Academic freedom now takes a back seat to the tender feelings of social-justice warriors on campus. Just how bad have things gotten? A recent incident at UCLA tells us.
Education writer and former UCLA faculty member Walt Gardner writes about it in today’s Martin Center article.
A lecturer in political science made the horrible mistake of quoting Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In it, King himself used the n-word. The lecturer mistakenly assumed that his students were adult enough to understand that he was just quoting the letter, not making any racial slur himself. Now he is in hot water with the school’s Discrimination Prevention Office. No one in a position of authority seems willing to speak up for him.
Colleges and universities proclaim that he want their students to develop “critical thinking” skills. But, Gardner asks, “How can students be expected to develop critical thinking if the material they are exposed to has been bowdlerized?”
One has to wonder if students actually felt hurt that the lecturer exposed them to that word — or has it simply become a kind of sport among “woke” students to see how many scalps they can claim through their whimpering?
Gardner sums up the situation up: “No one is suggesting that slurs, epithets, and the like deserve a forum. But censuring an instructor who quotes directly from original sources — sources opposing racism, no less — just because the words he recites offend some students makes a mockery of real education and academic freedom.”