The Ivory Tower’s Anti-Racist Olympics

Academia’s elites are engaged in a heated competition at the Anti-Racist Olympics. The no-fun and games are a decided public spectacle, one demanded by the contestants’ leftist ideology and fellow-traveling peers to prove one’s fealty to the hideous myth of America’s systemic racism.

Oh, and what a competition it is! 

In a sharp essay for the summer issue of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, journalist Heather Mac Donald dispenses with the pretenders and also-rans; and provides a highlight reel of the real contenders in the Anti-Racist Olympics. Stunning and brave and with job security, these social justice warriors stride forth from their sinecures into the collegiate coliseum to slay the racism permeating themselves, history, society, and their institutions. 

Mac Donald writes:

Princeton’s president, Christopher Eisgruber, has ordered the school’s top faculty and administrators to submit plans on how they will “combat systemic racism within and beyond the University.” Every aspect of Princeton will be reexamined with a “bias toward action.”

Duke University president Vincent Price announced: “I cannot as a white person begin to fully understand the daily fear and pain and oppression that is endemic to the Black experience” [and] “insisted that his university must take ‘transformative action’ to eliminate the ‘systems of racism and inequality that have shaped the lived experiences of too many members of the Duke community.’” 

And it isn’t just the liberal arts crowd having all the self-flagellating fun in the Anti-Racist Olympics. The sciences are horning in on the action:

The dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, pronounced himself “absolutely dedicated” to turning the engineering school into an “anti-racist organization . . . crucially includ(ing) unconscious bias work we must do within ourselves.” 

The chairman of the earth and planetary sciences department at the University of California at Davis announced an “anti-racist reading group” for faculty and students . . . to confront the “structural racism that pervades” the field of geology . . . [and] should “specifically confront, in the classroom, the history and relationship of racism and colonialism in Earth Science education, application, and research.” 

The American Mathematical Society declared that “equity, diversity and inclusion” are fundamental to its mission.

In their anti-racist zeal, the “party of science” strikes another blow against the deplorable team that is working to keep them from resurrecting Jim Crow:

The American Astronomical Society held color-coded Zoom meetings, one for white astronomers to “discuss direct actions to support Black astronomers,” one for black astronomers to “talk, vent, connect, and hold space for each other,” and one for “non-Black people of color to discuss direct actions to support Black astronomers.”

But the front runner in the Anti-Racist Olympics could well be Middlebury College President Laurie Patton. From a safe space (one hopes), Patton decried her college’s racist Hellscape: 

[R]acism ‘happens in our residence halls and in our classrooms, at the tables of our dining halls and in our locker rooms, on our sidewalks, within the offices where we work, and in our town . . . ’ [and] Middlebury’s ‘non-Black members’ [need] to develop ‘deeper knowledge about racism, inequality, and the way oppression operates within our culture, within our institutions, and within ourselves.’

And Patton had another ace up her Left sleeve, apologizing for

not focusing enough on the ‘root cause and specific harm’ of the black community’s ‘profound pain’ in her initial letter to the college. ‘I needed to name the specific and systemic violence experienced by Black people . . . I now understand that members of our community needed to hear that.’

Regrettably, as Mac Donald trenchantly notes:

All such institutional self-accusations by college presidents leave out the specifics . . . Which faculty members do not treat black students fairly? If that unjust treatment is so obvious, why weren’t those professors already removed? What is wrong with an admissions process that lets in thousands of student bigots? In other moments, college presidents brag about the quality of their student body and faculty. Are they lying? Shouldn’t they have disclosed to black applicants that they will face “racist acts” and “systems of inequality” should they attend?

This failure to provide specifics—i.e., evidence and corrective actions—belies these “educators” sincerity and, indeed, the very existence of systemic racism itself. It also proves the contestants in the Anti-Racist Olympics have a survival instinct. 

By their own admission they cannot understand the “black experience”; they have implicit biases against blacks and other people of color; they have presided over institutions that are systemically racist. And all this hideous racism infesting campuses despite the millions of dollars dolloped into diversity and inclusion programs! 

By their own logic, these “woke” bureaucrats should resign; and, if they are white, they should allow people of color to assume these positions. Such would be a decided and concrete blow against the systemic racism these bureaucrats purport to oppose.

But these grandees of academe refuse to put their money where their myth is. This may represent their gnawing and perpetual angst that, despite the ephemeral accolades that result from their participation in the Anti-Racist Olympics, maybe no one wins when Stalinist group think strangles the universities’ mission of free speech and inquiry. 

Perhaps this explains why, during these self-abasement sweepstakes, none of these Philippic spouting bureaucrats—oops, “educators”—has vowed to cancel the term “ivory tower.” 

Are the lofty lords of higher education beginning to realize that, should the students they’ve indoctrinated with woke civil religion discover the ivory tower has windows, the dictates of “social justice” would require a “largely peaceful” defenestration of these “educators” along with their cushy, taxpayer-subsidized sinecures?

That would be beyond all prizing. 

About Thaddeus G. McCotter

The Hon. Thaddeus McCotter is the former chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee, current itinerant guitarist, American Greatness contributor, and Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show."

Photo: Michael Siluk/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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