It has also been quite moving to watch my Princeton classmate, University President Chris Eisgruber, as he wrestles with these issues in the public eye, working through layer upon layer of unconscious white privilege and commitment to anti-racist education. It has been impressive to see him come through it with open-mindedness, wholeheartedness, and a willingness to listen deeply, responding with integrity, and widening our commitment to inclusiveness at an institution that has not always supported inclusion. This is what I consider to be "Princeton in the Nation's Service."
So it was utterly disheartening to wake up this morning to a hate-filled screed on our Princeton Class of 1983 Facebook page from a different classmate of ours — a white woman who is a hedge fund manager on Wall Street. She was a leader at one of the hedge funds that nearly destroyed our country's economy. She and those she worked with have never been called to account for their crimes.
But first, a warning. Please note in advance that I strongly condemn this kind of hate speech. But I believe that hate speech needs to be called out because I believe it has no place in the power structure, much less in civil discourse. I also believe hate speech deserves no shielding or privacy. I wanted to capture these publicly-expressed pieces of hate speech before she could think better of it and delete them.
She wrote, "Churchill: 'You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.'"
The she linked to the following truly reprehensible article (WARNING: this article contains contemptuous and morally disgusting attitudes that are blind to their own privilege. You may be as sickened as I was when you read it. I strongly condemn this hate speech): hate speech article link
Another classmate pushed back against this right away, writing,
as Eisgruber said “we should be aiming for a campus in which all students feel equally welcomed.” Commentary like the above and related blog posts are unwelcoming and also inaccurate (for instance saying all the students protesting at PU were black). There are many students, and people, of diverse colors and backgrounds, who support taking a hard look at campus life and assumptions. At PU there is a high value for tradition and a high value for making changes that make the educational experience the best that it can be.But this woman kept on going with her racist rants. She lashed back.
I am quite prepared to believe that the BLM hysterics come in all colors. Their insistence on Maoist reeducation of their peers is a uniform pink.And further:
Nothing says "welcome" like a mandatory Maoist reeducation program. Unless it's a building that you cannot access due to the color of your skin. Not to mention the black students who may not want to self-segregate -- if there is a component of pure evil to this profoundly racist and anti-educational movement, it is the pressure it will put on sane black kids to conform to the madness of the Maoists.
I could not believe my eyes, except that I spent four years with this woman and her entitled, privileged bullshit, so this was not the first of her objectionable ravings that I have been subjected to. Still, we are supposed to be older and wise. But apparently not everybody is actually committed to growing up.
The classmate who pushed back against her ravings wrote back:
That's your view and I am unlikely to influence it. However, I am quite prepared to think that the outcome will be orange and black, and not pink. And that there are apparently "hysterics" in various quarters. Just sayin.
This racist with a Princeton education could not stop herself, so she went on:
Except that if you're orange you can't get into the new "cultural" Affinity building.
Maybe Princeton should be renamed "Wilson University" to honor the new segregationism.
I couldn't take it any more, so I posted a reply objecting to her hate speech. But predictably, she screeched right back at me:
I hope that nobody would be surprised to find me pro-First Amendment and anti-Maoist. But you are welcome to a participation trophy anyway.
This is the voice of someone who benefited from a world-class education, as well as from our open, inclusive, and welcoming immigration policy. It causes me a deep and lasting sadness that these are the values she took away from these uniquely American opportunities and institutions I hold so dear.
When people reveal their true values in public, it is important to document and witness their doing so. It is also important not to let this kind of evil go unanswered. The witnessing function is one of the most important roles of an ally. So I am doing my best to do so here, however imperfectly and stupidly I may be doing it. I continue to grow and learn from my #educolor colleagues on Twitter and on blogs. And I am training my students for their roles as the leaders of the rebel forces.
As the Buddha said, "Hatred never ceases through hatred but by love alone is healed. This is an ancient and eternal law."
And as Michelangelo wrote on a scrap of paper left behind in his studio in the wobbly handwriting of his old age, "Ancora imparo" — "I am still learning."