Captain Tammie’s life in the Navy

One of the pilots behind the most impressive recent demonstration of airmanship in the airline world gives us an interesting window into the life of a U.S. Navy pilot in her book Nerves of Steel.

Some background from this blog:

Captain Tammie had a rural childhood with an intact two-parent home, but not much money. The situation was made more challenging by a sister’s cerebral palsy. The reward for doing well in 4th grade was a .22 rifle.

She started in the Navy in 1985, more than 10 years after the first Naval aviator identifying as “female” (Barbara Allen Rainey, killed in an apparent stall/spin accident in a primary trainer) but at a time when Navy officers identifying as “women” were an often-unwelcome rarity. On the theory that “tax dollars are free,” primary training is not done at 10 gallons/hour in a piston-engine plane, but in a jet-powered two-seat aerobatic Bonanza:

Training started quickly with a few weeks of ground school—navigation, aerodynamics, and meteorology. We would be flying the Beechcraft T-34C Turbo Mentor, so we studied the aircraft’s systems—hydraulics, fuel, electrical, and flight controls. All of this came before we ever set foot on the flight line. My primary instructor, called an on-wing, was Captain Coston, a Marine Corps C-130 Hercules pilot and a perfect gentleman. Never once did he show a hint of dismay that he’d been assigned “the Navy girl.” Initially he was one of few people in my flight who actually spoke to me. When the time came, Captain Coston took me out under the blazing Texas sun and introduced me to the T-34. Compared to the Cessna 172 I had flown for a few hours back in New Mexico, the T-34 was a hot rod, a tandem-seat turbo prop with 550 horsepower.

Step up to turbojet:

From Corpus Christi the Navy sent me to VT-26, an Intermediate Jet Training squadron at NAS Beeville, Texas (also called Chase Field), to learn how to fly the mighty T-2 Buckeye. The T-2 was never considered the sleekest jet in the military’s lineup. The plump-bodied Buckeye had straight wings with tip tanks and dual engines along the belly of the fuselage. Due to its shape, it was affectionately referred to as the Guppy. But the T-2 had its virtues, one of which was it was built like a tank, just perfect for taking the pounding of aircraft-carrier landings.

Breaking into the club could be challenging:

Things were going well until I was assigned to fly with Captain Cornejo, an exchange pilot from Venezuela. He had been a member of Venezuela’s flight demonstration team, so he lived and breathed formation flying. Unfortunately he didn’t even try to hide the fact that he considered it an insult to be assigned a female student. On our first flight together he came out to the plane while I was doing the preflight check. He was steaming. “Women don’t fly!” he said to me. “There’s a reason they don’t fly!”

To his credit, Captain Cornejo was open to a change of heart, and change he did. I had a great formation flight, which apparently impressed him. By the time we taxied in and shut the aircraft down, I had won him over. He even went to the scheduling office and requested to be my formation instructor for the duration of the program.

Not easy:

Our initial practice took place on a nice, stable runway painted to look like a carrier deck. Beside the runway was what we called the “meatball,” a light system that lets pilots know if they’re on the proper glide slope. Landing Signal Officers (LSOs) stood beside the runway and talked to us on the radio as we flew our approaches, just like they would on the aircraft carrier. We did Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) twice a day for a few weeks. We would take off, turn directly into the landing pattern, and do touch-and-goes until we were out of gas. We made hundreds of passes. In Primary Flight Training, Captain Coston had taught me the “heading, airspeed, altitude” scan. For carrier landings, pilots learned a more advanced three-point scan, which we would repeat from the moment we rolled into the groove to the moment our aircraft’s wheels hit the deck: meatball (glide slope), lineup (with the centerline on the runway), and angle of attack (another term for airspeed).

There was no carrier landing simulator for the T-2, so the first time a Buckeye pilot got a picture of what an aircraft carrier looked like was from behind, when flying out to land on it—solo. The joke was you couldn’t pay anyone enough to sit in the back seat the first time a pilot had to “go to the boat.” The real reason was the student needed to be 100 percent focused on the task at hand, not worrying about what an instructor in the back seat was thinking. For this qualification, the instructor was the LSO watching and talking to you over the radio from the flight deck.

