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Daily Archive for Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Open WIFI on Elm Street – Greensboro

feel existense in your back
feel reverence for existence
breathe it in and out and in and out

how do i doubt myself. let me count the ways. i doubt myself when i lose a key. reach into a pocket expecting to find it there but don’t, search in all my pockets one after the next in terrored puzzelment that i have lost my grip on reality until i’ve searched them all then return again to the pocket in which i knew i left it and often find it there.

sanity. this connects to the doubt implicit in riddle of three hats. we infer our identity… therefore we doubt. yet in understanding this about my own reality i come ever closer to doubt overwhelming.

i am in green in Greensboro North Carolina at the pet-friendly Biltmore, across the street from Natty Green’s Brewhouse where Sebastian makes the beer and Simple Spreads where Leila makes the bread. Leila and Sebastian are daughter and son in law to me.

Fern and i now have roots in Greensboro. we would like create more connection. i met connections yesterday, met Bruce, met Mike, met Antoine, met Leary.

F.W.Woolworth in Greensboro is where the sit-ins began. there are two sides to Greensboro, white and black.

(written some months back)


Harvard law professor steps aside following racial flap

By THEO EMERY, Associated Press
BOSTON (April 22, 2002 11:52 p.m. EDT) – A Harvard Law School professor has agreed to temporarily stop teaching a class that has become the center of a controversy sparked by a racial slur that appeared on the Internet, a university official said Monday.

Professor Charles R. Nesson will continue to attend the class, but for the rest of the semester it will be taught by two colleagues, said Todd Rakoff, dean of the doctor of laws program.

The professor’s decision caps a tumultuous series of events sparked by the Internet posting, including a student walkout.

Notes from one of Nesson’s first-year tort law classes, posted last month by a student, contained the word “nig.” The word was in the student’s summary of a property case involving restrictive racial covenant.

Another student, Michelle Simpson, complained to the administration about the posting and on April 4 received an e-mail that read in part: “If you, as a race, want to prove that you do not deserve to be called by that word, work hard and you will be recognized.”

The e-mail was from one of Simpson’s classmates, who later apologized.

The e-mail sparked a classroom discussion during which Nesson offered to hold a mock trial and “represent” the classmate who made the comment.

The back-and-forth was then reprinted on an anonymous flier with a crudely drawn swastika on it. The flier was stuffed into about 80 student mailboxes.

The law school administration and university President Lawrence Summers have condemned the incidents. But protests have continued, including a walkout by about 400 students at the law school on April 15.

Nesson has agreed to step aside because he believed he “could do more for his students this way,” Rakoff said.

The professor declined to comment Monday.

Simpson said she hopes the administration will be more aggressive in preventing similar incidents. Rakoff said the school is setting up workshops on multiculturalism for professors, along with sessions for new students on negotiating “difficult conversations.”

Christmas morning, 2005. Got up and went for coffee, time to sit and think. Becca last night sat across from me at our kitchen table, Fern on my left, Wayne standing, back against the counter. She told me she thought i had gone crazy. Fern recalled how they tried to hold me back. I wish they would do a group blog with me. I guess I’m starting one. They want me to stop rushing, they, all the people who love me. I want a process to slow me down, generate my message in a structure that lets adjustments be made before it goes public. Public, meaning that it becomes fodder to feed tongues that wag and put down, ridicule, dismiss.

Reputation. It just occurred to me that I have left it out of my Evidence lecture line up. I wonder why. I could not remember Michelle Simpsons’s name, had to google to find it, and even then could not remember the name of grace, the story i have to tell. That was Becca’s challenge to me last night. She says i can’t do it, tell her story. I can’t do it because i am white and Grace is black, like different sides of the necker cube.

I take Alex Lee as my teacher. I’ve been reading her journal of her few days in Jamaica, totally admiring her remarkable ability just to let it flow. I’d love just to do the same here. Blog. Let it flow. She calls me poppa, gave me the name. I like it.

sitting in limbo – bless you kevin

just found this post in my unpublished draft, as far as i can tell it’s kevin in london with me at a conference some time back, just as it came off his fingertips first time.

As i sit here in London England as an international Blogers confrence i wonder what this really meas to jamaica. and as a result i have been haveing conversations with indivduals i have met oter the past few hours. the thing i am getting out of all this is that there is a great interest in jamaica however people really want to see Jamaica better represented on the internet. after having that conversation i started wondering to my self exactly what it is that the world is seeing of Jamaica on the web and the first thing that came to mind was “you are in tuned to the thinking man’s talk show, Perkings on line on power 106” and then when you tune in there is just this huge amoung of redoric and it is always the same . now i start to ask myself the question if that is what is up there and that is what the world is heartin and seening on a daily basis how can jamaicans get to where they want to do. so far we have done ok by having other peoople tell our story however i think it is time that we tell our own story. we need to find the positives and get them out there. with bloging through the Jamaica Express we are creating a different and unique kind of news paper, with pod casting we are creating radion

what if we could get agrop of Jamaicans who have the same ideas that we have, the idea of wanting to make a difference, by becoming the change they wish to see in the world thus creating the world that they would want to live in. so rether than haveing to listen to Perkings Online they could listen to something that made more sense. In the prison in Jamaica we have seen where the inmates have made a change, they have first change the way they view themselves then proceded to change the way they view they ones closest to them and now they are better equiped to make a meaningful contribution to Jamaica.

