Friday, September 11, 2009
The Torch, the blog of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), points out that this Deb Wood incident is just one of the many, many instances where we have tolerance for me, but not for thee. Here's what Adam Kissel writes, in part,
That's right, all this education about stereotyping and inclusiveness and diversity has not kept Debra Wood from using a slur against people who engage in "substantial drinking." Wood has declared to everyone at the Claremont Colleges that it is OK to stereotype such people as "stupid drunks." Of course, calling someone a "stupid drunk" is protected speech, especially since it's usually just a matter of opinion. But it shows that Debra Wood really has learned nothing about being "supportive" and "inclusive" of people who engage in substantial drinking.
In all seriousness, the Claremont Colleges are out of control. I still don't understand what is supposed to be the "impact" of "Hillary is a foxy lesbian." If you want any evidence that political correctness is alive and well, just go to Claremont, where they notify Campus Safety and send consortium-wide e-mails whenever some utterance might seem the slightest bit offensive to anybody. Public opprobrium is the best way to deal with offensive or racist speech, but Claremont's policy is well into the realm of the ridiculous. The infantilization of students is no way to prepare them to participate as adults in a free society.
That third rationale, “social awareness,” is the most important goal. Like the campus-driven movement to ban bottled water, trayless dining is mostly symbolic. Those who seek to use higher education as an incubator for the sustainability movement know that to transform people’s mindsets, they need only require small changes in everyday habits. When we are confronted with trivial daily lifestyle choices, we are constantly reminded of how we’ve been told we ought to behave.
Leaders of other activist movements have used this technique before. Feminists succeeded in getting us all to stop and worry over titles and third person pronouns (Is it ‘he or she’? Mailperson? Ms.?). They also achieved the substitution of the word gender for sex, signifying that “sexual identity” is socially constructed, not biologically assigned.
In the same way, when college students juggle plates and cups and silverware on their way through the cafeteria, they are obliged to think about sustainability every day at every meal. Sustainability advocates know that trayless dining is not going to change the world; they achieve victory simply by getting inside people’s heads.
Because sustainability initiatives seem so trivial, most people don’t think it is harmless, as illustrated by one person’s response to our list of ten reasons to oppose the campus sustainability movement:
I am unconvinced...As a counterexample, see the University of Chicago’s page on sustainability on campus: http://sustainability.uchicago.edu/. There’s nothing more controversial than recycling batteries and minimizing the use of leaf blowers.
Yes, Chicago’s webpage, with an eco-tip of the month and information about this year’s Earth Week, seems perfectly inoffensive. And many sustainability programs arestrictly concerned with its environmental stewardship aspect, not its social and economic aspects. But at the same time, the sustainability movement is unmistakably bent on changing attitudes, outlooks, and behavior. And like the feminists, sustainability advocates have been successful in their mission to act as our conscience. We are reminded of this every time we catch ourselves wondering, “Oh wait, can I say that?” or “Hmm...is this eco-ethical?”
- Give me tray or give my money back!
- From time to time, the tray of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
- They can take our trays, but we will break their plates. (Or would that be a plate crime?)
- Support Tray Rights! Tray-Plate Alliance!
- The North American Free Tray Agreement.
- Free Traybet!
- Ask not what you can do for your tray. Ask what your tray can do for you.
- Hey, hey, Pomona, what do you say? How many trays did you steal today?
- Trays are just another word for nothing left to lose.
- The Lorax speaks for the trays.
- Fight the Trayliban!
- Stop the Trayophobes! They want to Pray-The-Tray-Away!
- Join the ProleTrayriat