Sunday, March 08, 2015

UC Irvine Student Government votes to fight hate by being haters

Oh those darn kids.

You got to wonder what exactly is going through the mind of a college student who decides to ban all flags from a student government workroom.  Let’s read the bill from the UC Irvine Student Legislative Council to find out.

Legislation Number (B: Bill, R: Resolution): R50-70

Author:   Matthew Guevara
Second:  Khaalidah Sidney

Synopsis: Flags and decoration adjustment for inclusivity

Uh oh.  The second that you create an “adjustment” for “inclusivity”, you are basically trying to remove any semblance of any thing that could be construed as “offensive.”  Since college is all about civil liberties, an openness of thought, and the evolution of intelligence, this idea sort of directly contradicts to point of higher education.  Not a good start.

Whereas flags are a symbol of a nation, are used as decorations and have a wide range of cultural significance.

Hey!  A good first clause!

Whereas the traditional patriotic interpretation of a flag is a result of a nation and/or persons who encourage a nationalistic understanding of the flag.

Whereas traditional understandings and ideologies, as encouraged by the national government, include liberty, democracy, constitution values and are up for interpretation on constituents.

Also fair enough!  Although flags were around a whole lot earlier than the concept of nationalism.  But whatever….. 

At least these folks agree that there is a lot that is up for interpretation. 

Whereas flags not only serve as symbols of patriotism or weapons for nationalism, but also construct cultural mythologies and narratives that in turn charge nationalistic sentiments.

Whereas flags function specifically for a nation and

Whereas people are assimilated into national ideologies by deployment of this cultural artifact.

Whereas flags construct paradigms of conformity and sets homogenized standards for others to obtain which in this country typically are idolized as freedom, equality, and democracy.

Whereas symbolism is interpreted differently by different groups or persons based on individual unique experiences.

Oops, it looks like the “up for interpretation” thing has gone off the rails.  Now the Irvinians are deciding what that general interpretation is; to set a standard for censorship.  I’m smelling a prelude to the argument against American exceptionalism. 

Whereas a common ideological understanding of the United states includes American exceptionalism and superiority.

Whereas the American flag is commonly flown in government public service locations, military related entities, at homes, in foreign lands where the US government has a presence.

Whereas the American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism.

Told ya.  So this really isn’t about flags as much as it is a commendation of the United States.  That’s fine and dandy except that you don’t go banning everything that you don’t agree with, especially if you are gaining the benefit of the Constitutional freedoms granted at a public college.  But I digress….

Whereas symbolism has negative and positive aspects that are interpreted differently by individuals.

Whereas displaying a flag does not express only selective aspects of its symbolism but the entire spectrum of its interpretation.

Excellent!  That’s exactly how it should be!

Whereas designing a culturally inclusive space is taken seriously by ASUCI

Whereas designing a culturally inclusive space aims to remove barriers that create undue effort and separation by planning and designing spaces that enable everyone to participate equally and confidently.

Whereas the removal of barriers is the best option at promoting an inclusive space.

Whereas it is a psychological effect for individuals to identify negative aspects of a space rather than positive ones.

Whereas whenever public spaces are produced and managed by narrow interests, they are bound to become exclusive places and

Whereas the planning process must be inclusive in such that designers are advised to forget about the ‘average’ user or themselves and instead begin the open space designing process with ‘deep knowledge’ of the preferences of the actual communities who are likely to use those spaces

Whereas designers should be careful about using cultural symbols as the symbols will inherently remain open for interpretation.

Whereas once an open space is created, it is important to employ continual evaluation in order to understand changing use patterns and needs over time.

Whereas a high-quality culturally inclusive spaces is essential in any society that embodies a dynamic and multifaceted culture

Here’s the deal, you can hate the policies and social divisions of the United States but if you honestly believe that the United States does not have a dynamic and multifaceted culture then you don’t a clear understanding of the United States or the rest of the world.  Even with the problems people flock to the country, including the universities, to take advantage of the opportunities available.  People see the country as inclusive already.

Whereas freedom of speech is a valued right that ASUCI supports.

Whereas freedom of speech, in a space that aims to be as inclusive as possible can be interpreted as hate speech.

Restriction of speech at a college is mind-blowing.  The idea that a 20-something felt that they had the right to define “hate speech” is mind-blowing.  A society that bans ideas of any kind begins the slide down the slope of ignorance right into the caldera of oppression.  What you don’t like and he doesn’t like and she doesn’t like eventually creates the opposite of inclusivity. 

Let it be resolved that ASUCI make every effort to make the Associated Students main lobby space as inclusive as possible.

Let it further be resolved that no flag, of any nation, may be hanged on the walls of the Associate Student main lobby space.

Let it be further be resolved that if a decorative item is in the Associate student lobby space and issues arise, the solution will be to remove the item if there is considerable request to do so.

At this point the students that made up this resolution clearly need a refund from their government class.  Maybe the teacher was a little too “fight the power” and not enough “good knowledge.”  Maybe the students were too busy planning the next Occupy Inland Empire movement to go to class the day that they explained Public versus Private entities.  And maybe the students are just used to getting their way.  Since the university is the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT IRVINE, a publically funded institution, the students (six of them) don’t get to dictate policy.  Federal funding (albeit in a very limited fashion) helps run the institution you are attending. 

I’m sure this issue is going to be blown way out of proportion anyway but my guess is that it is going to be pulled back at some point soon.  It’s too damn foolish to exist.

Update:

That was quick.

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