After our flight lead took us out of the stack and maneuvered down toward the carrier, he led us into the break over the ship. When it was my turn, I would break hard left and pull my throttles to idle. I’d pull about five g’s to bleed off my speed from 350 knots down to about 130, roll out after 180 degrees of turn on downwind (heading in the opposite direction from the ship), and put my landing gear and flaps down. Then I’d put my hook down to make my first “trap,” or arrested landing on a carrier. The hook hung below the back of the aircraft and was designed to catch a cable wire and stop the jet. I came into the break at eight hundred feet above the water, held that through the break turn, then descended to six hundred feet on downwind until it was time to start the descending turn. If I did this right, I’d come out right on glide slope when I rolled out of the turn behind the boat. Each aircraft was spaced about one minute behind the aircraft ahead. This allowed the deck crew just enough time to disengage an aircraft from the arresting cable after a trap and to get the cable reset while the aircraft taxied out of the landing area. It was poetry in motion in one of the most dangerous work environments in the world. About halfway through my approach turn, I started to pick up the meatball out the left side of my canopy. It was slightly high and settling into the center as I came around the corner, which meant I was right on glide slope. As I rolled into the groove, the LSO said over the radio, “One twenty-six, call the ball.” “One twenty-six, Buckeye ball, six-point-two,” I said, indicating my call sign, aircraft type, and fuel state. Knowing the fuel state of every aircraft operating around the carrier was critical, particularly in a training environment. They never wanted an aircraft around the ship that didn’t have enough gas to get back to shore.

On that first attempt of mine, I had lined up properly and caught a wire. I had my first trap! As much as I wanted to savor the moment, there was no time for that. A yellow shirt (taxi director) gave me the signal to throttle back to idle and keep my feet off the brakes. I felt a tug backward as they retracted the arresting cable. The yellow shirt gave me the signal to raise my hook and start taxiing with a hard-right turn. The first order of business was to get across the line designating the edge of the landing area. One of my classmates was rolling into the groove right behind me, and I needed to be out of his way.

Also not easy going out:

Next up was my first catapult launch. To prep for this “cat shot,” I followed the taxi directions, which lined me up with one of the Lexington’s two catapults. When directed, I lowered the launch bar on the nose gear of my jet, and the catapult crew secured the plane into the catapult’s shuttle. They raised the blast deflector behind the plane as I confirmed my aircraft’s weight with the crew. I was directed to push my throttles up to full power—I could feel the jet squat as it went into tension. I gave the shooter (the officer in charge of operating the catapults) a sharp salute, signaling that I was ready to go. He looked down the catapult track one more time to ensure that it was safe to launch me, returned my salute, and pushed a button that sent me on an E-ticket ride. I accelerated from zero to about 150 miles an hour in two and a half seconds, and it felt like someone had kicked me in the backside.

The deck of an aircraft carrier sits about sixty feet above the water, and the cat shot sends a jet straight off the bow of the ship. We’d been warned not to climb out after the launch too quickly at that airspeed because, at that altitude, there would be no chance of recovery if a pilot raised the nose too fast and stalled. Besides, the instructors teased, “It makes you look like you’re afraid of the water.” The last thing I wanted was to look like a sissy, so I overcompensated a bit. After the cat shot I kept flying straight ahead about sixty feet off the surface . . . for a while. The feeling of being launched was so intense, I guess I was lost in the moment, enjoying the ride. My instructor took note of my low flight. Afterward he jokingly scribbled in my logbook: “Check for mackerel in the intakes.”

