Latino, Female Conservatives Blacklisted from Philly ‘Diversity’ Center

Alvaro Watson is the founder of Students for Intellectual Freedom National (SIFNA), a classically liberal (conservative) and human rights organization. He holds a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Temple University and is a Norwich University Graduate student studying Diplomacy, concentrating on International Conflict Management.  Follow me @SmtsiJsSayThngs.


4063053_300As an immigrant from El Salvador, I celebrate the inclusiveness implied by the name and mission of the International House Philadelphia (IHP). I fled a country where progressive societal attitudes and governmental policies opposed racial inclusivity and intellectual diversity. 

Validating my celebration were IHP President and CEO Tanya Steinberg’s words, which boasted the IHP’s promotion of “intercultural understanding, and contribut[ion] to … personal and professional development,” while providing a “forum for dialogue and communication between people of all cultures on topics ranging from art to science…and a destination for tens of thousands of visitors each year.”

With relief comparable only to the feeling of no longer having to fear the constant political violence, lingering danger and ravenous intimidation of my former country, I rejoiced over Steinberg’s declaration that the IHP “uniquely offers … the opportunity to become engaged in a variety of new experiences…work in a progressive environment, and truly be a global citizen…all in the context of developing a greater understanding of the American experience.”

The organization seems to afford the option of hope and possibility for coexistence amongst humankind.  However, these pronouncements of inclusive diversity more resemble the desperate cries of Utopianism. Meanwhile, despite their claims of being “a vehicle to facilitate international understanding and dialogue,” some of the leadership’s actions appear to be vehicles of the progressive Left’s intellectual intolerance.

Recently, in hopes of returning as a second-time paying-customer, I sought to rent a venue from the IHP for our “Giving Voice” event, featuring Jennifer Stefano, a conservative feminist and Pennsylvania’s state director for Americans for Prosperity.  My organization – Students for Intellectual Freedom National (SIFNA) – intended to feature Stefano to highlight the importance of women’s voices in politics and society.  SIFNA wanted Stefano to represent the point of view of a significant segment of American women before the IHP and greater Philadelphia communities.

A key point of this presentation was to amplify awareness of the tools of suppression the progressive Left uses to stifle and shut down the voice of conservative feminism.  This theme must have stuck in the throats of IHP’s progressives, given their idea of “tolerance,” which is only afforded only to those they consider to be “alternative” voices.  Progressive tolerance does not extend to mainstream “conservative” ideas because the Left judges conservatives as always intolerant.  Therefore, in true cultural Marxist fashion, it is tolerant to be intolerant of those whom one considers “intolerant.”

IHP appears to believe that the only authentic voice representing issues of interest to women, racial, cultural and sexual-gender minorities must fall in line with a Leftist, Marxist-based point of view.  Progressives cannot seem to accept that a black or female conservative position is authentic as well, and they often target such people for exclusion in a way that can only be labeled McCarthyist.  I wanted to imagine that IHP could not possibly be an example of progressive intolerance.  As I learned, that was just wishful thinking.

After clearing a date and time for the venue for Stefano’s talk with a representative from IHP, I set about the process of planning, which included writing up some promotional materials.  The following day, IHP’s Director — Mr. Parker — informed me that my request was canceled because of preliminary communications on my part regarding the event, stating that “You can’t promote the event location if it isn’t confirmed, and certainly can’t imply our participation as a host.” It was unclear how Mr. Parker became aware of any pre-promotional activities.

Striving to fully understand their processes and establish a long-lasting relationship with IHP, I asked to be shown the specific policy that clearly states that pre-promoting an event is grounds for canceling requests for space.

His response: “First of all, the fact that you don’t even have an agreement from us is part of the point. We reserve the right to hold or cancel any request for our venue. I will not respond any further to this. The matter is closed.”

I understand their right to hold or cancel any request for their venue.  However, Mr. Parker did not even consider addressing my proposal to start clean, having the event later.  I have yet to see a policy of pre-promotion as a basis for cancellation in writing as opposed to being based on “common understanding,” in the words of Mr. Parker.

It is my opinion that the sudden change cannot be accounted for by the issue of pre-promotion, but that Mr. Parker had gotten cold feet due to the subject matter not falling in line with the ideological monopoly of the progressive Left, dominant at IHP.  It seems that the IHP seeks to establish an intellectual dictatorship over the arena where competing ideas and debate are supposed to freely flow and thrive.

Question: If IHP cannot take the time to entertain this foreigner’s request for information to help me understand their processes so that, moving onward, I can do everything per IHP’s policies, how audacious is their suggestion to anyone in Philadelphia (or the world) that they are welcoming to others’ “global” and diversely multicultural ideas and opinions?

Question: How dangerous is it for such veto-power to fall unto Mr. Parker, an individual, who evidently believes that if one’s personal understanding of “common understanding” does not fall in line with his personal opinion of what “common understanding” is, the matter is closed?

