The Real Problem on Today's College Campus
The problem on campus these days is not racism. It is the lack of racism.
For decades, the campus left has preached (falsely) that all injustice in the world may be reduced to the elementary component vectors of race, gender, and unequal redistribution of wealth. After America's unprecedented civil rights activation of half a century, Americans live in the most relatively discrimination-free utopia that world history has ever known. These things together are an intolerable state of affairs.
Real moral problems exist, and real injustices occur, but because the American left academy has insisted that all these things can be reduced ad absurdum to "race," then race, somehow, in the aggrieved mind of an adolescent simply, must be at fault...for nearly everything...somehow.
In that age, the late teens and early twenties, when the passion for significance runs headlong into the first thoughts of moral agency, great causes are sought. In our present world, these kids have not been allowed to be exposed to Christian persecution, missionaries combating poverty, or the march of democratic freedom in the face of tyrannical regimes. No, these kids have been steeped in a weirdness where sexual adventurism is proclaimed as identity and tone of skin is the sole competitor for the same. They were told over and over again since birth that the only acceptable public passions about right and wrong can and always should be reduced to either crotch or race. The adolescents choose race, crotch being a bit too personal right now.
But there is a problem.
Today's American campus is essentially without racism – real racism, that is. No one ever gets fired for being the wrong color; if one did, legions of lawyers and hundred-million-dollar lawsuits would ensue. So everyone frantically tippy-toes around what skin color you are in order to not offend the trial lawyers union. Scholarships are sent out by the billions to insure that the "right" mix of skin tones is achieved. Big, big money and overwhelming threats of both law and professional pressure ensure that the tiniest inference of bias with respect to "race" is immediately greeted with great fusillade of cannon. The campus is raceless.
But for the impassioned adolescent, filled with both the moral unction for a cause and the fulsome knowledge that only sex or race is acceptable to make a scene about, there is a barrier. The barrier is that there's no barrier. No one can remember the last time someone was docked pay, let alone fired, for being the wrong color. No one can remember the last time a Barbie doll was hung in effigy over skin tone. But we can now remember lots of fake such incidents, where "race activists" have simulated acts of racial vandalism in order to get attention. This latest spate of nonsense on campus is of a piece with the same.
When there's no cause, make one up. When there's no injustice, zoom in closer until you find some. Drama, after all, can justify poor performance. And the great impassioned moral unction mixed with feeling within our breast is "real" right? And feelings are realities, right? Didn't our hyphenated grievance studies teacher tell us that? Perception is all; I control perception; so I am all! And so every thin-skinned whiner who ever heard an insult thinks that his offense is now an international incident.
Prepped and primed with emotional discontent, mixed solidly with the first awakenings of a youthful moral sense in search of some moral clue, here come the protesters, ranting and raving about nothing. They are unaware that they do the bidding of America's enemies, who wish to destroy our institutions and leave the countryside in chaos. And they are people whose parents didn't direct their moral and spiritual sense toward something that matters, toward a problem that actually exists. This leaves them all the more emphatic – they have a moral sense but have absolutely no one interested in it, because they have no practice or refinement in its use. As such, they rage with exponential indignation, trying to attract a crowd, trying to assert their significance when, in fact, they don't have any.
Hence the demand for people to be fired. Firings seems significant! They changed something! Outcome-based education! This has little to do with the cause and much to do with the need for feeling a cause of some kind. And the cause of some kind is a crime of opportunity – their academics have told them endlessly that this type of rage will be the most sacred and the most utterly coddled kind. These kids should not be allowed to demonstrate in favor of their religion. They shouldn't be allowed to demonstrate in favor of self-defense. They shouldn't be allowed even to demonstrate against the indentured servitude of having only one student loan provider in the USA. But they will be lionized on CNN if they rant and rave about "race" and stoke the fires of conflict that otherwise would not erupt.
And then there are the grandparents. That is, the hippies from the '60s who felt that the answer to everything was a protest and a sit-in. Their crybaby grandchildren are now committing sit-ins against granny-hippy. But granny-hippy wants to join the sit-in against herself, because she feels that's the way to be cool. Granny-hippy doesn't get it – this is all about being offended while young and protesting The Man, and granny-hippy is now The Man and, hence, very bad. They don't know what their cause is, they don't know who the man is, but they are sure that they're making history and they are really offended. Someone must pay!
Where ends grievance without crime? Granny-hippy and hipster-hippy-retro conspire together to manufacture both the crime and the punishment. Granny-hippy agrees she's been very bad (for doing what no one can tell, except it's got something to do with Halloween costumes), and hipster-hippy agrees to skip class, and everyone demands that granny-hippy be fired for generating insufficiently hip hippy-safety spaces. Playtime for radicals! The engineering students, who will soon have jobs, could not be reached for comment, as they were at the library, studying.
My only question is, who replaces granny-hippy as someone yet more "sensitive" to the increasingly incoherent "struggle"? And when hipster-hippy takes over granny-hippy's job, what shall the next generation protest, since we're already at failure to initiate speech others would've preferred?