According to The New Yorker, student activists ensconced in the utopic progressive bubble that is Oberlin College recently lobbied the university to eliminate “any grade lower than a C” in order to “accommodate” their activism.
The school’s decision to adhere to normal grading standards left students feeling “really unsupported in their endeavors to engage with the world outside Oberlin.”
With what world, exactly, were these students’ trying to engage? Lena Dunham’s fantasy world comprised entirely of people who shop at Whole Foods, chat about intersectionality over vegan coffee, and listen to NPR?
It’s time for these students to realize that “the world outside Oberlin” is laughing at them and the radical activists they’re “engaging” with do not represent the rest of the country, they represent an extension of their bizarre liberal arts bubble.
In fact, engaging with the actual outside world is exactly what college students at Oberlin and on campuses across the country desperately need to do. People in the world outside Oberlin don’t believe in gender fluidity or intersectionality and they certainly don’t quote Audre Lorde in interviews with reporters from The New Yorker.
Engaging with the world outside Oberlin would involve conversing with people who go to church every Sunday, belong to the NRA, listen to country music, live in rural areas, and have never even heard of Audre Lorde. But those are the people Oberlin students won’t even allow on their campus.
In 2015, they literally needed a “safe space” just to cope with Christina Hoff Sommers’ reasonably divergent and notably moderate brand of feminism at a Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute lecture organized by conservative students.
Real social consciousness involves engaging with genuine diversity, even if it’s displeasing, uncomfortable, or ideologically conservative.
Eliminating D’s and F’s is the college-level equivalent of awarding participation trophies with the primary intent of neutralizing the sting of failure. The sting of failure, however, is exactly what motivates people to improve. Eliminating failure eliminates all incentive to succeed. Contrary to these students’ arguments, failure is not “dehumanizing,” it’s actually the most humanizing sensation people experience.
It’s time to burst the bubble, feel the pain of failure, and begin the process of maturing into functioning adults. Then again, if you’re too busy fighting white privilege to get good grades at Oberlin, I’m not sure you’re capable.