October 28th, 2017

And the first shall be last: progressive stacking

Ever heard of “progressive stacking”? I hadn’t either, but apparently it’s all the rage on college campuses. Take a look (and in case you need a crib sheet, “POC” is “people of color” and “WW” is “white women”):

This is the way the practice is defended:

In subsequent post, McKellop explains that the tactic – called progressive stacking – was one learned from a professor in undergrad. ‘In normal life, who has the easiest time speaking, most opportunities? Flip it,’ they added.

‘The classroom is the place YOU get to control social setting.’

McKellop would continue to tweet about the reaction they were receiving for teaching the method and added: ‘Penn thinks I’m racist and discriminatory towards my students for using a very well worn pedagogical tactic which includes calling on [people of color].’

Being “well-worn” doesn’t make it right, of course. And no one objects to “calling on people of color.” It’s the preferences and the exclusions that are the problem, as McKellop no doubt realizes.

When I first heard about college affirmative action I was a liberal. I was all for equal opportunity for every race and every individual, and it’s probably because of that fact that I felt a strong stirring of unease. Two wrongs don’t make a right was my reaction. And More injustice can’t be the proper remedy for injustice.

It puzzled me at the time that I was seemingly in the minority in that opinion, which seemed to me at the time like the obvious reaction for a liberal but certainly was not. I had a lot to learn about myself and my fellow liberals.

It’s not that I had a quick solution to the problem of prejudice. I understood that injustice had certainly been prevailing in my youth, and that it needed to be corrected. But I thought it was already in the process of being corrected and that we needed to keep going in the direction of color-blindness and merit. The idea at the time was that black people had long been unfairly held back even when qualified, and that they also hadn’t gotten the same educational and societal advantages as white people. That was true. But the remedy had been thought to be to correct the educational imbalances and punish those who unfairly discriminated (there was certainly plenty of that) and the rest should follow, although it would take time. Preferential treatment would lead to resentment and would be the replacement of one unfairness with another.

And it has come to pass, and practices such as progressive stacking are the result.

30 Responses to “And the first shall be last: progressive stacking”

  1. Gringo Says:

    One irony here is that students don’t necessarily want to be called on. Some might consider it being picked on. I didn’t want to be called on in my STEM classes. Part of that was that for most STEM lectures, the material didn’t register with me until I had gone over the lecture notes and done problems.

  2. j e Says:

    It is obvious to all the bien-pensants that the mere suggestion of the value of a meritocracy, like the notion of personal responsibility and individual achievement, is hopelessly compromised by racism, and that the advocacy of such pernicious and retrograde ideas is nothing more than the manifestation of white privilege.

  3. Lizzy Says:

    Maybe there should be progressive pricing for courses where there is progressive stacking. If one is intentionally excluded from discussions, should they have to pay full price?

    This also sounds like a great way to put an honorable spin on quashing disagreement/challenges to the teacher. S/he does a lecture on why whites/Europeans/founding fathers/colonialists are the root of all evil in regards to [insert lecture topic] and then s/he refuses to call on white students. Neat trick!

  4. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Is there grading on class participation? The white males should raise their hands frequently and, in some way, record it whether they’re called on or not.

  5. Ben David Says:

    Neo – for the hardest core Marxists it was never about equality or redressing injustice. That was soothing window dressing.

    It was always about division, keeping old wounds open for political gain – and to accustom Americans to an alternate language and value system to replace Enlightenment/Judeo Christian ideas like “merit” and “equality” – emptying those words of their original meaning and giving them new politicized meaning.

  6. FOAF Says:

    Ben David, you are *exactly* right. For the left, the issue is never the issue, only a means to power. It is only becoming even more apparent now with the insane fixation on “identity politics”.

  7. Mac Says:

    “…YOU get to control…”

    Somehow that strikes me as the chief object of desire in this.

    I thought way back in the ’70s that affirmative action was a wrong turn likely to prove fatal sooner or later. The “sooner or later” part of that has for a long time struck me as a grave defect in the progressive view. If some project like affirmative action doesn’t instantly produce serious problems, it’s “See, we told you there was nothing to worry about. You look pretty stupid now, don’t you?” But the gods of the copybook headings…

  8. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Leftist mind control. Same thing us students of propaganda have been talking about for centuries. Surprise surprise.

  9. Gary D. G. Says:

    This is not just a current practice at some universities.
    In high school (the mid-’50s) there were female teachers (History and English) who would never call on a boy in the classroom.
    If an essay were required as part of a test or as homework, no boy would ever receive higher than a ‘B’.
    It wasn’t a large school and there was no option to switch to another classroom/teacher.

