FYE on you! 5

You want to become a scientist, an engineer, a mathematician, a doctor? Okay, but you have first to become a racist, and if you’re white, a penitent, and if you’re black, a victim.

The re-education camps of America, aka the universities, have a name for their introductory course of indoctrination for newcomers: the First-Year Experience, commonly referred to as FYE.

John Tierney reports and comments at City Journal:

The programs often start with a “common read”, a book sent to everyone the summer before school starts, and proceed with lectures, discussion groups, seminars, courses, exercises, field trips, art projects, local activism, and whatever else the schools will fund. The programs are typically run not by professors but by “cocurricular professionals”—administrators lacking scholarly credentials who operate outside the regular curriculum. They don’t need to master an academic discipline or impart an established body of knowledge. They create a cocurriculum of what they want students to learn, which usually involves a great deal of talk about “diversity” and “inclusion”.

These professionals seem to lean even further left than the faculty, and in some ways they have more influence. They get to the students early, before classes begin, and they’re inescapable. By choosing your courses carefully, you can avoid the progressive sermonizing that passes for scholarship in some departments, but everyone has to undergo the orientation and first-year programs. You may have come to study computer science or literature or biochemistry, but first you’ll have to learn about social justice, environmental sustainability, gender pronouns, and microaggressions. You may have been planning to succeed by hard work, but first you’ll have to acknowledge your privilege or discover your victimhood. If you arrived at college hoping to broaden your intellectual horizons, you’ll quickly be instructed which ideas are off-limits. …

When administrators of these first-year programs convened this year, they chose to be addressed by author Julie Lythcott-Haims.

As an undergraduate at Stanford, she had been required to take a course called “Western Culture”, but she and other students succeeded in eliminating the requirement by joining with Jesse Jackson in protests where they chanted, “Hey-hey, ho-ho. Western Culture’s got to go!”

In Africa the doctrine is known as Boko Haram.

She went on to Harvard Law School and a brief career in corporate law before returning to Stanford as the dean of freshmen, which enabled her to put her cultural philosophy into practice.

As dean of freshmen, she insisted on choosing books that “fostered a sense of community and belonging”. And now, after leaving academia, she has written just such a book herself, Real American, which she calls “a post-poetry memoir”.

She said in her address:

Mine is a memoir of being black and biracial in a country where black lives weren’t meant to matter. … I am privileged. I have privilege that I’m aware of and more privilege that I don’t even know.

The daughter of a white British immigrant and black American doctor who was once assistant surgeon general of the United States, she grew up in good neighborhoods and thrived at school academically and socially. In high school, she was a cheerleader and president of her class as well as the student council. But despite those successes, despite the degrees from Stanford and Harvard, despite the well-paying jobs and a bestseller she published on how to raise children, her memoir is a saga of oppression.

She has discovered the awful cloud behind all those silver linings by dredging up an incident from her high school days. The great pivot point of the book, the moment that would haunt her for decades, was her discovery of graffiti on a birthday card that a friend had taped to her locker. Someone, presumably a classmate jealous of her achievements, had defaced the card by scrawling the N-word, misspelled as “Niger”. 

This is the story of how despite all that privilege and opportunity, America made me loathe my black self, my brown skin …

… she tells the audience. It’s not clear why one semiliterate teenage bigot should represent America, but Lythcott-Haims quickly segues into denunciations of the police, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, and whites in general, to repeated applause from the (mostly white) audience. She explains why she has left a wide margin on each page of the book (“As a black woman I do not have access to the full page”) and reads a passage: “You think your whiteness makes you better than the rest of us. You make us your scapegoat. Your excuse for your violent rage.”

What violent rage, we ask rhetorically, would that be?

In her memoir, the well-meaning liberal whites are continually guilty of unintentional slights. Don’t try suggesting that she overlook them, because she classifies “Get over it” as yet another microaggression. The nonliberals in the book are simply evil. When Peter Thiel and other classmates of hers launched the conservative Stanford Review, she is “scared to death of these unhooded whites printing their disdain for our existence”. When she sees Clint Eastwood speak to an empty chair representing President Obama at the Republican National Convention, she believes that it “symbolizes the chair underneath the Black man about to be hanged from a Southern tree”. 

Yes, it’s all part of her mission to “foster a sense of community and belonging”, as long as the community doesn’t include any Republicans.

