Meta-Review of the Rachel Fulton Brown Controversy

October 23, 2018 |  Tagged | Comments Off on Meta-Review of the Rachel Fulton Brown Controversy

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Dominique Mathura
Professor Antonova
Hist -799

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Meta-Review of the Rachel Fulton Brown Controversy
On June 5, 2015, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown posted a short blog of three points defending white men as supporting chivalry, marriage, and feminism. The blog post ignited a war of words between conservatives like Brown and progressives like Professor Dorothy Kim, who is very critical of what she calls Anglo-Saxonist medievalist misogyny. Professor Brown made matters worse when she pinned on her Twitter profile, as her defense, an article by alt-right advocate Milo Yiannopoulos. Brown’s pinned article by Yiannopoulos puts her in the alt-right camp, so I am inclined toward Dorothy Kim’s position.
Brown’s original short blog post includes three numbered paragraphs that defend white men as supporting chivalry and courtly love, marriage, and feminism. It sounds reasonable, but it is tone-deaf because it ignores the involved struggle and the atrocities against women and minorities perpetrated by white men to this day! For example, Brown concludes her blog post as follows: “And before you start telling me about all the terrible things that white men have done, take a moment to reflect that it was white men who voted in favor of the First Amendment to protect your right to disagree with me in the public sphere, including on matters of heated political discourse.” This is about as tone-deaf as Melania Trump wearing a jacket who’s back said, “I don’t care” when she visited separated immigrant families held in cages, in an immigrant detention center! In other words, Brown ignores the fact that white men didn’t just decide one day to vote for the First Amendment, out of the goodness of her their heart.
Instead, women, minorities, and other progressives have made great sacrifices of blood, sweat, and tears during many centuries, until today, pressuring the conservative white men who voted for the First Amendment and other progressive pieces of legislature. In other words, one of the main motivations of white men to vote for human rights was the fact that minority historians, philosophers, and activists had written articles and books proving the fact that the ideals of the constitution were sheer fantasy when compared with the reality of life. For example, during over two centuries when women and African-Americans had no legal rights, the Declaration of Independence claimed that all men are created equal. Even today, that is not true. First of all, it should be “All human beings are created equal.” Second, institutionalized racism is still a fact of life reflected on all kinds of statistics: the disproportionately high numbers of minorities in poverty, jail, and so on.
Moreover, Brown’s defense of her three points proves how clueless she is, dealing frivolously with a serious matter that is still causing pain and suffering to millions of women and minorities. Professor Kim summarizes as follows how perplexed she is about Brown’s claims defending her three points: “1. the blog is performance art; 2. it’s written by her persona the bear, not her; 3. she was being ironic by saying “white, white, white”; and 4. she’s still working out the tone of her public writing (though she’s been writing this blog for years); 5. I have been reading too much into the color of her bear (rather than reading her blog post and her statements).” In other words, Brown’s defense of her three points as “performance art” amount to asking us not to take them too seriously. However, that contradicts her use of Milo Yannopoulos’ article to defend herself, as I discuss in the next paragraph. In addition, the stuff about the bear as a “persona” for Brown’s “performance art” is hard to believe and lacks any kind of credulity because it makes no sense, on any level. Brown is a tenured professor in her fifties or sixties, but she shows no depth or wisdom. I could understand if a twenty-something professor wrote these things but not one in her fifties or sixties.
To make matters even worse, Brown’s pinned tweet on her Twitter profile page is an article by alt-right advocate Milo Yiannopoulos, a strong supporter of President Trump, Steve Bannon, the Tea Party, and extreme-right groups. In fact, Yiannopoulos works for Breitbart News, a far-right news service, which recently fired him about his past comments on pedophilia, an issue I am not going to even touch. Yiannopoulos defends Brown as follows: “She was responding playfully to the ‘dead white male’ trope in academia, gently pointing out that the wicked Caucasian dudes of social justice folklore were responsible for, among other things, the development of chivalry, consensual marriage and, to some extent, the success of feminism itself.” Yiannopoulos’ tone-deafness is as bad as Brown’s. Responding “playfully” to a serious matter that is still causing women and minorities pain and suffering proves how flippant Yiannopoulos and especially Brown are.
