The Atlantic summarizes all the college troubles, demands, and demonstrations

November 21, 2015 • 12:00 pm

Reader Cate sent me a link that’s very useful if you are following the protests that are spreading all over the U.S. It’s a big and absorbing collection of Atlantic articles, posts, and readers’ notes appearing under the title, “Debating the campus protests at Yale, Mizzou, and elsewhere.

The behavior of demonstrators at Dartmouth (first bit in the collection), and the cowardice of the college administration, is particularly disturbing, regardless of the justice of their cause. The article in The Dartmouth (the college paper) has 494 comments, an astounding number for a student newspaper.

And a sympathetic group has posted, at another side, a comprehensive list of “demands” made by protestors at 53 colleges.

At the same time, I remember the lunch-counter sit-ins in the Sixties, in which young black people, many of them college students, performed equally in-your-face acts as a way to highlight racial injustice. Why do I admire their courage so much (many were beaten and hauled to jail) and yet feel queasy about the current campus protests by minority students? I’m not quite sure, except that the more recent protests seem to be more about personal offense, psychological “safety”, and the suppression of “offensive” speech  than the greater cause of racial discrimination. They seem too personal, too vindictive towards those who are actually on their side. At the same time, I am not able to put myself into the shoes of a minority student on an elite and largely white campus.

Nobody can claim that the U.S. is free of racism, and I suspect that at least some of those outraged by the Dartmouth demonstrators and their calls to “fuck your white privilege!”, and “fuck you, you filthy white fuckers!”, are not deeply concerned by racial injustice in the other direction. I, for one, am certainly thinking hard about my own reactions. But I still conclude that, were Martin Luther King Jr. alive today, he wouldn’t approve of these ways to address injustice.

96 thoughts on “The Atlantic summarizes all the college troubles, demands, and demonstrations

  1. The second worst thing about all this (after the insanity of demanding the right not to be offended) is that basically all of these demand either directly or indirectly include the expansion of university bureaucracy and administration.

    When if there is one thing that is worth protesting, it is the cost of college. But why is the cost so high? Two reasons — the better known is all the fancy dorms, buildings, fitness centers etc., .the less commented on one is the administrative bloat, which drives itself in a perpetual feed-forward loop, at the expense of the core educational missions of the university, and it has been doing that for quite a long time.

    So what do the students do? Instead of protesting the one thing that matters by targeting the root causes — luxurious amenities that they don’t really need if they were there to actually learn something, and administration that is eating the university from the inside — they ask for “safe spaces”, which means more buildings, and a new layer of administration to police potential offenses.

    One of those lists of demands included appointing “diversity officers” in each department. Well, each of those diversity officers would cost on the order of 6 figures a year when all the salary and benefits are accounted for, and if there are 20 departments on campus, you see where this is going…

    But I guess it’s too much to ask for rational reasoning from students in gender and race studies departments. Which brings me to the root cause of this — the science wars in the 90s were never won conclusively (as they should have been, i.e. resulting in the eradication of that cancer from campuses). Now this is the result…

    1. “But I guess it’s too much to ask for rational reasoning from students in gender and race studies departments.”

      And here we were thinking all along that the competitiveness of ivy league schools stems from their selecting on the basis of high I.Q. and superior academic achievement of which reasoning ability would seem to be an essential component. Apparently not so much…

    2. “…too much to ask for rational reasoning from students in gender and race studies departments.”

      It sounds to me like you’re saying “these people” (mostly, the black students) don’t really belong on an Ivy League campus. I think that attitude, which is racist, is precisely teh problem and the reason you’re seeing protests now.

      1. I don’t think so. Judging by the works produced by gender and race studies departments, I do not trust much the staff of such departments and the students choosing such careers, regardless of their pigmentation. On the other hand, there are surely many black and other minority students in other departments.

        1. Biology and History was white Race superiority and others inferiority studies for the longest time. And it went mostly unquestioned till recently. And the general call against Racial Studies is that it “isn’t up to academic standards” or something close to it. But what does that mean exactly? I have yet to see any listing or in at least some detail of one specific topic in Gender studies etc. that can be looked at beyond open ended dismissals.

          We are in the second wave backlash of white supremacy over others of different colors being elevated to their equal status. They really don’t like it.

  2. Just a quick thought: The counter sit-ins, etc., of the 60s were a call to end the denial of the basic right to be treated equally, to end discrimination based on skin color. What I think it did was to raise awareness, to call attention to unconscious racism as part of the status quo.

    This business of not “offending” individuals’ sensitivities seems to be something different. First, it’s harder to pin down. People are “sensitive” to many different things: sexism, religious beliefs are two of the most frequently encountered.

    But the most important difference is, I think, in the role critical thinking plays in the two situations. In the former, it is clear that there was (and still is) no good reason for discriminating on the basis of color or sexual orientation, or disability. Yet it was practiced.

    However, if in a classroom, the professor asks questions based in sound thinking, some of which might cause students to question their beliefs and prejudices, that should not be considered offensive or discriminatory. To argue otherwise would be to say that some beliefs are off limits to critical examination.

    If a student is not emotionally equipped to self-examine, perhaps counseling is in order.

    1. People are “sensitive” to many different things:

      … disagreement, the wrong perfume being used, having to think for themselves, not being give the answer …

      1. Humans are so complicated it is a wonder we have gone as far as we have.

        WE aren’t logical.
        We aren’t monolithic.
        We aren’t guileless.