The writing is dreadful, but you have to give her credit for knowing her audience. The first-year administrators give her a standing ovation, and afterward they wonder to one another what she charges for a campus speech. The intercollegiate competition for black authors has driven up their speaking fees …

Last year, when the University of Oregon assigned Between the World and Me for the common read, it paid Ta-Nehisi Coates $41,500 for a campus appearance (while also meeting his contractual requirement to be supplied with Nature Valley Oats and Dark Chocolate granola bars), and afterward students complained that the university hadn’t gotten its money’s worth. Coates was scheduled for a speech and question-and-answer session lasting 75 minutes, but he left the stage after 40 minutes without taking questions. Somehow, it didn’t feel very inclusive.

For colleges that can’t afford Coates, the first-year conference is a chance to scout for cheaper alternatives. Besides Lythcott-Haims, there’s another autobiographer, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, who gets a warm reception for her book When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.

The administrators pack another ballroom to hear about All American Boys, a novel written to protest the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. The protagonist is an amalgam of the two martyrs, with a few details changed. Instead of pounding a white man’s head against the sidewalk, as Martin did, or shoplifting and then assaulting a police officer, as Brown did, this young African-American man is a peaceful, law-abiding customer at a convenience store, wrongly accused of shoplifting by a white police officer who slams his head against the pavement. The novel’s coauthors, one white and one black, extol their collaboration as a model for how the races can learn to communicate with each other—or at least communicate in one direction, as the white author, Brendan Kiely, tells the audience. “The most important thing I can do as a white man is listen, listen, listen to the truth coming from communities of color across the country,” he says. “I especially want to reckon with whiteness. Because as a white person I can’t talk about racism or dismantle the system that supports it or eradicate racism itself without first grappling with whiteness. It is whiteness that perpetuates racism.”

How does a white person “reckon with whiteness”? What must he do to “grapple with whiteness”? Presumably, that’s what FYE teaches you.

Clearly, since “whiteness” is what “perpetuates racism”, and since white people cannot be anything but white, the only way to bring about the elimination of racism is by extinguishing the white race.

The disadvantage of the social surgery would be the loss of the most important academic subject, the laying off of thousands of “diversity” officers, the obsolescence of hundreds of books, and – well, what do you do when your enemy vanishes? Whom shall you hate for all your frustrations? Whom blame for your failures?

While the days of hate last, while accusation, shame, guilt, obsequiousness can still be freely indulged, enjoy the presence of whiteness while ye may! Carpe diem.

The crowd applauds and listens raptly as Kiely sketches the possibilities for using this book on campus. “We should be talking about race consciousness in all our disciplines of higher learning,” he tells the administrators. “You can talk about it in your math classes. You can talk about in your education classes. You can talk about it in your humanities classes.”

He doesn’t explain the connection between calculus and Trayvon Martin, but then, he doesn’t have to. This audience knows that racism is the all-consuming topic in higher education. It has been the most popular theme for common-read books for the last three years, according to the National Association of Scholars (NAS), which has tracked these programs across the country for the past decade. The latest report by the NAS, a group dedicated to reviving traditional liberal arts education (and a haven for non-progressives in academia), analyzes some 350 schools’ common-read books and finds a “continuing obsession with race” as well as an “infantilization of students”.

The obsession depends on the infantilization.

Can real education ever be resurrected? Will a deeply humiliating defeat of the race-obsessed Left in the forthcoming elections restore common sense to the institutions of learning – and save the white race?

The decline of the Left 9

The New Left, a middle-class intellectual movement, reached its apogee with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States.

Its “long march through the institutions” is over now. It can rise no further. With the disintegration of the EU and the election of Donald Trump – accompanied by a strengthening of the Republican Party’s power, governing in most of the states and holding majorities in Congress – Leftism is starting its decline.

The Left is bankrupt of ideas; obsessed with trivial “problems”, largely fictitious, of “racism”, “sexism”, and “man-made global warming”.

Genuine problems of economic stagnation and towering national debt, Middle East conflicts, illegal immigration, the Islamization of Europe, nuclear arming of aggressive regimes, Islamic terrorism, have been effectively ignored, disastrously underestimated, or even exacerbated by the Leftist power elites.

Barack Obama, one of the worst presidents, was to a large extent elected by Whites wanting to prove that they weren’t “racist” by voting for a Black.

The support for Hillary Clinton’s bid for the highest office was similarly in conformity with “identity politics”, men being invited to prove they weren’t “sexist” by voting for a woman.

The only serious concern of the Left has been to stay in power. All it has brought wherever it has been able to exercise power unrestricted by constitutional constraints, has been slavery, starvation, torture, imprisonment, and hundreds of millions of deaths.

Though Americans have endured much in the eight years of Obama’s leadership, they have fortunately been saved by constitutional constraints from the worst that a Leftist government could do. The nearest the Left could come to imposing its collectivist ideology on the whole nation was implanting the idea that the greatest possible crimes, the worst political sins, were “racism”, “sexism” and “climate change denial”.

