(Students yelling, incessant noise, mostly inaudible) Red shirt, “You don’t block me, out of my way” Students yelling over each other, “white people.. white people speak… white allies, you need to talk to him” Female student, “white people in front, and in back…” Male student, “she said, white people [persuade?] students of color.” *knocking on door* “Carolyn!.. Carolyn..” continues knocking, calling for Carolyn. Student responds, “you don’t need to do that, you’re black. Let the white people do that.” So this is kind of like a scratch pad for the upcoming Evergreen documentary where I’m flushing out my thoughts about things. I want to separate the editorializing from the footage and stuff, but I still need to get a grip on why the students were acting that way and then why the faculty were acting that way, and try to figure out how the faculty’s attitudes fed into the students, and how the students attitudes fed into the faculty. So, you just saw some footage from the first day of protests: May 23rd 2017. The same day, the same morning one Evergreen student wrote, posted on her Facebook wall “Hey white people, just a reminder that we’re not in a position to have discussions or debates on what racism looks like. We are the oppressor and cannot speak for those we oppress. Bret Weinstein and his students here at Evergreen just made it abundantly clear the lack of understanding around that. Black student, clapping and yelling over Bret Weinstein *so constructive!* “We don’t care what [inaudible] you wanna speak on. This is not about you.” Bret, “I’m talking about -” Interrupted by screaming, “You’re not speaking on terms of white privilege! This is not a discussion, you have lost that one,” says the indignant white female. Bret, “I’m talking about terms that serve the truth. Those are the terms I’m -” Interrupted again by laughter. “We are in a position to listen, be accountable, and act on the needs of people of color. That’s it. If we need further education, we can use Google. Don’t expect POC to explain everything to us and don’t expect POC to hear what we think or emotionally console us.” How does somebody who’s college-age come upon those ideas? I mean, they have to come from somewhere, unless they are able to generate that kind of twisted mentality on their own. Well, I have plenty of precedent for this behavior. To quote Lisa Sweet in 2015, “This I believe: Evergreen is a place that is as deeply implicated in perpetuating white privilege and white supremacy as any other institution. When faculty aren’t trained to address dynamics of inequality in classrooms, we expose students of color to oppression. And white students can’t learn to examine their own racism and white fragility. We galvanize white privilege in the form of curi- curriculum exalting white canons of fine art, literature, theory, and scientific thinking. I believe we are capable of unlearning the habits of mind that perpetuate white privilege. What I am uncertain of is our collective will to examine those habits.” After Bret challenged the role reversal of day of absence; day of absence was a day for white students and everybody else to have discussions about racism and everybody else traditionally went off campus while white students stayed on campus and then in 2017, for whatever reason, the committee that planned this decided to center the students of Col- well, I’ll use their words… “We are having people of color stay on campus and we are encouraging white staff, faculty and students, to go off campus um, in order to make the space at Evergreen more ..umm.. centered around people of color.” And then Bret complained, and Emily Piper speaking on behalf of the planning committee wrote this email and distributed it through the entire faculty and staff and student worker email distribution list. To quote, “Why we organize day of absence off campus: A message from the day of absence off campus planning committee, Modelling Commitment: As staff we see the value in modeling for our students engaging in hard conversations about racial justice in person as a subcommittee of white folks who choose to engage, who work in all different areas of the college who have different viewpoints, backgrounds, and life experiences” ..but apparently not differing beliefs or ways of criticizing this. To continue, “We are excited and committed to this day and beyond.” This is one thing that keeps on popping up in these Evergreen emails, everybody’s like “from here and beyooond, this day and beyond!” It’s such a sweeping wonderful word. It’s kind of cheesy though… To continue, “Challenging our biases and standing in solidarity with people of color changes daily depending on context and timing, but this year for day of absence/day of presence, it looks like an invitation to gather together on April 12th to further understand our impact as white people on the movement for racial justice. Centering the voices of people of color” – This is the most telling line and the whole thing… “As a committee, we operate from the assumption that people who experience racism, people of color, are the experts of their own experience and are the only ones that can define what racism looks and feels like.” How is that not like a nest of essentialism? There’s the assumption that people who experience racism are strictly people of color, therefore only people of color get to define what racism is. There’s no, there’s no standard that all humans can understand about racism because not everybody has the same experience. To quote the documentary that Naima Lowe’s class was making… “So, inevitably every year Um At least one person will ask, “well why are we asking people who identify as Wyatt Toomy here and people who identify as color- people of color to meet here?” And the reason for that is actually pretty simple: it’s because people of color and white people experience racism differently, and they’re really different conversations and even within people of color communities and within white communities; those folks experience racism differently. And so we provide separate spaces to have those conversations because they’re separate conversations.” To continue with Emily Piper’s email.. “Challenging ourselves: Although it’s true that no people are a monolith, *hold for the irony* white people as a group