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All I Want for Christmas is Consistent Freedom of Speech

On Christmas Eve, professor George Ciccariello-Maher of Drexel tweeted “All I want for Christmas is white genocide.” He later clarified it as satire, invoking a white supremacist meme that refers to race mixing. He really did not want to slaughter whites but wanted to make a point about the alt-right.

As someone who has worked hard to promote useful interracial communication, you will excuse me if I characterize his “satire” as extremely distasteful and unnecessarily provocative. His comments suggest to me that he is a professor who wanted sensationalist attention, regardless of the effect his comments have on inhibiting healthy interracial relationships and exacerbating our racial divide.

I Should Not Write this Op-Ed: Confessions of a Non-Leftist Professor

The crime these unlucky professors are often charged with is racism. As an African-American I hate racism and I have experienced it. I have worked hard to help bring people of different races together. I have done the difficult work of sitting down and listening to those with whom I disagree. Are the student protestors willing to sit down and really work at communicating with others?

What Liberty University can teach Elite Colleges and Universities

A few weeks ago my facebook feed was somewhat abuzz with the fact that Senator Bernie Sanders was speaking at Liberty University. Yes, that Bernie Sanders, self-described socialist, speaking at that Liberty University, the education institution founded by the man who started the Moral Majority. It was not a news event I ever anticipated occurring. Even though I am a Christian, like many people I had stereotypes about the narrowmindedness of Christian colleges and did not consider that one as conservative as Liberty University would require its students to listen to a socialist.

I will spend the bulk of this blog discussing the implications of Liberty University’s decision. However, I first want to compliment the senator. It is not easy to speak in front of an audience who deeply disagrees with you. He probably did not gain one extra vote from a Liberty student by his talk. But he is committed to his vision of a better society and willing to go places where he does not have an admiring crowd. I give sincere kudos to Senator Sanders and if more of us would be willing to try to communicate with those we disagree with, then we would have a better society.

Education Dogma

Dogma is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted.” Interestingly, the second definition provided by Merriam-Webster as “a belief or set of beliefs that is taught by a religious organization.” Of course these two different definitions are not meant to be read together but it as does seem that Merriam-Webster assumes that religious beliefs, and only religious beliefs, are accepted without question or doubt. It would not surprise me if the individuals constructing these definitions did accept the myth that dogma only occurs in a religious context. There is plenty of evidence on college campuses that show the incorrectness of that myth.

Here is a great example of what I term education dogma. Note that the students are chanting about not being silenced while they are obviously silencing the speaker. My understanding of this situation is that the speaker published something that challenges some of the assertions about a campus rape culture. Such a challenge is an affront to the dogma of the students. Therefore, these students do not feel that the speaker has a right to speak on a different topic. The violation of beliefs they accept without question or doubt creates their incentive to shut down the proceedings.