        There will be those who want to use it for one thing or another for themselves. They need to be found and weeded out of it.

  3. I am too old for this debate or conversation, this I know. The idea that students or anyone could march through school property and buildings yelling slogans and totally trespassing on others trying to study. I just do not get it, regardless of the cause.

    And speaking of cause, how does demanding that other students in the general area march with you and your cause, what is that? Childish and obnoxious behavior is what most will see.

    As PCC mentioned, how do we take seriously some of these less than essential demands, such as more safe places and more diverse faculty. When I was 18 nearly every male leaving high school was facing the draft. We thought politics was in crisis. But it is all relative isn’t it.

    The generation before mine, called the greatest generation faced WWII. None were looking for safe rooms or more power. They signed up and they went off to war. Avoiding the draft or any other responsibilities was seldom discussed. Harvard University lost 453 dead in WWII, just 35 fewer than the total at West Point. So it is all relative.

  4. I find it ironic that these students are shouting slogans about privilege at the university where they paid copious amounts of money for the privilege of attending.

    To them I say “Fuck you and your fucking faux problems. Spend years working in the open hearth of a steel mill you fucks!”

    1. Exactly.

      And it’s worth noting that the most cringe-worthy moments came from private institutions with $50-60K a year in tuition + room and board and ~10% admission rates (Yale, CMC, etc). Which means that those students attend college there due to either one these reasons:

      1) Their parents can afford to pay that much
      2) They will get 100-200K of financial aid over the course of their four years of study

      You have exactly zero right to feel oppressed in either situation.

      1. You can be privileged in some respects and oppressed in others. Being rich or being the fortunate recipient of financial aid doesn’t make you immune to racism or sexism. I don’t care how well off someone is — if they are the victim of prejudice they have every right to complain or protest about it. (I’m not defending any particular complaint or protest, just the general principal.)

        1. The pint is, they are behaving as if they are living in North Korea and their Dear Leaders are their fellow students. Their perspective is immensely screwed and they desperately need it straightened out. Living a truly under privledged life where they weren’t given the opportunity to attend an elite higher education institution but instead had to take a low paying job might just wake them up.

          I’m not denying they’ve experienced racism, almost everyone had. Everyone deals with horrid people. What I take offence to is they seem to think their p friends are their enemies and they’ve suffered so much more than anyone else all the while living in such opulence.

    2. And in a restaurant, a lumber mill, a nursing home, on a farm, as a home health/hospital nurse’s aide, as a truck driver; in a navy ship’s engine spaces at 3 a.m. in rough seas.

  5. Another distinction between the Sixties lunch-counter sit-ins and the Dartmouth library occupation is that the students involved in the former, in the finest tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, were acting through the only means available to them to remedy their grievance. They were well-trained to maintain their dignity and decorum in the face of the ugly reactions they received, and their conduct had a clear, specific goal.

    The Dartmouth library demonstrators, by contrast, seem to have spontaneously spun-off from the primary, planned march across campus. They had no clear goal, other than to insist that everyone then inside the library acknowledge their assent to the demonstrators’ slogans. Some of the demonstrators aggressively got in the face of individual students studying in the library who failed to immediately manifest such assent.

    I’ve no doubt that MLK would have been four-square behind the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement (as am I). I’ve also no doubt, however, that he would have roundly disapproved of the Dartmouth library demonstration, as to both its methods and its lack of any meaningful objective. Dr. King well knew the crucial importance of having the demonstrations he led be conducted in a manner, and for a purpose, that would engender favorable public perception.

    1. They also seem out of proportion. The people they are intimidating and verbally assaulting are most likely on their side. They most likely haven’t personally committed atrocities against black people and I bet no one of them ever went up to a black person and called them a “dirty black bitch”. Why holler in the faces (which I consider violent to violate the space of someone else to verbally attack them)of those who probably support your movement? Why ostracize them from your movement and yell slurs at them?

      I once saw a woman in a “Take Back the Night” walk, yell at a guy I know as he was walking down the street, minding his own business, “You! You are the reason we are out here!” He was the type of guy who wasn’t exactly a feminist but he had potential to be reasoned with. That woman yelling at him had the exact opposite outcome – he became even more anti-feminist. It’s why I refused to march with them — I am a woman who supports what they stand for but I abhor their methods.

      1. Yeah I consider myself to be a trans ally but I am more skeptical now and less trusting after being told that I was “transphobic as fuck and not an ally” after I used the term “female” to refer to folks who can get pregnant.

        Apparently “female” used in such a way specifically denied MTF transwomen their gender because female as a sex should be associated with feelz and not, you know, reality.

        And I was told that I was not permitted to have hurt feelings because my words literally murdered transwomen. I am an oppressor, apparently.

        1. Yeah, I’ve encountered that, too. There’s this bizarre notion that completely escapes me that one can be a pregnant male, and not just in the sense of the seahorse — that you can be a genetically and physically typical adult XX human who got pregnant in the usual manner but still somehow be a male man. Or that you can similarly be in the intimate act of impregnating somebody and still be a female woman. Not masculine and feminine, mind you, but actually intrinsically male and female. Such perversions of the language serve nobody any good and, at best, can only cause confusion.