In fact, Yiannopoulos’ and Brown’s position is tone-deaf because of the current state of American politics. President Trump is on tape admitting he is a sexual predator, and he called African-American women “dogs,” “barrels,” and all sorts of other sexist and racist things. Moreover, he made fun of handicapped people on television. Moreover, Senate Republicans rammed through Judge Kavanaugh, who does not meet his own criteria of judicial temperament. Professor Christine Blasey Ford made a compelling case that Kavanaugh and Mark Judge assaulted her, but the FBI did not interview her or the judge because President Trump limited the scope of the FBI’s investigation. As a result, Kavanaugh is now on the Supreme Court after admitting his hostility against progressives and even threatening progressives by saying “what goes around comes around.” In other words, Roe v. Wade is now in trouble., and the same may be true of the other progressive laws passed since the 1960s, after many people died fighting for them. Moreover, when Democrats go after President Trump, who nominated Kavanaugh, the judge will certainly vote to protect Trump from impeachment.
Moreover, increasingly more women are coming forward to say that they too were sexually assaulted or raped. In addition, in Georgia, Texas, and other states, Republican officials are doing all they can to stop minorities from voting in the November midterm elections. In Georgia, Brian Kemp, Secretary of State, oversees elections, but he has not resigned while running for governor! That is like being simultaneously an umpire and one of the teams in a sports competition. Furthermore, Kemp is currently holding 53,000 voter applications, 70 percent of which are from minorities. He is refusing to process them. The applications are sitting in a drawer!
Furthermore, President Trump has always defended Southern generals who fought against the Union. In addition, the President refuses to criticize the alt-right while he demonizes women’s groups, the MeToo movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, the news media, the FBI, other federal agencies, and all progressive groups. His personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is on tape saying, “Truth isn’t truth!” In other words, the cult of Trump is destroying rationality and manners. Instead, they are pushing authoritarianism. President Trump sounds like he doesn’t know the principle on logical consistency in his view of the world. On a daily basis, he contradicts something he said before. He acts like politics is like the reality-television shows he used to be on, before becoming President.
In this context of serious danger, I don’t understand how a tenured professor in her fifties or sixties can be so flippant about the struggles of women and minorities. She sounds like an apologist for President Trump and conservative white men. In fact, the main reason why Judge Kavanaugh reached the Supreme Court was because the Senate is controlled by a bunch of old white men in their eighties: Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, Orin Hatch, and others. Their animosity toward progressives’ calls for a thorough FBI investigation was so harsh that the majority of the American public believes that the FBI investigation was not thorough and that Judge Kavanaugh doesn’t deserve to be on the Supreme Court.
In the final analysis, Professor Rachel Fulton Brown is a case study of how historians and other academics should not even try to engage the public. During one of the most divisive periods in American history, Brown shows a cluelessness of shocking proportions. First, she ignores the centuries’ worth of struggle that embarrassed white men in positions of power so much that it forced them to concede to feminism and civil rights. In fact, President Kennedy had to send federal troops to force Southern states to abandon segregation. Surely, Professor Brown knows all these serious facts, the lynching’s, and the sexual assaults that still continue today. However, she chooses to overlook them.
Why is that? Even if we accept Brown’s claim of performance art and Yiannopoulos’ claim of playful responses, the inappropriateness of such art and such responses is mind-blowing. Only clueless, tone-deaf, and flippant individuals approach serious topics with such bad humor. Across the country, white people shoot up schools, churches, and other public places, but the police take them in alive! In sharp contrast, minorities are killed while they are in their backyard, because a white person called the police and reported suspicious activity. Black people are sent to jail for years after being arrested with some crack on them whereas white rich people with bags of cocaine are slapped on the wrist. Crack and cocaine are the same thing, so the difference in sentencing must be due to institutionalized racism.
Rachel Fulton Brown’s attitude baffles me. Tenured professors are supposed to have some wisdom, especially if they are in their fifties or sixties. She shows no such wisdom. Her media profiles are defenses of her “performance art”. Using Yiannopoulos to defend herself proves where she belongs: the far right. She may be thinking of running for office.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Works Cited
Brown, Rachel Fulton. “Talking Points: Three Cheers for White Men.” Blog post. June 05, 2015.
Kim, Dorothy Kim. “Antifeminism, Whiteness, and Medieval Studies.” January 18, 2016.
Yiannopoulos, Milo. “Middle Rages: Why the Battle for Medieval Studies Matters to America.”

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Why The Battle For Medieval Studies Matters To America

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0


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