Reader Email: PC College Campus Liberals Run Amok

Email conversations with Left Call readers. Published with consent.

LC Reader:
As a liberal, I’m increasingly alarmed by ridiculous “PC” demands by so-called liberal students on college campuses. This article highlights the growing problem around the country.

The Craziest Demands of College Kids in 2016 (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/06/07/the-craziest-demands-of-college-kids-in-2016.html)

For example, they demand purging course offerings that feature white male poets in the name of diversity. But at the cost of rewriting history? 

Left Call:
I agree, this is becoming a real problem, especially for the professors, and I wonder what the long-term effect will be. It really is absurd to argue for diversity when studying poetry due to the imbalance that all those white male poets created in the past. Sorry, that’s how history went down! It really does suck that white men had such a lock (and still do) on many facets of society, but disavowing this truth will do nothing to make for a more diverse college experience, to say nothing about what it does to educational value. Advocating censorship due to the actions and privilege of dead people, by using the lens of contemporary social acceptance, is remarkably stupid.

And then the “segregated safe spaces” for minority students, also mentioned in that article, seems a clear juxtaposition. So apparently its diversity today, segregation tomorrow, depending on how the wind is blowing.

Suppressing speech because it is offensive used to be the purview of conservatives, but somewhere along the way “liberals” started to own this nonsense. But we really can’t call any of this liberal. Seems to me it’s dogmatic thinking in a “PC” wrapper, and I honestly have no idea where these people would fall on the political spectrum.

I like this last part of the article:

“It was once the job of college professors to liberate young people from their delusions about the world in order to better prepare them to succeed in it. But 2016 might be the year the tables turned. Professors and administrators are increasingly caving to their students’ demands out of fear for their own job security.”

But I think I would say it like this:

It used to be the job of college professors to liberate young people by giving them the tools to think critically. Now it is the job of college professors to capitulate to a student body demanding “justice” using misguided notions of diversity that do not stand the rigor of scrutiny.

LC Reader:
Well, the root of the problem is it’s impossible to fight the label of “bigot” anymore. Now that we have “microaggressions” and a relatively huge lexicon of terms in the past few years to describe bigotry large and small, it’s virtually impossible to have a rational discussion with sensitive people. Back in the 70’s you were sexist or you weren’t. You were racist or you weren’t. And when someone accused you of it, you could defend yourself based on your history of actions. Now it’s all about assuming any mistakes in language must be intentional slights, rather than giving people the benefit of the doubt and understanding its just a stupid vestige, still clinging to life, even after losing all original meaning.

And yeah, the reality is that history is written by the victors. We may not like that rich white men had the time, connections, and training to make beautiful art, while minorities struggled to make art that got any public recognition, but what can you do? By teaching white guys all semester, it doesn’t mean black women didn’t have abilities, but the reality is, a far smaller number of black women had the training or the time to even TRY to get something done, and then those people who did do great things were in a culture that wouldn’t recognize or promote their works, SO WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT IT TODAY! Why is this so hard to understand for these people?

At one point in the article they listed all the things they’re worried about, and Islamophobia was in there, but not atheist. Or how about consideration of people afraid of public spaces, or spiders, or the number 13? By not including these people aren’t they discriminating against and making microaggressions toward them? With this logic it never ends…. Which is why it should never have started!

Left Call:
In creating a society more accepting of diversity we have unwittingly unleashed thousands of new ways to label people. But I should be careful (wink), because “label” probably isn’t the correct term. I guess “identity” would be more appropriate. And if someone misuses one of these new identities, and even in some cases if one fails to make an identity distinction at all, they are being insensitive or even a bigot. I’m not denouncing a person’s agency in being who he or she is, but with such a fluid social landscape, we need to find a way to curb our tendency toward knee-jerk character assassinations. And of course that plays to your point that with this logic, it never ends. I think social media has only fueled the aforementioned.

LC Reader:
Yes. And I have to say one thing that always annoys me in these discussions is “history” no longer being usable because they see it as “his story” which is apparently patriarchal – NO IT ISN’T! Even if I grant you that it’s legit to pull the word apart that way, it’s still wrong! It would really be “hi story” or maybe “his tory” – you can’t just start adding extra letters because it makes a point! There’s only one “S” in the word, and last I heard, a “Tory” is a political party in the UK, and “hi story” also doesn’t make any sense, so stop reaching so hard! If you have to look that hard for discrimination it makes you look desperate to find something to complain about, which implies you have no gripes of real consequence, so it hurts your cause!

Left Call:
HA! I almost replied with the same thing. Not being able to use the word “history” because of a grievance born of imagination is a microcosm of the whole problem.

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