Friday, December 05, 2008

Trinity College in uproar over fake racist message.

Some years ago I was asked to guest lecture at Trinity College in Hartford. I believe it was the only time I was on the campus but it seemed like a nice place. However, recently a controversy erupted on campus.

It appears that there is a web site, unaffiliated with the college, called TrinTalk and someone posted a remark that was considered racially insensitive. The closest I came to actual content was that the comment claimed the admission of more minority students lead to a drop in the college’s rankings.

The PC Left came out in force and held protests on campus. They said they wanted to start a “dialogue” which is nice. But, in my experience, when the PC Left says “dialogue” that means they talk and you listen.

One oh-so-PC prof, Johnny Eric Williams, claimed that because he is black “I’m uncomfortable all the the time on this goddamned campus.” To prove how uncomfortable he feels he referred to a handful of minor incidents over a 13 year period. There was some racist graffiti left on a tennis court, rude messages written outside some dorm rooms and students in Halloween costume which Williams found offensive. None of this comes close to a real violation of rights. But apparently it is enough for Prof. Williams to fell uncomfortable “all the time”. Williams knows how to play the victim card for maximum impact. For the record he teaches courses like "Race, Racism & Democracy", "Race and Ethnicity" and "Mass Media, Popular Culture, and Social Reality." The first course teaches "ethnicity and race as reactionary and revolutionary ideologies" The second discusses "persistent and perpetual forms of racial oppression" so students "can better understand the structure and process of politics govern (sic) the everyday lives of oppressed racial groups in capitalist democracies."

Of course, he has an agenda. He is demanding the school increase “student and faculty diversity” and one way of increasing “diversity” is “to not admit students who are intolerant.” The man is a perfect ass. First, many students who enter university as bigots are not bigots when they leave. Bigotry is often a result of social isolation from the people against whom the bigot is prejudiced. Social interaction with these people tends to reduce the levels of prejudice. Prof. Williams wants to make sure that “intolerant” students continue in their social isolation by refusing them admission to university. That makes no sense.

Well, that makes no sense if the goal is to reduce bigotry. But I suspect that is not Prof. Williams’ goal. His goal is to increase the political power of people like himself. This is done by admitting more individuals who agree with his agenda. The bigots will remained bigoted but Prof. Williams will have more clout on campus. Williams thrives on bigotry. His political agenda needs bigotry. If bigotry died completely tomorrow Mr. Williams would be impotent politcally.

The controversy took a new twist when the author of the racist remarks was revealed. It was Lynda Ikejimba, who immigrated to the United States from Nigeria when she was six. She is, as you might expect given her country of origin, black.

Ikejimba has scurried to explain her actions and I’m not sure they make any sense. She claims it was done to “test” the real racial feelings on campus. Her original anonymous comments were deleted by the web site’s administrator shortly after she posted them. But students who were offended by the remarks made sure they were spread as widely as possible -- something that strikes me as stupid or intentionally provocative. There is no indication that students supporting the remarks spread them about.

There was NO racist expressing bigoted views. There was a black woman, pretending to be a racist, posting a fake message. It was deleted. No one supported the message. Yet Prof. Williams feels “uncomfortable all the time on this goddamned campus.” Of course, he could remove himself from campus for someplace that he will feel more comfortable. But I suspect his claim of discomfort is as bogus as the original message that set this whole thing off. His offense is intentionally magnified for the purpose of campus politics, not because he is actually uncomfortable. The handful of incidents he refers to, spanning a 13-year period, never once approach the level of being an actual violation of rights. Surely there is a huge difference between some frat kid in an “insensitive” Halloween costume and a lynch mob. From Prof. Williams' response you wouldn't think so.

My view is that as racism dies its well deserved death the PC “racially-aware” Left will continue to invent excuses for pushing demands. They will exaggerate every potential offense, intentional or unintentional. Every relatively minor incident will be blown far out of proportion. And if no real incidents take place they will do what they can to manufacture them. The reason for this is simple: no one takes their continued demands seriously if there are no serious violations of rights.

The Klan is, for all purposes, dead. Racism is clearly very much a minority viewpoint. A predominantly white country elected a president who isn’t. All this good news is bad news to the campus activists -- professors and students alike. The dearth of serious racist incidents requires the creation of fake incidents and the exaggeration of real, but minor, ones. I, for one, find this sort of politicking offensive. It is filth but political cockroaches thrive on filth.