Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Robert Birgenau Links Tucson Shootings to Dream Act Failure

UC-Berkeley chancellor Robert J. Birgenau linked the fatal shootings in Tucson with the failure of Congress to pass the Dream Act, which would legalize that status of certain illegal aliens.

“I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons,” wrote Birgenau. “This same mean-spirited xenophobia played a major role in the defeat of the Dream Act by our legislators in Washington, leaving many exceptionally talented and deserving young people, including our own undocumented students, painfully in limbo with regard to their futures in this country.”

He also mentioned,
“climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated.”

The push to reign in violent rhetoric from pundits and politicians has reached a feverish temperature. However, is there a direct link between the two (rhetoric and violence?)

I think any right minded academic would easily acknowledge the fact words incite hatred and hatred leads to violence (didn't MLK jr Day just pass?)

However, to make the direct link between Tucson and the Dream Act? That's a tougher sell.

Let's use the momentum from the tragedy to improve our discourse. Pointing fingers to specific bills won't help.

The NAS had this to say about Birgenau:

The California Association of Scholars finds this statement improper and incompetent. It demeans the office which Birgeneau holds and the institution which he serves.

...Birgeneau is more concerned with political advocacy than with educational policy.

Reasonable people don't suggest those who disagree with him are xenophobes.

The only problem is, reasonable people require other reasonable opponents in order to have a functioning debate.

In our political climate reason is quickly being consumed by raw emotions....

Was Birgeneau right in his statement? Your thoughts?

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