Microaggressions for thee but not for me. Those words should be the new motto of Oberlin College, the prestigious Ohio university, which has been much in the headlines in recent years.
In December 2015, for example, a student coalition demanded a meeting with administrators to express their outrage over fried chicken and other “insensitive” and “culturally inappropriate” served in campus cafeterias. The same month, a list of fifty demands was sent to the administration over its “cissexist heteropatriarchy” and other deplorable practices.
So when an associate professor at the school pens a blog post theorizing that “the Jews” were behind the 9/11 terror attacks, she is summarily given the boot — right?
Wrong. On Tuesday, the school’s president, Marvin Krislov, released a letter defending Professor Joy Karega’s freedom of speech. Her race — she is black — clearly had nothing to do with Krislov’s decision.
According to The Chronicle-Telegram, Krislov wrote:
Since the initial blog post, I have heard from many people. Their messages range from demands for the professor’s immediate dismissal to demands that her right to free expression be defended at all costs.
He went on to add that if anyone should be incensed by Karega’s antagonistic and mean-spirited rant, he should:
I am a practicing Jew, grandson of an Orthodox rabbi. Members of our family were murdered in the Holocaust. As someone who has studied history, I cannot comprehend how any person could or would question its existence, its horrors and the evil which caused it. I feel the same way about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Regardless of the reason for spreading these materials, they cause pain for many people — members of our community and beyond.
Presumably for a school whose student body is 29% Jewish, that pain was widespread.
At least Karega now understands the hurt she inflicted and is contrite. Er, check that. Although she has locked down most of her social media, Karega shared a public post last week in which she doubled down on the hate speak:
Trust, when I come up out of my Unbothered [sic] state of being, I’ll have a lot to say (analysis, no doubt) about the kinds of intimidation and silencing tactics that are rhetorically enacted in digital spaces … and how common it is for Black women, who are early in their career on the tenure track as part of the professoriate, to be prime targets for these kinds of activities and practices.
In short, she sees herself as the victim.