Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Jim beat me to putting this piece from the NYT magazine in it's proper place. A couple of things that bear reinforcing.

1) All the students were white.

2) As my roommate said, "Since when does being liberal equate with "casual sex"?!!"

3) All the students were white.

This matters, no matter what you might think. Read this passage:

Last fall, Mitchell and the Counterweight staff published a''free speech'' issue of their newspaper. Bearing a photo of the rapper Eminem on the cover, the paper contained two articles that tested the boundaries of what the
administration calls ''acceptable'' speech. In keeping with the kinder, gentler conservative activism of today, the articles were innocuous enough. (They gingerly examined incidents in which white students were chastised by the
university for ''racially insensitive'' acts: in one instance a pair of frat boys dressed up for Halloween in blackface as Serena and Venus Williams; in the other, a white student used the phrase ''What's up, my Negro?'' on the phone with a student he didn't know was black). The articles were carefully written and edited to avoid any hint of endorsement of the acts, but within the heightened atmosphere of identity politics that can govern campuses, the articles were declared racially divisive by offended students, faculty and administrators. Some campus liberals called for The Counterweight to lose its school financing.

To the conservatives, the paradox was obvious: the administration's reaction to the Counterweight stories underlined the very point the editors were trying to make: namely, that the university, in its zeal to ameliorate any
possible friction among students, is stifling the open, vigorous, nontimorous exchange of ideas. ''To me, it's sheltering and patronizing,'' Charles Mitchell says. ''I just believe with every fiber of my being that our speech
code is wrong, and it has to go. It's completely against everything that this university ought to stand for.''

I really wish I had these stories because without them we only have Mr. Colapinto's word that these articles were "innocuous." But because all of the students quoted were white we really don't know how offensive the pieces were (pardon me if I don't trust a white college conservative to gauge the offensiveness of incidents involving race. Let's get real, people). Thus, we are told that the university overrreacted without having any details.

The fact that these students are predominantly white should have been pointed out because without the black college conservative or the Latino college conservative, the idea that this new incarnation of College Republicans is inclusive is just not true. The women angle and the gay angle is distracting because it gives the impression of inclusiveness.

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