Michelle Malkin writes about the obsessive identity politics of the Left:

Here is what eight years of President Obama’s “post-racial” reign have wrought.

The weekend before Election Day, Hillary Clinton grinned from ear to ear at a Cleveland rally while reciting a verse from Jay-Z’s remix of Young Jeezy’s “My President is Black.” As the rapper and his Black Lives Matter-promoting wife, Beyonce, beamed on stage nearby, pandersuit-clad Clinton twanged with a stilted accent:

“Remember, Jay memorably said: ‘Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther could walk, and Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama could run, and Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly’.”

This would be comical if not for the noxious cynicism of it all. Clinton may not remember (if she was ever aware in the first place), but the original version of “My President is Black” is a brazen middle finger to non-black America. Just a few lines after the verse Hillary quoted, the song taunts:

Hello Miss America, hey pretty lady

Red, white, and blue flag, wave for me baby

Never thought I’d say this s—, baby I’m good

You can keep your p—, I don’t want no more Bush

No more war, no more Iraq

No more white lies, the President is black

So the poster granny for liberal white privilege, groveling for black votes, kissed the rings of celebrity Obama BFFs Jay-Z and Beyonce by parroting an inflammatory anthem laced with profanities and radical racialized gloating.

Could there have been a more perfect beclownment to cap Clinton’s phony-baloney “Stronger Together” campaign?

After denigrating millions of Trump supporters as “deplorable” and “irredeemable” earlier this year, Clinton then unctuously confessed on election eve: “I regret deeply how angry the tone of the campaign became.”

Note the classic textbook employment of the passive voice to evade personal responsibility.

The good news is that after being blasted as haters by Clinton’s hate-filled minions, after being slapped down as racial “cowards” by Clintonite holdover Eric Holder, after being lambasted as “xenophobes” and “nativists” by immigration expansionists in both parties, after enduring a string of faked hate crimes blamed on conservatives, after ceaseless accusations of “Islamophobia” in the wake of jihad attacks on American soil, after baseless accusations of “homophobia” for protesting the government’s gay wedding cake coercion, and after mourning a growing list of police officers ambushed and targeted by violent thugs seeking racial vengeance, an undeniable movement of citizens in the 2016 election cycle decided to push back.

When all is said and done, one of the most important cultural accomplishments of Donald Trump’s bid will be the platform he created for Americans of all colors, ethnicities, political affiliations, and socioeconomic backgrounds to defy soul-draining identity politics.

Beltway chin-pullers expediently focused on Trump’s white and conservative supporters who are rightly sick and tired of social justice double standards. But they ignored the increasingly vocal constituency of hyphen-free, label-rejecting American People Against Political Correctness who don’t fit old narratives and boxes.

And the same “Never Trump” pundits and establishment political strategists who gabbed endlessly about the need for “minority outreach” after 2012 were flummoxed by the blacks, gays, Latinos, women and Democrats who rallied behind the GOP candidate.

The most important speech of the 2016 election cycle wasn’t delivered by one of the presidential candidates. It came from iconoclastic Silicon Valley entrepreneur/investor and Trump supporter Peter Thiel who best explained the historically significant backlash against the intolerant tolerance mob and phony diversity-mongers.

“Louder voices have sent a message that they do not intend to tolerate the views of one half of the country,” he observed at the National Press Club last week. He recounted how the gay magazine The Advocate, which had once praised him as a “gay innovator”, declared he was “not a gay man” anymore because of his libertarian, limited-government politics.

“The lie behind the buzzword of diversity could not be made more clear,” Thiel noted. “If you don’t conform, then you don’t count as diverse [contributing to diversity], no matter what your personal background.”

Trump’s eclectic coalition was bound by that common thread: disaffected individuals tired of being told they don’t count and discounted because their views do not properly “match” their gender, chromosomes, skin color or ethnicity. That is exactly why the more they and their nominee were demonized, the stronger their support grew.

“No matter what happens in this election,” Thiel concluded last week, “what Trump represents isn’t crazy and it’s not going away.”

He’s right. I too often take for granted my own personal awakening about the entrenched tribalism of identity politics at a crazy liberal arts college in the early 1990s. The liberation from collectivist ideology is profound and lasting. Witnessing so many outspoken newcomers arrive at this enlightenment, however circuitous the route, has been the most encouraging and under-appreciated phenomenon of the 2016 campaign.

May the whole world now experience a profound and lasting liberation from collectivist ideology!