Question: Does Mr. Parker represent the progressive Left’s view of what a climate that values the free-flow of ideas and civil discourse looks like?

Moreover, the same woman who showed me the available schedule later informed me that no such availability existed. Her manner suggested that she was fearfully carrying out a directive from above.

My family sought the United States for its liberty, notions of intellectual freedom and tolerance, life, and the opportunity to contribute to a country that afforded us a second chance, in the absence of progressive suppression.  When I sought Pennsylvania as my home, I never thought I would find little El Salvador deep in the heart of Mr. Parker’s International House Philadelphia.

A close friend asked whether I had already burned my bridges with IHP, for if I had not, writing this article would certainly make impossible any future work with them. “Human nature,” he said, adding, “And they will dig in their heels.  Not a good idea if some of the fault was yours.”

This was tough to respond to because I have admitted that part of the responsibility was mine because I was not aware of Mr. Parker’s “common understanding” of non-pre-promotion.

The damage is done, apparently irreversibly.  I would rather not be welcomed at IHP and let the principle of Giving Voice triumph than choose silence and acquiescence to progressive intolerance.

In light of the recent, blatant intellectual intolerance which Ayaan Hirsi Ali has experienced, as Brandeis University rescinded an honorary degree in Social Justice (of all things) after “discovering” that this fighter for women’s rights had some enemies on the Left because of her criticism of Islam, we must assert the following: It is more urgent than ever to stand up for the virtue of alternative voices and the keys they afford us to closed, unexplored, unexamined areas and ideas of life.

Voices do not need venues to be heard and celebrated, as Ms. Ali has proven over the last few weeks. Venues like IHP, however, do need to celebrate all voices, to remain in truth the champions of inclusiveness and intellectual diversity they claim to be.

We must vigorously enter the debate on the side of intellectual freedom to foster an open intellectual environment, countering all atmospheres contaminated by intellectual intolerance.

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  • Reina Howard

    It is alarming that what we left behind in Latin America is spreading
    and reaching us in the States. Many in the States do not realize the
    proximity (and infiltration) of the enemies of our freedoms.

  • The Facts

    This article specifically shows that Ms. Watson got caught trying to promote a derivative and is now claiming racism because she was blocked from advertising something she didn’t have. She wants special treatment for being Salvadoran.

    • Gislef

      Perhaps you could point out what part of the article specifically says Watson promoted “a derivative.” Thanks!

      The only person mentioning racism is you.

      • The Facts

        The derivative is to advertise an event sponsored by an agency, neither of which had been finalized. Watson is promoting something fake, therefore. The bluff was called, so the author screamed “racism.” Very disgusting.

        • Alvaro E. Watson

          Troll.

          • The Facts

            There’s nothing intolerant about calling someone a troll for calling out your desperately desperate ploy to use “inclusivity” to include race baiting religious fundamentalists into a forum? Even a forum that wasn’t agreed upon yet? Please. Do you think you are the first person to play the “celebrate all voices” angle of infiltration politics?

          • Alvaro E. Watson

            “Facts,” when you show you put out your verifiable name and face out there, I’ll gladly entertain your words. At the moment, they mean nothing and should continue to mean nothing to anything. Thank you.

    • http://www.chaverimisrael.org Norbert Haag

      That is a useless comment. As your co-belivers you can not ever come up with a critique but always have to use ad hominem arguments.

      Your new favourite ad hominem tool is to call every person not in line with your beliefs a racist.

      Trust me the racists are on your side of the aisle.

      • The Facts

        You are one to talk about “co-believers.” I am an atheist, whereas you ran a failed Zionist website, chaverimisrael.

        • http://www.chaverimisrael.org Norbert Haag

          thanks for the kudos and for showing that you can never come up with anything but ad hominem.

          • The Facts

            It is the man who crafts the argument, not the other way round. Frontpage should hire better men.

          • http://www.chaverimisrael.org Norbert Haag

            I could accept that you are of the atheist religion. But your style to never comment to the argument but only to bully and use ad hominem arguments proofs you are an uneducated halfwit. Which I agree can be found in every domination including atheists.

          • Lanna

            The Leftist Marxist Progressive Movement has a problem…They can’t stand on truth and there fore cannot debate on the facts and come out on top…They win by lieing, intimidating, and covering up the truth!

    • Joe The Gentile

      Moderators and posters take note: from my observations I think ‘The Facts’ is a troll. I don’t believe he/she is so stupid as to believe what he/she is saying (note there is no claim of racism on the part of Ms, Watson), and says provocative things to derail discussion. This is I believe part of a pattern. Posters, consider not feeding.

