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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Back in 1987, Allan Bloom wrote a book about The Closing of American Mind. In it, he warned that colleges were becoming places of indoctrination rather than temples of learning, which requires the freedom to ask and answer questions, even if it might make some uncomfortable.
Thirty-three years after the book appeared, the American mind has been locked down at college and universities by rabid intolerance determined to replace learning with incantation of orthodoxies few dare to question.
But one brave young woman just did.
Her name is Jodi Shaw and she works as a residential staffer at Smith College – the all-female analog of Harvard College. Smith has always been a liberal school – and Shaw is a self-described liberal herself.
But she is the wrong kind of liberal for today’s intolerant liberalism.
She asks questions – and she wants answers. Not only for herself but for the sake of others who aren’t brave enough to demand them. Including her co-workers, who fear they’ll lose their jobs – or worse – if they don’t grovel enthusiastically enough before the BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) Red Guards who have locked down Smith College, where being white – even if female, even if liberal -means you’re guilty – of everything.
And had better apologize for it.
In a ten minute video, she methodically – and plaintively – deconstructs the racist shibboleths of the “structural racism” racket that’s turning American higher education into re-education.
“Stop reducing my personhood to a racial category,” she insists – raising an important question about the motives of people who claim they oppose racism categorizing people . . . according to their race.
“Stop pretending to know who I am and what my culture is based on my skin color . . . stop asking me to project stereotypes and assumptions onto others based on their skin color.”
Isn’t that what liberals used to oppose?
She goes on to explain how she and other white staffers are subject to “extreme intimidation” meant to coerce genuflection before all the tenets of critical race theory, a variant of Marxism which reduces everyone to bots who act according to their skin tone, just as Marx insisted that in economics, everyone is a widget who acts according to his class.
You are condemned – or praised – not according to who you are but what you are – the what being the thing over which you have no control but are to be punished (or rewarded) for it anyhow,
In the name of combatting “structural racism,” racism is to be enshrined, structurally – only with the tones swapping their former one-size-fits-all roles. If some BIPOCS suffered because of racism then all whites must be made to suffer racism, even if the particular whites in the crosshairs never caused anyone to suffer on account of their race.
In this not-so-fun-house, the mirrored reflection of the Obama’s children of color aren’t “privileged” but a young white woman who grew up with a single mother in a single-wide trailer is.
Merit doesn’t matter when all that matters is the color of your skin – especially if it’s white skin – which is all that matters to the BIPOC Red Guards, who don’t give a flip about the content of anyone’s character, their individual humanity . . . the things liberals said they used to care about.
Virtue is now a function of shade. Or a guilt you’re born with.
And Shaw has had enough – the sadness of having to say so evident in her voice. She seems baffled to find herself, a lifelong liberal and alum of a liberal college – the target of an illiberalism that would make Stalin blush.
It’s worth mentioning that it was Stalin who is credited with coining the term, racism – and using it to gaslight one group into submission for its alleged sins against another group, which was egged on to hate the “oppressor” group, all of which served the ancient purpose of divide and conquer. By keeping the people of the old Soviet Union at each other’s throats, Lenin – and then Stalin – kept their hands away from his throat.
Shaw is no radical; she’s not even political. She is simply tired of the illiberality of modern liberalism.
“I’m a human being,” she says – though one not valued by Smith for her humanity and one likely to find herself the object of retribution for daring to insist otherwise, publicly.
Which is exactly why this liberal deserves the support of everyone who values liberality – the opening of closed minds and implacable opposition to those determined to close them.