Tammie Jo gets assigned to teach “out of control flight” in the T-2 (what civilians would call “upset recovery”). She meets her future husband on the job, but it is a few decades too early for universal workplace sexual harassment litigation:

I sat down. “There’s a student pilot I met at church. We flew a cross-country together and are starting to spend some time together. I think he may ask me out. I like him but don’t want to do anything that would create a scandal of any kind.” Commander Grant stood, came around from behind his desk, and sat beside me. “Tammie Jo,” he said, “in order for there to be a scandal, someone of importance has to be involved.” He remained quiet long enough for the humor of his statement to sink in. “I’m the commanding officer, and I’m married. If I dated a student, that would be a scandal. Neither one of you is important enough to create a scandal. I suggest you not kiss him in the ready room. Tell whoever you want—or don’t tell anyone at all because your peers will give you grief. If you fly with him, I know you’re professional enough to grade him fairly.”

Women at the time were not allowed to fly in combat, but Tammie Jo eventually moves to a training outfit with A-7 Corsair jets. On a formation flight she experiences a primary flight display failure and has to transition to the backup “peanut” gyro for attitude (“artificial horizon”) information. In hindsight, the smartest thing to do would have been to exercise her pilot-in-command authority, break out of the formation, and ask ATC for vectors to a field that was VMC (clear weather). Instead, she expects her formation leader (a male douchebag, of course) to lead her down to near-minimums for an instrument approach. The guy ditches her and the results are a little ugly:

Black Socks hadn’t bothered to get me lined up with the runway on a final approach course, so Lemoore Approach was going to have

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Rent control is keeping rents high in San Francisco

A friend owns a three-unit building in San Francisco, occupying the top floor himself. The two tenants underneath have fled. One lost a job and the other kept the job, but decided to lose the California tax rates and mask/shutdown protocols. Both units are now vacant.

I asked how much rents have fallen and he responded with “30 percent.” Why not rent the units out at the current market rate? “If you ever rent to someone in San Francisco,” he replied, “you can never raise their rent more than about 2 percent per year after that. You’re locked it at whatever rate you start with. So I am waiting until the shutdown ends, hoping that market rents will come back closer to what they were when I bought the building.”

(Why not turn the vacant units into AirBnBs? San Francisco limits AirBnB to 90 days per year, requires them to be part of the owner’s residence, requires a variety of registrations and taxes, etc.)

If his experience is typical, there are a lot of landlords withholding supply and therefore the true market rents should actually be lower than what we’ve heard.

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San Francisco wrap-up

Photos from this week’s visit…

“With all of the trash along the side of the road [I-880], this really looks like a Third World country,” noted Senior Management. Not sure this boarded-up-against-the-riots post office changed her view:

Getting near the freeway entrances was an experience akin to being in a zombie movie, with hundreds of disfigured and derelict humans lining the sidewalks and wandering into the road.

The Ferry Building looks great:

Right across the street a needle disposal toilet represents the height of “civic pride”:

There was also a playground, equipped with elaborate rules and no children:

The science museum is still fun for kids. Family of four… $115. That’s the kind of “social justice” from a nonprofit org that a Silicon Valley millionaire can support!

Reading material at a shop near Union Square (populated during our morning walk by a screaming guy):

Sculpture highlighting the achievements of Eurocopter and mechanics:

And, of course, some helpful tips for urban life..

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The wild unmasked territory of South Dakota

South Dakota’s governor Kristi Noem is infamous for failing to #FollowScience and order her subjects to wear masks (though she might argue that she was merely following World Health Organization’s science from January-June 2020 (“don’t wear a mask”)). Her “government can’t protect you from a respiratory virus” attitude is shocking to those who have faith in technocratic “leadership.”

We stopped overnight in Rapid City in mid-November, en route to Bend, Oregon. Compared to Massachusetts or Oregon, it turns out that the observed mask rituals on the ground are not that different in practice. Oregon has huge signs, for example, ordering people to wear masks when on trails. Only about 30 percent of folks out walking obey the order. South Dakota has no order, but about 30 percent of folks choose to wear masks.

Just as residents of South Dakota are free to live unmasked, businesses in South Dakota are free to require masks. Our hotel, for example, required masks in the lobby. A lot of shops had “masks required” signs out front. In a bagel shop that had no signs regarding mask use, nearly all of the customers came in wearing masks and did not remove them until seated at a table.

