From a reader:
I should have been the ideal candidate to become an ally of critical theory/social justice warriors and indeed, I have voted so in the past. I am white (European descent), I am solidly middle class and straight, college educated. I have very few principles, not in a villainous way but rather I am only attached to a few principles in life, for most everything I considered myself very open-minded. I am liberally Christian, I attend mainline Protestant church, I favored gay marriage early, didn’t care if men want to be women and vice versa, and accepted that people who looked like me committed acts of oppression in the past. I was not opposed to the idea that I benefited from privilege. I list these because in my 32 year old mind, these things should have made me an ally.
Over the past few years, a term and attitude toward that term began grating on my sensibilities. “White Male” should seem innocuous; after all, my skin is white and I am a man so why worry. However this term seems to, in my view, have become an obvious epithet, used in a derogatory manner in which to summarily dismiss one’s perspective. I see it all the time, as a way to dismiss contrary perspectives to the critical theorist/social justice narrative. It bothered me, but I chalked it up to heightened rhetoric.
This past week, with the Jon Chait essay I came to a realization, “white male” is summarily dismissed because “white males” are not allies they are subjects. It has occurred to me that one can think themselves an ally, only to run a counter narrative, be slapped down, put in their place and reminded that indeed, they are not allies, citizens or partners, they are subjects, and subjects keep their mouth shut, do the crown’s bidding and accept their place.
The problem is that I no longer wish to be a subject of the social justice ideology. I like Plato, I like Shakespeare, and I am interested in John Milton. I think reason and logic are still valid. I don’t think my ancestors were purely evil patriarchs, and if they were, I still love the ideas and culture they left me. In the humanities and academy at large, I find that the very things I love and cherish as part of my tradition and culture are under attack.
Accepting that I am subject and can never be a true ally, I find that I am moved to align more closely with the movement that would not have me tear my culture to the ground and burn it in the name of justice. So I ask you, please make room for me in the conservative tent; If not your tent, then your voting bloc. I am one of many nameless who has fallen to the “law of merited impossibility.”
Welcome, fellow Pale Penis Person! Meanwhile, the SJWs at Berkeley continue to make friends and influence people. Check out this op-ed another reader sends from the Daily Californian. Excerpts:
We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory. Grades were based primarily on multiple-choice quizzes on assigned readings. The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color.
We have major concerns about social theory courses in which white men are the only authors assigned. These courses pretend that a minuscule fraction of humanity — economically privileged white males from five imperial countries (England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States) — are the only people to produce valid knowledge about the world. This is absurd. The white male syllabus excludes all knowledge produced outside this standardized canon, silencing the perspectives of the other 99 percent of humanity.
The white male canon is not sufficient for theorizing the lives of marginalized people. None of the thinkers we studied in this course had a robust analysis of gender or racial oppression.
Burn the university down, baby!