YALE LAW SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION: If you belong to the Federalist Society, you’re presumptively racist:
The second-year law student, a member of both the Native American Law Students Association and the conservative Federalist Society, had invited classmates to an event cohosted by the two groups. “We will be christening our very own (soon to be) world-renowned NALSA Trap House … by throwing a Constitution Day Bash in collaboration with FedSoc,” he wrote in a Sept. 15 email to the Native American listserv. In keeping with the theme, he said, the mixer would serve “American-themed snacks” like “Popeye’s chicken” and “apple pie.” . . .
Within minutes, the lighthearted invite had been screenshotted and shared to an online forum for all second-year law students, several of whom alleged that the term “trap house” indicated a blackface party.
“I guess celebrating whiteness wasn’t enough,” the president of the Black Law Students Association wrote in the forum. “Y’all had to upgrade to cosplay/black face.” She also objected to the mixer’s affiliation with the Federalist Society, which she said “has historically supported anti-Black rhetoric.”
“Trap house” has been a term used in progressive pop culture since at least 2016, when the socialist podcast “Chapo Trap House” burst onto the scene. Hosted by three white men, the podcast has received sympathetic profiles in the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Guardian, none of which suggest that there is anything racial about its name. Once associated with inner city crack dens, “trap house” has also become generic slang for any place where young people can score beer.
The hosts of Chapo Trap House did not respond to a request for comment about the show’s title.
Just 12 hours after the email went out, the student was summoned to the law school’s Office of Student Affairs, which administrators said had received nine discrimination and harassment complaints about his message.
At a Sept. 16 meeting, which the student recorded and shared with the Washington Free Beacon, associate dean Ellen Cosgrove and diversity director Yaseen Eldik told the student that the word “trap” connotes crack use, hip hop, and blackface. Those “triggering associations,” Eldik said, were “compounded by the fried chicken reference,” which “is often used to undermine arguments that structural and systemic racism has contributed to racial health disparities in the U.S.”
Eldik, a former Obama White House official, went on to say that the student’s membership in the Federalist Society had “triggered” his peers.
“The email’s association with FedSoc was very triggering for students who already feel like FedSoc belongs to political affiliations that are oppressive to certain communities,” Eldik said. “That of course obviously includes the LGBTQIA community and black communities and immigrant communities.”
The statement signals that administrators at the country’s top-ranked law school now regard membership in mainstream conservative circles as a legitimate object of offense—and as potential grounds for discipline. The Federalist Society, founded by Yale Law students in 1982, has spread nationwide over the past four decades and become one of most influential legal groups in the country. Members include all six conservative justices on the Supreme Court, as well as the late Antonin Scalia, who spoke at the society’s inaugural conference.
Everyone who doesn’t toe the line is a racist homophobic bigot because . . . well, because calling people bigots has worked for them.
This is a disgrace, and Eldik, Cosgrove, and Dean Heather Gerken need to apologize.
Plus: “The episode also offers a peek into the culture of campus diversity offices that claim to be a resource for all students. Behind closed doors, the leaked audio suggests, these bureaucracies are less ecumenical than their public messaging lets on: Their goal isn’t to make universities more inclusive, but rather to wield the threat of exclusion against disfavored groups.”