          I think the answer in all this is to drop all the -ist labels save for one: humanist. I won’t outright reject labels such as, “feminist,” and I still do and always will support such mainstays of the feminist movement as the ERA and equal pay for equal work. But…my support is for the humans suffering injustice, not for oppressed women (or whatever class).

          b&

          1. I think another factor here is the migrating definition of the word “literally,” which now apparently means “figuratively” or “metaphorically.” So you end up with people saying (sincerely) “your words literally murdered transwomen.”

            1. They mean murder as in hate speech.

              That the kind of folks who will beat up a minority will be reading a social justice website, and see that someone said ‘trans women are not actual biological women because they are born with penises and xy chromosomes’ and go murder a trans woman because such ‘hate speech’ convinced them that trans women aren’t real women for sure. Whereas, if we had just said ‘trans women are biological women for sure because they feel that way’ the murderous bigot would then not feel that xie had to murder.

          2. Just curious, but what do the folk who ascribe to this position want the rest of us to call those humans who can get pregnant? I’d be somewhat sympathetic to a reasonable label change, but if they’re demanding we not even have a reference for that group, then no that’s pretty much IMO ridiculous.

              1. This transwoman has written that bio sex is a social construct and that anyone who disagree doesn’t know science and is transmisogynist.

                Now there is someone setting up a trap waiting for others to fall in. Though I’d wade in and show them how preposterous their ideas are and disingenuous the set up.

              2. Modified “Hitchism”: “When I discovered that my “social construct” was not going to give me any peace, I decided to give it no rest.”

        2. I teach introductory biology, and in these lectures I go over aspects of basic biology where I constantly refer human females and males. I have not yet run into being ‘corrected’, but I am aware that feelings about this may be evolving.

      2. Well, stringent anti-feminism is the only justified position a rational person can adopt.

        Because feminism does not come just with the “equal treatment for all” agenda (and you do not need to be a feminist to endorse that).

        It also comes with “feminist theory”, with all its post-modernist absurdities, and often with the explicit rejection of the notion that there are biologically determined differences between the sexes. Which is as anti-scientific as it gets (and you don’t even need to know any science to understand that – as the old saying goes, feminism ends when the furniture has to be moved up a couple flights of stairs). Not only that but it’s in fact even worse than creationism, because creationism is first, outside of the university, while most universities have had whole gender studies departments for decades, and second, creationism most of the time does not dispense with the idea that objective truth exists (even if it gets it totally wrong when it comes to how to get to it) while post-modernism rejects that.

        In any case, the people who argue that the world is 6,000 years old are not considered intellectual celebrities, while those who argued that Newton’s Principia is a rape manual, that the theory of relativity is sexist, that tuberculosis only came into existence when the bacteria was described, and other idiotic claims of the sort, have been and still are.

        1. Pretty sure no feminist has ever denied that there are biological differences between the sexes — such as the difference between average physical strength and consequent abilities in the furniture moving department. There is an issue of whether and to what extent there are innate psychological differences between the sexes. I get that some feminists have denied that there are such differences, without empirical evidence to back their claim, but as far as I know the issue of innate psychological differences between the sexes is far from settled.

          Besides that, whatever turns out to be the case with regard to innate psychological differences, it’s pretty irrelevant to a whole lot of feminist issues.

          1. Pretty sure no feminist has ever denied that there are biological differences between the sexes

            I have seen it.

            I was pressing the issue on The Friendly Atheist one day and I asked if, as they say, sexual dimorphism is truly a social construct, should sports be segregated by gender.

            I was told by 3+ commenters that sports should no longer be separated by gender, and that men and women should compete by weight and height only. Another person chimed in that the Olympic committees etc should just go by merit alone, and end all sex segregation.

            I also broached the subject of ‘is species a social construct’ and two otherkin replied and told me that yes, it sure is, as they both felt a ‘vestigial tail and ears’ since they were little children.

          2. I have seen where some deny that there is any distinction between male or female in the mental or morphological sense. For example, since the clitoris has developmental homology to the penis, then they are the same thing. It is all social construct. I am not kidding.

            1. Hmm. How are they explaining away all the other parts of the female reproductive system that men don’t happen to have?

              I guess I was forgetting that there’ll almost always be someone out there to defend the freakiest of ideas, but I think the point stands that it’s not part of mainstream feminism to deny that there are innate physical differences between men and women.

              1. Re: “psychological” vs “physical” male/female differences.

                On what do those who concede physical differences between the “sexes” in for example average strength, base their conjecture that mind is different?

                It is well known that the effects of female hormones (i.e. ones produced mostly by ovaries), have different effects than male hormones (i.e. ones produced mainly by testicles) on brain development and on actual brain workings once developed.

                I think they fail to recognize that brains are as physical as muscles.

                But then again they aren’t usually biology majors either; so there’s that.

              2. Oh I know exactly what that clip is going to be. Life of Brian, in the coliseum, right? (But I’ll go and watch it anyway, it never gets stale).

                In those days, it was the church that got its knickers in a twist. These days, almost every disability / activist group in existence would be queueing up to register their offendedness.

                cr

                P.S. Watched it. It cracked me up again. 😀

          3. They absolutely have. In fact, it has happened so many times that it seems to me to be a core tenet of the religion — gender is a social construct. But that’s not restricted to feminism, it seems to be an element of the larger post-modernist movement that has been co-opted by feminists.

