‘Some arguments aren’t worth engaging with, and quite frankly are dangerous for even existing’
“Logical” and civil debates can be “dangerous” according to a columnist for Yale University’s student newspaper.
Bianca Nam recently wrote a column for the Yale Daily News where she shared her frustration with the campus pro-life group – because they were polite.
“One of the angriest moments I’ve had at Yale was last year’s Bulldog Days, when I saw a table on cross campus that was manned by members of a pro-life club,” Nam (pictured) wrote on April 11. “Grouped around the table, which was spread with sonograms and fetal diagrams, the students were inviting passersby to engage in logical debates about fetal personhood and abortion ethics.”
“They were polite,” she wrote. “They held their voices low and spoke slowly and calmly. They had relaxed, open smiles.”
The pro-lifers’ willingness to respectfully share their views got under Nam’s skin.
“Would you like to discuss this? Let’s talk about it respectfully,” they insisted. “We can debate about this.” Their smug civility was infuriating; their invitations for debate, inflammatory. I could barely seethe out my opinion about the misogyny of holding such a debate at all; simpering, the male students gestured to the only female student with them. Their wide, innocent eyes asked the unspoken question: how could they possibly be misogynist when one of their club members was a woman?
She said to even “bring the legality of abortion into question” and ask about when personhood begins is “a false path meant to distract someone from the true issue and its massive repercussions for bodily autonomy and reproductive rights.”
“The discussion never should have been entertained, because simply opening space for this ‘logical, respectful’ debate itself is a threat to human rights that should never be up for debate,” she wrote.
“Some arguments aren’t worth engaging with, and quite frankly are dangerous for even existing,” she wrote to open her essay as well.
She questioned why the university even allowed her pro-life peers to set up a table on campus. “Yale should be more cognizant about the environment it fosters for women,” the columnist wrote. “We don’t need perfunctory celebrations of the anniversary of Yale’s women that accompany endorsements of misogynist dialogue.”
Debates about abortion or immigration, Nam wrote, are “an insult to our personhood, experience and rights.”
It is not just pro-lifers that drew Nam’s criticism, however. She shared a story of interviewing a high schooler for a summer academic program external to Yale.
“One interviewee made a statement about how prejudiced people could be re-educated through logical debates that could convince them that their views were wrong,” she wrote. “I could tell that they genuinely had faith in the power of rational thinking.”
IMAGE: Bianca Nam/Linkedin