Campus 'Diversity Council' posts fake racist flyers as part of 'invisible theater'
I don't think even Ivan Reitman and John Landis, the creators of Animal House, could have come up with a more bizarre movie plot than what really happened on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.
Students woke up one morning to find blatantly racist flyers posted around campus. The flyers read as if they were written by the White Citizens Council:
Predictably, outrage ensued.
But wait. The flyers were actually written by the school's "Diversity Council." It was part of something they called – no kidding – "Invisible Theater" events and was supposed to educate the community about bias and hate.
On Monday, the Diversity Leadership Council published a Facebook post explaining that it had posted the fake flyers to "promote, preserve, and protect on-campus diversity" and "to help educate our peers and campus community about issues of bias, and the importance of being an active bystander."
"We want to help put an end to bias-related incidents that happen on our campus, social media, and in our communities by forcing individuals to have dialogues about forms of hate and bias," the post stated.
"Forcing individuals to have dialogues about forms of hate and bias" sounds pretty creepy. Forcing anybody to dialogue about anything smacks of authoritarianism.
Hey, but it's all for a good cause, right?
Hey, kids? If you want to "help put an end to bias-related incidents that happen on our campus," how about you address those incidents instead of distracting from them by making up a fake one? Seriously – just what is bringing awareness to a fake issue going to solve? It's not going to help solve that issue, because – and sorry if I'm blowing your mind here – a problem has to actually exist in order for you to be able to solve it.
But this isn't about "solving problems." This is about justifying the existence of the Diversity Council. If racism and hate need to be exaggerated and even created on campus, perhaps the school should take a second look at whether a "Diversity Council" is really necessary.
Now, I am not sure exactly what kinds of "bias-related incidents" are happening on that campus, but I do know that there being people on campus who felt so strongly that only white people should live in America that they were running around posting "AMERICA IS A WHITE NATION" flyers to help achieve that would be a serious one indeed. Presumably, this fake incident is on a completely different level from anything that is actually happening on that campus, which means that any "dialogues" related to it are on a completely different level, too. No doubt, these flyers must have left a lot of people feeling freaked out and threatened based on a false issue, all for the sake of having a discussion about something that didn't even exist – and that's about as disgusting as it gets.
These groups' little stunt wasn't merely stupid; it also has the potential to create long-term harm. For one, it likely has hurt the school's reputation. There are almost certainly people who heard only the news about the flyers, and not that the flyers turned out to be a hoax.
What's more, it may actually hinder these groups' aim of achieving racial justice on campus. Going forward, any actual bias incidents may be looked at more skeptically.
I have no doubt that there are people on campus who harbor racist feelings. Unless they are completely insane, they tend to hide those feelings from their fellow students, although some Black Lives Matter activists are so oblivious to their own race-hatred that they let the cat out of the bag long ago.
But on your average liberal arts campus, how serious a problem is racism? Those who think like the Diversity Council believe that all white people are racist at heart and need to be re-educated. They stop just short of recommending concentration camps. Instead, you have forced "diversity" seminars and "invisible theater" productions that do little more than point out the need to seriously rethink how to approach the problem of racism on campus.
Fake flyers that wildly exaggerate the views of almost all white people aren't helping.