I have to keep reminding myself that I should be concerned about this, as Son #5 commutes to college and has already been shown "The Hunting Ground" in an English class. I think I have been counting on his experience in the Reserves, plus his expectation of going ROTC as a protective factor, but I may be overestimating that. If Kyle goes to UNH Durham in the fall I might grow more concerned, as the total environment might be more in play.
Still, it's hard for me to worry about it every day, even though campus outrages are common fare at both Maggie's Farm and Instapundit, which I go to often, as well as a dozen other sites I visit less frequently. I agree, it is hard to take some of the students, professors, administrators and hangers-on all that seriously sometimes, yet I keep assuming the barbarians are in the minority and everyone else mostly goes about their business of teaching and learning. I am perhaps naive.
I think the obvious things have been said many times, yet there is one thing that is danced around that perhaps should be said more bluntly. In the demands for diversity, and avoiding all cisnormative, patriarchal, western, and white dominance of the curriculum, there seems to be an an assumption by the students (and even the faculty) that there is some other choice. I wonder if this comes from the over-compensation in elementary textbooks, which have long included B and C-list accomplishments of Latinas or Africans as if they were essentially equal to those of some dead white males, so that those in traditionally disenfranchised groups have some role models and feelings of efficacy. These students go to college believing that there must be people from Their Group who were just as accomplished as the ones they are being forced to study.
I don't think that's a terrible thing for children. Shading an absolute ranking in every field in order to instill hope and spare feelings, creating a rising tide for all boats, is reasonable when applied judiciously. Yet I wonder if it has created the false impression that there has been something entirely arbitrary about who we honor, as if there were some equally impressive lists of female mathematicians, black inventors, or chicana poets that we just refuse to talk about because we're bigots.
But really, who would those people be?
It has been a great exercise to try and find these, because there are of course people from less-favored or less-expected groups who did things which deserve mention. We might further argue that because of prejudices in many times and many places, there should have been, and would have been talented people who were not allowed to show their full powers. Yet that is also true even in the favored groups. We can't always honor mere potential. At some point we have to honor accomplishment. Female writers, especially of fiction, provide a respectable list on their own, with no need for a handicap. You could indeed make an all-star team out of accomplished thinkers and doers from the nonmale, noneuropean, nonwhatevers of the world. China in particular could provide a lot of nominees. I suppose if you are gay it is inspiring to know that there were guys like Turing. But building your whole sense of self-esteem on people who can check the same boxes you do seems like a sure-fire way to feel miserable about yourself forever.