This always struck me as too obvious to need saying, but then, I’m clearly very wrong about that and not only does it need saying, but needs saying in the clearest possible terms: You’re full of shit.
“My highest priority is sustaining and amplifying our commitment to racial justice. PSU is Oregon’s most diverse university and our actions must honor and harness the power of that diversity,” Percy added.
“It is imperative that we collectively engage in conversations that support transformation and act to deliver on our desired future, recognizing that the work will be different based on our positionalities and identities.”
That’s Stephen Percy, president of Portland State University. He’s very passionate. We know because he says so. He says his commitment to racial justice is his “highest priority.” Not just a high priority, but his highest. How much more could you ask of Percy?
If you’re sincere, @PSUPresident,
and you actually believe your “highest priority is sustaining and amplifying our commitment to racial justice,” why don’t you resign and offer your position to a black person?
— Peter Boghossian (@peterboghossian) January 5, 2021
This has long been a source of some hypocritical amusement to me, white people being such bold warriors for social justice on social media, in writing, on stages giving presentations at $20 grand a pop. You are such good allies, speaking out against racism, demanding change, making it your “highest priority.” And then going back to your sweet job, cushy office, nice home, cool car, fat bank account, all full of pride at being a righteous ally to the cause.
Does it really break your heart that black people are disproportionately underrepresented at your college, your newspaper, your public defender’s office? Well, they can’t get the gig if you’re sitting in the chair, dumbass. Give it up. Hand it over. Put your money where your mouth is and let them get that sweet, sweet direct deposit into their bank account instead of yours.
But you don’t get to hire? Fair enough. I’m sure some black person would be willing to take the keys to the BMW off your hands, or suffer life in your duplex condo rather than some shitty apartment in a bad neighborhood. Nobody can stop you from handing over the pink slip, so what’s stopping you?
But Philosophy Prof Peter Boghossian has a secondary point as well. If you’re a college president, why isn’t your “highest priority” educating students rather than counting melanin or genitalia?
“Should this really be the president’s #highest# priority? Not fixing out of control budget deficits? Not producing knowledgeable students? Not advancing faculty research?” the philosopher tweeted.
The point of a college isn’t to enforce racial quotas, but to educate. BMW makes great cars, but would you want one if their cars sucked but their workforce was racially correct? It isn’t that eradicating discrimination shouldn’t matter, but that the “highest priority” should be to do what you exist to do, with not discriminating in the process being very much a critical part of the function, but still grasping that it’s not the function.
Of course, nobody is resigning so that a black person can get the job they’ve been denied because there is a white butt in the desk chair. No passionate white law student will give up their seat at Harvard so a black person can attend, and they won’t decline the public defender job offer so they aren’t depriving a black lawyer the position. But that doesn’t stop them from emoting their deepest passions about social justice, or basking in the adoration of their comrade warriors for how passionately they signal their virtue. And if you don’t, they’ll be sure to let you know how you failed as an ally and anti-racist, unlike them.