Oh, Fine, And I Already Burned My Diploma: Harvard Apologizes For The “Holiday Placemats for Social Justice”

Well, that was fast! Good for Harvard, and good for Idrees M. Kalhoon…

apology Harvard

I wonder when all those other colleges and universities are going to apologize?

No, the letter isn’t perfect: the issue isn’t that the placemat confused the community, unless the deans mean that students were confused because they thought they were attending a university that was above this kind of nonsense. Actually, I doubt many were confused at all, and correctly concluded that Harvard, having already inflicted upon itself the idiocy of an Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, was getting exactly what such authorities deliver: politically correct, leftist indoctrination.

Well, I guess the deans couldn’t say, “This embarrassed our entire institution, and we will be throwing all the hacks responsible for this monstrosity into the Charles River at 3:00 PM, tomorrow. Cucumber sandwiches and mulled wine will be served.”

(Though I wish they had…)

It’s gratifying to know the “feedback” (“ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IF YOU DON’T RETRACT THAT CRAP AND BURN THOSE STUPID THINGS IN 24 HOURS, THERE ARE GOING TO BE SOME NEW DEANS AROUND HERE, CAPICHE?” Sincerely, The Harvard Board of Overseers.) was sufficient to prompt a quick retraction, and especially gratifying to know that the nation’s flagship private college still embraces the mission of nurturing “independent minds.”

Now maybe it will examine whether a grossly unbalanced ideological culture on campus is a rational way of doing that.

16 thoughts on “Oh, Fine, And I Already Burned My Diploma: Harvard Apologizes For The “Holiday Placemats for Social Justice”

  1. Jack,
    Indoctrination? Are college students now mindless drones who absorb everything they’re taught. This is political correctness and idiocy run amok, but it’s not evil. I continue to be bewildered by your eagerness to always make one thing apart of something larger. Societal trends still ultimately come down to individuals and, making the assumption that they’re all marching to the same drummer flies in the face of the evidence.

    Student groups like this share little more in common, except hashtags (think of Occupy. Larger confederations have (and will continue to) break down because, ultimately, they all want different things — they’ve simply developed a rhetoric that sounds unified. Why buy into their narrative? This is why only a handful of SDSers went on the join the Weatherman and why only a handful of those went underground, and why and even smaller handful of those did anything even remotely “radical.” Believe you me, each one of these groups you claim to be so “dangerous” to the American way of life will be first against the wall if and when a real revolution ever started.

    I sometimes like to imagine you standing in front of one of the infamous red-scare “spider charts” from the 40s, pointing out how Black Lives Matter supports radical feminism, which in turn is connected to FIFA, which is run by Emirates, which in turn runs the world.

    In other news, may you and yours have a wonderful (and Merry) Feast of Stephen!

    Sincerely,
    Neil

    • You’re uncharacteristically inattentive, Neil; you usually read better than this. This wasn’t a student group, and that’s the point. It was a university office. When a university unequivocally tells students “Think this, say this,” that’s indoctrination BY DEFINITION, and wholly inappropriate.

      I’ll accept your retraction.

      • Jack,

        “You’re uncharacteristically inattentive, Neil; you usually read better than this. ”

        That is an outrageous lie and I won’t stand for it, Rarely do I read past the headline of your posts before moving on and you know it. This one simply happened to have a less meandering introduction than I’m used to, so I was at the end before I knew what had happened.

        To my point — Yes, but it was a University caving to student pressure. I guarantee you almost no one in the administration cared about any of this (except those who might normally be inclined to) until all the ruckus started. Several universities (notably Columbia) caved to SDS pressure too. It doesn’t mean they were “on board” with it. It’s a way of creating peace for 4 years until most of the principal agitators have graduated or dropped out. Then came the 70’s and everyone cared more about getting stoned than throwing them.

        Also, the chart doesn’t say anywhere “think this” or “do this.” Rather, it’s framed more like a Socratic discourse with Mr. Rogers. Unbelievably stupid (and overly simplistic), but it’s not an edict from the Administration that this narrative is the only one.

        Finally (and this is a legitimate question): What is the difference between the “indoctrination” I received in my religious studies classese while attending Catholic school and this? Even if, for the sake of argument, Harvard were adopting these principles or outlook as law, don’t they have the right? It’s a private school and, as a result, should be free to create any code of conduct they wish. From my perspective, it’s the same freedom that allows Baylor University to expel male/female couples who are living together or unmarried women who become pregnant.

        Then again, this perhaps is an example of legal or allowable vs. ethical. Still, I think it’s wasted outrage over nothing. If I really believed that every (or the majority) of students who read it would be affected by it, I’d be worried. As it stands, it’s administrative PR bullshit and, like most such things, is largely ignored by the student body.

        This whole controversy is little more than two sides of grown-ups fighting over whose more corrupting of youth, meanwhile the kids are too busy watching cartoons to care. They’re not being indoctrinated; they’re learning how to filter out adult nonsense.

        Merry Christmas, Methuselah.
        Neil

        • What’s a lie, that you usually can read? No, I really believed that. Until now.
          You said that the placemat was the product of student group. To wit:

          “Student groups like this share little more in common, except hashtags (think of Occupy. Larger confederations have (and will continue to) break down because, ultimately, they all want different things — they’ve simply developed a rhetoric that sounds unified. Why buy into their narrative?”

          Uh, Neil? Nothing in either post said a word about student groups, because student groups weren’t involved.

          Then you say,

          “To my point — Yes, but it was a University caving to student pressure.”

