“Even sympathetic observers end up a tad uncomfortable here: Those of us who support today’s protests against police brutality against black people (such as myself) are less enthusiastic about the campus protests modeled directly on those,” author and educator John H. McWhorter writes in The Chronicle Review. “The reason for the difference in reaction, however, is something most people are reluctant to admit, and sometimes may feel it isn’t their ‘place’ to state.”
“But there comes a point when the demands of empiricism are so self-evident that to deny them is possible only via disengagement or self-deception.” McWhorter, an associate professor at Columbia, is the author of The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language.
“Today’s protesters’ depiction of racism on college campuses is vastly exaggerated to the point of the fantastical,” he avers. “Certainly racism exists on campuses, as it does in the world. Certainly there are instances of it that we should try to exterminate. A student barring all but white women from a fraternity party, as was said to have happened one night at Yale last fall, should be reported and possibly expelled.”
“However, is bigotry so open and ceaseless on today’s college campuses that it necessitates protest so recklessly furious that a naïve observer would assume conditions were little advanced beyond those of 1930? We insult the intelligence of the protesters, as well as black people everywhere, to pretend that the answer is yes.”