The name Sarah Braasch likely won’t ring a bell for most people, but the name means a lot to Sarah Braasch, who was the Yale Ph.D. student branded a racist by the woke mob for calling campus police when she found someone asleep in her dorm common room. Condemning her action wasn’t nearly enough for the most ignorant and mindlessly vicious in the mob, who desperately sought to destroy every aspect of her life.
This is a recurring theme, that a person flashes onto the screen, is immediately branded something horrible, has her life picked to shreds (maybe accurately, often not) and then the mob moves on to their next target of hatred. But the person, Braasch in this instance, is left with everything they’ve ever done, experienced, worked for, sacrificed for, in tatterers.
Did Sarah Braasch deserve to be branded the racist du jour and have her life destroyed by the mob?
As I see it, there are at least four aspects of Sarah’s background that you need some understanding of before you can really understand her story:
- Her living arrangements
- Her history of mental health issues/trauma
- The fact that her PhD research focused on implicit bias testing and police brutality
- Her rationale for making the decisions she did when thrust into these two awkward encounters (which she outlines in detail in her YouTube videos).
While this is a somewhat thorough parsing of the story, it reveals some of the bias that gives rise to the mindset of the mob.
Within her YouTube videos, Sarah explains that she has a history of mental health disabilities which include PTSD. She is sexual abuse survivor. She also alludes to a variety of other traumatizing events in her life including the suicide of immediate family members, membership and subsequent departure from a religious cult and an unspecified safety issue at her dorm room in a prior year.
To claim victimhood status because she’s a “sexual abuse survivor” is meaningless. Was she diagnosed with PTSD by a psychiatrist or does she simply claim it, as has become common amongst “survivors”? But none of this is necessary to appreciate the one fact she alleges that changes her perspective of the story: she was the only person with a room on the 12th floor of her dorm, so that finding someone asleep in the 12th floor common room raised inherent concerns. She was fearful? She doesn’t have to be a “sexual abuse survivor” with claimed PTSD to be fearful. It was a weird situation and it was entirely reasonable to be concerned that something was amiss.
The key to this problem, and the subsequent damning of Braasch as a racist together with the unduly passionate demanding that her life be destroyed, was the person asleep in the common room was black.
She encountered someone sleeping with a blanket covering their face in the 12th floor common room who she later learned to be African-American Yale student Lolade Siyonbola. (Sarah’s video sequence on the encounter begins here.) Sarah woke the woman explaining that it was against dorm rules for people to be sleeping in the common room overnight.
That this was the second time Braasch had a run-in with a black student nailed down the proclamation of her racist intent.
Normally Sarah tried to avoid riding in the elevator alone with male strangers. As the elevator door was about to close, an African-American male named Reneson Jean-Louis entered the elevator and according to Sarah did not appear to have a key for the elevator. He did not press a floor number. He rode alone with Sarah up to the 12th floor and exited with her. Sarah was uncomfortable, not because the young man was black, but because she was alone with him and did not recognize him. There were no lights on in the 12th floor common room and the young man had no key so it was unclear to Sarah why he was on the 12th floor. Sarah spoke briefly to the man attempting to ascertain why he was on the 12th floor. The man explained that he was a student at Yale, and that he didn’t appreciate being questioned.
Why did he go to the 12th Floor when Braasch was the only person living there? To ask would be victim-blaming, since Jean-Louis was a Yale student and entitled to go anywhere he chose. But the situation was weird and reasonably disturbing regardless of race, and Braasch’s concern would have been understandable regardless of her claim of being a “sexual assault survivor” with PTSD. While Braasch may have been particularly fragile due to her mental state, would it have been any less bizarre if she wasn’t?
That both instances involved black people fails to answer anything. Braasch’s concerns were completely normal and understandable no matter what race was involved. That it happened to involve black people was because they just happened to be black. Now, Braasch is constrained to spend her life proving that she’s not a racist, building her case on social media in an effort to rehabilitate her life, long after the mob has moved on to the great many others who must be destroyed.
I Got Somebody To Admit he was Wrong About Me On Twitter, and All It Took Was 5 Hours of Laboriously Researched Debate https://t.co/QlVhLMFpwX
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) March 6, 2019
The time and effort to fight off the mob, or rehabilitate oneself after the storm, raises the question (or “begs the question, as AOC might put it) of whether it’s worth it. It costs nothing to j’accuse, but it’s a burden to dispute. Why would Chait care that someone was wrong about him?
As for Sarah Braasch, her future at Yale, her Ph.D. and dissertation, were doomed as the woke student body rose up against her, and even though some, even many, of her fellow students might have been unconvinced that she was a bad person or wrong, the idea of challenging black students and their allies certainty was courting suicide.
If you can’t be fearful of, or critical of, a person because of their race or gender, facts notwithstanding, then there is no hope for equality. If disagreement demands dedication of one’s time and life to prove oneself, or be damned as whatever “phobic” any woke genius decides to hurl, so what? It’s not a badge of honor to be denigrated by the woke, but it’s no badge of shame either. It’s just empty noise, except for the life destroyed by the mob.