We must end the culture of performative repentance.
Appreciate the piece and the author's steadfastness.
The part about the "two discrimination and harassment resource coordinators from the Law School’s Office of Student Affairs" swiftly stepping in and trying to justify their jobs is particularly telling of what the liberal humanist camp is up against.
In not apologizing, you acted honorably; no one should have to apologize publicly just to appease the crowd. I am baffled that this happened at a law school, of all places. Doesn't law school emphasize the principles of "innocent until proven guilty" and not having to testify against yourself?
The form apology letter is the most chilling aspect of this story. That feels right out of 1984. "You will confess to your crimes eventually, so let's just save time and do it now so we don't have to send you to Room 101, shall we?"
A terrific post. Thanks for being so courageous.
The people claiming to be offended by Colbert's email should "get educated," try to "do better," and write an apology email themselves. There was nothing hostile or offensive about the email, and pretending to be offended by it can only be seen as cynical power grab that will only deepen racial divisions.
Wow. Just wow. For the past few months, I've been wondering if I have been overreacting to cancel culture and the DIB surveillance state. Between this incident and the incident at MIT, I think the answer to that question is no. I have not been overreacting.
Trent, I am seventy-six years old and I expect that politically we may not agree on many things. You were absolutely right, however, to stand your ground and I believe that the Yale Law School administrators who attempted to coerce you, assuming of course that your rendition of the conversations is correct, should take a long look in the mirror. Racism is a terrible thing and it is trivialized when the struggle against is reduced to a game of "I Gotchya." The presentation of a prepared confession for your signature was, in its mechanics, no different than the way totalitarian governments have operated through the ages. I am sure that the administrators with whom you dealt are smart and well-meaning but for me that makes their actions, especially their veiled threats and citing your Federalist Society membership as a "triggering" factor, even more troubling. I am not familiar with the term "Trap House" but frankly, even if the term were somehow inappropriate, the behavior of the administration could only be justified on the theory that any claim of hurt feelings must be met with a vigorous
response to avoid even the slightest doubt about the School's wokeness. The sending of an email to the entire second year class, whoever did it, is right out of the Chinese Cultural Revolution playbook.
There's a time for making reasoned arguments, and a time for saying "Fuck 'em." Mr. Colbert seems good at both.
Does anyone else find it strange that the Yale Law faculty and DEI folks think black people have a monopoly on houses where drugs are sold? That seems like some old school racial stereotyping. White people sell drugs out of houses too.
Thanks for an excellent post and for your courage to stand up to such pressure. Censorship and compelled speech pervade academic institutions and if more people take your example the tide could turn.
Good for you! It is inspiring to see a person of intelligence and courage standing up to the speech control that is pervading academia and our society in general. Your stance is indeed helping all of us.
One thing that this incident illustrates is the pervasiveness of "slur creep". Ethnic slurs were once understood to be explicit terms of derision aimed at specific groups of people (actually, before that they were just lazy colloquialisms which eventually gained negative connotations through context, but that's another topic ...).
Now, a slur is any term or reference that reminds someone of some negative (or sometimes even neutral) stereotype of a group of people, or of a time when discrimination against that group was much more pervasive. Some words that were never used to denigrate when in common use become "offensive" by simply falling out of vogue (like "oriental" or "colored people").
Ultimately this is all reflective of the hypersensitive imaginations of certain educated minorities with too much time on their hands and who, ironically, travel in disproportionately white, affluent circles - and come to see the world through their eyes. Thus they learn to take shame in things that a culture would otherwise take pride in (like fried chicken, effectively invented by African slaves but now regarded by high society as a "low class" food), and to assume derogatory intent from lowbrow cultural references (like "basic-bitch"). The guilty anxieties of their white peers become their paranoid obsessions.
And to my mind, that's the *charitable* explanation - the other being an explicit, cynical power maneuver to destroy one's perceived enemies. Which may very well have been the motivation here.
I can’t believe a graduate school of any type would involve themselves in any of this. Y’all are grown-ass adults! Adults have to deal with misunderstandings, incivility and even worse all the time. We don’t get to appeal to the teacher or principal. That it’s a law school makes it even worse.
I can’t believe they wrote a form letter apology for you. This is insane. Great article and even greater stance. Let us all stop apologizing when there is nothing to apologize for.
Very well said, young man. Standing up to these pernicious demands, and doing it moreover with poise, intelligence and good humor, does you and your family credit.
Excellent essay. I think you have a lot of insight into the "ritual of compelled apologies" and what you call "the wider culture" towards the end.