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Liberal columnist: ‘These campus inquisitions must stop’

Campus liberals have gotten so out of hand that they’re even losing the support of some on the left. Take Frank Bruni for example.

In a column for The New York Times, the liberal columnist argues “racism pervades our country” but writes liberal students won’t spark change with their aggressive protest tactics:

But we’re never going to make the progress that we need to if they hurl the word “racist” as reflexively and indiscriminately as some of them do, in a frenzy of righteousness aimed at gagging speakers and strangling debate.

That’s a mechanism for shaming, not a strategy for change. It mesmerizes all. It converts none.

Bruni’s column comes amid the unrest at Evergreen State College, where Bret Weinstein, a white biology professor, objected to a “Day of Absence” in which white students and faculty were asked to leave campus for a day.

“There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and under-appreciated roles . . . and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away,” Weinstein wrote in an email stating his objection to the event.

Those opinions now have students calling for him to be fired. Bruni doesn’t find Weinstein’s comments offensive or outrageous, and certainly not worthy of the madness he faced:

It was a reasonable perspective and a prompt for discussion, not fury. It drew fury nonetheless. Dozens of students interrupted one of his classes, screaming at him about racism, white privilege and even white supremacy. The campus police chief advised him, for his own safety, to steer clear of school grounds until tempers cooled. Students demanded that he and two other college employees whom they deemed insensitive to minorities be fired.

“Hey hey, ho ho, these racist teachers have got to go!” they chanted. When the college’s president, George Bridges, met with them, several of them pelted him with profanity and ordered him to shut up.

Even Bridges, who caved to protesters’ demands, has been labeled as a racist. For Bruni, such “discourse” disappoints him:

I asked Bridges about the epithets hung on Weinstein. He said that such terms are being deployed too readily and casually.

“Using the word ‘racist’ halts the conversation,” he said. “It just ends it. It doesn’t explore the beliefs, the values, the behaviors that comprise individuals.”

Isn’t he, too, being characterized as racist?

“Of course,” he said. “It’s just the way discourse goes these days.”

Of course? What a sad state of affairs. And what a retreat from anything that we could really call “discourse.”

Read the full column.

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