This week the most popular discussions on Salon ran the gamut from PETA's questionable ethics to the GOP on food stamps.
On Monday we published a story on three white classmates at Minneapolis Community and Technical College who filed a complaint again professor Shannon Gibney after a lesson on structural racism. The male students' complaints were based on the notion that learning about racism made villains out of white males, thus making them uncomfortable in the classroom and causing a "hostile learning environment."
Though the overall story brought up a number of hot-button topics, many of you instigated the debate of institutional respect and educational hierarchy in the classroom.
"I think the most relevant issue here is that the students repeatedly interrupted a lecture. There is time in college classes for debate and discussion, but not when the professor is lecturing. That just shows bad manners and an extremely selfish world view, as they thought nothing of disrupting the class and creating a hostile learning environment for the rest of the students." -- pinklife
"Good lord, what ever happened to basic common courtesy in the classroom? You don't interrupt the professor and challenge him or her in an insulting manner (and I strongly suspect this doesn't happen too often to white male professors). I would also bet dollars to donuts the students are grotesquely oversimplifying the points the professor has made, and turned it into a whiny claim of victimization based on their resentment of hearing their privileges challenged." -- agrippina minor
Do you feel that Shannon Gibney would have received different treatment if her same lesson has been conducted by a white male professor?
University of California at Berkeley economist Hilary Hoynes published a paper last year that gave evidence to the argument that the use of food stamps for women, during pregnancy and early childhood stages, can lead to self-sufficient lifestyles later on in life. Previously, House Republicans had threatened major cuts to The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- SNAP -- formerly known as the food stamp program, because of correlation to the weakened job market and the core belief that while SNAP registration climbed, eventual self-sufficiency seemed like a pipe dream.
"Cutting SNAP, social security, medicare or medicaid isn't about removing governmental dependence, but increasing wealth for a select powerful few, breeding a desperate, more compliant underclass. Besides, reducing budgets and access of the for-mentioned programs is a mild, less aggressive instrument of social engineering by reducing numbers in the changing demographic. It is ridiculous & inhumane to believe reducing an individuals access to FOOD would do anything but cause unnecessary bodily harm, potentially shorten their life. I'm encouraged there is a scientific study that confirms what rational, moral people and that even the youngest among us all ready know, you must eat to live." -- Gems2share
And speaking of ethics, those of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, known better to all of us as PETA, came under fire yet again for their comments on the effectiveness of contraceptive Plan B on women over 165 lbs. PETA argued instead for a stunt called "Plan V," the basic premise of which suggests that women should adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle to lose weight in order to gain access to Plan B again instead of advocating for other birth control choices.
In a press release, the group claims that "vegans are 18 percent thinner than their meat-eating counterparts," and called for advocacy group Population Connection to lead the charge in encouraging this lifestyle change. While that simple premise may come from a place of furthering animal rights and women's health, many of you could not take the bottom line seriously for the stunty nature of PETA's tactics.
"PETA has noble goals, but absolutely horrible communication strategies. Stunts like this do not succeed invoking the take-away they presumably desire. Their spokespersons are shrill, zealots who invariably fall into the trap of human-animal equivalency, alienating a large portion of an audience that would probably be far more supportive if they stuck with the subject of pain and suffering. If they could just stick to the goals implied in their name, they would get a lot farther. How many of us want to admit being against ethical treatment of ...anything? Sadly, they have been like this for decades and it renders them little more than the butt of jokes. It is a shame a good cause has such an inept public face." -- Typesbad
Is PETA right to encourage lifestyle changes but wrong in their delivery, or should they back off from their involvement with the bodies of women, including racy public gimmicks utilizing young models as advertising?
Tell us your thoughts on the top stories of the week below.