November 27, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION: Students Told to Disavow ‘American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality.’ “My name is Ryan Lovelace, and I dropped that politically correct political science class. . . . As a student at an institution predominantly focused on the liberal arts, I expected to hear professors express opinions different from my own. I did not expect to be judged before I ever walked through the door, and did not think I would be forced to agree with my teachers’ worldviews or suffer the consequences.”

UPDATE: Reader Jenn Tanaka writes:

I felt compelled to respond to your post on college students being asked to denounce whiteness, maleness, etc., I have to tell you that this is nothing compared to what I encountered at Duke University. I had a freshman seminar with a professor and the first thing — the very first thing — he told us was that we were all white male supremacists and that the purpose of the class was to help us recognize, accept, and remedy this fact. He said that this characterization applied to everyone in the class, including a half-Asian woman like me. Note that he made this assertion before speaking to any of us or even learning our names. I actually grew to like the class and the professor quite a bit, but it was in spite of this kind of liberal tripe, not because of it.

Finally some unsolicited advice to the Ryan Lovelaces of the world: don’t drop the class. Take it and be as subversive as common decency allows. I’ve always believed that academia’s liberal bias uniquely advantages conservatives and libertarians because it guarantees that such students do not grow up in an intellectual echo-chamber. Instead, they are challenged every day to communicate clearly, order their thoughts with care and sharpen their arguments.

You should immediately complain to the Office of Equity and Diversity that you feel uncomfortable on account of your race/gender and are contemplating litigation. Meanwhile, reader Jody Green writes:

That is the scariest story I have ever read. He is paying $40,000 a year for that crap!!!!!!!!! My daughter will get her associates degree this year and was planning on getting bachelors from a state college the next two years. I am thinking she may do better taking the $20 – $30 thousand dollars that will consume and start a business or travel the world. Am I overreacting?

Possibly. But this sort of story certainly ought to make people think twice about what they’re paying for.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Patrick O’Malley writes:

Jenn Tanaka’s advice to stay in classes with radical professors is so important. Conservative minded people have long bemoaned the entrenched liberalism in higher academia, but lately it seems to have turned into an excuse to check out entirely. We can’t afford to do that. In those classes there will be a cohort of students who nod along with the professor and dole out victim status like Halloween candy, but the majority are far more persuadable. If people with opposing views do not stay in those classes and speak up, their classmates will slowly soak up the nonsense and the cheap attacks on conservative views and our society. I wasn’t able to participate in campus political life because of athletics, but one of the things I enjoyed most and took pride in at Yale was speaking up in section and slowly working conservative/libertarian/small government ideas into a dialogue that would otherwise have been a liberal echo chamber. It was my impression that for a lot of my classmates it was their first real exposure to conservative ideas beyond the butt of Daily Show jokes. On good days, I even spotted some nodding heads.

Well, you can exit, or you can voice your disagreements. Both are valid strategies.

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