            See the example I mentioned above about tuberculosis (that’s a real case BTW, in the 90s when they found that an Egyptian mummy had died from tuberculosis Bruno Latour, who is not only a celebrity in those circles but considered a leading world expert on philosophy of science, wrote about how this was impossible because the tuberculosis bacteria was only socially constructed in the late 19th century so nobody 4000 years ago could have died from it).

            The hardcore feminist reasoning follows the same lines.

            1. “gender is a social construct”

              That’s a claim about the psychological and behavioural differences that are perceived to exist between the sexes. To claim that gender is a social construct is not to deny the very many obvious physical differences between men and women. You’re just erecting a very flimsy straw man argument against feminism.

              I’d really like to see evidence of any notable feminist making the absurd claim that sexual dimorphism isn’t a real thing.

              1. The notable feminists state that gender is a social construct and that bio sex is real.

                Third wave feminists state that everything is a social construct.

                More here:
                http://thefederalist.com/2014/08/27/radfems-versus-trans-a-different-breed-of-catfight/

                And here:
                http://aoifeschatology.com/2015/10/26/whos-afraid-of-germaine-greer/

                Germaine Greer is being accused of bigotry by third wave feminists precisely because she says that sexual dimorphism is real.

            2. “…wrote about how this was impossible because the tuberculosis bacteria was only socially constructed in the late 19th century so nobody 4000 years ago could have died from it”

              I suppose by similar reasoning nobody could have died from falling off a cliff 4000 years ago because gravity was only socially constructed in the 17th C!

          4. Of course, there is a glaring internal contradiction here — how come it is both true that rape is such a huge problem and that gender is a social construct?

            When the reason that rape is widespread in the human species is the biologically determined sexual dimorphism driven by sexual selection manifested in males being larger and stronger and thus able to coerce females into intercourse…

            1. I tried to explain to an SJW that humans are halfway between a tournament species and a pair bonding species re sex selection. That we are a bit like chimpanzees and a bit like bonobos.

              And that rape is simply a method of cheating – for the male to pass his genes along without having to expend resources. And cuckoldry is how females cheat. Pretty simple. And that this can even be seen on the genetic level, with genomic imprinting:

              https://edge.org/conversation/david_haig-genomic-imprinting

              Suffice to say, the SJW was skeptical. Xie just couldn’t see why there would be any biological imperative for males to cheat regarding reproduction. Because sex, with men, is always about power, and not actually ever about sex.

              There seems to be this fear that if we acknowledge that rape is a mating strategy, that it is ‘natural’, that this somehow legitimizes it. Which is absurd. Infanticide is also ‘natural’, as are many atrocities, as reactions and/or adaptations to certain environmental stressors, but that doesn’t make it *right*!! Like the RWNJS, a lot of SJWs are quick to somehow believe that what is natural is good, so anything we don’t like has to be unnatural! (heh, a Catholic idiot told me that cancer isn’t natural because it is unhealthy)

              1. Since male on male rape is apparently not uncommon it is clearly more than just a mating strategy. I agree, though that to acknowledge a biological explanation for rape (or other behaviours) does not legitimize it.

              2. Oh agreed. I hope that I did not give the impression that rape is used purely as a mating strategy. There is probably a sexual paraphilia element in many a case. But the SJW pretends that dominance is the *only* factor, and that coerced reproduction has nothing to do with it ever.

  6. I came across an SJW who argued that “fuck off and die”, when used today, by her and other SJWs, is the equivalent of what MLK did in the 1960s.

    She also claimed that violent, abusive rhetoric was the only way to bring about change, as nothing else works.

    Yep.

    1. That’s one thing I don’t understand. Things like clapping are considered “triggering”, you can’t use all sorts of perfectly normal words, because they are expressions of “ableist” discrimination, “microaggression” is a grave sin, etc, etc.. So all that is criminal behavior that has to be battled.

      But an SJW yelling “fuck off and die” is perfectly fine…

      Something does not look right in that picture.

      1. You’re ignoring the first rule in the SJW handbook: “It’s ok when we do it”. SJWism is probably the most hypocritical movement on history.

      1. This person is a fat activist and a trans activist.

        Also claims to be bipolar, so I guess it’s ok when she does it.

        She even went so far as to try to ruin someone’s life, because, well, this:

        http://mcclernan.blogspot.ca/2012/06/on-being-smeared-mad-gastronomer-and.html

        I googled her some more, and yes ‘fuck off and die’ is part of her fat activism, as is telling young people who have lost 100+lbs that they will never ever be able to keep it off and that they should just give up and get fat again. Like her.

        So far I have learned that when someone is toxic in one realm, they are toxic in another.

        I checked her Disqus history after she accused me of being a bigot, and that is where she was claiming to be just like MLK. I couldn’t believe it.

    2. The other thing I don’t understand is how it happened that someone like PZ Myers publicly desecrated the Quran then joined these people… Even more so given that he certainly must be aware of all the history of “science is a social construct, it has no real epistemic authority over anything” post-modernist BS associated with feminism — he was around when that war was being fought.

      Disclaimer — I don’t want to start another flame war over this, I am genuinely puzzled how the reasoning went in his head.

      1. My Harvard-trained cardiologist father once observed about Dick Cheney that heart trouble, especially cardiac events, can change your personality and make you pretty cranky.

        PZ had a major heart bypass operation a few years ago. I know correlation is not causation, so just putting that out there.

