“Have we reached the ultimate stage of absurdity when some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, while other people are not held responsible for what they themselves are doing today?” - Thomas Sowell, 2022 As someone who graduated almost 25 year ago, I was largely unaware of the dramatic changes unfolding across America’s higher education institutions over the past decade. Frankly, I also thought that people on the right screaming about “wokeism” and indoctrination on college campuses were being hyperbolic.
A friend sent me this post and here was my response to him:
Well…he’s not wrong but he, like many critics of higher ed, overstates the problem. There’s no doubt that the social justice frenzy has become excessive and unforgiving. But, the fundamental basis behind the movement remains accurate…racism, sexism, homophobia and, yes, antisemitism, remain pervasive. So, when he begins to sound like Desantis in his condemnation of DEI, he loses me. There have been better critics of social justice approaches which decry the methods and the harshness of ‘cancel culture’ but retain the recognition that the problem remains even if the solutions are ineffective.
He’s also correct that antisemitism is not recognized by the so-called progressives as a social justice issue comparable (or worse) to the other issues. But, his echoing of others who believe that institutions don’t care or that donations should stop is misguided. Did you read Bruce Levenson's email pleading for more donations, not less? Bruce was absolutely correct in his views, imho.
Feel free to share my email with him and encourage his to read A Nation of Wimps (https://www.newlamiddle.org/pdf/resources/Family%20Education%20Resources/Parenting%20and%20Adolescent%20Development/Nation%20of%20Wimps.pdf) written in 2004 for a better backdrop on the fragility of today’s young people. Them he should read some of Jeffrey Arnett’s writing to understand the premise of delayed adulthood (https://www.jeffreyarnett.com/EmerAdul_Chap1.pdf).
Is this truly a higher education issue or are colleges and universities reflecting trends from broader society? It doesn't seem like anything described here is unique to college campuses. Many of these narratives pervade media (traditional and social) and even lower educational institutions (as someone with two high school aged children can attest to). I'm not saying this isn't an issue, but does approaching it this way feed into a particular one-sided belief of colleges and universities as "bastions of liberal elitism"?
I'm a bit confused by your post, what events of the past 3 weeks at universities are you referring to? How come you only reference a negative article when it comes to DE&I work? And have you examined your own race, privilege, and power in the context of why "social justice fundamentalism" as you call it, has grown? I'm not trying to incite or be inflammatory. I truly would like to understand.