University of Kansas Capitulates to Black Radicals
If there is anything Black Lives Matter activists might enjoy even more than a downtown rally, it’s a campus rally. The social media-driven network of incendiary racial politicians is now a presence at colleges and universities across the U.S., conducting “anti-racist” campaigns against chosen targets. Case in point: the University of Kansas. Since November, black students at Kansas, inspired by BLM, have intimidated people they deem racist, aware that the feckless administration will do next to nothing to discourage them. The catalyst for all this was a claim by a black co-ed that several white males assaulted her at an off-campus Halloween party and that local police brushed off her complaint. Evidence suggests this was a hoax. The larger issue is academic freedom – and not just at KU.
The higher education gambit by Black Lives Matter, also known by the Twitter hashtag “#BlackLivesMatter,” requires context. For the group’s influence in the academic sphere would be virtually negligible were it not for acquiescence, and even support, by campus authorities. The events of the current academic year seem to have come out of the blue. Yet they are the end result (so far) of nearly 50 years of hard-Left proselytizing and aggression. And they may be an omen of things to come. Yes, campus vandalism and violence during the late-1960s and early-1970s were far worse. But vandalism and violence aren’t the only ways to make a revolution. For the most part, today’s radical students don’t have to resort to such tactics so long as they can exact concessions from campus administrators. Indeed, many administrators themselves are drawn from the ranks of radicalism. Why knock down doors that already are open? It is human nature to avoid unnecessary confrontation.
The tactics may have changed, but the overall mission remains intact. The philosophical principle of “the perfect is the enemy of the good” comes to mind. When people fixate on an ideal set of social outcomes, and believe those outcomes to be within one’s grasp, they tend to become highly intolerant of anyone representing an obstacle to the potential glorious future. This trait often characterizes religious as well as ideological ones. Perfection appears most achievable when the enemy appears most vulnerable to overthrow; that’s pretty much why people start revolutions in the first place. Our country is not in a revolutionary situation. But radicals, who habitually pride themselves in getting to the “root” of a problem, are doing everything to create such a situation. Their goal: complete equality of economic and social condition, a world in which humanity – at least in the West – is scrubbed clean of every vestige of racism, sexism and homophobia. Legislation, bureaucracy and courts, coupled with organized attitudinal retraining, can bring about this revolution. Violence won’t be necessary if the enemy succumbs out of fear.
“Working within the system,” however, has its limits. It’s hard to affect change without a defining grievance capable of attracting widespread public support. Whether the grievance might not be legitimate is less important than the fact that its appearance can be a tool for winning support and morally disarming opponents. To do this, activists must project an image of inevitability, of an unstoppable moral force on behalf of the oppressed of the earth. And they also must invent or at least distort facts. Chants, placards, songs, speeches, marches and, on occasion, threats are useful tools in creating a bandwagon effect.
Black activism, unlike that of whites, is driven by identity politics. Whereas the white radicalism of yesteryear sprung from opposition to the U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, blacks have focused on collective self-interest. They have more to gain. And the racial spoils system known as affirmative action guarantees them a presence on campus that can be used as a vehicle to attain power. A reported egregious wrongdoing by a white or group of whites against a black all too often becomes exploited as part of a larger pattern of injustice. Blacks use the rhetoric of civil rights to gain the moral upper hand in the aftermath of such “incidents.” Those who oppose them, even inadvertently, may find their career prospects severely diminished. A growing phalanx of well-paid campus bureaucrats – people whom Alan Kors and Harvey Silverglate back in the late Nineties called “the shadow university” – stand ready to limit academic freedom for the sake of Promoting Diversity. The shadow has continued to grow. Call it “soft” totalitarianism, but it is totalitarianism all the same. And it has made most whites on campus skittish about what they say and write in public, as a single faux pas may be cause for punishment. Waging character assassination campaigns against known “racists” is not that hard in the age of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Externally- and internally-imposed censorship goes hand in hand. Non-ideological whites, most of all, clam up. That way, anti-white activists have free reign.
For radicals, the college campus is a crucial staging ground for affecting a regime change. College students generally are young, naïve and receptive to simple rhetorical appeals to “justice” and “fairness.” Even those who don’t join aren’t likely to provide opposition. Financially dependent and career-oriented, the last thing any student wants is to be suspended, expelled or denied scholarship aid on account of a “racist” gesture. Campus officials, especially those with job titles containing the words “diversity” and “inclusion,” exercise tremendous leverage in such a climate. In the spirit of Parkinson’s Law, they justify their jobs by expanding the definition of unacceptable and hence punishable behavior. Offenses nowadays include benign expressions that might be taken badly by blacks, Hispanics, women and gays. Even if the details of a reported offense don’t support the claims of the accuser, campus thought police may take action anyway. Black students, knowing this, act with impunity. From their standpoint, why not invent a “hate crime” out of thin air? Why not express deep “hurt” over an innocent comment by a white professor or student? They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Outside a campus environment, America has seen plenty of unverifiable allegations (by blacks) of “hate crimes.” Recent examples include: eyewitness claims that a large black assailant, Michael Brown, said “Hands up, don’t shoot” to an arresting officer in Ferguson, Mo. in August 2014 just prior to being fatally shot; eyewitness claims that a violent black suspect, Jamar Clark, last November had been shot by Minneapolis police while handcuffed; and an allegation last month that a “Trump supporter” scrawled Nazi-style graffiti on the walls of a black cultural center in Seattle, an accusation that dissipated when the arrestee turned out to be a former volunteer at the center, an East African black male, who had been fired for theft. Tawana Brawley and Crystal Gail Mangum are in good company.
Black-instigated campus hoaxes also are becoming common. Typically, they take the form of unsubstantiated claims, wild exaggerations, and false projections of motive. In each case, blacks rally around an accuser without questioning the veracity of the claim, declaring themselves to be “offended” and then demand an investigation that morphs into a witch hunt for guilty whites. These campaigns have nothing to do with civil rights. They are power grabs cloaked in the language of moral righteousness. And their end game is the resignation of white campus officials who “allowed” the offense to occur. Examples during the current academic year include:
Ithaca College. Located in Ithaca, N.Y., in the shadow of Cornell University, Ithaca College has been in the headlines lately, and not in ways its officials covet. Black students last fall were up in arms over a party invitation sent by a fraternity that contained a reference to “crooks,” a word which apparently fostered negative stereotypes. Moreover, they were incensed that two white male participants at an alumni panel discussion did not respond favorably to a young black female participant who had expressed, in her words, a “savage hunger” for success. Ithaca College President Tom Rochon apologized for the whites’ comments and issued a call for unity. “In general, the college cannot prevent the use of hurtful language of campus,” he stated. “Such language, intentional or unintentional, exists in the world and will seep into our community. We can’t promise that the college will never host a speaker who could say something racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or other otherwise disrespectful. Even so, we reaffirm our commitment to making our campus an inclusive and respectful community.” The groveling wasn’t enough to save his job; this January, Rochon announced he would step down in July 2017.
University of Missouri. Last September, the black student body president and supporters on the main campus in Columbia, Mo. lodged a complaint over a “slur” allegedly shouted by a passing motorist at a black individual. The storyline was vague; the black might not even have been a student. Not long after, a tiny swastika was discovered on the wall of a dorm bathroom, though without reference to blacks. Egged on by Black Lives Matter activists, black students denounced these incidents as symbolic of “systematic oppression.”
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