20.4.17

SQUARE "HEGEMONIC DISCOURSE" WITH "NO FINAL SAY."

There's been a radical tradition, going back at least as far as Critique of Pure Tolerance, of people suggesting that some lines of inquiry and trains of thought be proscribed in some way, because they're wrongheaded or oppressive.  We saw that tradition on display recently at Wellesley, not in a good way.  John "Marquette Warrior" McAdams notes that mind-set will not end well.
But “productive dialogue” has to exclude anything that we consider “racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia or any other type of discriminatory speech” to be pretty much any political opinion we disagree with, we intend to try to shut that up.

That people like this will soon be dominating the mainstream media is a scary prospect indeed.
Yes, and "productive dialogue" is campus-speak for "You sit there and we harangue you."

But it gets better.  That "productive dialogue" doesn't have to respect truth.  Truth is oppressive.  A collective of young virtue-signallers at Claremont's Pomona College said so.
Free speech, a right many freedom movements have fought for, has recently become a tool appropriated by hegemonic institutions. It has not just empowered students from marginalized backgrounds to voice their qualms and criticize aspects of the institution, but it has given those who seek to perpetuate systems of domination a platform to project their bigotry. Thus, if “our mission is founded upon the discovery of truth,” how does free speech uphold that value? The notion of discourse, when it comes to discussions about experiences and identities, deters the ‘Columbusing’ of established realities and truths (coded as ‘intellectual inquiry’) that the institution promotes. Pomona cannot have its cake and eat it, too. Either you support students of marginalized identities, particularly Black students, or leave us to protect and organize for our communities without the impositions of your patronization, without your binary respectability politics, and without your monolithic perceptions of protest and organizing. In addition, non-Black individuals do not have the right to prescribe how Black people respond to anti-Blackness.

Your statement contains unnuanced views surrounding the academy and a belief in searching for some venerated truth. Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, and wielded a dichotomy of ‘subjectivity vs. objectivity’ as a means of silencing oppressed peoples. The idea that there is a single truth--’the Truth’--is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain. This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny.
Say WHAAAAAAT, Man?

Perhaps, on the basis of the available evidence, the colonialists and the slave-traders saw the colonized and enslaved peoples as deficient and worthy of mistreatment.  But the discovery of humanity and sensitivity to pain involves hypothesis testing and the rest of the apparatus of scholarly inquiry.  And perhaps "treat others the way you would like to be treated" is the moral standard by which people who are not black recognize manifestations of "anti-Blackness" as wrong.

Meanwhile, the editorial board of Wellesley's News doubles down on progressive intolerance.
In recent years, our community has neither threatened nor denied a speaker the right to present at Wellesley based on their ideas and has made efforts to encourage productive dialogue surrounding controversial issues. In instances where there were dissenting reactions to events on campus, such as the recent defacing of posters, students and faculty responded appropriately with the intention of promoting respect on campus. In essence, we have exercised our right to free speech in the form of disagreement. When a visiting lecturer comes to campus to share their beliefs, the audience should have an opportunity to object to those perspectives. Wellesley students are not complacent when a guest speaker offers harmful rhetoric. Unlike the events that transpired at Middlebury College in early March in which a speaker and professor were attacked, we have neither engaged in the violent silencing of opposing opinions, nor do we support such actions. Instead, Wellesley students listen to and understand those that differ from us regarding politics, religion and other sensitive topics and respond with productive discourse.

Wellesley will not be labeled an echochamber of liberal opinions while we have demonstrated concerted efforts to seek out well-evidenced opinions that differ from ours. We have the right to speak freely and to debate opinions. In the coming years, we will continue to do just that — never with violence, but with constructive dialogue. Yet, even as we exercise our right to object, onlookers are offended by our audacity. It would be against our principles as a place of intellectual conversation to deny free debate through respectful avenues.
That Middlebury reference? Why compare yourself with the worst?  Deny free debate through respectable avenues?  Should we be grateful nobody has pulled a fire alarm?  Don't be fooled, dear reader.
We respect free speech at Wellesley. We reiterate that there is a line between free speech and hate speech. We fight not against free speech, but to protect members of our community from language that harms or threatens their well-being. Thus, we respect the right to use speech to challenge other views. We will listen to and dismantle arguments and opinions that threaten a person’s ability to speak freely.
Put another way, Wellesley's hegemonic discourse is good.  Anybody who raises difficult questions is bad.  Yes, rattling a saber simply makes noise, but the noise suggests the presence of a saber.

It's not clear from this story, however, whether gross applications for slots at Wellesley are up or down for this season of thick envelopes.

You'd think people writing for a newspaper at an allegedly highly-regarded college might know how to, you know, write coherently.  Or is coherence yet another hegemonic discourse?

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