Would this were a Purim joke: the tragicomedy at Smith College

Tim Pool highlights a story that goes to the heart of the fount of hypocrisy that modern US academia has become — as well as to the heart of a form of reverse racism and neo-segregationism that is being peddled under the Orwellian label “anti-racism”.

In brief: sometime in the summer of 2018, at uber-posh Smith College (annual cost of tuition, room and board: over $78K), a black female 1st-year student went to eat her lunch in the commons area of a building that had been closed up for the summer. A janitor found her there, followed instructions to have a campus cop check on her — and this was promptly turned into an “eating while black” bias incident. Several longtime employees whose annual salaries are about half the tuition had their lives wrecked, even though a law firm hired by the college found no evidence of wrongdoing. Even the NYTimes, in a rare moment of journalism, admits this. [archive copy here].

Less attention was paid three months later when a law firm hired by Smith College to investigate the episode found no persuasive evidence of bias. Ms. Kanoute was determined to have eaten in a deserted dorm that had been closed for the summer; the janitor had been encouraged to notify security if he saw unauthorized people there. The officer, like all campus police, was unarmed.

[…] Ms. Kanoute took her food and then walked through a set of French doors, crossed a foyer and reclined in the shadowed lounge of a dormitory closed for the summer, where she scrolled the web as she ate. A large stuffed bear obscured the view of her from the cafeteria.A janitor, who was in his 60s and poor of sight, was emptying garbage cans when he noticed someone in that closed lounge. All involved with the summer camp were required to have state background checks and campus police had advised staff it was wisest to call security rather than confront strangers on their own.The janitor, who had worked at Smith for 35 years, dialed security.“We have a person sitting there laying down in the living room,” the janitor told a dispatcher according to a transcript. “I didn’t approach her or anything but he seems out of place.”The janitor had noticed Ms. Kanoute’s Black skin but made no mention of that to the dispatcher. Ms. Kanoute was in the shadows; he was not sure if he was looking at a man or woman. She would later accuse the janitor of “misgendering” her.

The NYT article actually quotes one professor who says elite colleges are much more comfortable talking about race than about class. Gee, where would anyone get this idea?

Ms. Blair has lupus, a disease of the immune system, and stress triggers episodes. She felt faint. “Oh my God, I didn’t do this,” she told a friend. “I exchanged a hello with that student and now I’m a racist.”Ms. Blair was born and raised and lives in Northampton with her husband, a mechanic, and makes about $40,000 a year. Within days of being accused by Ms. Kanoute, she said, she found notes in her mailbox and taped to her car window. “RACIST” read one. People called her at home. “You should be ashamed of yourself,” a caller said. “You don’t deserve to live,” said another.Smith College put out a short statement noting that Ms. Blair had not placed the phone call to security but did not absolve her of broader responsibility. Ms. McCartney called her and briefly apologized. That apology was not made public.

[…] Smith officials pressured Ms. Blair to go into mediation with Ms. Kanoute. “A core tenet of restorative justice,” Ms. McCartney wrote, “is to provide people with the opportunity for willing apology, forgiveness and reconciliation.”Ms. Blair declined. “Why would I do this? This student called me a racist and I did nothing,” she said.

Heck, even the NYT author even “gets” part of the deeper story and then unintentionally gives the plot away.

This is a tale of how race, class and power collided at the elite 145-year-old liberal arts college, where tuition, room and board top $78,000 a year and where the employees who keep the school running often come from working-class enclaves beyond the school’s elegant wrought[-]iron gates. The story highlights the tensions between a student’s deeply felt sense of personal truth and facts that are at odds with it.

The race part is a smokescreen, like it is with all of ‘Big Woke’ — a thin veil for asserting Anointed/New Class/Elect/Brahmandarin class dominance and condescension over the rest of us. Tim Pool, himself of mixed race, gets it. So does Columbia linguist John McWhorter (himself black) in a different way.

[And by the way, this really kills me. “The student’s deeply felt sense of personal truth and facts that are at odds with it.” Substitute “The loon who thinks he’s Napoleon Bonaparte” for “The student” and what do we get? Yes, lunacy. I am ever more inclined to believe my own ‘personal truth’ that postmodernism and radical subjectivism were invented by space aliens as mind viruses to ensure Homo Sapiens remains poor, stupid, and unable to get off this planet ;)]

The NYT expose goes on to explain (without explicitly saying so) how this one unfortunate misunderstanding was used as a pretext for a barrage of ‘bias training’ and appeasement-of-the-most-radical initiatives, and created a hostile work environment for veteran employees in the process. A woman named Jodi Shaw, herself a liberal, decided she couldn’t take it anymore and posted a withering resignation letter, and is now suing the university. She started a GoFundMe for legal expenses and exceeded her fundraising goal in record time — then GoFundMe froze the account, only to later unfreeze it (as Tim Pool explains in the video). I frankly hope she takes them to the cleaners.

On a related note: today, Scott Alexander (who ran SlateStarCodex until the NYT decided to doxx him) posted this “modest proposal” on his new blog that I am not 100% sure is satirical. It basically calls for the Republican party to embrace the Marxist conception of class warfare (in a ju-jitsu fashion) and reframe itself as the party of the lower classes vs. the Brahmandarinate (or what Angelo Codevilla would have called “the country class” vs. “the gentry class”). “Trumpism without Trump”, if you like. Joking or not, this is part and parcel of a phenomenon also taking place in Europe, and to an even more pronounced degree in the UK and Australia — I have been calling it “the great realignment” elsewhere, in 2017.

‘Circling back’ (ahem) to Smith: I’m going to apply to Smith college to go do the program in gender studies. I mean, if it is my deeply felt sense of personal truth that I am a black lesbian,[*] Let them gainsay me — I will accuse them of misgendering and denying my racial identity if they decline to give me a full scholarship 🙂

ADDENDUM: masgramondou points out this bizarre news item about Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs getting “dognapped”. The dognappers shot her dog walker, who is in critical condition. She has offered a $500,000 reward for tips leading to their return. No mention of ‘for tips leading to the arrest of those who put her employee at death’s door. A friend snarked that he would not care to work for a woman who cared more about her pet dogs than about their human minder. On reflection, I thought this was the perfect metaphor for how “our betters” relate to “mascots” [**] vs. their other “lessers”.

[*] trapped in the body of an Ashkenazi Jewish male

[**] I first saw this usage of the term in Thomas Sowell’s “Vision of the Anointed”

4 thoughts on “Would this were a Purim joke: the tragicomedy at Smith College

  1. FTR – I have *done the work* and have determined that I am Not A Racist™ and it is my *deeply felt sense of personal truth* and *lived experience* that I shall ever more be free of any accusation of white privilege, white guilt, white fragility or any new white-ism that may be invented in the future. I have spoken, this is the way.

  2. ” It basically calls for the Republican party to embrace the Marxist conception of class warfare (in a ju-jitsu fashion) and reframe itself as the party of the lower classes vs. the Brahmandarinate ”

    I like this. We could call it The Working Class vs the Woking Class, i.e. people who actually produce things versus people who bloviate about “oppression” all day.

  3. There are a couple of obvious questions not addressed in either the New York times or in this summary. Specifically, why was Ms. Kanoute using the children’s cafeteria? Is she a pedophile?

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