If conservatives have a disease, it is that they want to be liberals. They desire the same thing liberals have: one ring to rule them all, and one ring to bind them, or an ideology that they can strum like a magic harp and have masses mobilized at their bidding.
Unfortunately, conservatism is incompatible with this idea. But they keep chasing that dream of power. Mainstream conservatives try to be liberals who like bombing things, as the disastrous Republican debate showed, and conservative media focuses on “outrage culture” instead of substantive issues.
Outrage culture is easily identifiable because it consists of egregious events about which it is easy to moralize, but about which nothing can really be done save something angry like hanging the people involved. Rather, outrage culture prizes events which require no action more than throwing beer cans at the television screen and talking with others “in the know” about how, you know, crazy it all is.
The latest moneymakers in the outrage culture game are college students. Little more than children, insulated from real consequences by solicitous administrations and college loans, they are encouraged to play-act at being adults by having political opinions about a world they do not understand. This forces them to fall back to what their instructors have taught them, and creates a mentality where ideology is accepted as reality or at least, the closest substitute a college student can have.
And yet, if we look past the surface veneer of insanity, there are glimpses of intelligence or at least honesty in some of these college student outrages. For example, the the demands of the Oberlin protestors reveal a few important concepts:
Our larger goals are to see:
- An increase in Black and students of color represented in the institution from the Americas, including the Caribbean and Africa
- An increase in Black administrators and faculty across departments and governing bodies
- The divestment from all prisons and Israel
- Exclusive Black safe spaces on campus
- The active elimination of institutional complacency that allows violence against Black students to thrive and persist
- The eradication of hegemony in the curriculum across the College and Conservatory
- The end of Oberlin College functioning as a gentrifying institution
- An end to the erasure of Black contributions on this campus
If you read between the lines, these are demands for a segregation/secession maneuver: black students want their own college, essentially, designed for and run by people like them.
More Black administrators and faculty, Black-only (“exclusive”) safe spaces, more Black contributions, more Black-centric subject matter (without “hegemony”) and more representation of Black students… at first, this sounds like a demand for the further diversity fantasy of each group having its cake and eating it too. But taken together, these granular demands call for a Black college within the college, which will give way to over time the creation of a parallel Black college under the Oberlin banner.
Sort of like the historical Black colleges created by Garveyites and others from the early days of positive Black racial activism.
While they have framed these demands in the usual strident rhetoric asking the majority to pander to them, the extremity of this list shows what the students are thinking about the future of diversity: it does not work. They are not satisfied with a mixed-race administration because they, unlike the delusional 1968-style liberals around them, realize that all people act in the self-interest of their tribe.
For liberals, that is both promoting liberals, and finding people “like them,” which for white liberals translates into other white liberals and tame minorities who act like white people — and are also liberals. These Black students have realized that for all that white liberals talk about altruism, the real end result of white liberal rule will be that Blacks can only succeed when they act like white liberals.
Reading between the lines was once a skill required of people of a certain educational level. It entailed both ascertaining the details of what could not be said, and taking a whole statement apart — like how you would analyze literature or philosophy — to understand the purpose toward which it was aimed. This dead art is coming back as we enter the Soviet years where everything is in code to avoid the ideological censors.
Another student outrage porn article shows us the inherently fallacy of multiculturalism, through what liberals invariably mention when asked for the benefits of diversity, cuisine:
General Tsoâ€™s chicken was made with steamed chicken instead of fried â€” which is not authentically Chinese, and simply â€œweird,â€ one student bellyached in the Oberlin Review.
…Worse, the sushi rice was undercooked in a way that was, according to one student, â€œdisrespectfulâ€ of her culture. Tomoyo Joshi, a junior from Japan, was highly offended by this flagrant violation of her rice. â€œI f people not from that heritage take food, modify it and serve it as â€˜authentic,â€™ it is appropriative,â€ she said.
…Those students started a petition that also recommends the reduction of cream used in dishes, because â€œblack American food doesnâ€™t have much cream in it,â€ according to the Review.
The Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism joined the food fight last week after students discovered that the traditional Indian dish, tandoori, contained beef.
â€œConsuming beef was considered sacrilegious among Hindus,â€ blasted society president Rajan Zed, the Chronical-Telegram reported.
The narrative here in conservative media is that you should be outraged at these spoiled brats, who apparently have never been told the cold hard truth that college food always sucks (with a caveat below). Now they’re demanding all these special accommodations, which white people don’t get, of course. Scream curses at the screen and go on a drunken rant about how these people “just need Jesus,” or some other useless activity, but be sure to spread this on your social media accounts. That way, the money keeps flowing to Conservative Media, Inc.
But turning it around, what are these people really saying? They miss their home cultures. Their ancestral ways are important to them. They do not feel “right” in a diverse, multicultural environment. They may be OK with other cultures doing their own thing, but for themselves, they want an identity. A cuisine. A community of people like them.
Traditionally, college food has been the butt of many jokes. Those forget that cooking food for a large group of people at an affordable cost is not as easy as one might think; it is not difficult, but it is an enterprise in logistics, the most limited of which is time. For this reason, college food has always been simplified so it could be made quickly, and not particularly flavorful, although probably not “bad” in the way an incompetent restaurant or a low-quality food joint can be.
On a practical level, then, most of us acknowledge that the tandoori and sushi got the same treatment as the hamburger, pizza and whatever hilarious substance is in the “Chicken Tetrazinni.” Conservatives may rage that these kids are getting luxury food, but the reality is that they are getting a version of high-end food, as school cafeterias can produce it, which is along with the watery soup and overcooked burgers, not Zagat-rated.
But if we read between the lines again, we see that the food itself is a symbol. It is a symbol of having something unique to one’s own group, and to having a group identity so that one is above the cultureless mass product lifestyle in which most people live. It is a desire for meaning and identity. And although it doesn’t know it yet, like the other things these kids often say, it is a rejection of multiculturalism itself.
Tags: college, diversity, internationalism, multiculturalism, outrage culture