Jamaica’s story is being told, who is telling it and who do we want to tell it. there is also the thought that Jamaica’s story is worth something and that is the level of interest that others seem to have and nothing else, as a result we find ourself in a situation where people are taking from the land and planting nothing in return in some case they are destroying the earth so nothing else can be planted on it and as a result there is not much for the people to benifit from.. What would it mean if we put ourself in a position where we can recognize what is happening and some how position ourselves to better take advantage of the products that comes out of Jamaica without taking anything away from the people, sensoring or supressing the people.

sj will lead a working group at is2k7

a pixie of a man, guiding the steam of bits into xo and from there out to children in developing nations. what can we do to help? i visit him at one laptop per child. i sit in a room with a tree of xo’s strung along the ceiling like green and white flowers along a garden path. sj stands at a whiteboard describing a taxonomy of knowledge and a plan for rendering it in bits. open invitation to the derek bok center and to the charles hamilton institute for race and justice and to the pitf program– let us join together in this enterprise. here is the audio recording – sj’s workgroup is2k7.

i went last night to a free culture meeting at the offices of one laptop per child, olpc. dean jansen presented the democracy player. the democracy player is like tivo for the net. elizabeth stark led us in working on the wiki for how to make internet tv – how to be your own channel. i opened an xo, hit the button, started it up, just like a kid in a developing nation. i could find the camera. i could take a picture. i could make music. i could open a text environment and type. i could open a file and read. i could see the tree connecting xo’s in a mesh any link of which connecting to the net would connect them all to me. i am a teacher. i teach law. i teach evidence. i teach dispute resolution through civil discourse. i teach empathic argument. i teach programming from scratch. i teach poker. i teach teaching and thinking and feeling and doing and being a student of it all with reverence for life.

joho the blog

at berkman yesterday ran into david weinberger in the kitchen and happened to have my recorder still on. we talked about a range of subjects including the teaching of norms. he told me the story of kathy sierra and his being quoted in a story in the new york times about cyberbullying. i told him about a panel autoadmit/xoxohth.

we deny ourselves useful space because we cannot handle ourselves well enough in the space to preserve it. this is ethics of the net.

imagine yourself to be a young woman in a first-year harvard law school class. imagine that you have been named and pictured and ridiculed and projected as a sexual object on an open internet discussion board by multiple anonymous contributors. you know that the people who are doing this to you are among your classmates, and that all your classmates are aware of it, some sympathetic, some tittering, some who may themselves be your slanders offering you plastic smiles. you are embarrassed, mortified. your law school experience has become a torture. your present is ruined. your future is google stained. you will never get away.

get a thick skin is not an empathic response. instead it gives evidence of callousness in the person offering it. nor are crocodile tears.

i am a law teacher. both victim and victimizer are my students. i teach ethics. are we capable of governing ourselves. am i capable of doing my part to be a citizen of the net. am i able to teach to young users of the net the fragility of its open spaces. can i teach young boys respect who feel adolescent joy in would-be manly incivility?

ethics describes what guides you in the domain of behavior between what you know to be true and what can be proved against you, a domain in which you have no need to answer to anyone but yourself, a domain in which, for better or worse, you are free, a domain in which you express your true identity even if only you can see it and know it’s you. ethics is the bedrock of the essence of the privilege of the legal profession which our students have come to law school to learn and join.

i read the ugly autoadmit/xoxohth threads. i see locker room talk by adolescent boys seeking affirmation from others like them that they are male and strong. you are my students. i want to teach you that you are wrong. in being wrong you will spoil open internet anonymous discourse space and deny it to us all. yet i know that to talk down to you from a position of authority may well only drive you deeper into self-doubting wise-guy bravado. constraint imposed on your freedom to abuse will challenge you to get out from under the constraint to find and reform again in another unconstrained space in which you can be funny and laugh at the expense of others and leave yourselves the feeling of time well spent in a community of friends and peers, rebels all.

true ethics grounded in the sense of the individual about what is right is undermined when articulated by rule and enforced by sanction. true ethical behavior is not a calculated fear response.

we are challenged in cyberspace to guide our behavior with norms and code. within formed cyber communities rule and saction can be made to work. bad actors can be banned. but that will not stop, indeed it will stimulate the excluded bad actors to form again a freer space they think beyond the jurisdiction of the rule.

at the panel discussion i moderated addressing the issue of hurtful anonymous speech i called a suggestion by michael fertig, ceo of reputation defender inc., “stupid” that we solve the problem by adopting a rule against lawyers and law students behaving badly and have bar associations enforce it. stupid because it misunderstands the problem, converting it to one of authority, be it school or bar association or “law”, doing something, anything, even something stupid in response to the problem so as not to be faulted for not trying; stupid because it deflects from the real challenge of teaching and modeling genuine respect.

still, “stupid” is a harsh word for a moderator to speak to a panelist. i shouldn’t have used it. sorry michael. but then i’d been informed just moments before the panel bagan that fertig had objected to the guys who run autoadmit/xoxohth being on the panel, which had resulted in them being disinvited!. (michael contests this.) moderating an unbalanced panel was the problem i was talking with weinberger about at berkman. got that? so anyway, i had my recorder still running from an earlier session because i forgot i had the hold button on when i hit the stop button to turn the recorder off. the result is like a blog, just what happens to come out. who knows. maybe it’s a format. alas you cannot hear.