(St. Louis) Let’s imagine that Washington University’s student government decided to put on a conference on Race. Let’s say they invited Al Sharpton as a guest speaker, and in initial negotiation, agreed to pay him his usual $30-50,000 speaking fee. Finally, let’s say at the last minute, a number of bigoted students protested Sharpton, and then the student government decided to pull the plug on Sharpton out of fear of the protesting, bigoted students.
What do you think Sharpton’s response would be?
You damn well know what it would be.
Sharpton would OWN the media cycle. He’d have the heads of the entire Washington University administration. He’d demand to speak. He’d demand a higher honorarium. He’d demand greater minority employment, and a Wash U contribution to Sharpton’s National Action Network. Plus, he’d want public apologies from dozens of people, sensitivity training for the student government, and a host of other minor concessions. He’d publicly embarrass the students and the school for their patent racism.
So my question for Bristol Palin is: “What concessions are you seeking?”
Bristol Palin was contacted recently by Washington University in St. Louis’ Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC)- an adjunct committee of their student government, the student union (SU) – to be the keynote speaker in a 4 person panel on “[sexual] abstinence in a college setting” during the university’s annual “Sex Week.” Previous “Sex Weeks” saw abstinence proponents poorly represented, if at all. SHAC had apparently selected Palin because they thought it would draw positive publicity and discussion to the event.
Not so, however, as the announcement of Bristol’s selection drew an outcry from vocal opponents, who cited peer pressure and general contempt as factors motivating their disapproval of Bristol:
“I have been getting emails, text messages [and] phone calls from people at universities across the country, laughing at me. Everyone is so riled up about this that there’s not even a point of bringing her here, nobody is going to be able to listen,” junior Ryan McCombe said.
And after a day or two of protest attacks against SHAC, the SU capitulated and announced they had axed Bristol from the panel, because, “the controversy surrounding her appearance would overshadow the event’s intended message of sexual responsibility.”
So the message is, “Don’t bother coming, Bristol, or we’ll shout you down and riot because WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE!” This seems eerily similar to Southern intimidation and oppression of blacks during attempts to desegregate. It’s reminiscent of a scene from Forrest Gump, where a young black girl is harassed by a young white student and knocks her books out of her hands.
Millions of college students have been indoctrinated with the importance of diversity – so long as that diversity includes approved races, ethnicities, political ideologies, backgrounds, etc. If you’re conservative, from a rural area, and you’re supporting abstinence, well, let’s just say that kind of diversity isn’t desired.
No, instead of supporting diversity, the celebrated ideal of college land, let’s applaud and bow to bigotry.
Let’s not kid ourselves, here. what has transpired at Wash U is nothing short of bigotry and hate. These students weren’t protesting Bristol because she’s some evil mass murderer. No, they’re protesting her because they hate her. Yes. Hate. They hate everything Bristol represents, and they hate the fact that proponents of abstinence and others that share Bristol’s family-oriented culture suddenly have a beautiful, popular advocate – who can dance! They hate the fact that she makes being a goody goody look attractive and desirable.
It’s ethnicism, urbanism (bigotry against all things non-urban) and hate on parade at Wash U, disguised as disapproval of Bristol’s honorarium and a hodge-podge of other, less coherent arguments against her coming to speak – all of which had the bigotry and hatred subtext.
Supposedly, and it’s not clear for sure, Bristol was to be paid several thousand – perhaps as much as $20,000 for her speaking engagement. And before you start to think that’s extraordinary for a celebrity, take a look at two activist/celebrities that just spoke at Wash U:
- Gloria Steinem was brought to Washington University as a speaker in spring of 2010. Guess what her usual fee is? $20,000, plus round trip first class tickets for her and another person.
- Van Jones recently spoke at Wash U in the fall of 2010. His cost? $20,000 plus expenses.
But rather than attack the bigots, the Establishment Media attacked Bristol and defended the bigots. To top it all off, Huffpo and St. Louis’ own Riverfront Times each reported that Bristol’s honorarium was to be $20,000, WHEN IN FACT, $20,000 was the amount dedicated to the ENTIRE speakers panel – not just Bristol. It’s no small matter: it’s representative of a small campaign to vilify and condemn Bristol. As if what’s going on here is about money.
No, these antics by a pocket of the student body weren’t about money. They were about shutting down, boxing out and otherwise suppressing Bristol. They were about preventing a point of view from being expressed on their campus simply because they didn’t like the Bristol’s ethnicity. So they decided to use heavy intimidation.
Hypocrisy and hate are being cultivated at Washington University. But then again, why should anyone care since Bristol isn’t part of a protected class, race, or culture? Hey Wash U, be careful what kind of leaders you’re raising.
Prospective students for Wash U should tear up their applications. Why would anyone want to drop $50,000/year to attend a university that uses fear, intimidation and oppression to stifle thought and produce group-thinking lemmings instead of leaders. Hell, you could get that at a second rate journalism school for a lot less.