Thursday, March 23, 2006

You ask why we left out Hashemi


broad recognition seeks to
uncover the insidious forms of sexism on this campus which are masked by a veneer of privilege and liberal politics, and ignored. To analyze this misogyny is not simple - not as easy, for example, as singling out a former spokesman of the Taliban, the latest cultural icon of misogyny. Asking why we left out Hashemi inevitably moves the discussion away from the misogynistic events on this campus and into the realm of American foreign policy. This blog is not meant for such a discussion.

Our discomfort in employing the rhetoric of our particular feminism in the context of other cultures and in the context of this blog does not deny that there is sexism in these cultures. It merely demonstrates what type of discussion we are trying to achieve with broad recognition, and our recognition of the ways in which American feminism has been manipulated to justify violence abroad.

Yes, the Taliban is a violently sexist and oppressive regime. Yes, the Taliban has some viewpoints and practices that we deplore. If Hashemi still subscribes to those tenets, then Yale has admitted a sexist man. It’s not the first time.

11 comments:

AMac said...

Thanks for discussing Taliban official/Yale student Hashemi; I was one who wondered if you would write about him.

Readers looking for contrast could check out Debbie Bookstater '00 in the 3/22/06 Yale Daily News:

"...As a feminist, I am surprised there have been no vocal protests on campus or calls for Yale to answer questions about this decision. This is not and should not be portrayed as a partisan issue. It is not a referendum on Bush, the war, the presence of American troops in Afghanistan or the recent Supreme Court decision on military recruiting. It is about Yale's decision to recruit the former spokesman of a brutal regime.

"Has Yale really slipped into such complacency that the Taliban's crimes against women and the Afghani people barely merit a shrug?"


Broad Recognition: feminist ideals catalogued, then dismissed in the service of Transnational Progressivism (original article here).

Anonymous said...

"Asking why we left out Hashemi inevitably moves the discussion away from the misogynistic events on this campus and into the realm of American foreign policy. This blog is not meant for such a discussion."

How is Yale accepting a someone who was part of the public face of an absolutely misogynistic regime -not- a "misogynistic event on campus"? That's not even a debatable question in your opinion?

"If Hashemi still subscribes to those tenets, then Yale has admitted a sexist man. It’s not the first time."

Come on. We're talking about a whole different game here. This is not some guy who makes offensive blonde jokes. This is someone who was an official of a regime that denied women basic human rights. It's not even worthy of discussion on your blog that Yale would accept him as a special student?

To a certain extent, I see where you're coming from in trying to keep the pressure on the insiduous, subtle sexism that doesn't get enough attention, while Hashemi-type stuff does. But you, and all feminists at Yale (myself included), should be aware that when you refuse out of hand even to address an issue as huge and as relevant to your blog's topic (feminist responses to sexism at Yale) as this Hashemi issue, and you've gone on record (in Della's earlier post) as saying it's because, as a white American, you don't want to judge other cultures... this sounds like you're setting up a crazy double standard. In this double standard, men who think that women aren't as good as men at math are just as woman-hating as men who are officials of political groups that torture women for exposing skin in public. This kind of arbitrary-feeling moral relativism turns a whole lot of people away from your brand of feminism.

Anonymous said...

too bad the YDN forums remain "temporarily" closed -- you could discuss this stuff REAL TIME.

Why not begin a crusade to re-open the forums, ending the oppressive denial of human voices?

AMac said...

This kind of arbitrary-feeling moral relativism turns a whole lot of people away from your brand of feminism.

But credit where it's due. Della has left up the, um, awkward defense of her position in the earlier comments--she could have sent them down the memory hole with a keystroke.

The tepid tone of Della's writing might indicate that she, too, is reflecting on the shortcomings of the sort of tortured reasoning that leads to such morally repellent conclusions.

It can hardly be feminism that demands indifference to the presence of this evil man in the classroom, or that tacitly supports the Yale Administration's silence on why it panders to misogyny and far worse.

Anonymous said...

I think your refusal to even comment on the Hashemi case is a total cop-out. Your defense seems to be that he is foreign, and you don't presume to know anything about foreign cultures. I thought women's rights were universal.

Here is a man who defended the oppression of women in his country and has never publicly repudiated himself. He's attending Yale on scholarship, while every year thousands of female applicants are rejected. This doesn't get you the least bit upset?

You seem to be disgusted with the fact that Bush and Alito attended yale: Tuesday, January 31 "
2. Does anyone else find it ironic that a "liberal" university such as Yale could have produced not only George W. Bush, but also Sammy Alito?"

C said...

I'm anonymous 2:16am. One more thought.

