sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Identity Politics on Campus

Let me put your worst fears to rest. I am not becoming politically correct. However, since I am working in a campus environment some of the time now,  I asked my daughter, and some other young people (some from church, some on line), who go to college, what some of the politically correct guidelines were. They are members of the great hoard of millennials (or whatever they call themselves).

  • Women, either individually or as a group, should never be made to feel uncomfortable. (and references to body weight should be avoided)... SIDEBAR: As an older gentleman, I learned this lesson before any of today's students were a gleam in their father's eye, so this particular rule is a no-brainer. As mentioned in a previous blog, if I intend to utilize this "tool", I congratulate a woman sincerely on her pregnancy and decision to keep the child.
  • People whose sexual orientation falls beyond the spectrum of heterosexuality must be reassured of their special value.
  • Racial injustice is best addressed in tones of bitter anguish or inspirational calls to action.
  • Muslims are friendly helpers whom we should cherish.
  • Anyone belonging to any potentially “marginalized” community should be treated with crippling hypersensitivity that must always be respected.
  • Being pro-death penalty or pro-life are dangerous concepts to express. The Planned Parenthood body-parts marketing scandal (my daughter was in Summer Semester) is identified by the White House playbook as propaganda from Fox News and the vast right wing conspiracy.
But what about?

Q If a black rock star refers to women as whores and bitches and that translates into black culture, is that politically incorrect? A No. Q So black men can refer to women in continually derogatory tones, but nobody else can? A Sort of true. Any minority can walk up to a woman and say "hey bitch" and it's fine. If a white person does it, it's a call to demand savage retribution.

The status of red-dot Indians is less clear. While a minority, from an American college student point of view they are not oppressed (though they may cite Imperial oppression from the British, it doesn't translate into American post-teen outrage). In point of fact, Afro-American students feel that the Indians constitute a threat to the feeling that when an African-American gets bad grades that they are racially motivated. Indian students reliably do better in school than their African counterparts on average and share the same general skin tone. (This nugget of wisdom came to me from an Indian student, now in law school)

One interesting comment for those of you who follow the Bruce Jenner transformation is that he's viewed as a sell-out among the gender confused. The 65 year old male Republican multi-millionaire athlete - turned - woman is not considered to be a valid spokesperson for "chicks with sticks" (weird guys who like to play dress-up with women's clothes). Q If the female version of Bruce Jenner, whose courting tackle is  reputedly still intact, "dated" a man would that be homosexual or heterosexual? A Unclear, but it would not be appropriate to ask the question.

Q Will San Diego State University should stop using the nickname "Aztecs" for its sports teams, given the fact the Aztecs practiced slave-owning, human sacrifice and cannibalism. A No. The Aztecs are politically correct in San Diego. (And how is being an Aztec all that different from Planned Parenthood - really?)

Q Ivy League enrollment figures suggest some of these universities have capped the number of Asian students. Is this really much different than the effort to curtail Jewish enrollment at Ivy League schools in the 1920s? A Jews are enemies of the US these days. (there may be some confusion between generic American Jews and Israeli Jews, but it's lost on college age students) Q What about Asians? A I don't think that they're a protected minority.

In Summary

College students of today (leaders of tomorrow) are the inheritors of three decades of identity politics, which have come to be a central driver of attitudes on college campuses. Students aren’t dummies; they look around their colleges and see that there are huge incentives to join the ideological bandwagon and harsh penalties for questioning the platform’s core ideas.