  7. This is one of the most poignant, heartfelt, and profound opinion regarding the college craziness I have every read.

    Thank you Jerry

  8. Maybe I’m getting old too. I remember very well the lunch counter sit-ins. I was a freshman in college in NC at the time and one of the upper-class men whom I liked a lot participated in some of them. That was back when prejudice was rampant and obvious. It seems to me that what they (whoever they are) are complaining about today are more subtle things. I realize such things can well have a huge negative influence on one’s life. But it is not obvious to me that shouting obscenities and attacking professors, some of whom are well-meaning if a tad out of touch, is the way to go about it.

    I guess I have not thought this out enough. Nor do I know what the protesters really want.

  9. They’re incoherent. Not to mention being a bunch of babies talking not actually about rights but about personal privilege.

    In other words, crazy clowns.

    But in our apparently current atmosphere of political correctness, we’re not supposed to call a spade a spade.

    What’s incredible is that university administration’s are actually paying serious attention to the demands of three year olds having tantrums.

  10. The thing that puzzles me every time I read these articles, is those calling for tolerance, consideration, acceptance, etc., then turn around and angrily cuss out anyone they think has violated their rules of tolerance.

    Hypocrisy?

  11. The Pew Research Center released data from a poll regarding freedom of speech, specifically whether or not the government should step in and limit speech offensive to minorities. 40% of US millenials believe such limits should be put in place. In my mind, the issue is two-fold: they want the government to legislate morality and they want restrictions in speech they don’t like.

    As an aside, there’s other interesting data on generational and cultural (US vs Europe) attitudes.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/20/40-of-millennials-ok-with-limiting-speech-offensive-to-minorities/

  12. An then there is this poll, that 40% of Millenials favor speech restrictions.

    The case at Dartmouth, though, is particularly shameful, with one administrator arguing that there were no complaints from students who were assaulted, so there must not have been any assault. I guess if intimidation works, it’s not intimidation.

  13. Using racial abuse to fight racial abuse seems irrational. This has to have a basis in fact otherwise it is just hot air and juvenile but if true, go ahead.
    I think this behaviour has an element of playing the victim in what I would consider a safe environ with loads of back up and it could be, some may have been abused, real or just perceived. I would not know. I do know that the real world is a tad harder and these students are at best, young of mind and at worst, idiots.
    The administration running these campuses seem to be lacking in their communication of spelling out how safe they actually are and what is waiting outside the gates.

    1. “The administration running these campuses seem to be lacking in their communication of spelling out how safe they actually are and what is waiting outside the gates.”

      What if any pearls of wisdom are the parents of these children offering their offspring?

  14. In the early ‘60s I was a college student in Los Angeles, and during the summer between sophomore years I went to Raleigh, NC to do voter registration with the National Students Association, inspired not by Martin Luther King but by people such as Ralph Bunche and Walter White, who were old family friends (who, I daresay, would be disgusted and disheartened by all this). During this time, on one occasion I was a passenger in a car that was chased by the Klan – we were saved from what would undoubtedly have been an ugly death and krispy kritters immolation only by the superb driving and strategic/tactical skills of our driver, a member of the Deacons for Defense. After the registration program ended, some of us stayed on to engage in independent “direct action” strikes against the racist establishment in Raleigh, actions which were great fun but which also put us in imminent physical danger. At the end of the summer I joined a CORE-sponsored sit-in at a Howard Johnson’s, was arrested, sentenced to prison but allowed to serve my thirty days in the county jail (this at a time when civil disobedience arrests were not like today’s symbolic “capture and release” affairs using zip-ties – more like animal tagging, with political celebrities like Cornell West, the loony and now dangerous Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem, et al., trumpeting that they’re martyrs to whatever cause simply because they spent a few hours in zip-ties under detention). Not long after I returned to the small, ostensibly liberal Catholic liberal arts college I was attending (the now defunct and infamous Immaculate Heart College), I was railroaded out and barred for life from returning – a blessing in disguise. One might ask, what was a “cradle” atheist doing at a Catholic college anyway but that’s not germane to this response.
    Later, I was involved in the culture wars of the ‘80s and ‘90s, mainly as an irritant, publishing a few rants against the increasingly PC Multicult and the wacko, Stalinist gender feminists. During the culture wars I saw ominous portends of what has now come to pass in academia and in progressive/liberal circles in general – I live in Berkeley and find it extremely ideologically oppressive; the PC thought police are ubiquitous. So as someone who has paid her dues, who is committed to the democratic ideals enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, who believes in free speech and the necessity for unfettered intellectual inquiry, and who believes that universities are supposed to be places where one is exposed to a plethora of ideas and viewpoints, where preconceived notions are to be explored and challenged and confounded, where one’s intellect is to be stretched and tested, I deplore what’s happening on college campuses these days. However, I sadly realize that my idealistic actions back in the ‘60s had the unintended, if undoubtedly unavoidable, consequence of planting certain seeds which led to the development of a regressive, repressive strain of ‘multiculturalism,’ which now has become the definitive norm in liberal/progressive circles – a kind of hodgepodge Maoist, Stalinist, fascist mentality and agenda, uncritically embraced by so many young adults on college campuses. These students, also surely thanks to their “helicopter parents,” are trapped in the infantile, Terrible-Twos stage of emotional development, throw weepy, two-year-old’s rages when the tiniest aspect of THEIR world isn’t as they want it and think college is supposed to be a safe place, “like [a fairy-tale] home,” a warm cocoon where mommy and daddy will protect them, validate their every feeling, hug and kiss away their boo-boos, and valiantly slay the bully monsters (of intellectual curiosity and free thought) that lurk beneath their dorm beds. A sign of the times is a new “rent a mommy” service, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-rent-a-mom-service-for-times-when-you-just-need-your-mommy_5644b4e0e4b08cda3487a7ee
    aimed primarily, but not exclusively, at college students and young adults who simply can’t navigate the world without parental support. I’m sure it’ll be an App soon, but nothing like a flesh-and-blood “mommy,” albeit a hired one, to be there when you need her. Alan Dershowitz is someone I don’t much agree with these days, because in my estimation he’s gone off the deep end demonizing as anti-Semites or self-hating-Jews those who dare utter even the slightest criticism of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians and Gazans – in this respect, I consider him no better than the tantruming students because nothing will ever be solved by demonizing and throwing tantrums; however, I am in complete accord with him (the old civil libertarian Dershowitz I admired) re what’s happening on college campuses now. See this for his response to all of this: http://video.foxnews.com/v/4610150912001/alan-dershowitz-students-dont-want-diversity-of-ideas/?#sp=show-clips, though I am no fan of Fox. If this goes on and these young people come to dominate social and political discourse (assuming that Daish hasn’t put us all to the sword and established their, dare I say, diabolical, Caliphate; or the Christian fundamentalists haven’t imposed their version of a Caliphate on us), I fear that America will end up a slightly more benign version of North Korea. Kim Il Sung is a Terrible Twos tantrum thrower par excellence, one who controls a country and holds the lives of his people, as well as a lot of very deadly weapons (soon, perhaps, nuclear), however misguided his missiles are so far, in his bloody, baby-fat hands.