Just as in Maskachusetts, folks would rather use their limited budget for human interaction on adults in restaurants rather than children in schools. The Rapid City schools, for example, are on a “hybrid” schedule currently. (Contrast to Ireland, where everything is closed except schools!)

A few snapshots. Note that our Maximum Macho president Jimmy Carter is parked right in front of a bridal boutique. (Downtown Rapid City has statues of all of the legitimate presidents (i.e., everyone except Donald Trump).)

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Queer Ecology at Muir Woods

From a November 17, 2020 visit to Muir Woods…

Nature is rarely as simple as A, B, or C, especially in the “Queer Woods.”

Preservation of these trees from the commercial saw is mostly due to Native Americans and people who identified as “women”:

“Indigenous” is another way to be queer, apparently. The Native Americans are lumped into this sign series ($100,000 fine and one year in Federal prison if a Native American were to take offense and remove one):

If you’re going to have sex, it is ideal to follow the examples set by the banana slug and some butterflies (“same sex behaviors”):

Some miscellaneous photos, including an explanation of how bad it is for salmon when a river is “straight”:

(What’s the situation at Muir Woods during coronapanic? Parking reservations are required. Hardly anyone was there on a rainy day. About 75 percent of the visitors wore masks when wandering around the empty trails, though wearing a mask was not required.)

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Our governors are following a 6-year-old’s plan?

Here’s a 6-year-old’s summer-to-fall transition plan from 2015:

The text:

Summer to fall
Close the beach
Close the summer fun!
Close the camp!
Close the sleepovercamp!
Close the picknick!
Close the pool!
Close the summer!
Open School!

It occurred to me that this is precisely the plan that U.S. state governors (except South Dakota’s) have been following… except for that last step.

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#Science proves that I was right (about the need for RFID chips in humans for COVID-19 surveillance)

From a physician friend, “Government’s 14-day quarantine policy is ‘fundamentally flawed’, groundbreaking report finds” (Telegraph):

The 14-day quarantine introduced by the [UK] Government is the least effective of all strategies to prevent the spread of Covid into the community, a groundbreaking study has found.

The research showed the longer the quarantine, the higher the rates of people not complying and so the greater the risk of an infected person spreading the virus into the community,

The calculations were based on modelling, confirmed by the Government’s own SAGE advisers, that as few as 28 per cent of asymptomatic individuals comply with quarantine, and just 71 per cent of those with symptoms. By contrast, Public Health England assumed a compliance rate of 100 per cent.

What would the right strategy be, according to #Science?

It found the most effective strategy for preventing further transmission of coronavirus was testing arrivals three days into quarantine and freeing them from it if the results were negative.

But this strategy is only optimum because of human noncompliance:

“But it also shows that the current 14-day quarantine policy is fundamentally flawed in ignoring human behaviour and compliance with the rules.

Thus, #Science actually proves that RFID chips in the necks of college students is the best strategy. If the healthy are quarantined, then we’re talking about a society in which civil liberties are less important than fighting the War on COVID-19. Why do things by half measures, then? Chip the citizens, residents, and visitors in the UK and #SaveLives!


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“It is better to report someone who’s innocent than to not report someone who’s guilty.”

My mole at Penn State was sentenced to attend a mandatory-for-all-students sexual assault training program. After being shown this video (try to guess the skin color and gender ID of the perpetrator of the assault!), the assembled students were reminded “It is better to report someone who’s innocent than to not report someone who’s guilty.”

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Life on campus during the plague

From a mole inside Penn State…

Email to students from a dean:

In response to reports of large gathering of students in off-campus apartment complexes in State College during this past weekend’s Penn State football game, the University announced joint planning, enforcement, and outreach measures designed to help prevent similar gatherings in the future. Large gatherings of mostly unmasked individuals not practicing social distancing are in violation of the State College Borough ordinance, which limits gatherings to no more than 10 people.

The State College Police Department is asking for help identifying 60 individuals who attended large-scale apartment parties last weekend. The individuals in question, compiled in this online document, allegedly attended parties at State College apartment complexes during Penn State football’s season opener against Indiana on Saturday, October 24. The document includes dozens of pictures that appear to have been taken from social media clips.

