Friday, August 26, 2016

Kudos to the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago has been in the news for a letter it sent to entering freshmen. In the letter the University rejects the recent move toward "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces". It also affirmed the University's commitment to academic freedom, freedom of expression, and diversity of opinion.

Three cheers to the University.

The reaction to the letter is predictable. Many students and faculty praised it, but there was also criticism. The criticism shows the nature of today's "political correctness" or "social justice" movement.

One criticism is that the University already sponsors "safe spaces." A quick web search finds the the LGBTQ office has a Safe Space program. There are probably others. Perhaps these "safe spaces" are times or locations where like minded people can get together. Or perhaps they are the room with teddy bears and coloring books of some news reports. One hopes the former.

On the subject of safe spaces, I found an interesting quote in an explanation of safe spaces:
"For me as a black woman, it's really nice to just go out with other black women sometimes," said Sabrina Stevens, an activist and progressive strategist. "I have to do so much less translation. When you're black around white people, you have to explain every little thing, even with people who are perfectly nice and well-meaning."
I can see the reason for a group with membership limited to a particular race, sex, nationality, etc. However, the courts have ruled this to be illegal. At least, if the race and sex are white and male. See male only clubs must admit women.

So there is a double standard. Any group which can claim to be in some way "disadvantaged" is ok. Any group consisting of the "oppressors" (whites or males) is not.

This is even recognized by the U.S. Congress. The Congressional Black Caucus excludes non-blacks. The Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues consists only of female members of Congress.

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