“white people making changes in their white supremacist attitudes and behaviors”
Jillian Kay Melchior of the Wall Street Journal obtained emails from Evergreen State College during the campus protests of last spring which provide a window into the insanity there.
Inside the Madness at Evergreen State
Last week the university announced it would pay $500,000 to settle the couple’s complaint. Evergreen said in a statement that the college “strongly rejects” the lawsuit’s allegations, denies the Day of Absence was discriminatory, and asserts: “The college took reasonable and appropriate steps to engage with protesters, de-escalate conflict, and keep the campus safe.”
A different story emerges from hundreds of pages of Evergreen correspondence, which I obtained through Washington state’s Public Records Act. The emails show that some students and faculty were quick to levy accusations of racism with neither evidence nor consideration of the reputational harm they could cause. The emails also reveal Mr. Weinstein and Ms. Heying were not the only ones concerned about a hostile and dangerous campus.
Consider a February exchange, in which Mr. Weinstein—a progressive who is skeptical of identity politics—faulted what he called Evergreen administrators’ “reckless, top-down reorganization around new structures and principles.”
Within minutes, a student named Mike Penhallegon fired back an email denouncing Mr. Weinstein and his “racist colleagues.”
Another student, Steve Coffman, responded by asking for proof of racism within the science faculty. Mr. Coffman cited Christopher Hitchens’s variation of Occam’s razor: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
Jacqueline McClenny, an office assistant for the First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services—a campus office that helped organize the Day of Absence—observed that because Hitchens’s razor is an “Englishman’s popularization of a Latin proverb,” it “would seem to itself be the product of at least two traditionally hierarchical, imperialist societies with an interest in disposing of inconvenient questions.”
Media professor Naima Lowe urged one of Mr. Weinstein’s defenders to read about how calls for civility are “often used to silence and/or dismiss concerns about racism.” She also said that the “white people making changes in their white supremacist attitudes and behaviors” were those “who do not immediately balk and become defensive,” instead acknowledging that “white supremacy is literally ingrained in everything.” In other words, merely defending oneself against the accusation of “white supremacy” is evidence of guilt.
Hat tip to Michael Shermer:
— Michael Shermer (@michaelshermer) September 22, 2017
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