Anyone with information is encouraged to reach out to the department by phone (814-234-7150), by email, or through an anonymous tip line. Police ask that you note the location, case number, and image number when identifying an individual.

The dean proceeds to quote Emerson: “In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.” Coronavirus is part of “nature”, isn’t it? Are the 99.93 percent of us who have yet to be killed by COVID-19 experiencing “wild delight” in the presence of coronavirus?

How about the gangstas whom the police are hunting?

How are they supposed to behave? Some of the dorm rules:

Department of Fat, Drunk, and Stupid IS a great way to go through life…

We write to tell you that Penn State University and the Borough of State College share a deep and growing concern about activities and allegations centered around a rental property located at 329 East Prospect Avenue in State College. This rental property served as a chapter house for Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, which was suspended by the University in April 2017 for multiple alcohol, health, and safety violations. The fraternity’s national organization subsequently revoked the chapter’s charter, and Sigma Alpha Mu no longer operates as a recognized student organization at Penn State.

Despite the fraternity’s suspension, the privately-owned house at 329 East Prospect continues to serve as a rental residence, and men living there represent themselves as a fraternity. Yet from April 2017 until this semester, residents in this facility have been accused of or found responsible for various additional violations, including hazing and sexual misconduct. In the weeks since the current semester began at Penn State, residents of this property have repeatedly hosted large gatherings in violation of the Borough’s Covid-19 ordinance. The State College Police Department has visited this property at least ten times in that period for various offenses, taking enforcement action on numerous occasions. The Borough is considering additional legal action, and the University has already suspended two students living there.

It now has been alleged that residents of this property hosted another large gathering last Halloween weekend. An underaged female Penn State student who attended this gathering was found intoxicated and unconscious on a nearby sidewalk. Residents responsible for the gathering at 329 East Prospect are accused of placing her there in the early morning hours last Saturday. Fortunately, after transport to the Mount Nittany Medical Center, where she was treated for alcohol poisoning, the student fully recovered. Most recently, there has been an allegation of a sexual assault occurring at this property over the Halloween weekend.

Neither of us has ever issued a warning of this nature, which should indicate the seriousness of the behaviors allegedly occurring at this property. We share this information out of conviction that the best protection for public safety includes individual efforts to self-guard against such threats.

In short, residents at 329 East Prospect have demonstrated a pattern of behavior that is troubling and has not stopped despite the continuing efforts of local police and University authorities. For that reason, we strongly discourage any student from affiliating with the unrecognized group living in this facility, and we urge you not to attend activities there. Anyone who has additional insight about these concerns may notify either the State College Police Department at 814-234-7150 or the Penn State Office of Student Conduct at 814-863-0342.


Damon Sims
Vice President for Student Affairs
The Pennsylvania State University

Thomas Fountaine
Borough Manager
State College Borough

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Diversity and Inclusion Training for MIT Students

One of my MIT undergraduate moles shared with me a September email from the Administration:

We are writing to you regarding the important topics of sexual assault prevention and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Two Required Trainings: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Sexual Assault Prevention Ongoing: Healthy Relationships (see instructions below)

The trainings will be available starting October 1, 2020 and must be completed by November 2, 2020. Instructions to access the courses are below. You will have a registration hold placed on your account and will be unable to register for IAP and/or Spring 2021 classes if you do not complete both trainings by the November 2 deadline.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion starts with a survey that contains unanswerable questions:

How is Student X supposed to know what Students Y and Z are trying to do in forming friendships? (especially given that everyone is dispersed and interacting only via Zoom) The student is also supposed to know what 1,000+ classmates value:

The survey is at least 40 gender IDs short of a complete list:

Department of Flexible User Interface:

The local Federal appeals court got it wrong!

“ageism” is not an “oppression”:

A confusing one:

(If Cian is a student at an engineering university, why do his friends expect him to be sexually active?)

Any time is a good time for a gender transition? No!

Whoever designed this survey does not seem very familiar with the American public housing, Medicaid, SNAP, and Obamaphone programs!


