By Graham Dockery*
The New York Times has spent 50 paragraphs explaining why it’s wrong for a majority-white college to feature mostly white people in its homecoming video. Why? Because the mere sight of caucasians infuriates the Times.
The nonsensical furor kicked off in September, when the University of Wisconsin in Madison released a two-minute video depicting sunny scenes of campus life. Students cheered at a football game, cycled through UW’s picturesque lakeside grounds, and sang a cappella for the camera.
Social-justice-minded students took issue with the fact that nearly everyone in the video was white.
According to the New York Times, the Homecoming Office, tasked with making the video, had shot footage of students at the historically black Alpha Kappa Alpha fraternity, but this footage was left on the cutting room floor. Long story short, a protest was mounted on campus – including some “whites only” graffiti daubed by aggrieved minority students – and a new, more racially diverse video was released.
End of story? No. The New York Times published a 50-paragraph jeremiad on Wednesday, probing the controversy surrounding the video, in light of what it called a “history of racist incidents” at the school (at least one of which turned out to be a hoax). A cross-section of the college’s African-American students were interviewed. They all concluded that the video made them feel left out, and the replacement video felt like a half-hearted apology.
This fall, more than 30,000 undergraduates began the school year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Fewer than 1,000 of them are African-American,” the Times solemnly declared.
That may seem like a shocking figure, until one realizes that Wisconsin is 85 percent white, and six percent black. The gap that still exists closes further when the fact that whites are statistically more likely to attend university in the first place is taken into account. It narrows even further when the numbers of Asian and Hispanic students (2,200 and 1,700 respectively) among the 30,000 are considered.
Whiteness is evil
The article does not blame white students for fostering an atmosphere of hate on campus. Rather it assumes from the outset that ‘whiteness’ is in itself problematic. Black UW students interviewed by the Times did not share stories of racist abuse they faced on campus. The Civil Rights Act is in force here, just like it is on every other inch of American soil. The Ku Klux Klan does not burn crosses on the quad.
It’s simply a predominantly white university in a predominantly white state, but that’s not good enough for the Times’ writers, for whom a klansman lurks around every corner. Would a national newspaper of the Times’ reputation publish an article lamenting the lack of diversity at Texas Southern University, where only three percent of the student body are white? A hypothetical question, but you can probably guess the answer.
But it’s not just the New York Times (though the nation’s paper of record is particularly obsessed with sticking it to whitey). Thinkpiece after identical thinkpiece have decried the “unbearable whiteness” of everything from hiking to farming to cycling to the states of New England. In colleges, white students can take ‘Deconstructing Whiteness’ courses, to cleanse them of the sin of “racism and white privilege.”
The University of Wisconsin held its own discussion on “whiteness in queer spaces” earlier this year, where white students were invited to “address and discuss their role in oppressive whiteness in queer spaces, community, and beyond.”
Imagine being told your very skin color is oppressive. That your very existence makes minorities and gays feel uncomfortable.
And yet journalists, commentators and university administrators act surprised and cry “white supremacy” when flyers declaring “It’s okay to be white” appear on campuses. Though a joke originally created to mess with liberals, these flyers wouldn’t exist was there not a cancerous movement in media and academia telling white people the exact opposite.
*Graham Dockery is an Irish journalist, commentator, and writer at RT. Previously based in Amsterdam, he wrote for DutchNews and a scatter of local and national newspapers.