Thursday, January 19, 2017

University of Oklahoma action against Joe Mixon degrades women

In December of 2016 the Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered that the videotape of the attack on Oklahoma University gridiron player Joe Mixon by Amelia Molitor be released to the public no later than 26 December 2016. Although the attack occurred in 2014 the tape had been withheld from the public by the Norman Police Department until a lawsuit by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters resulted in its release.

Oklahoma University decided to suspend Mr. Mixon for his role in defending himself against the assault. In punctilious fashion Mr. Mixon made the expected and obligatory apology consistent with being a person of notoriety. However, there appeared to me to be a greater bias underlying the university's actions. Before I explain this I provide to you the text of a letter I sent to the university's board of regents following the release of the tape.

It is with great distress that in this current age we are again faced with psychological manipulation cultivated to maintain an entrenched gender hierarchy. This time coming from an academic institution which should be fertile ground for liberally expanding human knowledge and thought by supporting progressive ideals such as gender equity. But instead, you have chosen to support gender stereotypes which perpetuate an outdated masculine dominant model.

Your deliberate punitive action against Mr. Mixon, a male, who defended himself against an unprovoked physical assault and strangulation attempt by a female, is highly suspect as gender motivated. It presumes that women universally suffer from the psychological condition of uncontrollable hysteria which then mitigates their culpability in adverse actions. Had the attack been upon a female athlete who defended herself against a male your response would likely have been in sharp contrast to that which you took against the male athlete. In making that decision you have perpetuated a gender stereotype that insists that females are incapable of controlling their actions and cannot be held accountable. Observers are therefore subconsciously conditioned to believe that women should not rise to higher levels of authority in politics, business, and academia because the corresponding responsibility has been deferred.

Your deplorable action is an affront to the longstanding efforts by so many to bring about gender equity and is nothing more than an attempt to undermine those actions and stifle the progress that women are making toward gender equity. Shame on you!

As of the date of this post I have not received a response.

The action by the university against Mr. Mixon and similar outcomes in other incidents exposes a deeply rooted cultural bias. In law, and less formally in lay situations, punishments are generally implemented upon consideration of mitigating - those which excuse or provide justification - and aggravating - those which tend to make the offense more reprehensible - factors. A bright line mitigating factor in criminal cases is the age of the defendant. Juveniles are not to be held as responsible for their actions as adults whose brains have fully developed and presumably have more ability to inhibit impulsive responses and make rational decisions. Similarly, an aggravating circumstance may be that the victim was mentally incapacitated and unable to counter the coercive actions of the defendant such as in sexual assault cases.

In typical assault cases such as an argument escalating into a physical attack the person who threw the first punch is considered the attacker and the target of that blow is excused for his or her subsequent response regardless of who is the ultimate victor. This considers the participants to be on a level playing field - of equal mental competence. If the first to throw a punch was a child who was developmentally disabled and the target was a middle aged body builder who beat the child to a pulp then that adult would rightfully be charged with a crime and the age and mental capacity of the child would mitigate the child's responsibility and aggravate the adult's response.

It is unlikely that you have studied the cause of death in murders, or attempts, and victim responses as I have done. Nevertheless, you can likely intuit that in attempting to kill another human the most dangerous method for the assailant is strangulation. This is not only due to proximity but also because the restriction of the airway produces a visceral response to that immediate threat to life. The intended victim, at that moment, receives a burst of the neurotransmitter/hormone epinephrine which is said to produce “superhuman strength” although there is a clear scientific reason which I won't explain here.

Thus, Mr. Mixon, when he struck back in defense of what his regulating physiological self - the subconscious - perceived as an immediate threat to life, was operating on auto-pilot. Yet, the university which was fully aware of this circumstance took punitive action against Mr. Mixon. It's the equivalent of you driving into an intersection and slamming into the side of vehicle whose driver failed to yield and you being held responsible for “hitting” the other car. In such a case it must be presumed that you had greater mental acuity and control which the other driver lacked. Applied to the assault on Mr. Mixon the university has declared that he possessed greater ability to suppress biological responses and that Amelia Molitor's actions are mitigated because she lacks the necessary mental capacity to control her emotional urges.

In short the University of Oklahoma has implicitly declared that men have greater mental faculties than women who are hysterical beings that can't control their actions. That is an affront to all the women who have demonstrated superb judgment and leadership in positions of politics, business, and - yes - academia.

At this point I have only made a reasoned conclusion that the university holds a bias against women in this regard by making logical connections between the circumstances of the event, axioms of law, and their response. The University's bias was made clear in a press statement issued after the video was made publicly available. I found it after seeing the video and concluding that the university's decision was likely motivated by bias.

The release states that, “[u]niversity officials were made aware of the content of the video prior to taking action with respect to Joe Mixon. [. . . ] It was made clear to Mr. Mixon at the time of his suspension that violence against women will not go unpunished at the university.” [emphasis added]

When a descriptive modifier is included in a statement as this it operates to the exclusions of others. That is, the affirmative is balanced by its negative or inverse. This can be demonstrated mathematically. The group of people (women + men + children) represented in the last sentence of the quote [It was made clear to Mr. Mixon at the time of his suspension that violence against women will not go unpunished at the university.] can be represented as follows:
1] (women + men + children) - (men + children) = those against whom violence will not(-) be tolerated [women]
To get the inverse the value of the equation is first reversed and becomes:
2] (women + men + children) + (men + children) = those against whom violence will(+) be tolerated [-(women)]
It is then divided by -(women + men + children) which results in;
3] men + children = those against whom violence will be tolerated [men + children]

This can be applied to any exclusive group. If one says “Black lives matter” one is also saying “The lives of non-blacks do not matter.” Whether it is gender, race, cult membership, education level, career or food preference exclusion operates to negate the expressed quality. The action by the University of Oklahoma in choosing to use “against women” instead of the all encompassing “against others including women” was deliberate. It serves to imply that one is not allowed to defend against an attack by a woman because women are incapable of controlling themselves. More insidious though is that apparently the University of Oklahoma condones violence against men and children.

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