1. “Baa, Baa Black Sheep” is racist. The nursery rhyme, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is under attack. Some schools and family centers in Scotland, England, and Australia have eliminated the word “black” as racist, and now refer to “rainbow sheep,” “happy sheep,” or “green sheep,” though these new adjectives make no sense at all. Stuart Chamberlain of the Oxford Sure Start Center in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, said, “Basically we have taken the equal-opportunity approach to everything we do.” A local dissenter, however, called it “Stalinist.”
2. M.A.s may be racist, postmasters too. Stephen Davis, master of Pierson College at Yale, says the word “master” in his title is severely upsetting some students and driving them off campus. He wants Pierson and Yale’s eleven other residential colleges to have “heads” rather than “masters.”
4. Hoop skirts are racist. After student affairs administrators met with fraternity and sorority leaders, the University of Georgia banned hoop skirts as evocations of the ante bellum South. Writing in the Washington Post, Elizabeth Boyd opined that this decision should go national:
While donning a hoop skirt may not constitute a hate crime . . . make no mistake. The Southern belle performances routinely staged on campuses across the South constitute choreography of exclusion . . . young white women serve as signs of nostalgia for a bygone, segregated South and all its attendant privileges.
6. Complimenting America as open and fair is racially hurtful. “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” is officially listed as a micro-aggression that the University of California wants eliminated from its classrooms. Also banned are “America is the land of opportunity,” and “America is a melting pot,” because some students may regard those ideas as controversial.
7. Libertarians are racist. In an interview, testy HBO writer-producer David Simon (The Wire, Treme) severely criticized libertarians and suggested that libertarian rhetoric about “freedom” and “liberty” is just code for racism.8. Climate change advances racism. Best-selling Canadian author Naomi Klein told the Guardian, “You see that in Australia where the treatment of migrants is a profound moral crisis. It’s clear that as sea levels rise this mean streak and open racism is going to become more extreme.”
9. Banning sagging pants is racist. NRO’s Katherine Timpf reported that Henderson State University in Arkansas had banned sagging pants, but the sign announcing the ban came down in two days after students protested. “Those students wanting the sign taken down because they say sagging pants are culturally associated with African Americans,” said student Daisha Haggans.
10. If too many white males are in your class, that’s racist. The Harvard “Voices of Diversity” project interviewed 200 students at four U.S. colleges and found that racist and sexist “micro-aggressions” — subtle but hurtful digs — are a serious problem. Examples: finding that most of the people in your class are white males, other students rolling their eyes when you speak, and “a slight raising of the eyebrows or eyes following you in the dining hall.”
— John Leo is editor of Minding the Campus, an online magazine.