"Our discomfort in employing the rhetoric of our particular feminism in the context of other cultures and in the context of this blog does not deny that there is sexism in these cultures. It merely demonstrates what type of discussion we are trying to achieve with broad recognition, and our recognition of the ways in which American feminism has been manipulated to justify violence abroad."

I'm really curious as to what that actually means.

Here's what it sounds like: upper-class Ivy League American women get to have equal rights as upper-class Ivy League American men (the most privileged in the world, perhaps). But poor uneducated Afghan women don't get basic human rights. Upper-class Ivy League American women won't come to their defense-- and in fact will actually take a misogynist like Hashemi into their school without a peep. Why? I don't know. But the possibilities aren't pleasant.

In terms of American feminism being manipulated to justify violence abroad, are you talking about the US invasion of Afghanistan? Officially that had everything to do with terrorism and little to do with saving women from oppression. Fear not, the government the US supports now in Afghanistan still oppresses women.

Anonymous said...

Have we really reached a world where some people no longer believe in ANY absolutes?

US Public Law 102-14 http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?c102:./temp/~c102Nzvnf5 which is further explained at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noachide_covenant may not be your style.

But a lack of any absolutes is even more dangerous.

What to do about such absolutes in terms of legislation and behavior is a difficult and much more complicated discussion.

But is nothing ever wrong because it is someone else's value?

Very soon upon hitting the "real world," this sort of fragile product of the campus laboratory flask will, fortunately, shatter.

Eric S-Z, Stiles '07 said...

Hey All.

my personal feelings are that this dude is trying to open his mind up instead of leaving it closed. We should support him in that.


Officially, however, as a Women's Center Board, we've chosen not to comment on this issue, and I'll tell you my reasoning behind why I supported such a decision.

Nobody scruntinized my application. It's none of my business what was in yours or why you got accepted. Examining individual decisions is not our business because we don't (and shouldn't) have access to people's private applications.

Dealing with general policies of the admissions office is another issue. that's fair game.

sarah maple said...

I would like to pose an interesting hypothetical situation:

What if instead of accepting Hashemi, Yale accepted a well-known mouthpiece for the Klu Klux Klan (except, say the KKK still operated as it did in the 1920s). How would Yalies respond to that? I feel as though the community would be a lot less blase about a person who found acceptable the lynching of African Americans. Yale is a liberal, open-minded, intellectual society--it is not a place for hatred. I know Yalies feel this way b/c they are striving to get military recruiters off campus b/c these recruiters have a clause which doesnt treat gays fairly. How about a man who represents a regime which actaully supports the killing of gays (which is to say nothing of their horrific violent treatment of women)? Shouldn't we get him off campus too? I originally thought that it would be useful and "instructive" for everyone involved to have Hashemi here at Yale, but now I am not sure who would be the recipients or givers of such "instruction." It is a well-known fact that international students from different areas often choose to hang out with other students from their homes, ad from what I have seen this is true of Hashemi. Do we really think that if he and his buddies happen to pass Toad's on saturday night and see some girls that are scantily clad that he will immediately understand that freedmo of sexual expression is important for women around the world? Or might he think darker thoughts about these girls? I seriously doubt that a man who justified the killings of "unchaste" women will have a sudden revelation concerning the pressures and struggles developing young American women. Shame on this blog and on the women's center (although I have come to expect very little from that institution in terms of anything concrete after working there for quite some time) for refusing to take a stand. sometimes you have to go out on a limb and i think this limb is more than worth the fear of height.

AMac said...

Sarah Maples, it's clear that half the folks here would have no trouble at all with your hypothetical. The other half--"It's none of my business what was in yours or why you got accepted. Examining individual decisions is not our business..." wouldn't have any trouble, either.

"Makai Rohbar, an Afghan student whose family legally immigrated to New Haven in 2002, served as Ms. Joya's translator for the evening. After Ms. Joya's speech, I asked Ms. Rohbar what she was studying. She told me she was taking classes in chemistry and biophysics in the hope of someday becoming a physician. I then inquired how long she had been at Yale. She blushed. 'I don't go here,' she said. 'I attend classes at Gateway Community College,' also in New Haven. She had never imagined that she could be accepted into Yale or ever find a way to pay for it...I asked what she thought about Mr. Hashemi attending Yale with the help of a Wyoming foundation and a discount from Yale of 35% to 40% on tuition. 'It's like a nightmare that you can't believe when you wake up,' she told me. 'This is a good country, but I think some people in New Haven are so complacent they don't know what officials like Hashemi did to my people.'"

Emphasis added.

C said...

Sarah, I think more people would have a problem with some high official from the 20's-style KKK going to Yale-- and that's because he would be a white American, and it wouldn't be as easy to excuse his behavior using cultural relativism.

Of course, if Bill O'Reilly had a problem with the KKK guy going here, perhaps leftist activists would all be coming to the grand high wizard's defense.