Ijeoma Oluo
Jan 27, 2015 · 5 min read

What It’s Like to Read Jonathan Chait’s Latest Shitshow

I was just having a pleasant Tuesday looking at funny videos on the internet when I noticed that someone’s name kept showing up on my feed.

Jonathan Chait

I brushed it off and tried to focus on other things but it, just kept popping up. Against my better interest, I clicked the link.

And OH MY GOD I was suddenly sucked into a world of butthurt and privilege so vast it threatens to collapse upon itself and suck the entire universe of “liberalism” into it.

This entirely too long piece opens up with a few anecdotes. The first is a Muslim student who published a satire piece in the school newspaper that led to, not necessarily ridicule, but outright harassment, property damage and his eventual firing.

Another, of course is the recent horrifying murders of the staff of Charlie Hebdo. Highlighting that, while most people initially rallied behind Charlie Hebdo and free speech, others started criticizing the newspapers cartoons as offensive and hateful.

So let’s stop here. The first anecdote of the Muslim student. I actually read the piece this student wrote, linked here, and while sometimes I wish that really shitty satire was illegal, it’s not. What happened to him was not “PC gone mad” it was a hate crime perpetrated by awful 20 year olds.

The Charlie Hebdo anecdote: “These sudden, dramatic expressions of anguish against insensitivity and oversensitivity come at a moment when large segments of American culture have convulsed into censoriousness.”

Are you kidding me here? We’re gonna talk about the free speech of the cartoonists (and we really should be reminded that THERE IS NO FREE SPEECH IN FRANCE) and how horrifying it is that they were killed for their speech, while telling others that they can’t criticize that speech because….free speech??

Then Chait goes on to criticize the protests of certain speakers on college campuses. Like Bill Maher who Chait says “has criticized Islam” (which I guess is code for, really hates Islam and says hella racist shit about Muslims) and Christine Lagarde for supporting “Imperialist and patriarchal systems” which I think was proven true last week when she said that the recently deceased King Abdullah was an “advocate for women” and that the glacier-like slowness of reform in a country where it’s still ILLEGAL FOR WOMEN TO DRIVE was “appropriate for the country.” Apparently, this is what it looks like when political correctness gets OUT OF CONTROL — people don’t want Islamophobes and apologists for oppressive regimes delivering commencement addresses.

Literally every example he uses here — EVERY ONE — is one in which women, minorities, and people of color have said, “Hey, that’s offensive to us. That hurts us. We don’t like it.”

Women. Minorities. Why you gotta have so many feels about racism and equal rights?

Chait then moves on to every whiny white dude’s favorite criticism — trigger warnings. How about this Chait, instead of bitching about trigger warnings, just use the word “trigger warning” AS a trigger warning that this article is for people who actually give a fuck about the feelings and experiences of others. Problem solved.

But it’s not just academics that are ruining everything with their caring. Writers are GETTING RICH off of it (I know I do). “Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity.” Yes. The problem is definitely that the media is TOO FOCUSED on race and gender bias. Definitely it.

And let’s look at you internet commenters. No, not you dudes out there who yell “Kill yourself” and “Get raped” at me and many other feminist bloggers all day, I’m talking about the commenters who start FUCKING HASHTAGS. God fucking forbid you express discontent with someone’s work with a hashtag. We all know, that when I get doxxed by some MRA with the address of my son’s school because I speak up about women’s rights, I’m just praying he doesn’t show up with a hashtag.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, Jonathan Chait is white and male, which he now informs you (as if 5,000 word essays on how social justice is oppressing you isn’t the calling card of the white male). His big worry here (and likely his entire impetus for writing this drolling piece) is that we won’t take his viewpoint seriously because he’s a white male.

Because god forbid, we don’t take a white male’s opinions on what should or shouldn’t offend women and minorities seriously. Chait goes on to whine about mansplaining and it’s so fucking boring and whiny that I tried to read it all but my eyes rolled out of my head.

And then he goes on to talk about Binders Full of Women Writers.


As a former member, and moderator of one of these binders. The majority of women were absolutely amazing, kind, empathetic women. And some were REALLY mad that they couldn’t say shit that hurt minorities or LGBT women without being called out. It was actually really easy for the majority of women to just — not be assholes. But some women felt that it was their first amendment right to not only be an asshole, but to never be called out on it. I can’t even with the argument that asking groups to be more inclusive is somehow divisive.

Chait closes with a billion paragraphs of unhelpful quotes and then really gets to the true harm of this political correctness: “Claims of victimhood that are useful within the left-wing subculture may alienate much of America. The movement’s dour puritanism can move people to outrage, but it may prove ill suited to the hopeful mood required of mass politics.”


“Claims of victimhood” is the type of shit that those white dudes wearing “I Can Breathe” tshirts to pro-police rallies say. And is there a bigger “claim of victimhood” than a short novel about how having to consider the feelings of others is really bumming you out? Talking about how political correctness may “alienate much of America” when what you mean is “may alienate white dudes like me.” Because do you know who is and has been alienated from these movements for years by racist, sexist, classist bullshit? EVERYONE ELSE.

Long story short, you can either lose a year of your life reading this ode to lost white male privilege, or you can just hop in my twitter mentions for the same experience in 128 characters.

    Ijeoma Oluo

    Written by

    Come for the feminist rants..stay for the selfies and kid quotes. Inclusive feminism here.