Campuses across the United States have been set ablaze by the fuel of post-modernism in recent months. One Evergreen State College professor has been the latest victim to feel the heat.
Meet Bret Weinstein. He is a professor of Biology at Evergreen State College – a college that has been viewed by many people as liberal in its culture. Weinstein found himself recently in the middle of a hostile mob demanding his resignation from the institution in which he lectures. Things got nasty.
This is what happened. Evergreen State College administration has a longstanding tradition called “Day of Absence” where minorities and “oppressed” groups (non-whites) are allowed to leave the campus in an apparent demonstration of what college would look like without their presence.
This year, College administration changed the rules. According to Weinstein in an interview with Fox News’s anchor Tucker Carlson, the non-white students were given control of the campus for this year’s “day of absence” and all whites were ordered off its premises. This new arrangement was not agreeable to Weinstein who penned an email dated March 15th to the college’s faculty in protest. After all, he too has the freedom of choice to determine what he will or will not participate in. At least, he thought that was understood by all.
His email pointed out the clear difference between the previous years’ program and this year’s proposed change.
“There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and under-appreciated roles (the theme of the Douglas Turner Ward play Day of Absence, as well as the recent Women’s Day walkout), and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away. The first is a forceful call to consciousness which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.
You may take this letter as a formal protest of this year’s structure, and you may assume I will be on campus on the Day of Absence. I would encourage others to put phenotype aside and reject this new formulation, whether they have ‘registered’ for it already or not. On a college campus, one’s right to speak — or to be — must never be based on skin color.”
Two months later on May 23rd, he was approached by an angry mob of students who demanded Weinstein’s resignation from Evergreen College. The videos which emerged out of this confrontation showed what can only be described as a group of disorderly tantrum-throwing students who were out of control. Their demands were pushed by an idea that they are being oppressed by white males, including Professor Weinstein and whoever rejected this tyranny by these students in the name of racial justice.
Weinstein’s call for a conversation was shunned with the sharpest insults and comments laced with expletives. Police was called in and the Professor was advised to conduct his classes off campus, as his safety can no longer be assured.
There is something very wrong with this picture on a college campus. Non-white students are cherishing the belief that they are part of an oppressed group by virtue of being black, female, gay or trans-gender. And where there is “oppression” there is an oppressor – white males.
They also seem to think that they have no control over being “oppressed” and that their white male oppressors are incapable of a meaningful dialogue to produce a solution that is beneficial to all. The “oppressed” arrived at a solution, though lazily thought out and tyrannically executed: force whites off campus or make them resign. The oppressors can be the oppressed and the self-made social justice warriors can achieve the feeling of an avenger. This is classical post-modernistic thinking- the denial of individual choice, individual volition and personal liberties.
The students later met with the head of evergreen College Mr George Bridges and continued their tirade against him and the police. No student was disciplined as a result of their disrespect. Instead, the College acceded to most of their demands including launching an investigation into the theft of the video recording by “white supremacists” who released clips on the Internet exposing the students’ disgusting behaviour.
We have seen an increase in college turmoil within the last few months. One conservative Sociologist Charles Murray had to be escorted by a supportive Professor after he was interrupted by Students of the Middle Bury College in March this year during his presentation. It was a incident that turned violent leaving one professor hospitalized, a car attacked and shouts of “Racist, anti-gay, sexist!” directed to Murray. How did that debacle end? None of the 67 students were involved in this mob attack was charged with a crime. What is even worse, none was expelled or suspended from Middle Bury College.
There is a sense that in these disruptions, school administrations are respectful of the extreme post-modernist behaviours of their students and will protect them at all cost.
Founding father Thomas Jefferson explained what College life should be about…and it was not a brainwashing into “safe space” and victimhood mentality that is sweeping American colleges. Of the University of Virginia Jefferson spoke concerning the “illimitable freedom of the human mind” where “we are not afraid to follow truth where it may lead, nor to tolerate error so long as reason is free to combat it.” That fundamental value has been lost as the Left push culture of transgression and anti-rights behaviour all geared to destroy the American society and its Christian convictions.
Instead of facilitating anti-freedom and anti-rights practices on campus, College administration must now insist on an environment of open dialogue and debate of all issues. No subject should be immune from critical analysis and no safe space should be created for views and opinions to be restricted. And where the freedom of expression is trampled by students by acts of violence, stiff penalty must be instituted – and these include expulsion, suspension and even arrests. Parents and stakeholder must demand a return on their investment from students who must be made to know that they are not sent to college to think of themselves as an oppressed group – but to think, reason and learn to communicate ideas that will benefit society as a whole.
Professors must continue to stand up to these bullies with reasoned arguments based on documented research.
The value of all fundamental God-endowed freedoms must be upheld in order for a society to remain free.
“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.” Benjamin Franklin, U.S. Founding Father.
Shefflorn Ballantyne is a College Lecturer and author of Surviving Grief and Loss.