Barbarians at the Gate

Forest Nymph

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I have to facilitate my class on Monday which factors into all of this. I have to facilitate with three of the four most problematic people in the room. Including Queen Evil herself, the one that made the other woman cry, and went on and on about people caring too much about animals last week.

What's more, I'm giving my non profit presentation on PETA next month in the same class.

I already have it in my head that I'm going to administration if this keeps up. If these classes were free or low cost I might just run away, but this is complete BS. I'll file harassment charges against the main bully, file a complaint against the department chair for false advertisement of the program, I'll cause so many problems for so many people that it won't even be able to persist in this manner.

If I talked about this, https://www.livekindly.co/vegan-company-15000-acres-amazon/ about the Israeli vegan company buying parts of the Amazon to protect it, I'll be called out, shouted down, or subtley group bullied. Ok. So this is what I mean, if we are doing research and can't discuss different ways of saving the planet without being called a Zionist something is deeply wrong.
 
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Emma JC

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What a horrid story you are living... very toxic.

Question... can you video your presentation? or other presentations? maybe just the act of documenting it would change the dynamic?

Emma JC
 

Forest Nymph

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What a horrid story you are living... very toxic.

Question... can you video your presentation? or other presentations? maybe just the act of documenting it would change the dynamic?

Emma JC
Thank you. My roommate suggested something similar, she's still an undergrad, but she's in the same science program I was before graduation. She said I couldn't sit there, but if you do, you should make a video of it. She meant every class though, or to start filming any time anyone acts this way, so I have an electronic "paper trail" of the incidents.

The filming itself may deter poor behavior, though you could be right about that. I don't know if it's allowed to announce to the class I'm filming myself. The other type of video would be surreptitious for evidence.

I did decide to go big or go home. By that I mean I decided to address speciesism as a sociological concept, and link it to the indigenous perspective of non-human animals being "more than human" since one of the chapters I'm teaching mentions both Pope Francis' Laudato Si and a United Nations piece on respect for all species (not just humans) in fighting the environmental challenges we face. I mean if people are going to verbally abuse me, I might as well make my perspective known, not be shy or come out small.
 

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Ok I have good news! My facilitation went well, no one was horrible to me. The person who has caused the most problems even apologized to one of the people she insulted in class (I heard first hand from the person she apologized to). I don't want to get my hopes up that everything will magically be sunshine and roses now, but I'm very grateful that today went smoothly for a change.
 

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It doesn't seem obvious that Israel and Palestine are relevant topics for your program of study. Probably best to try and avoid that whole subject (if at all possible) ...
 
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All of this sucks royally. And least of all because I assume you're paying for this "education!" Honestly, if you don't get anywhere with the dept chair, I'd go to the Dean. For the life of me I cannot remember why or what the issue was, but I went to the Dean of the UC I was attending at the time about something and they actually did something about the issue. ...God that's going to bug me forever that I can't remember what it was about 😬
 

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Ok I have good news! My facilitation went well, no one was horrible to me. The person who has caused the most problems even apologized to one of the people she insulted in class (I heard first hand from the person she apologized to). I don't want to get my hopes up that everything will magically be sunshine and roses now, but I'm very grateful that today went smoothly for a change.
That's good news! (Just realized I was still on the 1st page when I made my previous comment :p )
 

Forest Nymph

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It doesn't seem obvious that Israel and Palestine are relevant topics for your program of study. Probably best to try and avoid that whole subject (if at all possible) ...
It was super odd. For a brief moment I was just frozen. Is this antisemitism? Are they saying I'm a horrible person because I'm vegan? I didn't even know what the top layer was for them, or if they just hated me on sight. For the purposes of these classes, I think I'll avoid the topic of veganism being popular in Israel, or the good things some Israeli vegans are doing in the world, because I don't want to talk about Palestine. If I wanted to talk about Palestine I'd take a political science class or go to a protest. Ditto for a lot of it.

The good part is that in one class at least the professor has taken control. Not the department chair, but she even sent out an email today thanking me and the other facilitator again for a job well done, reminded the class to be patient and gentle with one another, respect opinions they disagree with, remember one another's humanity...I also earned full points on the assignment. So far, so good.
 

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To make a long story even longer, I am pretty much done with grad school already. My program is emotionally abusive, I talked to the dean of students Friday and she was born vegan and her brother is still a very strict WFPB vegan, she's from somewhere in Africa so she's certainly not speaking from white privilege, and she sympathized with my case. She basically gave me two options that allow me to keep my financial aid next semester, switching to the Sociology department and dropping my most stressful class, just finishing 9 units (full time for grad students) because it's mid- term of Fall Semester already. Or I can take Incompletes on a mental health argument, finishing the work next semester.

