[guest post by Dana]
Via Instapundit, more warnings about what should and should not be said on UC campuses. They alone know what people really mean when they speak. No free sharing of ideas allowed because hurt feelings:
One of the latest things in universities, including at University of California (where I teach) is condemning “microaggressions,” supposed “brief, subtle verbal or non-verbal exchanges that send denigrating messages to the recipient because of his or her group membership (such as race, gender, age or socio-economic status).” Such microaggressions, the argument goes, can lead to a “hostile learning environment,” which UC — and the federal government — views as legally actionable. This is stuff you could get disciplined or fired for, especially if you aren’t a tenured faculty member.
But of course this concept is now being used to suppress not just, say, personal insults or discrimination in hiring or grading, but also ideas that the UC wants to exclude from university classrooms. . . .
Well, I’m happy to say that I’m just going to keep on microaggressing. I like to think that I’m generally polite, so I won’t express these views rudely. And I try not to inject my own irrelevant opinions into classes I teach, so there are many situations in which I won’t bring up these views simply because it’s not my job to express my views in those contexts. But the document that I quote isn’t about keeping classes on-topic or preventing presonal insults — it’s about suppressing particular viewpoints. And what’s tenure for, if not to resist these attempts to stop the expression of unpopular views?
The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Then you can start recognizing the microaggressions and the hurtful messages being sent:
[Theme:] Myth of Meritocracy[:] Statements which assert that race or gender does not play a role in life successes, for example in issues like faculty demographics.
[Microaggression Examples:] “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”
“Of course he’ll get tenure, even though he hasn’t published much — he’s Black!”
“Men and women have equal opportunities for achievement.”
“Gender plays no part in who we hire.”
“America is the land of opportunity.”
“Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.”
“Affirmative action is racist.”
Quickly, here is what this, and so many other similar situations, make me think for the thousandth time: At one time, institutions of higher education provided a place for young people to be intellectually challenged and stimulated by new ideas. They learned to critically think through these challenges while forming their own opinions. Whether or not they agreed with what was presented was not the point. These exercises were encouraged and valued as recognized efforts (and responsibilities!) to stretch and strengthen and produce a more well-rounded young adult who would be able to succeed in a mean and unfair world. This is no longer so. Today’s social engineers are instead attempting to shape the mean world into something that indulges young people’s newly acquired Sensitivities. Sensitivities which convince them that they are the injured party, thus making it the world around them that must become kinder and gentler to accommodate them. There is no longer an expectation to be provided with the necessary tools to help them gain a solid foothold in the unfairness of real life. No longer are these provided because no longer are they wanted. Young people are essentially being taught a particular type weakness and fear which will keep them in a perpetual state of childishness. The blinding arrogance of those in charge does no one any favors. And we will continue to pay a hefty price for their ongoing foolishness.
Anyway, here’s hoping that an army of Volokhs come forth and make their dissent known.