With rare exceptions, the contemporary college campus has become a parody of itself.
The one institution that is supposed to be devoted to innovative thought and the free exchange of ideas has become quite possibly more restrictive in these respects than any other. The reason for this can be summed up in two words: Political Correctness (PC).
“Political Correctness” is the name that has long been used to designate a leftist, “progressive” orthodoxy that is the Zeitgeist of present-day Western societies. It suffers no competitors and is particularly entrenched in academia.
Examples of the pervasiveness, irrationality, and oppressiveness of the PC campus abound.
The College Fix (TCF) is a campus watch organization most of whose contributing authors are college students. In a recent article, Dominic Mancini informs the public about the latest turn of events at Illinois State University. The latter, he tells us, is preparing to roll out a “bystander training program on microaggressions.”
A representative of the university told TCF that the training program will consist of “presentations” that “will help to define what microaggressions are and provide strategies for people who encounter them in social, classroom, or professional settings.” The representative continued, explaining that “the program is being instituted as part of Illinois State’s efforts at raising awareness on diversity issues and being a welcoming and inclusive campus for all students and faculty.”
Evidently, the program on microaggressions is necessary, for a university press release reports that “women and students of color” complain about feelings of “isolation, invisibility, marginalization, and a sense of needing to change themselves in an effort to make their white peers feel more comfortable.” Moreover, these students also “expressed how they lacked a safe space in their new courses with any opportunities to grapple with these concerns given the lack of affirmation from their respective professors.”
TCF contributor Tirzah Montanye shares information regarding the new sociology course over at Cal State Fullerton. “The Social Life of Food,” Dr. Dana Collins, the instructor, told TCF, is aimed to acquaint students with “how all food has a social life, which includes its production within a global food system that rests upon and reproduces global social inequalities” and motivate them to “learn about, imagine, and act upon the possibilities of food justice!”
By the semester’s end, students should know how to write “a recipe that is decolonized.” For their final project, they can do one of two things.
On the one hand, they have the option of writing a paper on a food of their choice, “analyzing its history, transformation through global capitalist production, its environmental costs, and the racialized-gender work that is part of its production.”
On the other hand, students can go to an anti-Trump website, a site offering ways by which to “resist” the President, and adopt from it a “build strategy.”
Dave Huber is another TCF writer who reports on Ohio State University’s “Global Studies Program,” the local home of “Showing Up for Racial Justice.” The latter, via “community organizing, mobilizing, and education” aims to motivate “White people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.”
The assistant director of the OSU’s Global Studies Program remarked that “white people are responsible for racism [.]”
TCF’s editor, Jennifer Kabbany, brings to readers’ attention the flier—bearing the administration’s stamp of approval—that circulated around the campus of Scripps College. The flier implores non-white students to “charge” their white peers for “emotional labor.”
“Emotional labor,” the flier for white students explains, is “the exertion of energy for the purpose of addressing people’s feelings, making people comfortable, or living up to social expectations.”
“Victims of emotional labor,” the flier for “people of color and marginalized backgrounds” states, “can be cornered in the classrooms, on social media, or in social events. If you are constantly having to explain or defend this could be you.”
Non-white and “marginalized” students are also instructed to “call in” their “professors and white peers to help educate their peer(s)” and contact their dean so as to find ways to lessen their “mental toll.”
As for white students, they should “seek [a] community of white people who are educating themselves/thinking about social justice issues,” “compensate the labor” of their “marginalized” counterparts, “educate” themselves via “ethnic studies courses, the internet and score programs,” and, in short, “take ownership for the harm” they “caused.”
At historically black Howard University, the newly confirmed Department of Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, visited with the college’s president, Wayne A.I. Frederick. Shortly afterwards, the quad was vandalized. The vandals left behind graffiti that read:
“Welcome to the Trump Plantation” and “Overseer: Wayne A.I. Frederick.”
The foregoing is just a random selection of cases illustrating the intellectual—or anti-intellectual—life on most college campuses today.
It’s a problem and it’s high time that we address it.