When I was a kid, my parents sent me to summer camp. I spent two weeks in the scenic mountains in Pennsylvania for three consecutive summers. I remember lots of structured activities and competitions. I remember swimming, gross, red Kool Aid – what they called “bug juice” – at meals, and basketball. Lots and lots of basketball.
There was a counselor there whose name was Gretta. She was a young woman – probably in her late teens to early 20s – a college student – blonde and pretty. I remember she was good with us kids. She pushed us to do better at our competitions and our sports – whether archery, basketball or swimming. She could be a bit brash, if I recall correctly, and that did not sit well with some of the kids at camp.
My memories are foggy of the incident with Gretta. Someone had complained to the camp director about something, and there was an investigation of sorts that resulted in Gretta’s dismissal from the camp. I never saw any kind of friction between Gretta and the kids, or Gretta and the other counselors, but all of a sudden all of us female campers were brought into the director’s cabin, where he asked us all sorts of questions about Gretta, her relationships with the kids, her style, or whether we had seen anything odd. The more girls talked to the director, the more agitated we became. We fed off one another. The director would ask a question, someone would, all of a sudden, remember some friction, another girl would glom on to that story and, all of a sudden, remember an “incident” of her own, and so on, and so on, and so on…
I remember falling into that drama head first. My mind started recreating every interaction I had with Gretta, and memories that never bothered me before all of a sudden became more ominous and more disturbing. I was feeding off the other kids. Several girls started crying and describing interactions they had with Gretta that in my mind reflected my own experiences with this young woman, and I started to cry too.
I look back on it now, and the clouded recollections reveal a certain contagion among us kids. My own impression of Gretta changed the more I listened to the other girls describe their experiences, until I, too, began to think her a monster.
Fast forward to the present.
The #Blacklivesmatter movement spread across the country after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder after killing Trayvon Martin. Subsequently, the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and several other high-profile African-American deaths sparked protests all over the country. I did not have an emotional stake one way or another in the Zimmerman trial. I felt both the prosecution and the defense did their jobs to the best of their abilities. I didn’t rage about the verdict. The prosecution did not prove its case, and the jury did its job. I did not voice outrage on Facebook or any other social media. I merely said it was over, and that the jury did its job. For this egregious “transgression” – for the crime of not being outraged enough at the verdict – I lost a friend whom I have known since high school. We had been friends for more than 20 years, and he simply tossed that away, because I did not exhibit sufficient anger at the verdict.
The BLM movement didn’t stop at protesting what they perceived as police brutality. They became more rude, more racist, and more demanding. At the Netroots Nation Conference in July, BLM founder Patrisse Cullors led a protest yelling “Burn everything down!” She then interrupted the speeches of Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders. I’m no O’Malley and Sanders fan, but I’m pretty sure neither one had killed a black man. Martin O’Malley was pilloried by the BLM movement when he said “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.” Because, apparently, saying that all lives are sacred without regard to color is a crime worthy of contempt.
For the record, O’Malley – the gutless invertebrate that he is – apologized for saying that all lives matter. Because to BLM they do not, and he didn’t want to appear insensitive to racists.
And now we have this social justice stupidity that sweeping the nation like a bad case of the herp.
I blogged about Yale two days ago, where the Precious Snowflakes™ lost their collective shit over a respectful, thoughtful letter from a professor that said college students were adults and should be treated as such, that the university shouldn’t play mommy and daddy, controlling what students say, how they say it, and how they dress.
Simultaneously, a privileged cupcake from the University of Missouri decided he needed some attention, so he went on a hunger strike, because he felt “unsafe.” A graduate student who spent the last several years at this university all of a sudden decided to starve himself in protest of some perceived racism he claimed he experienced.
Now, if I felt unsafe at the office or on campus where I was a student like Jonathan Butler claims he did from the first time he stepped foot on campus, I would have left. I would have transferred somewhere else, where I didn’t feel unwanted and unsafe. Apparently Butler decided he always felt unsafe, inspired by the Ferguson events. He spent his entire undergraduate life at Mizzou, and decided to continue his graduate work there. Despite feeling “unsafe” from his “first semester there.”
Butler’s publicity stunt inspired mass protests all over the campus, forcing the president and the chancellor of the university to resign. For what? Unsubstantiated claims about a poopstika (someone allegedly drew a swastika with their own feces in a residential hall. More unsubstantiated claims about the N-bomb being hurled, and yet more claims of racism off-campus, and it snowballed from there. The protests got more strident, more absurd, and even borderline violent when some communications instructor who oddly resembles Carrot Top accosted a student journalist.
Oh, and by the way, while both the president and chancellor of the school resigned over incidents they had nothing to do with and could not control, crazy eyes in that photo, simply issued an apology after threatening a student journalist and resigned a “courtesy appointment” at the journalism school. As far as I know, she still has her Communication Department job at Mizzou.
