The notion of mandatory reporters seemed to make an enormous amount of sense at the fringes. After all, if a teacher saw her elementary school student with cigarette burns, how could she not report the child for protection? A child abused needed protection, obviously.
But then came the other end of the spectrum, where it was hardly clear that the child was being abused and yet the law required a mandatory report. And a child would be taken from her parents, put into foster care, a home, while an investigation was conducted. If it turned out that the broken arm just happened, because kids fall and get hurt because they’re kids, the solution proved far more harmful than the putative disease. But hey, it made an enormous amount of sense at the fringes.
When it was a matter of objective physical harm to a defenseless child, it was one thing. In the hands of SJWs, however, it goes off the rails.
In an essay for Vox, Assistant Professor Robert Reece summarized conversations he has had with various men—including male students in his Masculinities in America class—about whether they had ever failed to practice affirmative consent, which requires the participants in a sexual encounter to constantly assess whether the other participant is still interested in the activity. “Men discuss the gray areas of intimate encounters” was the subhed.
In the eyes of the activists, there can be no gray areas. By approaching a complicated issue with nuance, Reece has made it clear that “he believes women should get used to rape and abuse as a condition of their gender,” claims the Revolutionary Student Front, an anti-capitalist antifa group.
Reminiscent of the geniuses for whom the answer to the vagaries of the sex police was “just don’t rape” as the word became untethered from any cognizable definition and, to the extent was left with any meaning whatsoever, was “whatever a woman felt it was, now or at any point in the future.” But the revolution has no tolerance for such concerns.
But Reece? It’s not just that he taught “Masculinities in America,” which didn’t mean what your father might think it means.
Reece has an impressive intersectional-leftist pedigree. (The American Spectator writes that he “checks so many politically correct boxes that he’d normally be immune from criticism.”) He’s a person of color who studied critical race theory at Duke; he writes about gender, race, and inequality for a number of left-wing outlets; he collects Black Panther memorabilia.
Yet, there is room at the burning stake for everyone, regardless of intersectional checkmarks.
Still, he expressed an opinion that conflicts with the campus Jacobins, and such “reactionary violence” can be remedied only with “revolutionary violence”
If you wondered who prevails on the victim hierarchy these days, this will give you a clue. On top of his personal affronts to women, for which he might atone by self-neutering and dedicating his life to painting polish on toes, the revolution found a far more nefarious institutional failing on Reece’s part.
In his op-ed, he mentioned that one of his male students seemed uncomfortable during an in-class discussion of sexual violence. Reece later reached out to the student, who confessed that he worried not all of his past sexual encounters had cleared the high bar of affirmative consent. Reece comforted the student and suggested counseling. The activists excoriated Reece for failing to swiftly report the student to the campus authorities.
“We find this to be direct proof that Reece is an active threat to students on campus,” the activists write. “Through his course, he is uniquely able to identify potential rapists, yet he does nothing to stop them—and worse, he shows them his sympathy as a fellow misogynist and abuser.” (Emphasis added.)
Regardless of what becomes of Reece, whether he prostrates himself adequately before the Jacobins, the High Priestesses, the revolution has identified a new, rich vein to mine. Like the second grade teacher who might observe an abused student, or just snitch on a parent rather than fail in their duty to report and suffer the consequences of conscience, the duty to identify potential rapists is now raised as a mandate.
It may have been bad enough that accusations of rape were leveled based upon a beer and regret, but that at least came about after the fact, if fact it was and not merely a drunken fantasy of victimhood. But potential rapists?
Forget Minority Report concerns, which at least are predicated upon empirical claims. This raises a very different problem, in conjunction with the absence of any definition of rape that would suffice to allow a sentient being to comprehend. This is a step more attenuated. They are not attacking just the “potential rapist,” but the professor who fails to rat out his student. Not even his myriad intersectional points win him a reprieve from the burning stake.
Is there a moral to this story? Some might take away that the revolution is not merely idiotic, but dangerously out of control. Some might take away that social justice ideology is untenable, as there is no one so marginalized that they won’t be cannibalized by someone more marginalized. But my takeaway is that one should not elect to take “Masculinities in America,” as there is nothing to be learned in that class that will serve you well in your future as a castrato in the Vienna Boy’s Choir.