In an epic rant, Jonah Goldberg, who can find a lefty under every rock just as quick as a feminist can find a misogynist, sneaks in a point worth repeating at The National Review:
I almost feel sorry for those decent, sincere career liberals standing there in the quad as the little Maoists scream in their faces and strip off the suede elbow patches on their tweedy jackets like a lieutenant being busted down to a private. As the kids fit lifelong members of the ACLU with their duncecaps, the poor souls can hear the conservatives hooting and laughing off beyond the fence, throwing nerf footballs and telling jokes at the liberals’ expense.
With the Left given total control of these oases of tolerance and citadels of progressivism, what do we get?
We get pampered and coddled students screaming that these institutions are hotbeds of racism, homophobia, sexism, and the rest of the 31 Flavors of Oppression.
Oh, there is racism. We see it in the bodies on the ground, in courtrooms, in prison cells. But on college campuses? Not individual instances of racist behavior, because there will always be people who behave poorly and think even worse. But in the most diverse and inclusive places in this or any other dimension, where sensitivity to claims of discrimination are at their apex.
Charles Blow, who wants to be the grown-up explaining why the kids can make mistakes but still aren’t wrong.
There will be missteps, tactical errors, assailable symbols and an army of detractors and fickle allies ready to seize upon each and exploit them.
However, one must condemn the forces of anti-black oppression just as vociferously as one condemns black people’s responses to those forces, including when those responses extend beyond the boundaries of social acceptability and decorous propriety. Otherwise, one’s qualms are an overture to pacification and the propping up of the status quo.
You can’t condemn the unseemly howl and not the lash.
The lash. A throwback to the whipping of slaves, an image crafted to remind readers of the legacy of slavery and racial hatred. So where is the lash? Here?
It’s times like this that I miss Jimmy Breslin. He had the guts (or stupidity) to publicly call his wife, New York City Councilwoman Ronnie Eldridge, the “official woman.” In 1963, following the assassination of JFK, while everyone else was scrambling for quotes from world leaders, Breslin interviewed Clifton Pollard, the man who dug the grave. Whom would Breslin interview today about the college protests?
There is a wealth of possibilities. At Yale, black history scholar turned Dean, Jonathan Holloway, who is being pilloried for his “slow” response to the Halloween Costume kerfuffle? Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, who has agreed to rename two buildings, named after former Georgetown presidents who were involved with the sale of slaves to bail the school out of debt?
Or maybe Jimmy Breslin would stroll down to 100 Centre Street, use his press pass to take the stairs to the holding cell beneath the arraignment courtroom, and interview someone in there. He’ll have plenty of people to chose from, as there will be mostly black and Hispanic faces, because there always are.
“How do you feel about the students protesting at Yale?”, he might ask. Maybe he can show them the video of the young lady lambasting Nicholas Christaskas, and ask one what would have happened to him if he had tried to do that with any person in authority he’s ever met in his life. Perhaps Breslin would want to know whether he felt that the holding cell was a “safe space,” where his beliefs were “valued,” or whether he found it “exhausting” to defend himself from prison guards at Rikers?
Blow writes that “one must condemn the forces of anti-black oppression just as vociferously as one condemns black people’s responses to those forces.” I couldn’t agree more. But you’re not going to find those “forces of anti-black oppression” in the Yale course catalogue. Or in the names of buildings on Georgetown’s campus. You will, on the other hand, find them in the streets of San Francisco.
That college students have rediscovered causes that compel them to raise their voices in protest is a good thing. No, a great thing. It’s long past time when they stopped making duck faces in selfies to gather “likes,” and did something a little more worthwhile with their time.
But they remain special snowflakes, narcissists focused solely on their own “pain,” because it’s the most important thing ever. The arguments over their intemperate efforts to complain about their deeply hurt feelings, rewrite history and demanding freedom from the free speech and association rights they enjoy as they make those demands, are geared toward making others see the world as it touches their extraordinarily privileged lives.
You want to do something about racism? Go for it. There’s plenty of it in New Haven, so you won’t have to go far. And it has nothing to do with anyone’s Halloween costume.
You want a lash? It’s out there. Not your metaphorical one, but the real damn thing. You want pain? It’s out there. Not the brutal pain of a word or idea, but the pain of a club striking a body over and over. There are battles to fight, a war to be won. You just won’t find it on a college campus, your “safe space.”