College: Where words mean everything and nothing at the same time.
In case you thought modern American society has reached the apex at which intellectually-sloppy subjectivism has creeped onto college campuses like foul air, it’s reached a new intensity with the new school year.
This week, The New York Times published a profile on Sheree Marlowe, an in-demand diversity officer who works for Clark University. Her job is a product of the modern manifestation of liberal psychosis, and in the age of gender dysphoria, a diversity officer can get boxed in by the contradictions of the trade.
In a two-hour presentation during freshmen orientation this year, Marlowe explained to the new students what “verbal, nonverbal, [and] environmental” microaggressions are. What are environmental microaggressions, you might ask? According to Marlowe, this is an example of an environmental microaggression: “On your first day of class, you enter the chemistry building and all of the pictures on the wall are scientists who are white and male. If you’re a female, or you just don’t identify as a white male, [emphasis added], that space automatically shows that you’re not represented.”
Sigh. First, just because you’re not represented on a wall somewhere doesn’t mean anything about your self-worth. Second, it’s also the most selfish way to approach a wall—or anything—when you immediately weigh whether you feel you’re represented well.
Third, even if you are a biological male but identify as female, you have the right to be offended if no females are represented on a wall of scientists!? C’mon.
According to The New York Times, “some students appeared slightly confused” after Marlowe’s diversity presentation.
“When you use the term ‘self-identify’ as a white woman, are you saying that you can choose your race?” asked one student.
The answer, according to Marlow, is that “while it is sometimes difficult to identify a person’s racial or ethnic background based on appearance, she does not believe that gives license to people like Rachel A. Dolezal, the white woman who claimed to be African-American while working for the N.A.A.C.P. in Spokane, Wash. ‘You can’t say you’re black if you’re not, historically.’”
“The student still seemed confused,” The New York Times averred.
And this is where subjectivity inevitably reaches a contradiction. Once you can “self-identify” as something that you are clearly not—for example, a man self-identifying as a female despite being a male in every physical respect—who’s to say that self-identity can’t extend to race? Sure, people may protest, but do they have a logical leg to stand on once they’ve bought into the self-identify fallacy?
The only thing that matters in challenging whether people can self-identify as something they are not is who will be more offended–and have a seemingly more legitimate claim as to why they should be offended.
The student’s question to Marlowe about self-identifying as a different race provided an opportunity for Marlowe to be intellectually honest. Instead, Marlowe avoided the question and told the student, “Maybe we can unpack it afterward.”