  10. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Notice that they use power to corrupt and occupy, while objecting to the power of the patriarch as corrupt and an occupation.

    Usually rebels are like Khomeini. His regime will be worse than the Shah. Only idiots and Leftists thought otherwise when they supported him.

  11. steve walsh Says:

    I’m with Richard, is there some part of the grade that is determined by class participation? If not, who cares. If so, document and sue.

  12. J.J. Says:

    I took exactly two classes in college, a lit course and a speech course, that had any degree of class participation. I took a lot of math, chemistry, physics, and in upper division, geology classes. There were lectures, homework assignments, and tests. The profs had a lot of info and data to impart in lectures – no time to question us to see if we students got the info. That’s what the tests were for. I had one course where the prof started talking and writing on the blackboard the minute he walked in and by the end of class every blackboard was filled. All important info that we needed to master. No time to question us or even let us ask a a question. No nonsense – too much to learn.

    My college had a few blacks. (1950-54) Many of them were smart and campus leaders. No affirmative action needed. They were just a regular part of the campus scene. In the 1980s I was on campus in the Student Union cafeteria. Talk about segregation. All the black students were clustered together eating lunch. It was by their choice, as there were no Jim Crow rules. Integration was obviously not working in spite of all the strenuous efforts to make it work. I imagine it’s the same today.

    Glad I’m an old codger and near the end of my string. What is happening in academia and government is very disturbing.

  13. Jon Jewett Says:

    It is presumed by the liberal elite that black people are culturally deprived, socially challenged victims of OTHER white people. As such, blacks are incapable of competing on a level playing field with white people, much less Jewish or Asian. They are somehow….. differentially enabled and unable to perform at the same level. Because of those OTHER white people. Aren’t the Liberal Elite grand? They make special standards for the deprived. There is a story about the early days of “Affirmative Action”. The policy was just announced at an Ivy League University that minority students even though they may not have the aptitude to pass (due to no fault of their own!) would be given suitable grades. One Professor asked another what he would do: “I’m going to give them all A’s. F__K them all”. And that’s what the liberal elite has done to black academic achievement. Read Clarence Thomas’s autobiography about his time at Yale. Or Van Jones supposedly remarked about his experience at Yale. No tests, no homework, no studying, only parties. I believe it was Shelby Steele who said of his years in college that any professor who mentioned missing homework or failed tests was attacked as a racist.

  14. n.n Says:

    Political congruence (“=”) is a progressive form of diversity that denies individual dignity and judges people by the “color of their skin”.

  15. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    steve walsh Says:
    October 28th, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Unless you actually have a question you need answered to grasp the subject.

  16. Matt_SE Says:

    “There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

    — Booker T. Washington

    This was the real reason the “grievance studies” departments were founded, while preying on the naïve gullibility and goodwill of the public.
    It is the reason the doctrine of “colorblindness” is derided in the academy today: it is a threat to the gravy train.

  17. GRA Says:

    Ha! Good timing on this. Just yesterday I went through my very first diversity training class which lasted about two three hours.

    The first half was quite good, going over different norms in other cultures and how they clash with others (Hmong culture vs Western culture). It was mostly pure soc/anthro if soc/anthro were stripped of the professors’ politics. The second half sorta went downhill once we talked about “privilege.” (If anyone wants a copy of the “privilege chart” we were given, just ask, and I’ll provide a link.)

    Now I can’t compare my experience with others who went through diversity training, but overall it was barely enlightening or thought provoking.

    On my class FB page, before the training took place, a few questioned it saying that our program (social work) already gave a good dose of diversity awareness – sprinkled here and there within our readings and discussions – and that an entire morning dedicated to it was excessive. At least we were given free lunch.

  18. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    I attended a university that did away with all lectures in my school so that all my lessons for 5 years were delivered to my cohort in small tutorials of about a dozen students.

    It was great system that appealed to me because it would force me to prepare, knowing that all classes were interactive and we could all expect to be put under the spotlight at some stage during each tutorial.

    At least that was the theory.

    How it played out was that the tutors, all of them and always, called on those students who had emerged as problematic and unprepared – the drunks and the chronically hungover, the stoners, the lazy, the disorganised and, of course, those who didn’t care and were just cruising for “gentleman’s C’s” before entering dad’s firm.

    These were our POC’s, I suppose.

