When the Left Turns on Its Own

The “Day of Absence” is an Evergreen tradition that stretches back to the 1970s. As Mr. Weinstein explained on Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, “in previous years students and faculty of color organized a day on which they met off campus — a symbolic act based on the Douglas Turner Ward play in which all the black residents of a Southern town fail to show up one morning.” This year, the script was flipped: “White students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave campus for the day’s activities,” reported the student newspaper on the change. The decision was made after students of color “voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.”

Mr. Weinstein thought this was wrong. The biology professor said as much in a letter to Rashida Love, the school’s Director of First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services. “There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and under-appreciated roles,” he wrote, “and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away.” The first instance, he argued, “is a forceful call to consciousness.” The second “is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.” In other words, what purported to be a request for white students and professors to leave campus was something more than that. It was an act of moral bullying — to stay on campus as a white person would mean to be tarred as a racist.

Too Progressive to Worry About Intellectual Diversity

While I commend Wesleyan and its president, Michael S. Roth, how does a college end up with a 28:1 liberal-conservative ratio in its faculty?

 How do institutions supposedly dedicated to preparing students for a diverse and changing world end up with a 28 to 1 liberal-conservative ratio in its faculty

Why Colleges Fold to Students’ Anti-Intellectual Hysterics

Universities serve as finishing schools for the ruling class.

Middlebury, like many prestigious colleges, has steadily gravitated away from its core educational mission and now serves primarily as a sort of finishing school for the ruling class. Professors and administrators alike are simply expected to shower students with affirmation—and then hand over a degree securing smooth entry into America’s elite. College has become four years of expensive fun. This is what parents and students now demand.

.. The student body is ultra-affluent. Middlebury is among a small handful of schools with more students from the top one percent of the income distribution than those from the bottom 60 percent. And on graduation, newly christened alums are typically funneled right back into their elite enclaves, taking jobs at places like Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, and Amazon.

The Problem With Intersectional Feminsm

The concept of intersectionality was introduced into academic theory and social justice activism in the late 1980s by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School and founder of Critical Race Theory.

It gradually became the dominant social justice framework. Crenshaw opposed the mainstream liberalism of the time for its aim to look past categories of race, gender and sexuality, thereby levelling the playing field and enabling all people to succeed by their own abilities. She felt this neglected identity and identity politics which she argued to be personally and politically empowering.

.. “We all can recognize the distinction between the claims “I am Black” and the claim “I am a person who happens to be Black.” She advocates the former as positive, powerful and celebratory and rejects the latter as striving for a universality that is less likely to be productive.

.. In reality, women of color, the LGBT and disabled people are to be found along the whole range of the political spectrum and subscribe to a vast array of ideas, whilst intersectionality is decidedly left-wing and based on a very specific ideology

.. intersectionals see themselves as radical reformers of a liberalism which was too mainstream or too centrist.

.. The problem with positioning an ideology on the far-Left and claiming it to represent women, people of color, LGBTs and disabled people is that this requires all members of those groups to be far-Left which they simply aren’t.

.. Americans identifying as liberal reached a record high of 24% in 2015 in comparison to the conservative 38%. [1]

Britons are almost evenly divided between Left and Right. [2]

  • Women are generally somewhat more likely to be left-leaning than men [3] but very many are not.
  • 47% of African Americans identify as liberal and 45% as conservative. [4]
  • In the UK, the Conservative party claimed 33% of Black and Middle Eastern voters in comparison to Labour’s 52%, with Black Britons being most likely to vote Labour,
  • whilst among the Asian community, Hindus and Sikhs are more likely to vote Conservative and Muslims to vote Labour.[5]
  • British LGBTs are as likely to be right-wing as left-wing [6]
  • whilst American LGBTs are much more likely to be left-wing,[7] almost certainly because of the religious nature of the American Right and its implications for LGBT equality.
  • There is nothing to suggest people with disabilities are more likely to identify with any particular political position.

.. Intersectionality, simply by positioning itself on the far-Left of the political spectrum, immediately closes itself off from a significant proportion of women, people of color, LGBTs and disabled people.

  • how many are intersectional feminists, how many are
  • radical feminists (opposed by intersectional feminists), how many are non-intersectional
  • liberal feminists (opposed by intersectional feminists) and how many
  • have no ideology of feminism but simply consider it the name for the gender equality supported by the vast majority of the population.

.. Left-voting people of color are significantly less likely to be supportive of LGBT equality than White Lefties.

.. in California, 70% of African American voters voted to ban same sex-marriage.

.. Large proportions of people from marginalized groups simply decline to be intersectional and this is a problem for an ideology which claims to listen to them and represent them.

.. This has resulted in bizarre situations in which Peter Tatchell has felt compelled to explain why it’s not racist to object to Black musicians singing about killing LGBTs [18]and Muslim and ex-Muslim feminist

.. We are, in fact, listening to a minority ideological view dominated by people from an economically privileged class who have had a university education in the social sciences and/or the necessary leisure time and education to study intersectionality, critical race theory, queer theory and critical analyses of ableism.

.. It is, of course, perfectly possible to support the rights of marginalized groups and campaign for their greater representation whilst accepting that they have a range of political views including those which contradict yours. However, this is not what intersectional feminists do. We are told repeatedly that intersectionality is the only way and that it is not optional.

.. Non-intersectional feminists are labelled “White feminists” and vilified furiously. It is important to note that not all “White feminists” are White. The term refers to any non-intersectional feminist.

.. Because inherent in those terms is a sinister implication: ‘if you disagree with how I think a brown person should think, you’re still a nigger’ – a slave subordinate to the interests of white people. ‘If you disagree with me, you can’t be thinking for yourself’ is the message.”

.. Intersectionality, by undervaluing shared human experience and rights — universality — and personal autonomy and distinctiveness — individuality — and focusing intensely on group identity and intersectional ideology, places individuals in a very restricted “collectivist” position previously only found in very conservative cultures.

.. The idea that if one is not an intersectional feminist, one is a misogynist, White supremacist, homophobic, transphobic ableist demands an utter ideological purity that few people can meet or wish to meet.

Instead, centrists, moderates and universal liberals of all genders, races, sexualities and abilities continue to oppose discrimination, promote equality and value diversity, independent of intersectionality.

  • .. It is regrettable that intersectionality in practice so often manifests in restrictive ideological conformity,
  • exclusionary tactics,
  • hostility,
  • tribalism and even racist abuse.

.. Until intersectionality respects diversity of ideas as well as of identity and supports every individual’s right to hold any of them regardless of their group identity, it cannot be said to represent anything except its own ideology.