Fisking the Establishment's Latest Thinkpiece
There's this guy who has taken to Facebook with me on several occasions in an attempt to spew crybully rhetoric over issues like "microagressions" and "safe spaces." Being that I am a devotee of Ken White and Scott Greenfield, I take the occasion to engage with him on reason and facts, and when that fails, sometimes pure ridicule.
He's recently stopped with the personal attacks and decided to vaguely point people in different directions with think pieces and blog posts that support his echo chamber worldview. Sometimes I will respond, and sometimes the comment I want to make is too long to prompt a response on Facebook itself.
Today's latest post is a blog whine from a site called "The Establishment," where you can read such enlightening material like "Yes, Your Dating Preferences Are Probably Racist" and "The Politics of Period Sex." The article in question today is called "Why Do Conservatives Think Spewing Racism Is Braver Than Protesting It?" Unless you're interested in a liberal dose of brain bleach for the holiday season, I'll spare you a read by summarizing here: conservatives who decry Syrian refugees coming into our country and ask for the closing of our borders are racist, and them mocking the protests sprouting up all over our nation's campuses is intellectually disingenuous because those protests are actually "brave."
Because I can see both sides of an argument (which seems to be a rare trend these days), I will concede one point: the cries for Syrian refugees to be barred from our country and the borders locked down is probably racist. I wouldn’t call it that necessarily; I think the terms “racist” and “racism” get thrown around more than they should. But assuming arguendo, let’s start by saying that yes, this attitude from Conservatives mocking and belittling the protests across campuses nationwide is probably racist.
Where the op-ed turns a sharp left into crazy town is when they start calling the protests “brave” or the actions of the protesters “brave.” Starting with Jonathan Butler at Missouri and his “hunger strike” is a terrible start. His life was never in danger, as the think piece’s author Noah Berlatsky tends to suggest. The moment his life was truly in danger, Mommy and Daddy would have air-dropped Benihana to Butler’s location. That’s what making more money than my family will ever see in a lifetime buys you—the ability to whine without consequence, and a complete loss of credibility for those of us who actually have to work.
The same goes for the Mizzou football team “standing in solidarity” with Butler. In case Berlatsky isn’t familiar with the way things work in the SEC, the football team would never have faced one day of “adverse consequences or disciplinary actions.” In the SEC, college football is its own unique brand of religion and the players on each school’s team are the prophets. Mizzou’s players didn’t face one damn problem for what they did and everyone on campus knew it.
Where I find things laughable about Berlatsky’s lauding of the protesters comes from the following paragraph which outlines one Princeton “request.” Since I’m a nice guy, I’ll snip the paragraph for your enjoyment.
Leftist college students are also accused of rejecting difference, because they don’t want to listen to certain speakers, or because they want trigger warnings about certain books, or because they want name changes to certain buildings. But again I think the claim that students are afraid of speech obscures the actual issues. What students are asking for is for universities to recognize, and welcome, a broader range of students with a broader range of experiences. Naming a building after Woodrow Wilson is a message that a campus was built by and for racists, and racists still hold sway. Students who protest that are saying that the experiences and lives of black people on campus matter. Our campus should be a place where they are welcome. (emphasis added)
I bolded that statement because they’re not asking. They’re demanding. A group called the Black Liberation Collective, the new de facto heads of this “movement,” have started compiling a list of the demands each protest group makes on a website called “The Demands.” It’s a pain to look at, but the site is a collection of the demands each protest group is making at each college and will continue to be updated. But “demanding” something and “asking” for something is completely different. One makes a statement that compliance will be needed or repercussions will happen, the other simply makes a request something happen.
And the demands themselves? They’re absolutely ludicrous on numerous fronts. First, the Princeton demand that President Woodrow Wilson’s name be removed from a building at an institution he contributed to is not only crazypants, it is yet another attempt to erase someone from history because of something they said that someone disagreed with. The same goes for MTSU’s demands to have Forrest hall removed as the building’s name because the “Forrest” in question is Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederate general and founder of the KKK. Erasing history doesn’t make people any less prone to emotional harm.
Walter Olson decided to slog through the site and get a few of the more bizarre demands recorded for posterity. Such demands include as follows:
*an increase in tenure-stream faculty whose research specializes in ...Black Queer Studies, Hip-Hop Studies,...Decolonial Theory.
*White professors must be discouraged from leading and teaching departments" studying colonized/enslaved people/societies [UNC Chapel Hill]
*We DEMAND that campus police participate in the University-wide political education....Policing as an institution must be abolished." [UNC]
*An anonymous student reporting system for cases of bias, including microaggressions, perpetrated by faculty and staff" [@wesleyan_u]
Enjoy that line of thinking. Degrees that will land no one jobs, stop professors from teaching on certain subjects, no police on campus, and the revival of the fucking star chamber for those who offend a student’s feelz.
These are not protests against racism. These are not acts of bravery.
These are the stamping of feet and the whining of coddled children who have never been told they are wrong about a damn thing.
It’s time the madness stops.