When college students arrive for the start of the fall semester, they are usually greeted by lectures spewing that “whiteness” is oppressive, that we must refer to people by their incorrect pronouns, and that abortion is a gift to children. State-of-the-art multicultural centers welcome students of minority races with open arms, but pressure white students to leave. Feminist professors invite new members to their book clubs to explore their love of Marxism, and activist groups meet to demand the decolonization of textbooks.
But much of that liberal indoctrination will be absent this semester as many colleges either ban in-person extracurricular activities or go entirely online.
Pushed to the internet, activist college administrators will be unable to provide the immersive and compelling experience required to baptize freshmen into the cult of racial obsession, Marxism, and/or radical feminism. It will also be more difficult to encourage students to show up for indoctrination sessions without the usual promise of new friends and a free pizza dinner. And the cancellation of the beginning of the year’s activities fair will spell the end of the main opportunity for administrators to meet potential indoctrinees.
It’s an unanticipated benefit of COVID-19, and one that is not inconsequential. Radical progressive activism at college campuses is arguably the strongest means by which the ideology flows into our larger culture. The disruption next semester could have a long-term impact, as the constant revolving door of new and graduating students at colleges requires non-stop recruitment and visibility to maintain a department or organization’s activist infrastructure through student recruiting and promotion.
One of the central means of teaching students to see everything and anything as racial oppression is a university’s multicultural center. Typically, such a center is a converted house or modern campus facility open to students of minority races or of LGBTQ identity. The exclusion of white students identifying as heterosexual is usually unofficial, but on occasion has been enforced by students. Many of these facilities, such as at Brown, Oberlin, and Northwestern, are currently shuttered by the pandemic, and plans have not been announced for their reopening. Without the physical space, the work of these centers will surely be less effective.
Oberlin College’s Multicultural Resource Center has a calendar and social media feed entirely devoid of announcements for future events. Last year, their calendar was filled with events like a discussion on “the perpetuation of anti-blackness in Asian/Asian American communities,” a workshop on “trans identity and consent,” and a showing of a documentary film on trans people of color in ballroom dancing.
Brown University’s multicultural center, Brown Center for Students of Color, usually provides a Native American Room, a Black Room, a Latino Room, and an Asian Room to students. Since it is closed, the center is instead offering online office hours from their five employees, 8 am to 4 pm five days a week. It’s hard to imagine freshmen or transfer students taking up the offer of office hours with an administrator in place of a free (and racially segregated) hang-out spot.
Centers for progressive activism at colleges are attempting to make up for their in-person closures by hosting online lectures and events in preparation for the fall semester. Princeton University’s Carl A. Fields Center for Equality hosted a lecture on July 27 titled “Unpacking and Processing the Minimization of Woodrow Wilson’s Racist Legacy.” Similarly, Cornell University’s Office of Inclusion hosted an online panel August 5 titled “Racism: A Public Health Crisis.”
Multicultural centers at colleges typically host racially segregated graduation ceremonies. With the pandemic, however, those plans were canceled this spring. In a sign of things to come, Columbia University’s Multicultural Affairs reduced their Asian, African American, First Generation, Latinx, Lavender (LGBTQ), and Native American graduation ceremonies to a series of YouTube videos congratulating students of particular races on their graduations. The Latinx graduation ceremony, which consisted of administrators speaking to students from their homes, has thus far garnered 69 views, a far cry from last year’s ceremony attended by families and students alike (Multicultural Affairs lists 108 Latino graduates for the Class of 2020). The Native American ceremony fared worse, with only 16 views.
The pandemic is wreaking havoc on community life, but at least in this case, we can rejoice that the distance spares many college students from their universities’ liberal brainwashing.