I have many questions — real, deep, sincere questions — about this.
- Does Katherine Dettwyler really believe that a person deserves torture and death for stealing a poster?
- Or does she, rather, believe that a person deserves torture and death for being a clueless privileged culturally-imperialist white male?
- Or does she, perhaps, believe that a person deserves not torture and death but maybe arrest for being a clueless privileged culturally-imperialist white male, and just wrote carelessly?
- Is she right that a significant number of her white male students “think nothing of raping drunk girls at frat parties and snorting cocaine, cheating on exams, and threatening professors with physical violence”?
- How do any or all of these beliefs affect her ability to do her job as a teacher?
- How many college teachers share these beliefs?
- Is this a situation in which no “beliefs” as such are involved, but Dettwyler’s Facebook post was rather an unfocused spur-of-the-moment venting arising from frustration with a lousy job or lousy working conditions?
- If your answer to the previous question is “Yes” or “Probably yes,” how do you account for the fact that Dettwyler seems to have made very similar comments on blogs?
- How might a tendency to go off on unfocused spur-of-the-moment venting arising from frustration with a lousy job or lousy working conditions affect a person’s ability to do her or his job as a teacher?
- Did the University of Delaware ask Dettwyler for an explanation of her post and/or comments?
- Did the university ask her to apologize for them?
- Suppose that she did apologize — would that be sufficient for her to keep her job?
- What would the University of Delaware have done if a tenured faculty member had made precisely the same comments?
- As those outside the academy go apoplectic over these matters, those inside the academy shrug. Is shrugging enough?
- What does it mean that so many people these days wish death on strangers whom they dislike or disagree with?
- Should we feel better when we’re told that people don’t really mean it when they, for instance, respond to a tweet expressing a view about English grammar by wishing an entire generation of Americans dead?
- Like, if you don’t really in your heart of hearts want those people you disagree with to die in a fire or be raped and tortured, then we don’t have a problem? Is that the argument?
- Presumably all of the above, and worse, has been said to Katherine Dettwyler since her Facebook post went public — does that help?
- Does vigilante vengeance have limits?
- Even if it’s just verbal vengeance?
- Is forgiveness a social good?
June 27, 2017