It might be 2016, but it sure feels a lot like 1984.
The Orwellian thought police have escaped the world of fiction and invaded the real world, specifically on college campuses. Leftist students and administrators stand aghast at any student who dares use an “incorrect” gender pronoun, is guilty of “cultural appropriation,” or happens to miss one session of “cultural sensitivity” training.
Take UC-Santa Barbara, for example. In response to what they call a “discriminatory climate” towards Hispanic students, a group called “VOCEROS” recently released a list of demands for UC Chancellor Henry Yang. In addition to calling for segregated housing and increased “cultural sensitivity trainings,” the group also demanded that the school “define hate speech.”
The demand reads as follows:
-A committee of members from every marginalized community will work to define hate speech on our campus.
-This committee will work to ensure that proper investigations and actions take place by the university when cases of hate speech have been identified.
On its face, this sounds great, right? We all hope for all students to respect the dignity of others, don’t we?
However, a cursory glance of this demand fails to reveal its more insidious purpose. Hate speech, is by definition, subjective, meaning those codifying the definitions define it. In this case, “marginalized communities” will be defining hate speech, which by my guess, means whites, heterosexuals, and males will not be invited into this process.
Give your administration an inch of censorship, and they’ll take a mile.
Furthermore, regardless of who is defining “hate speech,” how does this “committee” go about defining “hate” itself? Sure, we decent members of society cringe at racial and ethnic stereotypes and usually ostracize those who use them.
However, increasingly so, colleges are defining “hate speech” as anything that’s not the ideological norm on campus. What’s more abnormal on a college campus than conservative speech?
Take, for example, California State University, Los Angeles, where turbulent protesters shouted “no hate speech” at supporters of the Young Americans for Freedom’s lecture with Ben Shapiro. Yet, these protesters had not heard a single word from Shapiro, whose event they almost succeeded in completely shutting down. The mere presence of a conservative on campus is “hate speech” for these students. Who’s to say things will be different at UCSB?
You won’t find a “hate speech” clause in the Constitution. Hate speech, being subject to the whims of those who define it, is an excellent tool to shut down speech on college campuses or elsewhere. What conservative isn’t immediately taken aback, and silenced, when called a “bigot” or “intolerant?”
The author of 1984, George Orwell, wrote, “Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”
It is of utmost importance for campus activists, like the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at UCSB, to fight against each and every threat to freedom of speech. Give your administration an inch of censorship, and they’ll take a mile.
With the “thought police” running rampant on college campuses, how long will it be until we have to “decriminalize” thought itself?