After the baseline quiz, it is time for the welcome video, which features seven students, none of them apparently identifying as “white male,” and with no apparent age diversity.

The next video introduces José, a double-victim: Afro-Latino. He says that both of his parents are doctors and that’s why he’s pre-med: “it’s in my DNA”. Is the learner supposed to consider the possibility that academic ability, conscientiousness, and other aspects of intelligence and personality are also in students’ DNA?

“Living our Intersectionality” features the following folks:

  • “I identify foremost as a very, like, spiritual queer person of color.” (a microaggressive person would say that this person appears to be an Asian female)
  • “I identify as ABC: African Black Caribbean. Female. I also have ties with the indigenous.” (She’s big enough that a chandler would likely recommend that any “ties” be at least 1/2″ in diameter, double braid, and secured with a cleat hitch.)

(nobody identifies at the intersection of “white” and “male”!)

Next slide:

“Many of our social justice problems like racism and sexism are often overlapping, creating multiple levels of social injustice.” … We can’t just look at a person’s race or gender (or any of their individual identities) as separate categories. It’s the intersections that truly shape a person’s experience and influence both their opportunities and their challenges. This concept is especially helpful when thinking about issues of fairness and how people are treated in the world.

Let’s hope that President Harris deports anyone who answers “I agree”!

Another remake of Sybil is around the corner:

Heading out to exercise can be just as dangerous as sitting next to the fridge in governor-ordered shutdown for 8 months:

For example, student athletes who identify as women may face conflicts between their identities as women, athletes, and students. They may face pressures to be more aggressive and practice-focused, based on their athletic identity, more feminine and nurturing, related to gender expectations, and more studious and intellectual, based on their student identity.

Student POV: A student who identifies as black says that being black is “incredibly challenging” and “I am constantly in fear for my life”.

We find José again being victimized by his white roommates and their friends. The LGBTQIA+ guy with a stereotypical lisp is fine, but the white girl pressures Jose to go to the BLM rally. The white guy says he expected Jose to look different (i.e., more Latinx and less Black) and that “No offense, but it seems that All Lives Matter would be a better way to bring people together. You’re saying that your [Latinx] dad’s family matters less than your [Nigerian] mom’s?”

What to do about the near-Deplorable?

You can’t proceed until you select the last one.

White people, even those who appear to identify as “women”, make a lot of stupid assumptions:

All Look Same rears its ugly head:

Math is hard:

Will this section be about charging $53,000+ for a few months of streaming video?

“Sometimes equality isn’t actually fair.”

Perceptions can be misleading…

Even the lowliest worm may have power:

Even if you think you personally don’t have power, you may still be participating in structural systems of power where you receive advantages or are considered the norm, while others are disadvantaged or considered outside the norm.

White males reappear in order to define privilege:

(Looks as though he is loving the phone that was developed for him by white and Asian engineers, but white male privilege won’t entitle him to a mobile data signal if he’s in the Boston suburbs!)

Did 9 out of 100 students go into the “wrong” bathroom by mistake or because it was actually the “right” bathroom?

But maybe the ASPCA should be called when a dog is forced to walk on three paws (the fourth being held by the human companion):

Not everyone is unhappy about our new all-virtual world:

There will be a lot of worries when students come out of Shutdown Joe’s multi-year shutdown, having raided the fridge every 15 minutes and never having exercised!

If God exists and is powerful and benevolent, why is it ever unsafe to pray?

Everyone can breathe easier starting January 20, 2021:

Who is oppressed? Someone who has made the mistake of not identifying as a white male…

If you’re morbidly obese and have sex with a different partner every night, you’re at risk of becoming a victim of “internalized oppression”:

One example from the Isms, Phobias, and Microaggressions section:

(Would it be okay to respond “Engagement? Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to pay back your student loans by having sex with your already-married dermatologist?”)

Some definitions on the topic that has consistently enriched this blog:

Transphobia is prejudice against transsexual or transgender people. Transantagonism includes hostility, aggression and violence towards trans people. Bathroom harassment is a form of discrimination that is experienced by many trans people, gender nonconforming people, and cisgender people who don’t fit stereotypical ideas related to their gender presentation.

