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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: August 24, 2004
Latest Update: September 19, 2004

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Site Topics Blog on CSUDH Community Perspectives


A believer in the adage "Sharing is Caring," Barney decides to eat all of Willie the Cat's lunch.
From the Social Statistics Briefing Room at the White House/KIDS only

Hey, Everybody! Please Note! The White House Website has a page for KIDS only!
I knew KIDS wasn't a suspect class. September 18, 2004. jeanne

  • September 19, 2004: Gee, we hurt each other more than we help. Why?

    I am so glad this blog is here. But it's supposed to be for you, too, you know. I know, I know. We're having to learn to use the listserv. I just got an e-mail over my CASA listserv that made me realize how hard it is for everyone who's trying to make a difference, to transform the dominant discourse, especially the dominant discourse of meanness. No wonder we speak without thinking. It seems to be a global trait. Here's the e-mail and my response to the list:

    The e-mail that came in:

    "I would like to get of the list, how do you do it?

    "I found the whole organisation of the meeting in Amsterdam below any level of good organisation, and the results are still 2 month later sto be seen , by the unwanted mail each of us gets every day. If you don't know how to organize, can't you find somebody professional to help you with emails, website etc??? Please get me of your list, thanks margalit"

    My response:

    "You know, organizing a list and a web site is a whopping big task, especially if you have to do it in addition to everything else. I want to build a bridge between the academy and the community, and I know that can't happen overnight, especially if we don't all know how to unsubscribe to a list. We have a lot of educating to do. And fussing at us doesn't help. Professional consultation wasn't available to me throughout my thirty years as a professor and as a professor emeritus, so why assume it is available to graduate students and young professors starting out? The playing field isn't level.

    "I've got over 200 students this semeseter in a functioning model to transform dominant discourse in our community. I can't help right now - no time. But I'll be glad to help next semester. I have a web site and a couple of functioning listservs and a real live tech. Hang in there. Elitism tends to make it tough.

    "By the way, at the International Visual Sociology Association in San Francisco in August, I heard that the meeting in Amsterdam was great. A couple of us met in San Francisco. We as a community are as successful as we as individuals let ourselves be. And thanks for fixing the list so I get the e-mail now.

    jeanne

    Jeanne Curran, Ph.D., Esq.
    Professor Emeritus
    California State University, Dominguez Hills
    http://www.habermas.org/ (currently not perfect, a few summer files not yet up, because two servers were down and my tech went to Poland on vacation - hey, maybe in the next life I can be elite)
    http://oldweb.uwp.edu/academic/criminal.justice/default.htm (This server didn't go down. All files up.)

    Notice I'm using whatever status I can get from my Emeritus and the functioning, clean, streamlined (even though some of you aren't convinced of that) sites. That's pulling the power rank of what I hope is sovereign authority. But since I don't know who the person who wanted to unsubscribe is, I don't know if I outrank her. Does this sound like our classroom hassle or what??? The world needs love. The world needs respect. The world needs a little tolerance. We need each other, honest, even if we're not perfect.

    I answered the e-mail because I hurt for those that were insulted. I followed their e-mails last June as they tried to make meetings when they had classes to cover and struggled to get programs up. I felt the need to say something: answerability. I needed to get my frustration out at those of us who are trying and being fussed at by those who expect the system to pay for our revolution. (Reference: Art and Fear)

    I also felt a sense of accountability: the need to stand with those who were trying, supported by professional consultation or not. That's when we recognize that we need to stand together in our efforts to transform the dominant discourse. The right perspective doesn't have to do that because it's opposed to change, in favor of the status quo where it already has the power. So the left perspective, that wants to redistribute the power has to unite against a power already in place. That's a union priniciple, by the way. And that's one of Eric Mann's pleas for the left to understand. (2004 Elections External site.) Do you see the labor issue here? Either hire pros who can do this professionally, or remain silent! Wow! Talk about dominance and oppression. But I doubt that the person who wrote the insult saw it this way. Bringing that to awareness is a part of transforming dominant discourse to include the "silenced." Also see Paulo Freire on these issues.

    love and peace, and chill before you insult someone who's trying, jeanne

  • September 18, 2004: The importance of "good dogs" in countering
    transaction hurts we aren't even aware of

    My little dog whimpered this week when I was trying to help those of you unfamiliar with the site by using hard copy for you to see. I didn't say anything. But just now, as I put up something new on Issue 4 for this week, and noticed the volume number 21, I noticed the hurt was still there. I'm the teacher. That gives me greater status in any system. So if I say, what you just said hurts me, it carries greater weight than someone else saying it. That's why I didn't say anything. But when it still hurts a few days later, time to say something, (Pepinsky, on the importance of expressing when we are hurt and/or angry.)

    Someone scoffed out loud in class "Volume 21"! And it sounded to me like a disbelief, a kind of accusation that I had faked the volume 21, because this is a relatively new student, so how could it be Volume 21? It hurt. If you check the Archives you'll see our records, and you'll see that each semester, including the summer, we start a new volume.

    Now my little dog feels a little better - his ears are at least up again. But notice how easily you can introduce such hurt into any transaction by being insensitive to what you're saying. Most of the time we just ignore these little slights, but they build up over time and explain animosity that cannot be explained by any articulated overt behavior. If, on the other hand, we remain conscious of "good dogs," a compliment offered freely might help to counter a slight that went unnoticed.

