Milk: A Symbol of Neo-Nazi Hate

When administrators at UW-Stevens Point announced plans to eliminate 13 majors, critics decried the plan as evidence of a waning commitment to liberal arts and an effort to lay off faculty under new rules regarding tenure. The university said the move was driven by declining enrollment and a multi-million dollar deficit, and said programs would be added that would provide clear career pathways. English, philosophy, history, sociology and Spanish were among the programs being cut.

Valarie Strauss, writing in the Washington Post, blamed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for UWSP’s proposed cuts:

The plan to cut the liberal arts and humanities majors (see full list below) is in line with a failed attempt by Republican Gov. Scott Walker in 2015 to secretly change the mission of the respected university system — known as the Wisconsin Idea and embedded in the state code  — by removing words that commanded the university to “search for truth” and “improve the human condition” and replacing them with “meet the state’s workforce needs.”

The push away from liberal arts and toward workplace skills is championed by conservatives who see many four-year colleges and universities as politically correct institutions that graduate too many students without practical job skills — but with liberal political views.

Strauss implies that universities as politically correct institutions offering students majors that leave them unemployable is a conservative perception and not reality. A final exam in a UWSP sociology class, one of the majors targeted for elimination, illustrates that perception indeed matches reality. Amelia Heup, Chair of the UWSP College Republicans and a contributor to Media Trackers, was a student this semester in the “Sociological Theory” class. Students had to choose three out of of eight take home essay questions for the classes final exam. Heup shared with us one of her other choices:

  1. Read the article “Milk” linked on D2L. How could symbolic interactionism be used to explain what you are seeing? To fully answer this question, you must explain symbolic interactionism and include a discussion of the three main principles

In fact, the article’s full title is: “Milk, a Symbol of Neo-Nazi Hate.” Author Andrea Freeman argues that “The U.S.-based white supremacist movement that calls itself the “alt-right” has recently embraced milk as a symbol.”

I am a critical race scholar and law professor at the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law. In my law review article, The Unbearable Whiteness of Milk, I discuss the association between milk and white superiority.

It’s not a new relationship. Instead, it dates back approximately 100 years. In the 1920s, a pamphlet from the U.S. National Dairy Council explained: “The people who have used liberal amounts of milk and its products … ” — meaning white people — “… are progressive in science and every activity of the human intellect.”

Later on, we get to what may be Freeman’s true agenda:

However, lactose-intolerance is not the worst of milk’s harms. Research links milk consumption to a host of serious health problems, including cancer and heart disease. There are significant [racial disparities in these milk-related illnesses, with groups including [African-Americans, Latinos], Native Americans and Native Hawaiians suffering the worst effects.

It is unknown whether the course instructor, Helena Alden, captured the irony of such an assignment choice in America’s Dairyland. Heup was unsparing in her answer:

Milk as a symbol of white supremacy is not only a stretch but a radical approach to the symbolism… To assume that the majority adopts this ridiculous train of thought is an insult not only to the majority of white people who do not adhere to the extremist, white supremacist ideas, but also to the minority and poor communities because the assumption is that they are too ignorant to understand the effects of milk in terms of racism. This radical point of view on milk provides legitimacy to the small, minute group of white supremacists who use this as a symbol. The symbolic interaction between milk and white supremacy can be seen as real in terms of this article, using the platform of liberal academia.

According to Strauss in the Post:

The proposal to discontinue programs must be reviewed by a campus governance committee, then the chancellor and UW System Board of Regents. Because possible program elimination may result in the layoff of some tenured faculty members, a new UW Board of Regents policy will be followed. This process is expected to begin in August. If a reduction in tenured faculty positions is recommended, cuts would occur no sooner than June 2020.

Walker and Republican lawmakers have pointed to high paying, skilled labor jobs going unfilled in Wisconsin because of a lack of training, and to the students racking up tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt on degrees that leave them unemployable. Perhaps this essay question and Heup’s response to it will make its way into the debate over eliminating sociology and the other programs at UWSP.

Here are all the question choices:

By the end of the exam, you must have completed 3 questions.

Each answer must be typed, double-spaced and in a reasonable font. I expect each answer to be APPROXIMATELY 2 type written pages (for a total of 6 pages).

 

Symbolic Interactionism

 

  1. Read the articles “Confederate flag bearers meet bearers meet protestors” and “Orange County talks about flag rules” linked on D2L. How could symbolic interactionism be used to explain what you are seeing? To fully answer this question, you must explain symbolic interactionism and include a discussion of the three main principles.

 

  1. Read the article “Milk” linked on D2L. How could symbolic interactionism be used to explain what you are seeing? To fully answer this question, you must explain symbolic interactionism and include a discussion of the three main principles

 

Feminism /sexualities

 

  1. Read the articles “The inconvenience of being a woman veteran” and “Missing in action” linked on D2L. How would Dorothy Smith explain what you are reading? Include ruling texts, discourse of femininity, relations of ruling, woman’s standpoint.

 

  1. Read the articles “High school dress codes 1” and “High school dress codes 2” linked on D2L. How would Dorothy Smith explain what you are reading? Include ruling texts, discourse of femininity, relations of ruling, woman’s standpoint.

 

  1. Using Foucault’s concepts of discipline (of body and sexuality) and discourse (primarily of sexuality), analyze the articles titled, “A Quest for Six-Packs, Inspired by Bollywood” and “Gay on TV: It’s All in the Family.” Be as specific as possible.

 

  1. Read the article “Portrayals of black women” and the material from the link “Angry black women make real women angry.” How would Patricia Hill Collins explain this? Specifically, what are the controlling images of black women and how are they used to maintain oppression? Ensure you draw examples from the readings.

 

Race

 

  1. Read the articles linked on D2L called “Being black is bad for your health” and “The challenge of educational inequality” How could the work of WEB DuBois be used to explain what you are seeing here? To answer this question, you must explain the key concepts developed– both in terms of oppression and knowledge. Draw on examples where possible. What is the most important area that racism is revealed and should be addressed? Again, provide examples where possible.

 

  1. Read the articles “Political Racism in the Age of Obama” and “The Price of a Black President.” How does the work of Cornel West explain the arguments developed here? Be as detailed and specific as you can.

Here are all corresponding links students were to use for the questions:

https://theconversation.com/milk-a-symbol-of-neo-nazi-hate-83292

http://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2018/04/confederate_flag-wavers_met_wi.html

http://www.heraldsun.com/news/local/counties/orange-county/article210175999.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/11/the-inconvenience-of-being-a-woman-veteran/545987/

https://www.vox.com/first-person/2018/4/26/17284930/high-school-dress-codes-lizzy-martinez-bracott

http://nprillinois.org/post/feedback-noble-charter-schools-story-hit-nerve#stream/0

http://adage.com/article/media/angry-black-woman-makes-real-women-angry/310633/

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/policy-dose/articles/2016-04-14/theres-a-huge-health-equity-gap-between-whites-and-minorities