Honestly I'm considering taking my loans for next semester and buying a boat. I've wanted a boat since the summer, but I can't justify the expenses without living on it so maybe not haha. I went sea kayaking Saturday which was very stress relieving. I'm thinking of living alone in a nearby city in the historical district near the water and boating or kayaking more often and just working. That way I could afford to live without roommates.

I'm promising myself to take the dean's advice for the rest of this semester though. I won't impulsively go live on a boat yet haha.

That's one way to deal with sea level rise.

I'm clearly at the end of my patience. Or sanity.
 
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Oh my, FN, that sounds like a horrible ordeal.

What galls me most about the whole thing is that Israel (which is a country I was a very big fan of for a big part of my life, but which now is behaving horribly and incredibly wrong, so I have not been able to support or accept it for many years) is simply using veganism for "greenwashing", to project a modern image, same as they do use "pinkwashing" by presenting themselves as a beacon for LGBTQ rights in the Middle East.

To have that shoved in your face, that if you are vegan, you are supporting the atrocities that are happening to Palestinians, that is beyond awful. Also, I have a lot of vegan friends who are POC themselves, who are unfortunately treated awfully both by non-vegan POC people and by racist vegans. They simply can't win... But saying that veganism is "a white, middle class thing" is erasing all that poor POC who are also vegan do and stand for.

And finally, this is 2019, and everybody should have heard by now that it is burgers and cheese that are destroying our environment and sending us deeper on the climate change death spiral. Unfortunately that is the part of climate change that is least covered, as it would require people who are in favour of climate action to review their own personal behaviours, and they really do not want to do that....
 

Forest Nymph

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Oh my, FN, that sounds like a horrible ordeal.

What galls me most about the whole thing is that Israel (which is a country I was a very big fan of for a big part of my life, but which now is behaving horribly and incredibly wrong, so I have not been able to support or accept it for many years) is simply using veganism for "greenwashing", to project a modern image, same as they do use "pinkwashing" by presenting themselves as a beacon for LGBTQ rights in the Middle East.

To have that shoved in your face, that if you are vegan, you are supporting the atrocities that are happening to Palestinians, that is beyond awful. Also, I have a lot of vegan friends who are POC themselves, who are unfortunately treated awfully both by non-vegan POC people and by racist vegans. They simply can't win... But saying that veganism is "a white, middle class thing" is erasing all that poor POC who are also vegan do and stand for.

And finally, this is 2019, and everybody should have heard by now that it is burgers and cheese that are destroying our environment and sending us deeper on the climate change death spiral. Unfortunately that is the part of climate change that is least covered, as it would require people who are in favour of climate action to review their own personal behaviours, and they really do not want to do that....
It's really, really bad. I never experienced anything like this in three different universities as an undergrad, or as a homeless person in LA, or as the partner of a Latino man in a predominantly Latino neighborhood. My first college was actually historically Black. There's something wrong with these people.

I mean there's more, constant comparisons to terrorists or dangerous violent people. And the department chair thinks we can all facilitate our three hour class while he has jury duty tomorrow. That's my issue - hes no help, possibly mildly delusional. I'm not going to class tomorrow alone with my peers, is he ******* serious?
 

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Well for the most recent update in "Everything is White People's Fault and Veganism is a White Thing, Therefore You Are a Terrorist: The High School Musical" I've withdrawn from one of my classes, changed one class by permission to an independent study, and extensively reported my part of the story to various faculty and department heads.

I gave a presentation on a vegan non profit yesterday in one of my remaining classes and was to my complete unsurprise, informed that I basically shouldn't care about animal rights while some people suffer, like it's an either/or thing by one of the usual suspects.

It's like I'm paying thousands of dollars to be trolled by meat apologists on the Internet, except in real life.

My issue is not disagreement nor argument but the bizarre framing of animal rights, or veganism and vegetarianism as an attack on people of color, therefore giving a small group of woke-shaming SJWs a free pass to bully me, accuse me of monstrous goals or affiliations, or simply to try to silence or negate my message on the grounds of "racism" which as we all know in 2019 is the Medieval equivalent of "heresy." It may not be true, yet any application of the term abdicates the accuser of virtually all responsibly to rationally defend their case, since it's religiously sacred.

