The more one reads stories about political correctness run amok on college campuses, the more one begins to see parallels with the old Soviet Union.
A recent story in the New York Times profiled campus efforts to, among other things, stamp out “microaggressions.”
Among tips offered by Sheree Marlowe, the new chief diversity officer at Clark University in Massachusetts, is a prohibition on the term “you guys,” as it could be interpreted as leaving out women.
This, the Times reported, was an epiphany for Clark student Noelia Martinez, a Massachusetts resident who was born in Puerto Rico to Dominican parents.
Martinez “realized that she, too, was guilty of microaggressions, because she frequently uses the phrase ‘you guys,’ she said. ‘This helped me see that I’m a microaggressor, too.’”
How much further down the rabbit hole do we have to go before we end up at something akin to the Moscow Show Trials of the mid- to late-1930s, when senior Soviet officials publicly confessed to acts they had never committed, with the full understanding that they would be executed.
“I end as a traitor to my party, a traitor who must be shot,” former Soviet official Sergei Mrachkovsky confessed on Aug. 22, 1936, admitting that he played a role in the assassination of prominent Bolshevik Sergey Kirov in 1934 and had “organized a number of terrorist groups who made preparations to assassinate Comrades Stalin” and others.
In reality, it’s almost a certainty that Stalin himself ordered Kirov’s execution, and that the subsequent show trials and purges enabled Stalin to eliminate nearly the entire old Bolshevik guard, completing his consolidation of power.
Mrachkovsky and the hundreds of others who publicly confessed to all manner of crimes against the state had, in reality, done nothing of the sort. They were bullied into confessing, realizing they had no other choice.
While we’re still a long way from what ultimately took place in the Soviet Union, we seem all too happy to lurch along the path of philosophical myopia that shackles intellectual freedom.
The opening paragraph of the Times story begins with the following exchange between Marlowe and an unnamed freshman during a presentation at Clark:
“‘When I, as a white female,’ the freshman asks, ‘listen to music that uses the N word, and I’m in the car, or, especially when I’m with all white friends, is it O.K. to sing along?’
“The answer, from Sheree Marlowe … is an unequivocal ‘no.’”
This seems … odd. No question, the “N word” has a convoluted and troubling history. It’s a repellent word and one that normally shouldn’t be uttered at all except for academic or literary reasons.
But if it’s in a popular song, are all whites supposed to skip the word if they sing along? Who’s to say that they should even be allowed to listen to a song containing the word? Wouldn’t that be considered a “microaggression” to some?
If that seems like a reach, consider that diversity awareness is big business, and it’s growing. About 75 chief diversity officers have been hired by colleges and universities in the past 18 months, according to the Times.
Unfortunately, these are often individuals who would appear to have a vested interest in fostering a culture of victimization, in order to create job security. The more “microaggressions” that can be detailed, the more need for chief diversity officers, and bigger budgets.
Diversity has become a plum fiefdom that no one dares call out for fear of being labeled intolerant.
In reality, most college students, at least until recently, were able to negotiate relatively easily the differences that sometimes occur when happening upon individuals different from themselves. They didn’t need “safety spaces” or to be cautioned about “trigger warnings.”
Open bigotry was identified for what it was, while simply misunderstandings were usually hashed out through conversation or observation. It wasn’t perfect, and, yes, there were always a handful of jackasses around who hadn’t been reared properly.
But to hear diversity officers talk today, though, campuses are rife not only with rampant subtle cultural insensitivity, but overt racism.
There are no honest mistakes, of course, and all misdeeds must be confessed to and punished.
How long before the diversity police begin to demand Show Trials?