College president target of protestors' rage for saying 'all lives matter'

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney got into trouble with the rabid left earlier this week when she made the stupid mistake of taking the "black lives matter" slogan and making it a more eucumenical "all lives matter."

Liberals erupted in rage, forcing McCartney to quickly back down.

Fox News:

The president of prestigious Smith College is red-faced and apologetic Tuesday for telling students on the Northampton, Mass., campus that "all lives matter."

Kathleen McCartney wrote the phrase in the subject line of an e-mail to students at the school, whose alumni include feminists Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, former First Lady Nancy Reagan and celebrity chef Julia Child. McCartney was attempting to show support for students protesting racially charged grand jury decisions in which police in Missouri and New York were not charged in the deaths of unarmed black men.

Protesters have adopted several slogans in connection with the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, including "Black Lives Matter." McCartney's more inclusive version of the refrain was seen as an affront that diminished the focus on black lives and racism, according to emails obtained by

“We are united in our insistence that all lives matter,” read the e-mail,in which she made clear she was strongly behind the protests, writing that the grand jury decisions had “led to a shared fury… We gather in vigil, we raise our voices in protest.”

But she soon received backlash from students for her phrasing. They were offended that she did not stick with the slogan “black lives matter.”

The Daily Hampshire Gazette, which first covered the story, quoted one Smith sophomore, Cecelia Lim, as saying, “it felt like she was invalidating the experience of black lives.”

In response to student backlash, McCartney apologized in another campus-wide email Friday, saying she had made a mistake “despite my best intentions.” 

She wrote that the problem with the phrase lay in how others had used it.

“I regret that I was unaware the phrase/hashtag “all lives matter” has been used by some to draw attention away from the focus on institutional violence against Black people,” she wrote.

In her apology e-mail, McCartney also shared some of the student emails she received.

She quoted one student as saying: “It minimizes the anti-blackness of this the current situation; yes, all lives matter, but not all lives are being targeted for police brutality. The black students at this school deserve to have their specific struggles and pain recognized, not dissolved into the larger student body."

The problem of "taking the focus" off black issues is one of messaging.  In liberal protest politics, everyone must speak with the same voice – freelancing the message is a no-no.  McCartney, realizing the error of her ways, groveled before the protestors, seeking their forgiveness.

But the stupidity of objecting to McCartney's logical conclusion that "all lives matter" is that the message sent by denouncing McCartney as a traitor to the cause is that all lives don't matter – or that some lives matter more than others – which is a clearly ridiculous position to hold, regardless of whether one believes in the protestors' cause.  In their eagerness to purify the message, the protestors ended up looking like idiots.

The obvious conclusion is stated by Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE):

It’s getting increasingly difficult to figure out what you can say on the modern campus, even for university presidents… Too many of today’s students want freedom from speech rather than freedom of speech.

He added: “It’s hard to challenge minds while walking on eggshells.”

Of course, the goal is not to challenge minds, but to control them.  And in service to that goal, the left gets farther and farther away from reality until even college presidents feel the tug of conformity.

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