College of New Jersey Orientation Speaker: America Was Never a Great Place

The Associated Press
Josh Edelson/AP

A speaker at a mandatory orientation event at the College of New Jersey last week bashed conservative media and argued that America was never a great place.

The speech, which was first covered by the College Fix, was given by anti-racism activist Tim Wise. Wise, who has spoken on over 600 college campuses, spoke at a mandatory orientation event at the College of New Jersey that took place last Friday.

Wise spent the event bashing the conservative perspective on topics like immigration and individualism. Wise made the case that America’s insistence on individualism is part of a greater moral decay in which we lose the urge to help one another.

“You’ll hear people say that, ‘I made everything on my own, I went from nothing to something, I did everything by myself,” Wise said. “Nobody grew up on their own, nobody did anything alone. But we act like that’s the case and then we forget to help other people.”

Wise went on to blame Fox News for stoking immigration anxieties. “You don’t have to like it, I know that there are some folks who don’t. I know that there are some folks who are very nervous,” Wise continued. “They get talk shows on Fox News and they go on and they say things like, ‘Oh my God, the demographics of our country are changing.’”

Eventually, Wise made the case that there are certain diversity principles that can’t be challenged. If you challenge them, according to Wise, you aren’t welcome at institutions like The College of New Jersey. Is Wise suggesting that any student who opposes Harvard’s discrimination against Asian-Americans isn’t welcome in academia?

“We don’t have to agree on everything, we’re going to have a lot of disagreements, political, social, all types of disagreement because that’s what we do as people,” he argued. “There are some core principles when we talk about building a diverse and inclusive community that really are not negotiable, so if you have a problem with those principles you have a problem with this institution, and you probably chose badly.”

The problem is not that Wise holds these opinions, it’s that they are being offered in a neutral setting at a mandatory event for incoming freshman. Unfortunately, his speech is setting an ideological tone for the four years that those students will spend at the College of New Jersey. Those who might wish to challenge certain illiberal diversity policies and initiative, much like Dr. Bret Weinstein did, may now choose to instead to self-censor.

Self-censorship is a much different issue than the real issue of racism. But it’s an issue worth addressing nonetheless, especially in higher education — which should feature robust debate and not ideological uniformity.

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