    The policy behind the practice was good. In theory it encouraged the underachievers to change course and prepare ahead knowing they would definitely be called on – and far more frequently than the diligent.

    It didn’t work, though. The “favoured” ones just stopped coming to classes all together out of embarrassment and eventually dropped out of the courses or were expelled.

    Unless the chosen POC’s are all highly motivated and diligent, many – certainly far more than would otherwise be the case – will drop out.

    The only way to prevent that from happening, it seems to me, would be to give any unprepared POC’s high doses of unearned positive reinforcement even as they flail around under the spotlight making it obvious that they haven’t done the work or understood the materials.

    Just how would that be helpful? Talk about setting people up to fail.

    I’m one of those people that thinks to accord a particular demographic unearned praise is to insult them by engaging in the racism of lowered expectations. Soft racism is still racism.

  19. Ann Says:

    McKellop graduated just two years ago from Gardner-Webb University, a Baptist school. Being at UPenn has probably been a heady experience for her. Not only does she now call herself a “queer disabled feminist” but wants to be referred to only with third-person pronouns (they, them, their). Anyway, I’m cutting her some slack and don’t think she should now be the poster child for the big, bad left.

  20. miklos000rosza Says:

    I remember asking the question about Affirmative Action: How long does it need to go on? 20 years? 50? 100?

    This still seems like an entirely relevant enguiry. If the answer makes anyone uncomfortable, sobeit. Questions are not ordinarily asked just to comfort everyone.

    I asked this when at a social gathering of fellow liberals in maybe 1980 or so. I asked it innocently. It was only when the consequences of certain answers were contemplated that I saw why it had gone unanswered and shut everyone up. Sociologists, Ph.ds, MDs, that kind of a crowd.

  21. GRA Says:

    @ Stephen: According to the follow up tweets a “Nancy Rogers” said the following:

    “Amazing! People in her class might actually get an education…”

    A poster asked how so. She replied –

    “The experience of being a voice that is relegated to the back seat and the opportunity to hear the voices of others”

    A poster said “Gawd you ppl are hypocrites” (referring to leftists). Rogers became defensive.

    “you people…”

    “They mean social justice warriors, not whatever you’re thinking.”

    “WOW! This whole back-and-forth reminds me that people were also offended when a group named itself “Black Lives Matter”.

    “nancy u cant actually be defending prioritizing people based on the color of their skin. that is the very definition of racism lololololol”

    A Madi Katz chimed in.

    “Nope its not. Racism is prejudice + power. Reverse racism can’t exist for that very reason bc white people have the power”

    But not everyone agreed.

    “this, this right here, is why trump is in office. people like madi and this insane logic”

    An Adam Ember replied: “No, ignorant white people are why trump is in office. Maybe it is ‘racist’ to us poor disparaged white folks, but its still true.”

    I suppose non-ignorant, non-racists whites voted for Clinton or Bernie then.

    (Madi) “Nah, I speak the truth, sorry. If u knew history of racism in this country maybe you would understand. Watch 13th on Netflix for starters.”

    Apparently one gets accurate history (made by the makers of Selma) via Netflix. Who knew.

  22. Frog Says:

    Neo’s “that we needed to keep going in the direction of color-blindness and merit” requires a two-way street. We have been creating more and more one-way streets instead. Pretty soon we’ll have social gridlock, one street packed with muslims, another with feminists, one packed with blacks, one with whites, etc.

  23. n.n Says:

    Carbon credits for sale!

    Heads, hearts, and limbs for sale!

    Sold in color-matching sets of two, three, progressive.

    The Pro-Choice Church and in all of its twilight fringe and selective, unprincipled, and opportunistic gore.

  24. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    Good research @ GRA.
    You’ve given us a lot to ponder.

    I am not American so it is not my place to intrude into your purely internal domestic politics but if I may, just this once, venture an opinion on how your people appear to be handling the issue of racism – because I know my view is shared by many of your cousins out here in the rest of the english-speaking world.

    This relentless obsession with race has gone too far. Much too far.

    It appears to this observer, and to many of my friends, that your peoples’ very discourse – public and private – is fractured in its soul.

    No nation can endure for long its citizens approaching each other from the standpoint of enemies, or at the very least as moral debtors to moral creditors.

    It seems that the sentiments that a white can express to another white is one thing – along with the vocabulary he or she may use;

    what a white can say to a black is very, very different again and is much more limited and must always be related in a tone of apology and wariness;

    what a black can say to another black is different yet again;

    and what a black can say to a white is something else completely – with this last conversation, (black to white), being the broadest and the only one that is permitted to proceed from hostility in tone and substance, because: slavery.

