And by ‘Progressive Broflakes’, tonight, I mean “Bret Weinstein”.
Although I first encountered the species back in the mid-1970s, on a midwestern state university campus, where an earlier generation of More Feminist Than You Ladies men decided to “liberate” the women’s lounge in the Student Union, a room with some battered couches and tables adjacent to the bathroom, which had for many years been a place where female students could study, talk, or even nap without getting harassed. Like newly-politicized college students, aging “progressive” men attempting to show off their leadership skills are an endlessly renewable resource.
Some context to Cole’s post below, from Inside Higher Ed:
… For many years at Evergreen State, minority students and faculty members have observed a Day of Absence in which they meet off campus to discuss campus issues and how to make the college more supportive of all students. Later a Day of Presence reunites various campus groups. Weinstein said he’s been aware of the tradition for some time, and never objected to it. But this year, organizers said that on the Day of Absence, they wanted white people to stay off campus. Weinstein opposed this shift, and he posted a message on a campus email list in which he objected to the proposal to ask white people to stay off campus.
“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 underappreciated roles (the theme of the Douglas Turner Ward play Day of Absence, as well as the recent Women’s Day walkout), and a group encouraging another group to go away,” Weinstein wrote. “The first is a forceful call to consciousness, which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.”
Weinstein went on to say he would be on campus on the Day of Absence and would encourage a similar stance by white people being asked to stay away. People should “put phenotype aside,” he said. “On a college campus, one’s right to speak — or to be — must never be based on skin color.”
That email is one of the reasons Weinstein is being called racist, with students saying his tone belittled the people behind the idea of having a Day of Absence without white people on campus. The other reason cited against Weinstein is that he has come out against a recommendation on faculty hiring by the college’s Equity and Inclusion Council. That recommendation, currently under consideration by college leaders, would require an “equity justification/explanation” for all faculty hires…
In other words, Weinstein was perfectly okay with those pesky “inclusive” groups as long as they stayed on the margins and didn’t affect his daily life in any way, shape or form. The instant the argument went from “We should let some of those people in, if it’s not too much trouble” to “We should proactively demonstrate what actually having a ‘minority’ group as the standard would look like”, Professor Weinstein’s all BUT WHAT ABOUT *MY* RIGHTS?!?
And when those uppity students chose to get all up in his grille, he finally got the chance to fly his I’m-the-Real-Victim flag — first on campus, and now (hi, ma!) on Fox News. If he decides not to go back to Evergreen (anyone wanna take bets?), he’s all set to start a nice second career. Churn out a high-advance instabook for Regnery Press, do an all-expenses paid speaking tour of the better wingnut-incubator universities, maybe even a permanent position at The Federalist, if not the National Review. Nice gig, if you can stomach it!
Much more context, from local-ish Seattle Paper The Stranger — “’Go Back to the Zoo’: How Evergreen State College Became a Target For Right-Wing Trolls”:
… The maelstrom of national attention on Evergreen State College didn’t appear out of nowhere, according to Rashida Love, Evergreen’s Director of First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services. Rather, the campus shutdown marked a chilling climax to a series of events beginning with students’ activism and growing discontent over what they view as inattention from administrators to issues of race at the college. Love, who has worked at Evergreen for about nine years, says the protests at Evergreen fit in a wave of campus uprisings across the country.
“Our country is going through some growing pains right now and race and equity are at the forefront, unfortunately,” she said. “I think all of that plays into how things have happened on our campus.”
The police shooting of Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin during a response to a shoplifting and assault call in May 2015 marked a turning point for racial tensions in Olympia. The shooting left Chaplin partially paralyzed. The men were later found guilty and the white police officer was not criminally charged. Some Evergreen student activists rallied around the two men during court proceedings and protests, said Love.
In the following years, students repeatedly called on Evergreen administrators to address longstanding equity issues on campus. Student protests began last September when two student activists stood before the podium at the college’s convocation ceremony with a sign reading, “Evergreen cashes diversity checks but doesn’t care about blacks,” reported student newspaper The Cooper Point Journal. Subsequent demonstrations asked campus administrators to address racial profiling by campus police, implement cultural competency training, hire more diverse and representative staff, among other demands. Despite President Bridges’ promise that he’d meet with activists after the event, the promise went unfulfilled for months, even as other demonstrations took place, according to the Journal.
In November, Evergreen’s Equity & Inclusion Panel, a committee of 27 faculty and students, published a strategic plan, which called for creating equity-driven curriculum, hiring more diverse faculty and staff, and hiring a Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, among other goals. As of June, someone “will soon be hired and assume a senior role on campus” to oversee the Equity and Inclusion office, said Zach Powers, communications and public relations manager for the college…
…. aaand that’s when WokeMaster Bret perked up his pearly little ears and cried out against the violence inherent in the system. Which Vice and Fox News are only too happy to amplify, for reasons.
So he’s got a gig (and a precious, precious Grievance); meanwhile, every ‘neo’-Nazi and white supremacist on the northwest coast has a new target. Mission accomplished, big guy!