The student body of Oberlin College, one of the most stridently progressive colleges in the country, finds itself in the midst of a full blown Social Justice Warrior rage spiral because, at the invitation of the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians, author Christina Hoff Sommers plans to deliver a speech there on Monday.
The latest freak-out (complete with a trigger warning) appears in the opinion section of the Oberlin Review. In very lengthy and overwrought prose, an earnest group of SJW students wrote a love letter to themselves — their title, not mine — that includes gems like these:
By denying rape culture, [Sommers is] creating exactly the cycle of victim/survivor blame, where victims are responsible for the violence that was forced upon them and the subsequent shame that occurs when survivors share their stories, whose existence she denies. This is how rape culture flourishes. By bringing her to a college campus laden with trauma and sexualized violence and full of victims/survivors, OCRL is choosing to reinforce this climate of denial/blame/shame that ultimately has real life consequences on the well-being of people who have experienced sexualized violence. We could spend all of our time and energy explaining all of the ways she’s harmful. But why should we?
A few concrete examples of ways to engage:
- Listening to your friends who’ve been harmed
- Using your social and financial capital
- Challenging violence and harm
- Participating in actions and conversations in response to the event
- Recognizing and prioritizing intersectional feminism and survivor support
- Genuinely caring for one another
- Educating yourself on the impacts of trauma and symptoms of post-traumatic stress/reactions
The letter ends with a call for direct action before and during Sommers’ speech. Presumably this involves chanting, yelling, pie throwing, or other such disruptions intended to shut Sommers down and silence her.
I submitted a comment to the Oberlin Review in response to the so-called love letter. In case my comment never makes it out of moderation, here’s what I wrote:
Dear Oberlin Students,
Don’t you think that it might be better to go listen to Sommers’ presentation for yourselves, rather than metaphorically sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming “la la la la la” to drown out a viewpoint that differs from your own?
The purposes of a college education are to learn how to learn, and to seek the truth. Achieving these goals requires you to develop mental discipline, intellectual curiosity, and emotional resilience, all of which are hallmarks of well-adjusted adulthood. College should not be a glorified (and expensive) therapeutic day care facility for fragile 18-22 year old children in adult bodies, where the currently fashionable opinions are memorized by rote and regurgitated on demand. The people who wrote this appeal are turning themselves — and you — into hothouse flowers incapable of surviving in the real world.
Muster up the tiniest shred of the courage your grandparents exerted daily, and go listen for an hour to someone with whom you disagree. Sit quietly, bite your tongue, and ponder the merits of your opponent’s views. You might learn something that will come in handy after you leave the smothering cocoon of groupthink that is Oberlin College.
Betcha it never sees the light of day.