Yes, the currently fashionable tactic for trying to shut up campus speech that leftists don’t like is to claim that it makes students feel “unsafe” as Charlie Sykes discussed in a recent show
From National Review
, a good roundup of the bizarro cases
on campuses where the politically correct authoritarians tried (and often succeeded) in shutting up campus speech by claiming to feel “unsafe.”
The University of Michigan made headlines this week for initially canceling a screening of the blockbuster film American Sniper because some Muslim students said that it being shown would make them feel “unsafe.” The college has since reversed this decision, but it’s not the only time something like this has happened.
Why should Muslim students feel “unsafe” seeing the movie American Sniper?
Could it be that some are thinking about going to Afghanistan and joining the Taliban and trying to kill American soldiers? If so, we want
them to feel unsafe. Indeed, we want them to be scared shitless. And if they actually go join the Taliban, we want them killed by people like Chris Kyle.
But no, the campus grievance mongers aren’t going to do any such thing. They lack the courage to do much more than pop off in the oh-so-indulgent campus environment.
But have they thought about the message they are sending? As between American soldiers and terrorists trying to kill American soldiers, they seem to be siding with the terrorists. People are going to question their patriotism — and with good cause.
Here are seven other things that a school or its students have declared hazards to campus safety:
1. Bill Maher
When the University of Berkeley announced that Bill Maher would be its graduation speaker last October, more than 6,000 students signed a petition demanding that he be banned because he “perpetuates a dangerous learning environment” and “they cannot stand for any action that makes our students feel unsafe.”
Maher is a vicious anti-Christian bigot. But that’s not what makes him unpopular on a university campus. Being an equal opportunity bigot, he’s also anti-Muslim. That’s what can’t be forgiven.
2. Face paint of any color at any event ever
Last October, Arizona State University’s athletics department banned facepaint — “whether the theme is black, maroon, gold or white” — because ASU is an “inclusive and forward-thinking university” and they must make sure that “everyone feels safe and accepted.” They did not explain whether or not any students had actually reported feeling threatened by the paint, and if so, how those students were handling their lives currently.
And face paint is bad how? Perhaps because American Indians used it? But how many other groups have used face paint? Lots, including U.S. Special Forces
But wait, face paint is bad if an oppressed minority group uses it. But then it’s bad if American soldiers use it.
Any excuse to articulate a grievance, we suppose.
3. A petting-zoo camel (due to concerns over racial tensions)
Students at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota planned to bring a camel (one which had been trained for these kinds of events) to campus last spring as part of a fun “Hump Day” event celebrating the end of the year — only to be told that the idea was not fun, but actually so horribly racist against Middle Eastern students that it would be “possibly unsafe” for anyone to attend. It was canceled.
So apparently Eskimo students should be offended at a picture of a polar bear. And South American students at a llama. Given the variety of interesting animals from Africa, black students have dozens of ways to be offended. Student Government, don’t ever plan an outing to the zoo.
4. The word “bullet” (not to be confused with actual bullets, which are a perfect example of something that can actually be dangerous)
Last fall, the student newspaper staff at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia decided to change the publication’s name from The Bullet to The Blue and Gray Press on the grounds that the word “bullet” “propagated violence.”
5. Calling freshmen students “freshmen”
Last November, the administration at Elon University in North Carolina instructed student orientation leaders not to call the freshmen “freshmen” — because the word makes women sound “vulnerable” and therefore suggests that they “might be targets” for sexual violence, according to the school’s Inclusive Community Wellbeing Director. (Yes . . . “Inclusive Community Wellbeing Director.”)
In the insular little world of academia, there is no politically correct grievance so trivial or so silly that it can be dismissed.
6. Cinco de Mayo–themed parties
On May 19, 2013, Northwestern University’s Hispanic/Latino Alliance wrote a letter explaining why they were totally not ridiculous for having told students that they shouldn’t drink tequila or eat tacos at parties earlier that month: Sometimes people will be “drinking tequila shots while saying things like ‘cinco de drinko,’” and that contributes to a “campus climate” where Mexican students “feel unwelcome if not often unsafe.”
Of course, refusing to drink tequila or eat tacos would be deemed “racist,” showing an antipathy to Mexican culture. So if you embrace parts of the culture of a minority group you are racist, and if you reject them you are racist. Whichever is convenient for concocting a grievance.
Students at Boston College did something crazy last month: They put up posters advocating for free speech without officially registering as a campus group before doing so. School administrators called the cops, and Dean of Students Thomas Mogan explained that the posters were “a nuisance and in some cases a safety hazard.” What he thinks “safety hazard” means remains unclear. Maybe someone had to go into a Cinco de Mayo party to grab one.
Campus activists, and the campus bureaucrats who pet them and pander to them really don’t understand how silly all this looks. They exist in an insular, parochial environment where any claims made on behalf of a politically correct victim group must be instantly accepted.
Wimps and Wusses
But of course, the image conveyed here is that such groups are oversensitive wimps and wusses.
As for the guys, whether Muslim or Latino or American Indian: how about a little machismo, fellows. Are you such sissies that a camel, or face paint, or a taco, or a lame jibe like “cinco de drinko” turns you into a quivering bowl of jelly?
And ladies, how about living up to the feminist idea that women are tough, resilient, self-confident and assertive. You think women should be in combat? If hearing the word “freshmen” freaks you out, how are you going to react to incoming fire from the Taliban? Do infantry units need to be equipped with smelling salts?
You folks are making fools of yourselves. But indulgent campus bureaucrats are encouraging you.