Not long ago a little brouhaha erupted at UC. On the anonymous social media site Yik Yak someone made an uncivilised comment about a group of black UC students. Of course they protested and elevated the rhetoric citing the Yak as evidence of white supremacy and racial violence.
In response, UC sought out a court order to compel the website to tell them the name of the person who posted the comments. UC president Ono also released a campus wide email decrying the Yik Yaker and, for awhile, those on the repressive left demanded that Yik Yak be banned from UC.
Fortunately, the cops found the Yaker. Turns out, he was a black guy. That changed everything and the Yaker drama eventually died down.
Racial politics, on campus or off, are nasty and divisive and they have the unfortunate tendency of establishing several double standards. Minorities of any stripe, for example, can claim discrimination even on the most flimsy of grounds and be taken seriously. White males can show in concrete terms that they were discriminated against and their complaints fall on deaf ears or are mocked.
And so it goes and goes and goes. The rules for behaviour are becoming increasing subjective and dependent on one's demographic group and political affiliation.
Fortunately, we now get to pry into the inner workings of the University of Missouri as it descended into strife and political gridlock. You may remember that protesters at Mizzou forced out the president, Melissa Crick called for some "muscle" to deal with a student journalist, and protesters gained national attention for their antics. More recently, by the way, Mizzou had to close two residence halls because enrolments were hard hit and Melissa Crick was terminated.
The National Review and Heatstreet obtained over 7,000 pages of emails from Mizzou during the riotous period. The emails come from faculty, administrators, parents, and students and they contained pictures and videos of behaviour that was racially threatening and intimidating. One tweet, for example, stated that protesters should start killing people. White students were harassed and racially insulted. Faculty cancelled classes because they and their students were afraid to show up. Racial epithets were shouted aloud and people were physically intimidated as protesters grew increasingly belligerent.
You can read the first email scan here: _ (click link)
Who helped to organise these protests? Who provided the protesters with the language of oppression, with the intellectual justifications for their behaviour, and who helped to create the combustable mix of racial rhetoric and malice?
Faculty. The same faculty who cancelled classes to organise and to participate in the protests. The same faculty who always join forces to protest this or that and the same faculty who make wild and unsubstantiated claims. They almost always come from the (fill in the blank) studies programs, from sociology, social work, and cultural anthropology. Always. One day we will have to ask if their efforts are not destructive to our university communities.
Nonetheless, I'm not aware of any protester who was held accountable for making racial threats or for intimidating Mizzou students, faculty, and staff. Outside of Melissa Crick, I'm not aware of any faculty member who was disciplined for cancelling classes to organise and to fuel the protests. Maybe this will happen but I'm going to suggest that Mizzou just wants to move on.
But isn't this the problem? Had white students organised protests that were racially hostile and intimidating and had faculty joined in...........the situation would have been handled entirely differently. Instead of doing nothing as minorities were cursed and intimidated and instead of doing nothing as people encouraged violence and murder, you can bet your house that the state would have called in the state police and the National Guard. Protesters would have been arrested, participating faculty would have been fired, and all the students involved would have been summarily expelled. All efforts would have been exercised to quell the disorder......and rightly so.
Increasingly, however, we have two sets of behavioural standards. One for groups favoured by liberal academics and one for the rest of us.
May I suggest that the rules of civilisation apply equally to all and that when people cross that line that they are held accountable regardless of the demographic group they belong to and regardless of their political loyalties.
Equality is a bitch.
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi
Professors of Crime and Criminology