The Corner

Culture

‘Genocide Is Not a Joke’ — but Social-Justice Warriors Are

In response to Miller

Below, David notes the nonsense currently under way at Yale over, yes, a Halloween e-mail. I thought I’d add a personal anecdote, since I happened to be at Yale on Friday for the William F. Buckley Jr. Program’s annual conference — this year, coincidentally, about free speech. Our friend Roger Kimball was there as well, and he’s written up the first part of the story:

During the second session, Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, reflected on the bizarre reaction to Erika Christakis’s email.  Lukianoff had had a front row seat to the controversy during a talk he gave at Silliman College the day before. What could explain the tsunami of anguish?  You would have thought, he said, that Mrs. Christakis had “burned down an Indian village” or something.

Uh oh.  It was shortly after that comment that a distraught student walked into the hall where the conference was proceeding and began taping up signs that read:

Stand with your sisters of color. Now, here. Always, Everywhere.

He had put up about ten signs before a security guard asked him to leave. Nothing doing. The guard asked again. Nada.  So he grabbed the student and dragged him, kicking and screaming, from the room. . . .

The New Criterion’s James Panero snagged video of the incident:

More Kimball:

Soon there was a crowd of twenty students demanding to get into the attendance-by-reservation only event. Then there were fifty or more.  Soon they were chanting loudly outside the hall. “Genocide is not a joke” was one of the little ditties with which they entertained us.  By the time the last session began, word came that they intended to bar the exits. More security was marshaled and when the proceedings came to an end the speakers and the audience were escorted out of the room. A cordon of enraged students holding signs and yelling “Genocide is not a joke” greeted us.

There were probably 50 students inside the building, and another 100 on the sidewalk outside. Panero grabbed footage of that scene, too:

After basking in oppression during the afternoon conference, several of us walked over to the Omni Hotel for an evening of privilege. There, a Yale professor who had been an attendee at the afternoon’s festivities regaled us with the following tale: Following the last panel, he approached one of the sidewalk protesters to inquire about the source of her discontent. She announced: “Apparently, someone in there said that we should burn down an Indian village!” The professor attempted to disillusion her. Meanwhile, on the steps outside the building a student demonstrator waxed rhetorical about the evils of free speech. As the professor and the student talked (“debated” would be a stretch), several protesters turned to the pair: “Excuse us! Could you keep it down? We’re trying to hear the speaker!”

The mind staggers under the weight of so much irony.

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