All of my professors aren't insane, but the department chair is some sad old hippie full of white guilt and absurd ivory tower ideas that whites and Jewish people should always defer to people of color and Muslims.... because they're children? The inverted racism and bigotry of his white savior complex is completely lost on him, hes dead set on saving face socially as "the most woke old man on the block." It's absolutely cringey and I've become to view him as an incompetent advisor.

I'm pretty sure I'll finish this semester but withdraw next semester just to secure my own stability in the time being. I'm going to have to become an award winning actress just to cope with this high school musical for six more weeks.
 
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TofuRobot

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Well that's just tragic. If only you could skip over these nimwits and join again next year or something when there's some "fresh blood" in the mix.

But this:

My issue is not disagreement nor argument but the bizarre framing of animal rights, or veganism and vegetarianism as an attack on people of color,
Makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Veganism is an attack on POC?? *sigh* 🙄
 

Forest Nymph

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Well that's just tragic. If only you could skip over these nimwits and join again next year or something when there's some "fresh blood" in the mix.

But this:



Makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Veganism is an attack on POC?? *sigh* 🙄
I considered that but as I said the department chair seems to be enabling some of it. I don't think he likes it but he's the sort of liberal academic who I saw mocked online by conservatives but who I thought as a leftist myself didn't really exist. It's just kids on social media I thought. It's not actually being perpetuated in academia. In fact very liberal University of California at Berkeley has made it a point to not "overly encourage" things like the Israel boycotting going on or prevent conservatives from speaking to try to maintain some semblance of academic neutrality.

However, I found this strange article last night about Portland from last year, describing "equity consultants" who are not accountants but a very radical group who support "disrupting whiteness." This is not Black Lives Matter, it's people of color charging business or schools money to train white people to be allies in disrupting whiteness. More like Black Panthers but infinitely weirder due to the profit scheme surrounding and one apparent sociopath subtly terrorizing business owners in Portland for their "whiteness" or "settler colonialism" and we aren't talking racist Trump places, like gay liberal inclusive vegan business. In fact I found it using SJW who hate vegans in a Google search to see if anything mirrored my situation, on a whim, and found much more than I bargained for.

It reminded me so much of the people in my grad school program that I kept following links to a book called White Fragility where this academic had written a best seller last year essentially framing any "white" behavior other than complete and total calm straight faced agreement with accusations of racism "Fragility." So, now white people aren't allowed to have feelings, opinions or reactions (including walking away or crying from guilt) to being accused of racism without being pathologicalized. According to the theory in this one lady's book.

This is some real garbage here I do not want to be involved with. If this is what inspires my classmates...I need different classmates, different advisors, or to leave academia entirely. I'm all for equality and antiracism but I'm not about to post about how much I hate myself for accidentally being born with a lighter skin color than some other people. It's not going to happen. I have boundaries and this is one of them.

And besides...I went to college to do a project on veganism geez not race and gender. I might be better off doing something else.
 

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My attitude has improved considerably now that I spend nearly zero time with my cohort. I attend two classes since one was all during the summer and only involves writing and presentation. My second class is an in depth independent study where I do all the assignments and research, then meet directly with the professor. The third is my only remaining "normal" class and I didn't have to go last week due to power outage.

In that time I completed my rough draft of the cattle impact prospectus, and am building my lit review for my thesis.

I am sure I'll know if I want to keep going by the time I finish my literature review.

My sources so far:

Animal Liberation by Peter Singer

Chapter 1 of The Vegan Studies Project by Laura Wright

Chapter 2 of Total Liberation by David Pellow

Neither Man Nor Beast by Carol J. Adams

The Power and Promise of Ecological Feminism by Karen J. Warren

Dominion by Matthew Scully

The Animals Lawsuit Against Humanity - Ancient Jewish and Muslim parable

Monkey Business by Kathy Snow Guillermo

Place...by Cheng et al.

DXE history/ethics from website

Potential sources:

Sistah Vegan by A. Breeze Harper

Dismantling Oppression: An Analysis of the Connection Between Women and Animals by Lori Gruen

Animal Rights and Feminist Theory by Josephine Donovan

Ecology and Religion by David Kinsley


Ostensibly, I'll do a phenomenological multi-site case study. It will be a participatory action quasi experimental design so I can do a comparative case study between Berkeley DXE and a chapter that I will build in my own area.

It will be situated in an ecofeminist perspective with positivism.

The purpose of the literature is a background for my thesis/project where I discuss the existence or expression of animal rights in various cultures and points in time, and how animal rights activism came to be what it currently is manifested in DXE who promotes intersectional environmentalism and social justice within their animal rights organization.
 

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MOD NOTE
I unfortunately had to delete and edit a lot of posts in this thread. Some posts have been moved to a new thread.