    Want to read some theory on this? Withholding of Compliments in Everyday Life Backup of an article by Dr. Ryave and colleagues, in ethnology.

  • September 12, 2004: Jeanne's insane adventures with magic numbers and dancing unicorns and bullies

    We had an exciting two weeks at Dominguez. We have magic numbers that neither Pat nor I are quite sure about, but they have something to do with our adding classes. Moot Court, which is our central unit for inviting professionals and the source of our field credit is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., when most professionals can't take off from their busy schedules, and some of you can't.

    And I put up so much material that the new kids are confused as to where on earth to start. Well, occasionally I get a little over-enthusiastic. Don't worry. Susan complained about it long before you did.

    In the second week a class appeared in our classroom, and when I said "Excuse me, this is my classroom, and I have sixty students here, a voice from the dark said "Get our of MY CLASSROOM." Wow! Of course, I didn't. I think I said No. And then the voice said I was the rudest person it had ever met on the CSUDH campus. Whooshed past me to see its Dean. You know, this might make the start of a very funny novel. Next week.

    I said "kids" somewhere in the paragraph above. Dr. Hosokawa, the CSUDH Sociology Dean, says I shouldn't say "kids" because it's patronizing and inappropriate. I thought a lot about that, and I decided that I don't agree. Kids includes both genders, suggests a familial relationship of caring and responsibility, and teachers, whatever their age and the students ages, have a responsibility for modeling and guidance, and a moral responsibility for leading. Kid, as opposed to student or learner, does imply status. At home, at the dinner table, the kid is loved and cared for and listened to, hopefully, if the system works right. And kid, in its family context implies love. Love that goes both ways, by the way.

    The responsibility of the teacher to listen with the same good faith skill doesn't end as the learner grows older. I learn from my kitty cats, never mind other people. Teaching is a two-way social construct in which we engage together in the process of critiquing and expanding what we can confirm tentatively in a rapidly changing world.

    I am not arguing for the term "kids," just that I can't find another term that works better. "Student" to me suggests oppression. (Duncan Kennedy in Kairy's Politics of Law on the oppression of Harvard Law Students.) So I'm open to suggestions, but think it would work best if we didn't blame each other for a poor choice of words when there aren't a lot of good words for some of our new social constructs.

    By the way, as near as I know, children and students are not a "suspect class" which means that the use of the term "kid" is not hate speech, even though I was treated as though it were last week. A "suspect class" is a group of people recognized by US courts to have been systematically discriminated against in this country and requiring special treatment under the law to protect them from such domination and explotiation. I also disagree that KID is patronizing. For me, it's a term of affection. But . . . the world's a-changing . . .

    Although I was bullied when ordered peremptorily out of my own classroom, and by students who challenged me also as rude, for reasons I never did understand, I feel that it would be inappropriate for us to take this issue any further at this time. Those of you who offered me a "good dog," I thank you. Support matters. But our primary agenda here must be the students and locating for them an appropriate classroom. We can't put two classes in one room. It has been reconfirmed to me that our Dean has checked again, and that the room in question is ours. It is not our job to find a room for "them," but that's the first thing on somebody's agenda. It's disconcerting for all of us to have a room taken from under us, never mind the legitimacy of the possession.

    As Darci noted on Thursday, in Agencies, I believe, there is an issue of the campus as a whole establishing a climate in which such bullying is not socially acceptable. I wrote to Hal Pepinski and asked him to help us consider that issue in theory at least. Let's hope he can find the time to help us. Meanwhile, please come back to your classroom on Tuesday. Should there be any recurrence of last Tuesday's events, please chill. We need practice in forgiveness and peace-making, anyway. May peace be with us. jeanne

  • August 24, 2004: So what's a blog?

    This blog addresses the topic of local issues in the communities served by California State University, Dominguez Hills. It is open to all who wish to join our discussions, whether they are enrolled in any specific class or not. The blog is a part of our continuing life-time learning and our extension of the academy to the community. That means if your mother or your brother or your friend has something to say about our local community issue discussions, they're welcome to do so here. It also means that if someone who works or lives within the community has something to contribute, they're welcome to do so here, too. Pat (Patricia Acone, B.A., CSUDH Community Adjunct to Dear Habermas.)

    A blog is a kind of running diary that we keep together. You add your bits by e-mailing them to jeanne, and she uploads them. A blog provides a history of our discourse. We can look back and see when and how and why we made decisions to shift topics or techniques, when and how and why we chose certain projects for our gallery exhibition, and we can see our own participation recorded.

    Blog entries should be brief; they're not for gaining consensus; they're for illocutionary understanding, that is, getting to know each other and our shared perceptions as a community. I would like it if our blog could achieve a kind of balance in which it becomes clear that this diary is a community project. We'll be able to tell that just by looking at the overall composition: content analysis, and maybe even a little cognitive mapping.

    My job here is to say that we stay on target in discussing topics on community-related issues and in trying to supply you with knowedgeable authorities so that you won't need to scramble so for resource materials. We'll try to take out typos; but we may just get tired and give up on that.

    There's only one rule: illocutionary discourse, respect for the Other and good faith listening to all validity claims. This blog is the virtual continuation of our Naked Space in real time. Photos and drawings, and music are all acceptable.

    Welcome to the CSUDH Service Area community blog. Pat (Patricia Acone. B.A., Community Adjunct to Dear Habermas.)



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