strategy matters

November 29, 2015

excerpts of a guest editorial by the caledonian record of st. johnsbury, vermont:

"Black Lives Matter" student protests are happening on college campuses throughout the country. The following represents a small sampling of some of their demands:

Smith College: Media must pledge support for protests or they can't cover them.

Amherst College: President must make a written apology for "institutional legacy of white supremacy, colonialism, anti-black racism, anti-Latino racism, anti-Native American racism, anti-Native/indigenous racism, anti-Asian racism, anti-Middle Eastern racism, heterosexism, cis-sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma, and classism; White students who put up "All Lives Matter" and "Free Speech" posters must be disciplined.

Emory: Raises and promotions for all black faculty.

Towson, Brown: White students stop protesting in favor of black students.

Kansas: A separate, black-only student government.

A number of protesters called for buildings to get name changes. Still others, ironically, have demanded separate buildings and/or campuses exclusively for minorities. In all cases, people who disagree with the protesters or who won't bow to their (often ludicrous) demands are being labeled bigots.

this post is not an attack of the editorial. the piece concludes with the counsel that a different strategy might be best.

i work for a newspaper. my job is to cover the news. i don't have to agree with or even like the people about whom i write. i don't have to attend the events i cover, unless i feel a personal interest in doing so; many of the articles i write are either about individuals who seek to raise awareness of a cause or have an impressive story to tell or about upcoming events of interest to a majority of the community's residents. my editor says write this; i write it.

the requests made by these individuals ARE ludicrous. a man should make more money because he's black? my standing with my black friends who feel slighted is offensive? a separate, black-only student government?

are you SERIOUS???

thousands of african-americans have fought for equality in this country. it's been sixty years since rosa parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus. it's been fifty-two years since the march in birmingham.

martin luther king, jr. and his friends marched in suits. they presented reasonable, eloquent arguments to sway the majority to be better to each other. they had patience and class.

what the hell is this with wanting separate student governments? why are we regressing? why are these people so incensed by past tragedies they themselves have not experienced? how can they justify such egregious demands?

some citizens of this country have done AWFUL things to each other. SOME. the answer is not perpetuating this by exacting awful revenge on ALL people of a particular race by making such ridiculous requests. this disrespects everything for which king and other civil rights activists fought. there's a right way to fight. it's not this way.

. . .

this, yall... THIS. the president of oklahoma weslayan university nails it.

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