      • Alvaro E. Watson

        You’re spot-on, Joe. My article had no cries to racism; rather, just calling out the hypocrisy in the mission and some of the leadership of the International House of Philadelphia. As you said of the troll comically named “The Facts” is quite true. To anyone/everyone engaging in civil, intelligent, simple discussion, this is obvious. Thank you to all of you who read the article for the message I convey, not for the distractions of passers-by Progressive occupiers. #GivingVoice!

        • The Facts

          OK. I must have misread the several times you pulled the poor immigrant from El Salvador facing an intolerant university line in your article.

          • Habbgun

            Yeah,,, your fellow Occupiers don’t pull the victim card. They blame Capitalism for their flea bites.

        • Habbgun

          You should note he makes sure that his account can’t be followed. He hits and runs…runs some more. I challenged him to open and let us follow him to his sites but he just wants to preen. He has never made a single worthwhile comment and sheer numbers should mean he would by accident.

  • Reina Howard

    Mr. Watson is a Conservative man promoting the voice of Conservative women, Mr. The Facts.

    The left wants to continue to silence the voice of Conservative women; well, it is not going to happen anymore.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    The Marxist Totalitarian Left celebrates diversity as a celebration of non-assimilation and integration into traditional American culture, as the Marxist Totalitarian Left is all about the balkanization of America, as without its “divide and conquer” strategy, i.e., race baiting, class warfare, sexism, war on women, fake illegal immigrant rights, etc, etc., etc, ad nauseum, it cannot win elections and gain power.

    Furthermore, for the Marxist Totalitarian Left “civil rights” is no longer about civil rights anymore, instead it’s all about “social justice”, i.e., Marxism. Thus, anyone who opposes them and what they stand for are pegged as racists, white supremacists, homophobes, or Islamophobes. Indeed, what else can the Marxist Totalitarian Left run on, as their Marxist economic policies always inevitably fails just like clockwork, and more and more people inevitably always end up out of the work force and as wards of the state. Not to mention that their social experiments like Obamacare, for instance, always blows up in their face, and their pacifist stance on gutting the military to fund new social experiments is an open invitation for more and greater wars. In other words, Marxism in all of its glorious manifestations always inevitably ends up in disaster. It’s just a matter of time.

    What do you call repeating the same failed social experiments over and over again while expecting a different result?

  • Dale Warner

    “Progressives cannot seem to accept that a black or female conservative position is authentic as well, and they often target such people for exclusion in a way that can only be labeled McCarthyist.”

    This is getting weird. So many new Conservatives have adopted the label “McCarthyist” to mean “Stalinist.” The fact is that the late former Sen. McCarthy was not at all like the vision presented of him as he is in this essay.

    Why do thoughtful people hold him out as truthfully representing the views that extremist, hard-left agitators have penned for him in the years since his death?
    It certainly means that the new Conservatives do not think deeply at all about the names and labels they use, and thus feed the recycled hatreds of the extremist, hard-left anti-Americans & anti-humans in our midst.

    If any of these writers had actually listened to the Army-McCarthy hearing back in the day, they would never use “McCarthyist” to mean “Stalinist.”

  • bigfred41

    Just like when Hillary demanded in the 1990s that the government censor talk radio. Just like how before that the hypocrite Gloria Steinem banned Camille Paglia from NOW events (and why Paglia referred to Steinem as ‘Stalin’.)

    Things never change. Liberals are usually the ones stifling freedom in the world.

  • Lanna

    No matter what people have been told, the Left does not represent true freedom and equality. They are willing to give away free stuff to gain votes, but they are not willing to hear other voices of diversity or Conservative principles on an equal playing field..When immigrants, Hispanics and blacks find this out, they will be disgusted they didn’t find out years ago and were not helping to promote a Free society for all people.

  • Rmic

    Truth stands in opposition to the agenda of the so called tolerant progressives. Light exposes them and their beliefs for what they are. The Sunshine of Conservatism to a leftist is the light of dawn to Dracula.

  • jeannebodine

    Mr. Watson, as someone who worked in Philly for 25 years and lives just outside the city (not far from IHP), I’d just like to say how happy I am to hear from you! The birthplace of our great country should welcome ALL voices. Unfortunately, progressive views seem to control our institutions but we are out there. Enough brave people like you speaking out & we just might make a difference. Thank you!

    • Alvaro E. Watson

      Jeannebodine, thank you for the kind words. There are two things Progressives consider scary, even threatening: 1) That dormant, perhaps shy Conservatives will realize that, hey, our Voice is just as important and needed in the National Conversation; and 2) as more Conservatives realize that they, too, have a voice, the Progressive argument (on every issue) will be noticed and revealed as the weaker, much ineffective plan for what is best for the Nation. Conservatives are everywhere – in fact, we make for WELL above half the country. We just need to write more, speak more, vote more, stand tall, chin up and hold eyes of pride. Thank you very much for your voice.