The American Boko Harum
On April 14, 2014 the Nigerian-based radical Islamic group Boko Harum raided and kidnapped over 200 young girls from a school and is now holding them captive somewhere. One of the goals of this group is to establish an Islamic state in sub-Sahara Africa and institute sharia law. A very large part of their agenda is targeted against women and, more specifically the education of females. As such, they have much in common with other groups such as the Taliban who have targeted female students in Afghanistan and the areas they control in Pakistan. When they ruled Afghanistan, the education of females was non-existent.
In countries like Nigeria and Afghanistan, education is more basic and rudimentary than here in the United States. There, the goal is the basics of mathematics, reading and writing. Even still, higher education is almost non-existent, especially for females. In the United States, we have no such problems. Instead, the goal of higher education is not rudimentary since those things were presumably resolved much earlier. The average college student should be able to form a coherent paragraph and do basic algebra at the very least. More importantly, the goal of higher education should be to create critical thinkers who can draw in a wealth of experiences and views, synthesize the information and then use it to make informed decisions.
The problem today in American higher education is that this cannot be achieved given the structural barriers in place thanks to the American Left and their infiltration of higher education. I posit that at most institutes of higher learning the average student is being denied the access to a wealth of experiences and views which the Left, in the name of “diversity,” claims they strive for. Just as Boko Harum seeks to deny an education to a certain segment of that country, the American Left seeks to deny every college student in America a true higher education. For this, they have much in common with these radical Islamic scumballs in Nigeria only it is more subtle. Instead of kidnapping actual students, they are kidnapping the minds of college students. Instead of holding school children captive, they are holding the minds of American college students captive. Instead of raping these female students, they are raping the First Amendment. Instead of threatening to sell young girls into sex slavery, they are selling American minds into the mindset of the Left’s politically correct worldview. And like their counterparts in Nigeria, the American Left has become more brazen and high profile recently.
Brandeis University cancelled a commencement speech by Ayann Hirsi Ali, a proponent of women’s rights in Islamic countries. Opponents prevented a speech by New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at Brown University because they disagreed with a policy- stop and frisk- that actually worked to decrease crime on the streets of New York. Protests at Rutgers University in New Jersey caused Condoleeza Rice to cancel her commencement speech. We were all witnesses to the harassment David Petreaus suffered at the “learned” students in New York City.
These are only the higher profile cases. In the past year, there have been several cases under the radar that received notice only in local news outlets or on conservative websites. For example, John Hopkins University denied a student group, Voices for Life, recognition because their message (pro-life) might make some people feel “uncomfortable.” At the University of Central Florida a professor was suspended, barred from campus, forced to undergo a mental evaluation and attend sensitivity training because he said “Am I going on a killing spree here?” in response to student frustration over answering his questions in the controversial field of financial accounting. At Ball State University, a professor was forced to remove an Italian flag from in front of his office lest he offend non-Italians one assumes. At Dixie State, a sorority was denied recognition because they had the temerity to have Greek letters in their name. Ironically, students were suspended at Modesto Junior College for passing out copies of the Constitution… on Constitution Day. A professor at the University of Colorado (Boulder) was suspended for a lecture on prostitution in a social science class. Stanford University removed funding for a conference on marriage and “sexual integrity” because it may offend that campus’ LGBT community. St. Louis University forced a student group to disinvite Scott Brown from speaking on campus citing a fear over losing tax-exempt status even though Scott Brown was not running for any office at the time. Robert Birgeneau, the Chancellor at University of California, Berkeley was disinvited from speaking at Haverford College for his role in a 2011 student protest. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Haverford responds] The student newspaper at the University of Alaska was harassed for a series of satirical articles…..published on April Fool’s Day. Lewis and Clark College suspended students for telling racially humorous jokes at a private party that apparently offended the sensibilities of someone else at that party (one suspects they will not be on the next guest list). Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, had to pull out of a speech at Smith College because she leads an organization that allegedly “perpetuates a corrupt system hostile to women.” And finally, Cornell University recently adopted a policy where student organizations must adopt a policy of diversity whereby their membership must reflect the population of the student body (sounds like a quota to me).
To the Left, these actions represent campus activism. To me, this represents nothing short of censorship and the suppression of an opposing view or something that “may” offend someone else. There is a recent trend on college campuses these days to have professors warn students ahead of time of potentially controversial subject matter and allow students lacking a spine from attending classes or lectures where the material may hurt their feelings. If college-level subject matter offends or hurts feelings, there are two options: avoid taking the class in the first place or stay the hell out of college altogether.
The overall goal of these trends and tendencies egged on by Obama’s Department of Education is to actually suppress free speech on campus and in the classroom under the guise of protecting the “feelings” or sensibilities of others. As one writer on Huffington Post described it, these rules protect certain groups from the “harmful structural inequalities which persist on the basis of class, race, sex and gender identity in the U.S.” Thus, it becomes perfectly acceptable and worthy of First Amendment protection to celebrate a Black Mass on the Harvard campus or depict a crucifix in a jar of urine, but unacceptable to depict the prophet Mohammed in a cartoon.
The American Left in academia has come full circle. At one time they led “free speech” movements and sit-ins on college campuses. But once handed the reigns of power in academia, they became the oppressors. As such, they are certainly less “liberal” and most definitely more fascist. The only thing that separates the American Left in higher education and a group like Boko Harum in Nigeria is that at least the latter is more honest in their goals. They do not wrap their actions, words, beliefs and agenda in feel-good words and well-meaning policies designed to protect “feelings” and such. And this is a discussion of free speech on college campuses. I have not even mentioned the prejudice and oppression Christian students and organizations suffer every day on American college campuses. Come to think of it, most American colleges and Nigeria have more in common than the Left is willing to admit.