Here’s an update on professor Randa Jarrar that hate spewing “educator” from Fresno State University. First the president of the university, Joseph Castro wants everyone to know that her tweets do not “define the university”. However, she won’t be fired for her comments but will instead take a leave of absence through the spring semester. The university president went on to say, “This issue has raised many important questions about the scope of free speech,” Castro said, “and the extent to which a member of our university community can be held accountable for expressing his or her personal views.”
I agree with him that this brought up many important questions. However, I do not agree that one of those questions was the extent to which a staff member “can be held accountable”. What I don’t agree with is the word “can”. Because we already know if the university had the will power to do it they are within their legal rights to fire her. However, I don’t mind that they didn’t.
The tweet that started it all was, “Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. Fuck outta here with your nice words.”
He did say it wasn’t her tenure that saved her. She had tweeted a sort of “nanny nanny” tweet saying she couldn’t be fired. Well, the university corrected that and said she very much could. However, because it was on her time, and on her private Twitter account they felt it was her expressing herself rather than representing the university. I’m okay with stupid people saying stupid things because it’s one of the fastest ways for us all to determine that they are – in fact – stupid.
I remember one day I had chance to help someone. I talked with them for about 5 minutes before I realized, based on what they said, they were pretty well insane. That was really useful information for me to have at that point and it colored how I helped her after that. That same idea holds true for the people we meet on the Internet. If they are out there spouting circular conspiracy arguments you know they are just not smart enough to discuss things with. It’s like someone who thinks the earth is flat. You can explain all you want but they will just say that your evidence can’t be trusted because it comes from the very people trying to convince you the earth isn’t flat. Oh, you trust the people spreading the lies to gather the proof huh?! So each piece of evidence you give to prove the conspiracy wrong, in their mind, simply proves it right. Someone like that isn’t very bright.
I use the word “stupid” loosely and colloquially here by the way. You can substitute other words if you like. What I really mean to convey is that they suffer from a lack of meta cognition or the ability to think about thinking. As we learn from the Dunning–Kruger effect some people aren’t smart enough to know they aren’t smart. Though it is possible to converse with many such people they often are possessed of an arrogance that makes doing so impossible. Those who are not so inclined can be reasoned with but you must change your approach with them. I’m not saying “dumb it down” but something close to that. Don’t be condescending if you can help it but be aware they require a little extra patience and care on your part.
People like this professor are perfect examples of people who think they are smart but aren’t. She’s a professor for goodness sake, people will argue, that means she MUST be smart! No, no it doesn’t mean that. Some of the most ignorant people I’ve met are highly educated and some of the wisest and most thoughtful people have no college to their name. Don’t confuse education with knowledge and knowledge with intelligence.
Castro said the matter highlighted important issues that deserve further consultation.”Our duty as Americans and as educators is to promote a free exchange of diverse views, even if we disagree with them. At Fresno State, we encourage opinions and ideas to be expressed in a manner that informs, enlightens and educates without being disparaging of others. It makes me proud when I see our students, faculty and staff debate and learn from each other.”