|Should college "celebrate" anything? Or just inform/discuss?|
This commitment to ideology is such that many women in academia (and outside it as well) cannot abide anything that fails to fit their gender-baiting agenda and will go for the jugular at the slightest provocation. There is simply no room for dissent or compromise in this tyranny of the so-called oppressed. After I tweeted a link to last week's post on rape, several women sought to destroy my mutually enriching several-year relationship with Lehigh University. For all I know, they succeeded. (I know for a fact that they told my dean that I had no business being anywhere near a college classroom and that they'd not be comfortable if I were their daughter's professor.) Beware the wrath of a Feminist scorned.
What happened to the climate of critical thinking and open-minded exploration that academics love to uphold in their op-eds and glossy recruitment brochures?
Notwithstanding the foregoing, I do have a congenital dislike for being dismissed as a lunatic, so I thought I'd try a parallel to another issue that has been much in the news and should resonate with everyone reading this.
Ever since the Michael Brown shooting we've heard numerous black commentators talk plaintively about raising their sons as young black men—in particular the importance of imbuing black males with what might be termed "rules for being African-American in public." Far from being out there on the hysterical fringe, these commentators have included esteemed New York Times journalist Charles Blow, CNN's Sunny Hostin* and others. These rules include the likes of "don't make a scene," "don't run anywhere after dark—there may be cops around," "never argue with the police, even if they stop you without cause," etc. Some parents even try to micromanage their sons' attire, instructing them to avoid wearing hoodies, baggy/saggy jeans and other elements of "thug-wear." In sum, these rules would seem to hark back to the gentility of the old Plantation South and the obsequious deference then expected of blacks. Are these notions disempowering to young black men? Probably so. Do they unfairly burden the potential victim with responsibility for his own potential victimization? Absolutely.
Now, are these parents racists? Self-haters? Clearly not. They're pragmatists who know the ropes, or think they do, and seek to prevent their kids from ending up under arrest or under the ground (or lying dead on a hot Missouri street for hours). We would all hope that in years to come such concessions to pragmatism will be unnecessary, grim vestiges of a less enlightened era. In the meantime, however, black parents discourage their kids, especially their teenage sons, from "bucking the system." This, by the way, was no newsflash to me. Long before Michael Brown, long before Trayvon Martin, I knew (personally) black parents who would become enraged with their sons for calling attention to themselves in public; the transgressors got screamed at and/or were grounded.
So I'll end this post where I started the other, controversial one. Rape is always wrong; I don't want to see one more woman raped. And rape, let us not forget, too often leads to murder. Why tempt fate?
* I am not a fan of Hostin, whom I regard as an unreconstituted racist, but she's a mainstream darling, so she fills the bill here.