Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Fascist Bullying at Brown University

From National Review online: an article about how, at Brown University, a secret Facebook group is required to allow students to discuss political issues without fear of bullying. Some excerpts:
At Brown University, in Providence, R.I., there is a secret forum in which students may discuss potentially controversial issues freely. Let me say that again: At Brown, there is a secret forum in which students may discuss potentially controversial issues — or anything they want — freely.

Yes, there is an underground group whose purpose is to allow kids to say what they ought to be free to say above ground.

As David Frum remarked on Twitter, when he read the magazine piece, What is this? Warsaw 1983 or America 2015?

The group came about in this way: Last year, Brown was to host a debate on the issue of campus rape. In one corner was Jessica Valenti, a radical feminist, and in the other was Wendy McElroy, a radical libertarian. It was suspected that McElroy would deny there was a “culture of rape.” And this was intolerable to some students, who protested mightily — in advance, mind you.

The debate came off, to Brown’s credit. Not so the speech attempted the year before by Ray Kelly, who was New York’s police commissioner. At Brown, he was to give a lecture called “Proactive Policing in America’s Biggest City.” The kids at Brown, or some of them, were not interested in what he had to say — so they forced him off the stage, denying everyone else the right to hear him.

Needless to say, the protesters and censors accused Kelly of racism. His policing practices were racist, they charged. Of course, those practices — especially “stop and frisk” — saved countless lives. And most of those lives were black or brown. But this sort of thing is trivial to the “social justice warrior.”

Anyway, Kelly was not permitted to speak, but this Valenti-McElroy debate came off. Brown had taken some mollifying steps, however.

The university’s president announced that she opposed McElroy’s view — and scheduled a lecture for the same time as the debate. The lecture, by a Brown psychiatry professor, was called “The Research on Rape Culture.” Evidently, it was not enough that the debate would be just that: a debate, a clash of views. There had to be a separate event, without a debate, without a clash, without a disagreement.

Also, students set up a safe space for those who might attend the debate and be shaken by something they heard. A “safe space”? Yes. This space, in the words of Judith Shulevitz, writing in the New York Times, was a room “equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.”

. . .

In October, the [Brown Daily] Herald published a couple of controversial columns by a student writing under a pseudonym. These had to do with race, ethnicity, and that most radioactive of holidays: Columbus Day. The editors removed one of the columns from the paper’s website. And they apologized abjectly for the publication of both of them. I believe the apology resembles a Mao-era self-criticism. Is that going too far? Here’s a swatch:
We as The Herald are part of a history of Brown that is founded on inequality and that is too often slow to change. Brown itself is built on land that belonged to the Narragansett and Wampanoag nations, and yet the University has no formal relationships with them. … By failing to be more inclusive of marginalized voices, The Herald does not fully live up to its potential or our community’s expectations. We must continue to make active efforts to recruit and retain a diverse staff. Without this, we will continue to fall short and repeat our mistakes. To those who have been most deeply hurt, we ask you to share your voice with us and with the Brown community at large. Understandably, this is an unequal burden, but we cannot progress without help.
(To read the apology, or self-criticism, or editors’ note, in full, go here.)
Read the entire thing, especially the parts about the rationalizations the intolerant leftists use to shut up speech they don’t like. The key concepts are “violence” and “invalidating” and “marginalizing” or “erasing” the “experiences” of people deemed to be victims. All of these things reduce merely to disagreeing with the politically correct orthodoxy.


An article about one of the examples of politically correct bullying at Brown, engagingly titled “White People Are Good With Cows, Brown University People Are Bad With Free Speech.”

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