    Have none of your politicians except Trump read Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech? It may seem a little thing but I share Prof VDH’s admiration for Trump’s constant reference to “our”, as in “our soldiers”, “our firefighters”, “our miners”, etc. It bodes well for unity.

    The self-flagellating of your white “do-gooders” who not only feed but actively encourage POC’s in their resentment of whites, (which is insatiable and will never cease by the way), is truly appalling to behold from a distance. How do you endure it? It must be fatiguing to have to be be so much on guard in your daily dealings with fellow citizens of colour.

    Surely that the race hucksters and grievance industry are now forced to mine so deep to come up with an actual wrong that they can only now assert some unspecified, amorphous “unconscious/systemic white privilege” is proof that your country has come so very far and has remedied the real injustices.

    When the race hucksters and racial grievance industry point the finger at modern day whites for slavery which ended with a war that concluded in 1865 and/or over the residual, more subtle, evils that the US has whole-heartedly attacked since the 60’s and ever since – why do you not point out that over half a million northern white men died to free the slaves?

    I like very much the scene in Gettysburg featuring Jeff Daniels as Colonel Joshua Chamberlain where he rallies his troops by pointing out:

    “We are a different kind of army…this has not happened much in the history of the world. We are an army out to set other men free”.

    That is something very, very special indeed and needs to be acknowledged by your SJW’s of every colour even as they attempt to force your whites to the back of the bus.

  25. Hangtown Bob Says:

    My only question is, “What if a white man IDENTIFIES as a black woman??

    Does “he” get called on first or do the liberal teachers’ heads just explode???

  26. R.C. Says:

    Neo, you say,

    It puzzled me at the time that I was seemingly in the minority in that opinion, which seemed to me at the time like the obvious reaction for a liberal but certainly was not. I had a lot to learn about myself and my fellow liberals.

    Okay, and by now you’ve learned a lot, correct?

    Can you do a post (perhaps you’ve already done one?) summarizing what you later came to understand about “liberals?”

    I don’t know whether it’s one of the things you’ve learned, but here’s something I learned which is, I think, an important insight:

    Ideas Have Consequences, but most people choose their Ideas after they already embraced certain Consequences.”

    (“Ideas Have Consequences” is the title of a famous and important book by Richard Weaver, but I’m applying it a little more loosely here than he does. Hang with me….)

    When people think (or, opine) about How Things Ought To Be, most of them are not terribly philosophical about it. I mean: They don’t spend a lot of time reasoning their way up from “first principles.” Instead, they usually follow five steps:

    1. Notice a recurring “pain point” in their world;
    2. React to it emotionally;
    3. Opine unreflectively that it “shouldn’t be this way”;
    4. Float some kind of half-serious “fix” (a crude policy proposal) for the problem (“They oughta just….”);
    5. Gradually get more and more attached to their previously-suggested “fixes” if no drawbacks become obvious to them over time.

    Now, “liberals” are that group of persons who tend to notice and talk about certain “pain points” more than others, and/or who gradually attach themselves to certain “fixes” more than others.

    Here’s the catch: Certain “fixes” will be naturally ruled out by certain Foundational Principles if, and only if, the individual already consciously believes those principles before they become attached to their favorite “fixes.”

    But if the individual “falls in love with” a “fix” prior to identifying their Foundational Principle, what will happen? Usually, they’ll adopt whatever Foundational Principle allows them to keep their favorite “fixes.”

    That’s the first place where “Ideas Have Consequences.” If American traditional/conservative ideas of “equality before the law” and “equality of opportunity” get in the way of the policy proposals a “liberal” is in love with, he/she will be faster to reject the idea, than to revise the proposal!

    If a person already believes that Equality means Equality of Opportunity, not Equality of Outcome, then that person will not propose a “fix” which involves making everyone equally wealthy. If they lack that foundational principle, they might become sufficiently attached to Equality of Outcome, and when someone objects on the basis of unfairness in opportunity, they will defend their “pet fix” by rejecting the principle that opportunities should be equal.

    But now that they have rejected a core idea of the American Experiment In Liberty, what will happen next?

    Easy. Any future “fixes” they come up will be those consistent with their non-libertarian Foundational Principles. The authoritarian/Marxist/post-modernist ideas which are the alternative to “Americanism” will become their new starting-point for thinking about the world. That’s the second place where “Ideas Have Consequences.”

