Thursday, January 23, 2003

The script, Texas-style 

Doesn't this sound familiar? Some idiot does or says something incredibly insensitive. Outcry ensues. "We support free speech on campus, but..." Sensitivity training for all. It's now going on at two campuses in Texas. Erin O'Connor covers first the idiotic behavior of someone egging a statue of Martin Luther King at UT-Austin on Monday, when his birth was to be celebrated. "A rally to raise awareness about racism" comes about earlier today. O'Connor observes, "The leap from awful but unexplained event to blanket condemnation of unproven causes has become a common one on campuses, particularly when it comes to questions of race." Then, at Texas A&M, students advertised but did not throw a "ghetto party", which is a tradition in Aggieland. A letter to administrators complained the event was racist, even including mention of someone dressing in a KKK outfit -- but neglecting to mention that the wearer was himself black. (The parallels between this and the skit last night on Chappelle's Show are uncanny.)

The rush to have more diversity training, which we've observed on this campus already, seems endemic to O'Connor:
No one knows who egged UT's statue. It could have been hooligans from town, it could have been misguided black students as it was at Ole Miss. But lack of information has not slowed campus activists down one whit--the egging proves what they have known all along, that UT is a racist campus where bigotry runs rampant and unchallenged, and where whites are entirely unreconstructed and unrepentant. So certain are UT students of why the statue got vandalized and who did it that the student government passed a unanimous resolution on Tuesday condemning the defacement and "urging" (this is the word used in the student paper) the UT administration to implement a racial harassment policy. A cynic might think that the unknown vandals could well have been campus activists looking to create opportunities to pressure UT for policy change.
Or, you could have an administration stick it in a consent decree on a discrimination complaint in which it was the defendant.