          There was no student pressure to create placemats that directed students how to think. Most of the topics on the mats didn’t involve Harvard controversies. This was a diversity department over-stepping its bounds

          “I guarantee you almost no one in the administration cared about any of this (except those who might normally be inclined to) until all the ruckus started.”

          Well, it’s their job to care. If an official department leaves speech directives on the setting of students, with Harvard imprimaturs without the administration approving it, that’s pathetic incompetence. They better care.

          Several universities (notably Columbia) caved to SDS pressure too. It doesn’t mean they were “on board” with it.

          What? If you officially agree/endorse a position, you are responsible and accountable.

          Regarding religious school indoctrination, that’s why parents send kids there—to be indoctrinated. That’s not why parents send their kid to places like Harvard.

          • Jack,
            I’m sorry, the first part was meant to be sarcastic and self-deprecating — I didn’t mean to suggest disrespect.

            As far as Catholic school — I was sent there because it was convenient with my mother’s work schedule (she was the librarian) and, owing to the discount, was able to get a far richer education than I might have had at my local municipal. I never believed in the nonsense that was taught to me (no offense to anyone who IS religious — but, for myself only, it’s silly) nor did I begrudge not being allowed to fully participate in mass. My only point is, I (or at least my parents) knew what they were getting me into and knew the good ultimately outweighed the bad.

            Do I like PC Culture? No. Do I think it every bit as silly as the idea that putting a tablet on your door or drinking blood wine? I do. But yet, somehow, I was able to separate the wheat from the chaff. I’m not suggesting this is a good trend or that it should be actively encouraged. But your argument seems to come down to: This silly rhetoric is being endorsed at high levels of academia and the mdia, so now the next generation doesn’t know WHAT to think!”

            How did liberals survive an era in which Reagan won nearly ever electoral vote? How did John Newton become an abolitionist despite having grown up in a culture that supported slavery? People have the ability to think for themselves. I realize there are aspects of the PC movement that want to limit said ability, but it’s inalienable.

            In other words, calling it stupid is one thing, but calling it “dangerous” is something else entirely — or suggesting it’s part of some larger, nefarious plot. “Dangerous” ideas have always existed and have even found support at high levels of power; I just worry you don’t give people enough credit to people to sort out what’s what in the end.

            And, for the last time (since you won’t say it back) MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU, YOUR WIFE, AND SON! I (SINCERELY) WISH YOU ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BUT THE BEST!!!

            Sincerely,
            Neil A. Dorr

    • “Are college students now mindless drones who absorb everything they’re taught.”

      I’d argue for the affirmative. These Social Justice PC buzzwords and theories seem to exist, for the most part, in a paradigm that includes college campuses and various internet sites. They also seem to be very age and demographic-specific; It’s exceedingly rare to find a believer under the age of 18, and campus populations punch far above the population as a whole in PC penetration. This ideological shift seems to happen as these young minds enter college, whether that change is a function of peer pressure or education, it’s hard not to call it indoctrination, and it’s hard not to call it successful. You have to remember though, that in this case specifically, those place mats came from the administration. This is on the heels of people like Melissa Click, the communications professor who ‘called for muscle’ to remove a reporter from an event. Which came first; The indoctrinated faculty, or the indoctrinated students? I believe the faculty.

      “Societal trends still ultimately come down to individuals and, making the assumption that they’re all marching to the same drummer flies in the face of the evidence.”

      Patently untrue. Every student group that submits a list of extreme demands to their campuses might put their own thumbprint on it, but by and large they are cookie cutter talking points. They may not have a traditional organized structure (although some groups do: see BLM), but what is emerging is a new type of structure, I think I might write a thesis on it… Where social media has connected the diaspora of like minded individuals, where they can put their ideas into their circles and certain ideas of various degrees of merit seem to rise to the top, and are disseminated, in a kind of hub and spoke system. These social systems are a much better example of group think than individual think, because no single individual carries the weight to create change… Which you might interpret to mean that in the absence of a leader, there`s no one beating the drum, but the reality is that there is a drum, and everyone has a stick. The beat still exists. Which segues nicely into:

      ”Larger confederations have (and will continue to) break down because, ultimately, they all want different things — they’ve simply developed a rhetoric that sounds unified.”

      The difference is that in movements like Occupy, the various factions were not as entrenched and didn’t have a good system of communication. They had a problem… and a million ideas on how that should be addressed, and a time-frame, because no one specifically liked the idea of camping out in minus 20. Social Justice does have that infrastructure, and their method is already tried and tested. I think your example defeats itself… Look at Occupy. It lasted half a year until the weather turned cold. Social Justice has been a festering boil on society for years, and the influence it exerts has up until now been gaining (although it may have sit a wall and saturation point.).

      ”Believe you me, each one of these groups you claim to be so “dangerous” to the American way of life will be first against the wall if and when a real revolution ever started.”

      Define ‘Real Revolution’ for me, because this might me a mismatch in terms. I think there`s a healthy argument that we’re in a revolution, and a lot of radical change has already happened.

    • Yes, indoctrination. Did you read the text on the placemat?

      ” Under the topic “Black Murders in the Street,” students are advised to prepare answers to the question: “Why didn’t they just listen to the officer? If they had just obeyed the law this wouldn’t have happened.”

      Students are advised to say to their families: “Do you think the response would be the same if it was a white person being pulled over? In many incidents that result in the death of a black body in the street, these victims are not breaking the law and are unarmed.”

      Little speeches, suggested answers, for each of four questions. They expect students to parrot this stuff at their parents.

  2. They made their play, they caught heat after it went viral and now they’re issuing a fake apology as a smoke screen while they slither off for a spell. They’ll be back with something else that will be equally snide and liberal, but hopefully not as attention getting beyond the campus.

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