We recently discussed the controversy at Evergreen State College where Biology Professor, Bret Weinstein, was essentially forced off the faculty after objecting to a planned “Day of Absence” in which white people were asked to stay off campus. Despite Weinstein being subject to abuse by students on campus for merely stating his view of the implications of the proposal, the faculty sided with the students and shunned the academic. He and his wife, fellow biology professor Heather Heying, were eventually given a $500,000 settlement. The school preferred not to litigate the issue and pay the settlement rather than defend a point of obvious academic freedom and free speech on campus. Now the student newspaper is under fire for creating an opinion section where white students are excluded. The Cooper Point Journal is funded by all students but its editors have not responded to calls about the segregation of its pages by race.
The new section is described as “for people of color by people of color.” The editors are clear and dismissive about any whites who might want to participate: “Dear White people, please take a step back, this isn’t brown-people-answer-white-people’s-questions-hour, we’re asking specifically for submissions from POC.” What would the response of Evergreen be if the newspaper had a whites only section and said “Dear Non-White people, please take a step back, this isn’t white-people-answerbrown-people’s questions hour”? Yet, the faculty again been entirely silent on the controversy.
According to the newspaper the segregated part of the Journal’s Letters & Opinion section:
“This should be a place where we can be us without it being overshadowed by the dark cloud that is living under white supremacy and having to see things from a white perspective. This is why when we do cover these issues it will be in the context and from the perspective of POC and POC only.”
Among the columns is one posting that objects that Weinstein is the “face harassment on an almost daily basis, it’s horrible and it’s traumatizing but ain’t nobody going to pay us $500,000 to deal with it.”
The column also rejected “the dangerous ignorance of ‘tolerant liberalism'” — a common position that we discussed earlier in relation to the Antifa movement.
Black and Brown people deserve reparations and respect but we know we won’t get it because we are not a middle aged, college educated, White man with the money, time, and experience to bring a lawsuit against the people who oppose us. Brett is the epitome of what we are fighting against, not just the Neo-nazis in the streets but the “well meaning” highly educated freedom of speech liberals who would see us murdered in an attempt to offer tolerant free speech to the hateful among us. Brett is a reminder that even would-be or self-identified allies may be dangerous when they reclaim the power they have always had. The fact that Brett is in fact a jewish person shows how the concept of Whiteness is ever changing and morphing, giving and taking privilege to fit its own purposes. Brett holds true to form when we think of how capitalism, White supremacy and classism intertwine to keep each other standing.
I have no problem with the newspaper publishing such views. As many on this blog know, I take a very broad view of free speech and college is a place for the open expression of opposing views. However, to use student money to effectively exclude students by their race is highly troubling. Of course, the school has shown precious little concern over equal treatment of students or faculty throughout this controversial period.