    Neo, I think part of what confused you is that you thought all “liberals” were operating from identical Foundational Principles…that a certain set of Foundational Principles was what made each of these persons “liberals,” and let to them identifying similar social problems and proposing similar “fixes.”

    But that’s not right.

    I think they (and you…it’s normal human behavior and nothing shameful about it) started out with more-or-less the same emotionally-driven “fixes” (e.g. Affirmative Action). That’s what caused you to be identified as “liberals.” To call someone a “liberal” is a very surface-level observation.

    As time goes by, some “liberals” later identify a conflict with existing principles they hold dear, like Equality of Opportunity. They respond by rejecting or modifying the “fixes” they previously held.

    Other “liberals” sense the same conflict, but have no prior loyalty to the principle which conflicts with their “fix.” Their loyalty is to the “fix.” They respond by constructing new foundational principles, and any future “fixes” will emerge organically from those principles, once they become established.

    I could have said all that less repetitively, I’m sure. Sorry for going on for so long! But…you get the idea.

    (BTW…shouldn’t we stop calling folks “liberals” once they’ve evolved their way to anti-liberal core principles? They are actually leftist-authoritarians, aren’t they?)

  27. ConceptJunkie Says:

    One way of measuring how ridiculous leftist ideas are is to extrapolate them to their logical conclusions. It’s always eye-opening, and amusing to people not besotted by cultural Marxism.

    In this case, clearly the ultimate result will be a caste system much more rigid than anything India ever came up with, with the untouchables being the white, Christian, heterosexual men. Everyone will be assigned a score which shows how they rank on the SJW worthiness scale, and your priority in everything will be determined by your score.

    For instance, in the inevitable bread lines, your SJW score will allow you to jump in line according to your ranking of moral worthiness (determined largely by things you don’t control like sex and skin color, and by your adherence to leftist dogma, the more in lockstep you are, the better you’ll do (but not above your station, as defined by your race and other accidental characteristics). I really can’t imagine that the most devout white man in the liberal utopia will ever be able to escape the dhimmitude of his race and sex.).

    I have to hand to the leftists. They’ve studied both “1984” and “Brave New World” and picked out the most dystopian elements of each for their doctrine.

  28. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Jon Jewett Says:
    October 28th, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    A good explanation of how academic US “elites” turned from weak spined Old Left to the New Left in less than 10 years.

  29. Ymar Sakar Says:

    It appears to this observer, and to many of my friends, that your peoples’ very discourse – public and private – is fractured in its soul.

    No nation can endure for long its citizens approaching each other from the standpoint of enemies, or at the very least as moral debtors to moral creditors.

    The First US Civil War was about slavery, the economic, political, and religious dominance of Southern Baptists, Demoncrats, whites vs blacks. It makes sense that the Second Civil War will be about something similar, because the first one only kicked the football down the field.

    WW1->WW2 CW1->CW2

    It’s natural to see Americans going crazy, because after all, Spain is doing the same thing in their civil war.

    How do you endure it? It must be fatiguing to have to be be so much on guard in your daily dealings with fellow citizens of colour.

    Not really. Some of us are in protected enclaves, while others like physics or Art over there has to live with Leftists at jobs, etc.

    Some of us are just sharpening our tools and cleaning the weapons. Or as Parker likes to say, reloading more ammo by hand. (People can do that now due to 3d laser printers)

    The US is bigger than some Empires, and certainly has more population density than Rome. Every province is different from every city and state.

    The more the Left destroys the US Constitution, the more they allow the war to go hot, since the only thing restraining US patriotic militias is the Rule of Law. Replace the Rule of Law under the US Constitutional Authority with “Hussein as Messiah” or “Trum as God King”, and everything will go as predicted.

  30. Ymar Sakar Says:

    why do you not point out that over half a million northern white men died to free the slaves?

    You don’t know? The other some odd half part of the US white pop was fighting for Demoncrats in keeping slavery. Out of ignorance.

    Even here you can ask around and Southerners will say Lincoln was a tyrant and the CW1 was one of “Northern Aggression”. Meaning the pro slave as the Constitutionalists and the Northerners the traitors.

    Just cause you lose a war doesn’t mean people give up their deceptive traditions. Spain…

    Blood and Soil has been suppressed by the CW1 victory and the Holy Ghost, but not for long now. Just a little bit longer, humans, a little bit longer before you see it. Stay on Target. Well, even if you die, it won’t matter, once you get resurrected you’ll be standing at the Last Battle. No way out of this war, whether live or dead. Hah.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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