    1. What can one say, but thank you for your efforts, and I feel honored just to read your story. I am in no way prepared to consider for a minute that you and the other brave people in civil rights movement are in any forseeable way responsible for this relatively minor issue. Thats’ like blaming Jonas Salk for crash in the market of iron lungs.
      Societies move in directions, but sometimes these movements sail away a little too far. At other times we forget our lessons and so a movement swings back. One can never predict.

      1. I am deeply appreciative of your words, they are heartwarming indeed,in such times. But I must say that however objectively to the greater good my actions and escapades were, they pale in comparison to those in the movement who were killed, beaten, set upon by dogs, or otherwise damaged physically and psychologically. They and the countless others are the ones deserving of admiration. As much as I was righteously inspired to try to help bring our democratic ideals to fruition, I was from the North, from a relatively privileged background, and had been influenced by things such as romantic existentialist nihilism and the “Harsh Necessity” of Empedocles, and when I went to jail, I was jazzed at becoming an actual outlaw (also echoed in Empedocles), and a genuine criminal. Fortunately, NC wasn’t the deep South and the Wake Co. jail at that time was a rather benign place to serve my time and nurture my puerile pipe dreams, hanging with my cellmates who were true outlaws (including a murderess who saved me from being set upon by another woman who’d objected to my civil rights activities, look out the window, snap bushels of beans, read Sartre and Dylan Thomas). Unimaginable had I been in jail in the deep South.
        I also need to say that I wasn’t damning the civil rights movement, rather, I was expressing a fact of what I think is a fundamental characteristic of most every human endeavor. One can be an atheist and still appreciate the fact that the Greek gods and heroes, mortals, too, were often unwittingly undone by the very things that gave them power or made them otherwise extraordinary and unique. I’m inclined to think that this is a fact of things, in the world as I know it (and beyond? not transcendentally but as far as scientific cosmology can understand such things); but perhaps I’m just passing a bit of overwrought pseudo-philosophical gas.
        All of the comments, above and below are instructive to me because they elucidate different aspects of this complex and dismal problem, many things I hadn’t thought of or thought through. There are indeed very real injustices and inequities on college campuses, not to mention in the greater society, which definitely need to be addressed; but I find a troubling moral equivalence is made between these legitimate matters and the students’ tyrannical demands that everyone shut up, “feel their pain,” swaddle them in womb-like security blankies, and accede to their every petulant demand or they’ll starve themselves to death or hold their breath until they burst, or spew hysterical invective thither and yon. Some would blame media hype for erasing the distinction between the important and the ridiculous, but it’s the students themselves who erase the distinction. For all their education, most of these students seem unable or unwilling to make critical distinctions – again, a Terrible Twos mentality which collapses all distinctions into one howling, spitting and kicking tantrum. If their antics were fiction, they wouldn’t make it past the editorial slush pile; but who needs fiction when real life is so wild and crazy? My reference to the Terrible Twos is admirably illustrated by this photo and accompanying mother’s account of her two year-old daughter throwing a tantrum in the White House, which stopped the President of the United States dead in his tracks. http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/family/2015/11/the_2_year_old_who_threw_a_tantrum_in_front_of_the_president_she_was_my.html. The course of the “free world” on hold because of the tantrum of a two year-old. As I write, I just heard that Daish has killed a group of students in Mosul because they published anti-Daish material on social media. Let these students go protest in Mosul.
        It’s rare that I agree with radical feminists, but I can’t resist stealing a phrase from Julie Bindel, an outspoken British radical feminist, a marked woman in transsexual rights circles because she refuses to kowtow to their ideological and linguistic tyranny, I say: a lot of these students (not all but a lot) are “stupid little bellends,” who do want a totalitarian state, whether they fully realize it or not. But, contra Adam M below, I think that college administrations bear considerable responsibility because they’ve been actively nurturing this fundamentally anti-intellectual “intellectual” increasingly PC postmodernist climate, for a long time, I reckon at least since the mid-late 1970s, aided and abetted by the rise of the womb-to-tomb nanny state and the degradation of K-12 education, mindless, zero-tolerance injunctions, etc., so what do they expect when the chickens come home to roost? I don’t know what I’d do if I were a young person in college today. I think that I could possibly have been further radicalized in the 1960s because I certainly mentally flirted with extremist possibilities (and went through my Communist phase around age eleven), but I’d like to think that the skepticism I learned at home, from my parents, prevailed in the end and would do the same today.
        As for the bellends of the transsexual rights movement (Ding-Dong! The dick is dead, unless it’s on an FTM transsexual, fashioned out of her own lady-parts), they are wreaking havoc with language; and will this spell the death of drag, which has been a feature of various societies since time immemorial, frequently in religious contexts? Just think of the flamboyant, self-emasculating, booty-shaking priests of Cybele in ancient Rome, who sacrificed bulls and unmanned themselves in the taurobolium right beneath the area where St. Peter’s Chair now reposes. An incredible historical conjunction and pun, especially in a Catholic context. If drag dies, what a shame: I don’t I’d do without the likes of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, or being able to watch videos of the Ballet de Monte Carlo de Trockadero? I don’t know how to address “non gender normative” people anymore and, given what I do know of the internecine squabbles and tyrannical behavior within that community, I’m not so sure the transsexual rights folks know either. All I can say is that I sure wish I’d pursued my ambition to become a field zoologist or paleontologist. Instead of being driven bonkers all this, I could be having real fun out in the field studying something truly interesting like radical feminist all female whiptail lizards or Cymothoa exigua, the marvelous tranny (so un-PC!) tongue-eating fish louse or any other examples of (to an anthropocentric human) astounding sexual diversity in the animal kingdom. But metaphorically, political correctness is a tongue-eating fish louse.
        And I meant Kim Jong Un, a stupid little bellend if there ever was one.

