We named ourselves but you can’t name us
If you want a window into how progressive students are being taught to think at privileged, sheltered campuses, look no further than an open letter to the outgoing president of Pomona College from three self-identified black students.
Despite naming themselves in their open letter to David Oxtoby, the three authors demanded that Pomona expel the student journalists at The Claremont Independent if they published the authors’ names.
The conservative views of the Independent make it a frequent target at the private colleges that make up southern California’s Claremont Consortium.
Dray Denson, Avery Jonas and Shanaya Stephenson were responding to an April 7 email to the campus community by Oxtoby that criticized the mob tactics that shut down a “Blue Lives Matter” speech.
Oxtoby had written that the administration opposes “the acting of preventing others from engaging with an invited speaker,” in this case the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald:
Our mission is founded upon the discovery of truth, the collaborative development of knowledge and the betterment of society.
Oxtoby did not post his email on his Twitter profile, and Pomona’s social media do not acknowledge it either.
Video of students:
Denson, Jonas and Stephenson mocked Oxtoby for his “unnuanced views” that there is such a thing as truth, which is simply a tool of “white supremacy” and is aimed at “silencing oppressed peoples”:
This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny. The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples. … The idea that we must subject ourselves routinely to the hate speech of fascists who want for us not to exist plays on the same Eurocentric constructs that believed Black people to be impervious to pain and apathetic to the brutal and violent conditions of white supremacy.
Letting Mac Donald defend the police at Pomona – in other words, letting a student group invite her to speak – “is condoning violence against Black people,” they wrote:
If engaged, Heather Mac Donald would not be debating on mere difference of opinion, but the right of Black people to exist. Heather Mac Donald is a fascist, a white supremacist, a warhawk, a transphobe, a queerphobe, a classist, and ignorant of interlocking systems of domination that produce the lethal conditions under which oppressed peoples are forced to live. Why are you, and other persons in positions of power at these institutions, protecting a fascist and her hate speech and not students that are directly affected by her presence? …
Engaging with her, a white supremacist fascist supporter of the police state, is a form of violence.
Protest that doesn’t disrupt the status quo is benign and doesn’t function to overthrow systems of oppression, which is the ultimate goal.
The open letter, which was signed by two dozen other students, demands that Oxtoby send a “revised email” that apologizes for his “patronizing statement” and explains how he will serve “marginalized students and oppressed peoples, especially Black students who straddle the intersection of marginalized identities.”
They also want disciplinary action from all members of the Claremont Consortium against the Independent staff for “continual perpetuation of hate speech, anti-Blackness, and intimidation toward students of marginalized backgrounds.”
They should be expelled for “endangering the wellbeing of others” if the newspaper publishes their names from the open letter, and the colleges should also sue them. (The Independent did not name them.)
The authors of the open letter didn’t explain why they included their names if they fear “threats and hate mail” from publishing the letter, which was removed from Google Docs after The College Fix called attention to it Monday afternoon.
Race activists at Pomona’s sibling Claremont McKenna College have previously maintained a so-called burn book of “Shady People of Color” – those who are not white and do not share their views, including former Independent Editor-in-Chief Hannah Oh.