiss their concerns without thought.

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