        1. It seems to me that a movement (e.g. civil rights) arises because of a strong need to combat some wrong or injustice. And, if it is successful, and in direct proportion to its success, a swarm of trend-following parasites attach themselves to it, appropriate its slogans, and generally milk it for everything it’s worth. And since they never personally experienced the original injustices or fought in the campaign, it is necessary for them to find – or manufacture – new issues for them to fight (in reasonable personal safety) against. One in ten of them might be capable of really fighting the good fight in a worthwhile cause.

          Ethnic studies departments, health and safety departments (boy, do they ever milk it!), gender equality, anything ‘environmental’ or ‘green’ (I hate to say that because I’m a tree-hugger myself). And what they achieve is, mostly, inflating their own importance, creating jobs for themselves, and quite often creating counterproductive outcomes for the objective they claim to be working towards.

          God I’m cynical today.

          cr

  15. When these people tell white people to fuck off, or make such inane statements as supporting equality is not enough unless you shut the fuck up and just listen to everything they have to say, they’re doing exactly what they claim to be fighting against–judging people based on race. MLK had a dream that everyone would be judged by the content of their character; simply reversing the roles by which people are judged on race is a far cry from accomplishing his dream.

    1. What I have noticed with _insert oppressed group here_ is that they tell you to:

      1) shut up and listen

      2) don’t ask the group how they want to be treated, because it isn’t their job to teach you. Gawd, just who do you think you are??

      It’s just an excuse to hold power over others, specifically allies, because good allies, good liberals, don’t actually want to alienate people. So they sh*t all over their allies because they *can*.

  16. As someone who works with high school folk as a camp counselor, private tutor, after-school teacher, and formerly as a substitute teacher, I am frequently reminded of how historically naive young people are about stuff I take for granted as common knowledge.

    I suspect many of these protesters are not at all aware of the invidious use to which speech suppression has been used in the past, and its potential bad consequences, and to why it is sacrosanct.

    It’s like vaccine protesters with no memory of polio (sorta kinda).

  17. My understanding is that there have been some serious racism issues at U. of Missouri. It is a shame to see that get buried under the mountain of SJW jib-jab, which seems to focus entirely on superficial things. Do they really care more about the appearance of social justice than the substance?

    1. As Adam alludes to below, the students can’t seem to distinguish between racists and institutionalized racism. If they expect that the various levels of academic and civil authority can take some set of actions that will stop every racist individual from shouting abuse or drawing swastikas, they are deluded. Or utterly ignorant of history. Or actively seeking a totalitarian state cast in their own mold. Or possibly all three.

  18. I’d like to know what exactly they expect the administrators to do. It seems like a large proportion of the racist incidents they mention in justification of their demands were done off campus by non-students. School administrators can’t fix that. And as far as I know, public university administrators can’t legally ban constitutionally protected speech and expression, which describes almost all of the incidents. They seem to be putting administrators in an impossible position.

  19. I have a feeling student gatherings will soon end up like the following comedy sketch video on phobias:

    The Sketch Show UK – Phobias Workshop

    (Google the above for the video on youtube – sorry, I’m not sure how to post a link without it embedding).

