To refresh memories, #3 in this ethics warm-up of a week ago involved this email, sent to the University of Wisconsin campus yesterday by administrators.
To our campus community, Friday morning, what was intended as a protest to inspire action on environmental climate change had a very different and negative impact on many who witnessed it. Two students displayed nooses tied around their necks outside the Humanities Building.
The students involved have since apologized for their actions and committed to rectifying the impact they caused. We commend the university staff and members of our campus community who immediately intervened with the protesters and helped them understand the impact they were having. The protesters then removed the nooses.
The fact remains that members of our community were harmed. While the First Amendment guarantees the right to free expression, our community best succeeds when we express our views and promote a campus climate that is welcoming and safe to everyone.
We hope this experience can serve as a learning opportunity. Regardless of whether the display of a hateful symbol is based on a lack of cultural understanding or an expressed intent to promote fear, the lingering legacies of what these symbols represent create visceral and painful reactions among many. That harm is especially acute for people of color, for whom this history is very real.
Let’s be clear: ignorance is not an excuse. We can and must do better. For those of us who are members of majority communities, our campus offers many resources through Student Affairs and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement to learn about racism and injustice and about how to be strong allies.
And for those who are impacted by incidents like this, we want you to know that we support you and have resources to help….
I wrote, “The school would not make a similar statement if American flags were burned or an effigy of President Trump were set on fire, and those gestures are no less offensive to many than the symbolic use of a noose. Nor was anyone “harmed” by the student protesters. Opinions, symbols and gestures do not harm healthy, normal people. Forcing the students to apologize was wrong and a direct affront to their right of expression.”
Mrs. Q then picked up the baton. Here is her Comment of the Day on that issue:
3. According to the WSJ They said they modeled their protest after one in Europe that involved people in nooses standing on blocks of melting ice.
These protesters had no racist intentand emulated a European protest strategy. While I think it’s a stupid way to make a statement whether from Europe or the United States, the point had nothing to do with denigrating blacks and should have been taken as such by reasonable people. Pulling those students aside to explain a potential misinterpretation would have been enough.
However, the anointed staff at the college appears to be unable to pass on a juicy opportunity to virtue signal while pandering, exploiting, and infantilizing their students of color. Let me offer a Wokeness decoder for what the UW of Madison was really saying.
- “That harm is especially acute for people of color, for whom this history is very real.”
“We privileged and progressive whites know blacks are a monolith who can’t discern context or utilize reason in such matters because victim…victim…victim.”
- And for those who are impacted by incidents like this, we want you to know that we support you and have resources to help.
“We have the power to help you because you can’t help or think for yourselves.”
- For those of us who are members of majority communities, our campus offers many resources through Student Affairs…
“Whites! You better conform to the white privilege theory ( which a privileged white woman conjured) and join our ranks as representatives on the mission to make people of color feel increasingly in need of our radiant vision.”
The school’s issued statement not only chills free speech but is ultimately a test about taking a “moral stand.” As Thomas Sowell explains in his essay “The Tyranny of Visions,” anointed visionaries tend to define problems like these psychologically, which may be why the statement notes “ignorance is not an excuse.”
Instead, a kind of therapeutic “discussion session” is offered by staff from the Dean of Students Office and University Housing, whom I’m sure are all trained in Woke Speak and can offer word salad euphoria to balm these poor students’ emotionally shattered souls.
Many years ago I used to hang out with my friend Becky at UW of Madison drinking contraband Hamm’s beers while playing darts. I miss those days and am glad we didn’t have to deal with such grandstanding.