Expressing genuine surprise can be an aggressive act of marginalization. American universities have crossed a new threshold in the progressive war on independent thought: Clark University has told its students that “showing surprise” can now constitute an act of aggression against another student.
Last week, the New York Times ran a piece titled “Campuses Cautiously Train Freshmen against Subtle Insults.” It opens by recounting a question-and-answer session with Clark’s microaggressions czar, chief diversity officer Sheree Marlowe. A student — who begins by saying she’s “really scared to ask this” — asks Miss Marlowe if, when she’s in her car, or with a group of white friends, its “okay” to sing along with music that uses the “N word.”
Miss Marlowe’s answer, says the New York Times, is an “unequivocal ‘no.’”
Also verboten: asking Asians students whom “you don’t know” for help with math homework; asking a black student if he plays basketball; asking a student whose race you’re unsure of about his race. This is all pretty standard stuff on the modern campus. But Clark has entered new territory by expanding the category of forbidden aggressions to include thought crimes: “Showing surprise when a ‘feminine’ woman says she is a lesbian” is, according to Clark, an aggressive act.
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