          1. That’s OK.

            And thanks again for the clip – I wonder how many takes it took before they all got the timing right?

            cr

  20. I wonder myself as well, why my views on these things are as they are. I’m left wing and participated once in Enrivonmental activism, so I like to believe that I would be totally on their side. But I am not, and why is that? It begins with the “human race” idea which has a very different ring here in Germany. I have a revulsion when I hear this used nonchalantly and in all kinds of dubious ways. That doesn’t mean that I’m “color blind”, nor do I deny that you find genetic clustering somewhere, or that it’s useful for people who live in a racist reality to take it as is and of course have to somehow deal with it. We atheists deal with God too, because he exists in belief systems whose effects are very real.

    I am highly doubtful why we need an old-fashioned racist idea of the 19th century with “Big Races” when there are ethnicities and sub-cultures which are just as useful (also for identities for those who need this).

    Since I don’t live in the US, I have no idea how the day-to-day things are, but readily believe that there is a lot of racism, even down to “microagressions”, like saying snide things constantly to make some feel uncomfortable. I also am sure that chauvinist sub-cultures exist around (say) frat boys. There are certainly legitimate grievances.

    Where it gets really under my skin is the weaponized “safe space”, designed as a mobile pulpit so they can preach, while everyone must “shut up and listen”, and nobody can talk back, or else! Even that would be halfway okay if what they say was about substance. But the the sermon turns out to be some racist-charged talk, in combination with high octane postmodern academese and the whole intersectionality critical race theory standpoint theory mumbo jumbo topped off with extreme rhetoric and “meta” games about redefining terms, prerogative of interpretation grubbing, smearing, bullying and a whole parade of every logical fallacy ever invented in a superimposed state. Maybe not these students, but I can’t separate them from their tumblr-socialized online siblings who seem too much alike.

    When postmodernism of old was a crossbreed of an eel with a weasel, they have crossed this with an electric eel and a megalodon. There is simply no excuse for advancing a complete, highly dubious bollocks ideology. There is surprisingly little substance behind all the clouds of blood in the water. Too much posturing. Too many self-important holier-than-thou characters who get offended about nothing on behalf of others, and who can’t even articulate in intelligble ways what their concern is about (say) the university not dictating costume rules.

    The remaining bits one hears turn out to be gobblygook Chomsky called “meaningless” propaganda. Support this, support that, don’t you support the people in Iowa? Do something vague about “marginalized identity” because oppression! On balance it looks like an anti-democratic, anti-pluralist movement that wants to infringe on core rights to ultimately protect a postmodernist belief system. Whatever grievances they might have, they have obscured themselves. Hidden like whatever important thing Jacques Derrida wanted to say.

    1. I realize, now that I’ve spilled it out, that my criticism is wholly Chomskyian. He said the same thing about postmodernist of old and how this “rot from Paris that spread everywhere” (paraphrased) crippled activists especially in the 3rd world.

  21. Not having done any sociology (Is that science?), I had no idea what a millenial was. Once again, Wikipedia helped lead me out of my abyss of ignorance. Hey, I’m a silent (barely)! Wonder if my wife would agree with that…

    1. A millennial is some sort of apocalyptic Xtian who thinks JC is about to return and rule for a thousand years.

      Or… NOT. It seems the definition has changed completely without me noticing it, and a millennial is just some sort of yoof in their 20’s or so.

      Confusing, eh?

      cr

  22. I have two degrees from Purdue and asked that my name be deleted from the alumni roster. I attended Purdue decades ago when the racial environment was rancid. Today, the university has a president whose only grasp of higher education is as a politician, who wrote a letter critical of Howard Zinn and demanded that his book not be taught. A number of faculty wrote a letter condemning this crude assault on academic freedom. Purdue has 30000 students, only 2000 of whom are African Americans. Subtract the usual athletic scholarships and the number is even smaller. It is true that there are a non-white foreign students at Purdue, but the small number of American blacks does not suggest that Purdue welcomes them. Universities have a moral obligation to create a cadre of highly educated black Americans who will staff important political, economic and educational institutions. So far we seem to have failed in creating that critical mass. What has happened is that the economic elites have created a “glass floor” below which their dim-witted progeny cannot fall (cf., Brookings for this research)and who replace students of talent.

  23. Just saw this story online from Kansas… “KU professor who used n-word in class discussion is placed on leave: Andrea Quenette has been criticized on social media and now faces formal discrimination complaint” – “Quenette, who is 33 and has been teaching at KU for two years, said she believes academic freedom protects her comments and that they were not discriminatory.

    Some Kansas University students have filed a discrimination complaint with KU against assistant professor Andrea M. Quenette, who they accused of using racist language.

    “I didn’t intend to offend anyone, I didn’t intend to hurt anyone. I didn’t direct my words at any individual or group of people,” she told the Journal-World tearfully in a phone interview Friday.

    “It was an open conversation about a serious issue that is affecting our campus, and it will affect our teachers. In that regard, I consider it within my purview … to talk about those issues.”

    The graduate students saw it differently.

    “It was outright racism,” said Amy Schumacher, a first-year Ph.D. student who was in the class, which she said is composed of nine white students and one black student. “I don’t think that it was an open dialogue — she wasn’t receptive to hearing any other ideas.”

    Schumacher said she believes Quenette “actively violated policies” during the discussion, hurt students’ feelings — including the one black student, who left “devastated” — and has a previous history of being unsympathetic to students.”

    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2015/nov/20/ku-communications-prof-who-used-n-word-class-discu/

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