There is no “I” in “Team” and there is no “I” (or “T”) in “LGBTQIA+”:

Know that LGBQA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and asexual (plus many other associated identities).

Understand that asexuality is a sexual orientation. Asexual people generally do not feel a sexual attraction to others, though they may feel romantic attractions.

Be sensitive when talking with people about coming out stories. Remember that for some people these are traumatic experiences.

Language can create exclusion. Using identity-related words like “gay” to indicate that something is negative reinforces stereotypes.

If you have religious, political, or cultural objections to certain sexual orientations, remember that our community values include treating everyone with dignity and respect.

If a virtuous immigrant student follows a religion that condemns particular sexual acts, how can the community be said to be respecting this religion and the virtuous immigrant by covering hallways with posters celebrating those particular sexual acts?

The longest video is “How do you think about anti-blackness?” Maybe the problem wouldn’t exist if white people kept to themselves?

There is great diversity of experience among people of color. The term BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) is used to highlight some of these differences in history and experience. Respect spaces that are reserved for BIPOC people to discuss issues privately and safely.

At a minimum, white people should refrain from observing Halloween:

Usually marked by a sense of disrespect or superficiality, classic examples of appropriation include wearing the traditional clothing of a racially marginalized group as a Halloween costume, or using a group’s symbols of religious or spiritual significance as decorative accessories. Inclusive spaces reject cultural appropriation.

José returns to be victimized for 1:04 by a white professor who says, on the first day of class, “we don’t get many people like you in pre-med” (certainly a true statement at MIT, since there is no pre-med major!).

Now it is time for Communications and the Stupid White Man reappears to offer an opinion regarding Navajo jewelry:

The software won’t allow the learner to proceed until this answer is corrected. (American universities own vast amounts of land, all of it stolen from Native Americans. If they care about Native Americans, why not pay rent on the stolen land?)

The software reminds students at private universities that they don’t have a right to free speech:

Speech has a special role in higher education and in the United States. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects a person’s freedom of speech and expression from government interference (so it typically applies only to state institutions, though some states create additional legal protections that apply to private institutions).

Most colleges and universities consider freedom of speech and expression to be a critical part of the pursuit of higher education, and are also committed to creating a learning community where students from all backgrounds feel welcome and can concentrate on their studies without facing hostility and discrimination.

This is followed with a bunch of links explaining the difference between “free speech” and “hate speech”.

The next screen has some great drawings:

White men do bad things even before the party starts:

The learner cannot proceed without calling off the “Salsa and Sombreros” party (were Goya-brand products going to be served?). Correct answer:

By thanking Luca for calling out his behavior and dedicating himself to learning more about cultural appropriation, Tanner is respecting Luca’s perspective and behaving as an ally. Everybody makes mistakes — part of being an ally means being open to acknowledging when you’re wrong, and taking the necessary steps to continually check your privilege and your behavior in the future, even when it’s uncomfortable.

(see this 1993 story about a fraternity at University of California that scheduled a “South of the Border” party)

There is a video tutorial on how to apologize after using the wrong pronouns. This is followed up with some text:

Be sensitive to the situation and any histories of inequality. A great apology focuses on the harm that was done and not on the person who is apologizing.

The key to apologizing well? Remember, it’s about acknowledging your actions, not focusing on the other person’s interpretation.

Here’s the 2-minute Self-Care video:

José returns to be abused during a pickup basketball game by a white man who claims to have been fouled: “maybe that’s okay where you come from.” Bad White Man calls José a “thug.”

José considers leaving school, but he is rescued by brave student services staff and other administrators. He decides to stay and says “I’m going to make a difference.” (Like the med students that I teach! None say that they want to go into lucrative specialties and treat patients who have money and/or private insurance. It is a mystery to me where plastic surgeons and dermatologists come from.)

There is a final exam, with pretty much the same questions as the pre-exam:


With 16 wrong answers out of 16, the undergraduate is qualified to join the Delta Tau Chi fraternity:

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