Meanwhile, a professor who refused to cancel an exam for Precious Snowflakes™ who felt “unsafe,” resigned after cowards called for his resignation. “I will be there, and there will be an exam administered in our class,” he said. “If you give into bullies, they win. The only way bullies are defeated is by standing up to them. If we cancel the exam, they win; if we go through with it, they lose. I know which side I am on. You make your own choice.”
Instead of standing up and exhibiting some intestinal fortitude, the vermin took to social media to insult and destroy the professor.
The student body president posted a false claim about KKK presence on campus and was forced to apologize. I would think the fact that the student body elected a gay, black man as its president pretty much invalidates claims of widespread racism and bigotry, as portrayed by the protests, especially as pervasive as these people claim, but hey, what the hell do I know. I’m apparently privileged as well, despite having grown up as an impoverished Jew, digging through other people’s trash for clothes and toys, unlike Jonathan Butler – the instigator of this hysteria – who grew up the kid of a railroad executive in Omaha, a multi-millionaire’s son, and the very portrait of the privilege he condemns.
And now, “inspired” by the crybabies at Yale and Mizzou, screeching for mommy and daddy university to make the world safe for them to sit around and suck their thumbs while those who have the temerity to bruise their fragile labia are deprived of their livelihoods and reputations, Students at Ithaca College in upstate New York held a solidarity walkout, demanding the resignation of President Tom Rochon, saying it was “vital to fight against both covert and overt racism in all places of education and empowerment” on social media.
The students said that several racially charged incidents have not been properly acknowledged by campus leadership, including an event last month where a prominent alumnus made racially insensitive remarks about another alumna at a public event.
It angered many students who said no one stepped in. President Rochon later addressed the issue in a statement, saying the college could not prevent the use of hurtful language on campus and could not promise that it would never host another speaker that might say something offensive.
The contagion has begun. Much like back at camp, these students are getting caught up in the mass hysteria. It’s a moral panic. As the Precious Snowflakes™ screech their own brand of arrogant entitlement, accusing anyone who stands in the way of their allegations of racism and discrimination, other campuses are following suit, manufacturing instances of racism and excoriating those who are perceived to oppose them.
Much like poor Gretta, who fell victim to the hysterical panic among her campers, America’s colleges and universities are being victimized by the students who are manufacturing outrage in order to be part of the herd. They’re feeding off one another and trying to out-clamor each other in a mad scramble to the ultimate prize of victimhood and the perception that they’re brave Davids fighting the mighty establishment Goliath!
Gretta’s campers were 10-11 year old kids. These are ostensibly adults – adults so unprepared to enter the world, they are demanding that colleges and universities coddle, soothe, and nurse them.
In fact, they’re whining, entitled, hysterical maggots.
They’re not heroes fighting for justice. They’re cowards who shrilly shout down anyone who dares to agree with them and dogpile the dissenters until they are forced to resign, destroying lives, reputations, and livelihoods in the process.
Is there anything more selfish and unjust?
UPDATE: Just got a report that the virus has spread to Virginia Commonwealth University. Because… solidarity. And diversity. So says the President of VCU and VCU Health.
This afternoon, a group of VCU students staged a demonstration on The Compass as a sign of support for African American students facing discrimination at the University of Missouri. About 200 people attended the rally, which was positive, peaceful, and appropriate for a university that values diversity, inclusion, and thoughtful action as tenets of a distinctive educational experience. As one of America’s premier research universities, our mission includes thinking about and acting to solve social problems, and I applaud these students for advancing that mission.
Thankfully, these demonstrations were peaceful and no drama took place.
We must always stand together as one VCU, with one mission: to advance the human experience for all people, through teaching, research, creativity, engagement, and care.
That is why I hope that this demonstration was not a singular event, but rather the beginning of a conversation about these critically important topics at VCU and around the nation. To help facilitate this discussion, and to help ensure that we are advancing our mission as well as we would like, I have scheduled a Presidential Forum on Diversity and Inclusion for 12 p.m., Wednesday, November 18 in the Student Commons – Richmond Salons 3 & 4. In addition to my comments, this forum will include senior members of my leadership team; student leaders; and members of our Board of Visitors, for whom diversity and inclusion remain paramount. If you cannot attend the forum, the event will be both livestreamed and live tweeted. Details on remote viewing will follow in the next day or two.
I know we can use this occasion for a candid and open dialogue and constructive engagement so that VCU will continue to be known around the nation as a university that embraces and values diversity and, not just tolerates it.
I do wonder what would happen if someone actually presented a diverse point of view that advocated quality of education and posited that a hospital and university that works to save human lives should focus primarily on quality, regardless of skin color or any other identity politics.
I wonder what would happen if someone stood up and told the group that “safe places,” identity politics, and triggers have no place in a learning environment.
Would that person get fired? Would they be bullied into an undeserved mea culpa if they had any hope of keeping their job?
The state of today’s academia is beyond repugnant.