In blocking speaker, Williams College exhibited a reasonable limit to tolerance
John Seven
12

Hmmm…Good points, all, John. I have to disagree you, though. People in enlightened, civilized environments (quintessential New England college towns like Williamstown) NEED to hear the vile, reprehensible sputum that Derbyshire would try to pass off as an intellectually defensible position.

The majority of Americans raised in comfortably middle class homes and who attended a four-year college and who went on either in academia or to cushy desk jobs do NOT encounter blatant racism typically. Given that demographic I’m talking about is also typically White, they also have had little interaction with working class people of color. This actually creates a breeding ground for subtler forms of racial discrimination.

This low-grade racism accounts for the results of a 2003 study by the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and Massachusetts Institute of Technology that reveal a dramatic disparity in Human Resources responses to two sets of resumes, identical except that one stack contained names like “Emily” and “Brandon,” and the other contained names like “Lakisha” and “Jamal.” Do you imagine that all the HR departments throughout Boston are filled with Aryan Nation disciples? I doubt that many, if any, of the HR managers or their assistants thought that they were intentionally weeding African Americans out of the candidate pool.

They just fell back on the quiet programming of the dominant culture. Just as generations of movie goers do when they see ONE MORE film that presents Latino men as greasy, sleazy drug dealers and Latinas either as prostitutes or maids and don’t stop for a second to think how degrading that is to nearly 20 million Americans.

I actually come from a really neat, unique place. I’m a Latino with light skin, light brown hair, and green eyes. That means that I get to hear ALL the nasty things that people (often who don’t consider themselves to be racist) say about minorities when they don’t think that a minority is in the room. And closing in on 50 years old, I can tell you that I’ve heard some doozies. My wife was absolutely appalled when we were apartment hunting some years ago, and the real estate agent (whose office proudly displayed the Equal Housing = logo in the window) said that we didn’t want to live in a particular section of town. “It used to be really nice until all the Spics started moving in.” My wife started to open her mouth to give the woman a piece of her mind, but I simply thanked the agent for her time and took my business elsewhere.

Only when people who have a shred of conscience left are forced to witness hatred do they ever get up off their asses and react. As Americans, when faced with the horrors of Abu Ghraib, we demanded an end to torture. When photojournalists opened up a window into Vietnam and showed us scenes of children running and screaming as napalm melted the skin off their faces, we gravely forced an end to the conflict. ONLY when Northerners were forced not only to confront the crime of slavery, but also their economic complicity in the system, did the Abolitionist movement really gather support. The same is becoming true of #BlackLivesMatter. The same will, I hope, be true of the #migrantcrisis both in the Middle East and Central and South America.

So, no. I don’t think Williams has done anything but a disservice to the marketplace of ideas in its decision to pull the plug on this racist, xenophobic, spiritually deformed excuse for a human being. When polite society is allowed to hide from ugly truths, it hides. When made to confront monstrosities, that same polite society steels its resolve to behave in a more evolved manner.

And, really. I just don’t think we have to worry about Trump becoming president. And even if he DID, that would compel Congress to actually grow a set and reclaim its authority. I, for one, am weary of an ever-expanding Executive Branch.

— Jason Velázquez

Editor, The Greylock Glass

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