Please remember this is a support thread, so if you want to say anything here to Forest Nymph, please make sure it's in the spirit of support, and certainly not anything hostile.
 
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Forest Nymph

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I found this hilarious article in the Atlantic about how Critical Theory in academia can use jargon language in absurd ways to ridiculous conclusions, and still get published, according to a recent sequel to the 1990s Sokal Hoax Experiment. I feel better when I find these things, I see that there are people like me out there, that aren't far right wing interests violently opposed to all things left, and aren't from outside academia, but from people who have operated within it, who criticize the current climate of the social sciences.


I also found a very academic-level article criticizing White Fragility theory from the epistemological view. Rather than pointing out the obvious as most people do (calling people racist doesn't make them less racist and calling people fragile is a self-fulfilling curse that the person will indeed become defensive under normal human circumstances) this person actually shows the lack of statistical analysis and quantitative research in Di Angelo's book (which is stand-alone, by the way, people are accepting this one woman's anecdotal words on the sole basis of her being a sociologist. Well). They also point out the absurd notion that an entire race of people could possibly be "fragile."


As excited as I temporarily got about my thesis, recent discussions with the department chair convince me that I will never be able to work with him, and that I indeed am leaving this semester (but finishing the semester for my own stability). Maybe I'll just write a book in my free time. Lol.
 

Forest Nymph

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I'm doing very well in my Sociology socio-cultural "environmental justice" class and love my teacher, and am doing fine in the class where we had to write a research paper and do presentations based on our experience in that locale during the camping trip. I consistently make 90-100% and get full encouragement from my professors.

I also haven't done poorly in the remaining class with the department chair. I made an A or A- on all reflection papers and my class facilitation, and am fully prepared for my interview assignment. I also am revved up to go on my literature review.

It's really odd because I'm doing SO WELL academically. I haven't done this well (not even a B) since my first three semesters as a science major.

It makes me want to hang in there. Especially since I've been forced to research the history of animal rights feminism (dating back to the 19th century) and people of color who have been animal rights activists. I kind of feel like I have a "message" to convey to these people about how animal rights and veganism/vegetarianism mesh with social justice in every where. If it was good enough for Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks, it's good enough for you. That's when I get mad. I get mad at people framing it as a racial issue when Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks were historical women of color fighting for women's rights and racial justice and also vegetarians (normative then for animal rights, almost nobody was vegan unless they were white and well-to-do, which is where the meme comes from).

That's where I clash with these fools. If they'd at least concede to be vegetarian ....meat is the most destructive and cruel force on this planet....instead of trying to make me into a bigot for saying privileged grad students might want to try to be vegan (or vegetarian). It's BS.

I've been very accommodating, very open to vegetarian peers all throughout my collegiate experience. I've also always been very acutely aware that meat/flesh is much more damaging to our planet and destroys exponentially more animals than dairy or eggs (whatever you think about those things). Like BILLIONS MORE.

I've also been reading a book called Joyful Militancy for my sociology class. In it, it's posited that "sad militancy" is a normal and expected response to everything going on with racism, climate change, etc. Except that the answer is fully immersive, creative, experimental, community building. In veganism that means belonging to an animal rights group doing real things in the real world instead of miserably trying to shoulder the responsibility all alone, or deferring to some academic white guy sitting up on high judging everyone else, like Gary Francione. Joyful Militancy means fully engaging in life, within a community of people and living your values....without dogmatic ideology (GF really is the best example here aside from non-vegan examples like Marxist-Leninism), without religious-like morality (which often plays out in social justice groups as public shaming or "examining of sins" like I'm seeing in my grad school program), and without paranoia - paranoia finds something everything wrong with everyone and every attempt to right things, usually from an intellectually detached position. In veganism, again this would involve constantly criticizing attempts to help animals without helping animals yourself, or hanging out on Internet forums and arguing with people about minor things. Technology, isolation, and capitalism play large parts in feeding this tendency. It is present in many people not just "the others."

I think Joyful Militancy is one of the best books I've ever read. It's so true. It's a helpful book in guiding yourself away from technology and helplessness and individual anger, the exact things the Empire wants you to feel.

I may take a few "elective" type of classes next semester so that this isn't so sudden. If the department chair won't allow that then I'll use my grant money to build my new life.

I don't even want to talk about what happened in this program in the past week. It's even worse than you think. Everyone at my university knows about this program - other professors, other departments, the administration, students of color I've talked to from other departments - no one thinks this is normal. Anyone judging me right now needs to take a good hard look at themselves.
 
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