I recently travelled with my Pope Center colleague Jesse Saffron to the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill to witness a politically correct dog and pony show convened by the school’s chancellor Carol Folt. Everybody involved in matters academic has seen dozens of these events, in which the administration, guest speakers, and/or faculty lead an audience stuffed with those who already agree with the point of the exercise into discovering that they do indeed agree.
Only this one was a little different: the dogs and ponies were leading their trainers around the ring, not the other way around. Folt and moderator Clarence Page (the journalist) eagerly jumped through every hoop offered. The event had been created in response to the racial protests in Missouri and elsewhere that were putting administrators around the country on notice, or at least on edge. (It appeared as though Folt was making a preemptive strike to calm the non-situation at UNC before they came after her). By creating the event, she gave an opening to Black Lives Matter protestors, who quickly told Page to be quiet while they took over to state their demands.
And what a list of demands they were. I could tell the event was going to be a thoughtful, meaningful, intelligent dialogue on race even before I entered the auditorium, when I saw several of the protestors holding a sign that said “F— Whiteness.”
I was not disappointed with the rest of the performance. Jesse takes a serious look at this fall’s epidemic of racial protests, including the UNC event, with his article “Campus Unrest Exposes the Folly of Higher Education’s Social Justice Offensive.”