Friday, November 27, 2015

Letters and Feedback: Your argument on victims ceding power "is too simplistic for the complicated racial realities we face today."

Last Sunday's post about increasingly intolerant college kids elicited a few strong, off-line responses. One of those is the subject of today's post.  Assuming the level of interest and feedback increases over time, we intend to make feedback posts a recurring feature on our site.  We'll call it feedback Friday.

In any case, please take a few moments to read the first one.  And if you're so inclined, you can even offer up your own feedback on the feedback.  I'll be preparing my own for future submittal.


Note:  The author is a Wake Forest University graduate and future Ivy League MBA living and working in Boston, Massachusetts.  

This I agree with:  "They've been led to believe they have a right to be protected from ever seeing or hearing Bubba". There is a lot to be said of young people lacking resilience in a number of areas (everyone gets a trophy, everyones a winner and the like). So I really do agree that for some reason these students think that Bubba somehow isn't entitled to his own opinions--however, ignorant they may be. So I also agree with this: "the same set of laws that protect people from violence or the threat of violence from the likes of Bubba protect his right to say things to and about them that they might disagree with or find offensive."

However, I wholeheartedly disagree with this notion. "the only power he has is the power his "victims" give him". This to me is an argument that is too simplistic for the complicated racial realities that we face today. Bubba has power because "bubba's" great grandfather had power at the expense of others. Victims did not give him power--Institutionalized racism and white privilege did. Bubba can go to class and not ever have to think about whether or not he should get upset about what someone said. He never has to question whether or not he should speak up for fear of presenting the "Black perspective". Bubba will never question whether or not he is overreacting to something someone said--that is work that only his black peers must do.

I appreciate Keenan sharing his personal story.It was eloquently written and as I said, I agree for the most part. I just think what is expected in environments of higher education is different than what may be true in your neighborhood or your street. The debt that burdens this generation leads to a demand for superior service at a university. When these institutions claim to be about building character, and molding global leaders we must hold students accountable than more than some others.

But I digress, because fundamentally, Keenan and I are on the same page. The path forward can't be about silencing the ignorant people, it has to be about making the percentage of ignorant people smaller. 


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