can impede the progress of racial justice. In the world we live in today, we see examples of both intentional and unintentional disruptions of ‘progress.'” So, don’t get in our way, don’t question, if you’re white you need to get in the back of the bus. If you’re white you need to shut up, sit down. White people are targeted, specifically targeted. This is a culture throughout the entire institution. This is the way that the institution is framing things. They are teaching the students to behave this way; the way that the college has framed this discussion about race is manifested directly in the behavior, in the words, in the actions of the student protesters. To wrap up Emily’s email She asked these questions, “Finally we ask – how do you as a white staff or faculty at this college want to engage in racial justice work?” Remember this is a state school. This is a school that’s funded by Washington State and I’m pretty sure that Washington State has some things Kind of like, called rules or laws or a Bill of Rights that specifically state that a state institution cannot be discriminatory. These people are (1) they’re state employees. (2) They’re using state funds to set up this… to set up this event. (3) They’re using state resources to promulgate their racist behavior, their racist framework. To continue, “What values do you want to model for your students? How would you- do you respond when a student shares an experience of racism with you? As a white person engaging in racial justice learning and action, what are you willing to give up? What are you opening yourself up to gain?” Now, one of my questions is, is since there’s all these budget cuts at Evergreen, how many white faculty who subscribe to this progressive agenda are actively giving up their resources? Taking a cut in their pay so that other faculty can continue their work, whether it’s racial work or just like, you know helping the students get what they want? The arts education and performative arts education various, uh, various programs are being cut, but I’m sure not various salaries. Now in this particular email chain there’s a back-and-forth where people start accusing the science faculty specifically of being a hotbed of racism and one student employee asks, ‘can you provide evidence for that?’ and then people say, ‘how dare you demand evidence!’ and instead of giving evidence there’s this big rigmarole about white supremacy and objectivity in science and white science and bla bla bla bla bla and one faculty actually sends this paper by Robyn D’Angelo called, “Leaning in: A student’s guide to engaging constructively with social justice content” by Robyn D’Angelo, and Robyn D’Angelo opens up “If you’re reading this essay you are likely enrolled in a course that takes a critical stance. By critical stance, we mean those academic fields including social justice critical pedagogy multicultural education anti-racist post-colonial and feminist approaches that operate from the perspective that knowledge is socially constructed and that education is a political project embedded within a network of social institutions that reproduce inequality. This whole thing is founded upon what is now being called, “Grievance studies” Is it any wonder that the students behaved and acted like they did. I want to quote one more email from this exchange by Lisa Sweet sent on March 15th. Now this, this whole email chain; this back and forth is what the students use to prove to themselves that Bret Weinstein is racist, and furthermore that’s why he’s included in their, you know, week-long protest gig. Here’s Lisa Sweet, “Dear Rashidah…” Rashidah Love is the one who basically was at the forefront of the day of absence planning. She left halfway through 2007 apparently because she didn’t like the way that she was being treated and her salary for that year doubled. She went from 54 or 58,000 dollars a year to 118,000 dollars a year, and she only worked half of a year. And, there was no talk about severance, there was no talk about her resignation. So it seems like the college was able to pay her off and send her on her way without going through that whole Tort claim process that Brent Weinstein and Heather Heying and Naima Lowe went through. To continue.. “Dear Rashida Thank you to you and the members of the DOA/DOP planning committee. I appreciate the tireless work and challenge of bringing so many people together at different locations for a broad range of events and experiences. I know many folks invisibly and generously support this work. Many are students, staff and colleagues of color. Every year more folks attend and benefit from day of absence/day of presence. For that, I’m grateful. I’m especially excited about the change to the usual arrangements this year *!* In the past, students, staff, and colleagues of color left campus to gather for events designed to address the experiences, wisdom, and needs of people of color. It says something powerful that members of our learning community have felt the need to leave campus to do this work. This year’s plan for folks who identify as white to leave campus is innovative. I love imagining students, staff, and colleagues of color having the campus to themselves to do their work. As a tiny act of equity, I’m more than happy to attend events off-campus for one day to learn about anti-oppression strategies, institutional racism, and to confront the ways my whiteness provides me access to education and professions other folks never gain access to.” For me, those two lines underscore that equity is about a reversal of fortune. Equity in another way of looking at things is basically repackaged reparations, repackaged affirmative action. Basically to skirt around what the government of Washington has decided with regards to quotas. “There’s been a few people who have stepped up to offer to get them food so, yes, but also get [fed?]” Female white student, “Yeah, there’s also cheeseburgers over here, and fries. We’re just kind of like, in the way” Black student, “f**k yeah, we collectin’ reparations now” So to bring it all home, it seems to me that people are caught in a network, or web, and two of the points of the web are “privilege” and “fragility.” Especially white people are caught in this and black people too – to a certain extent everybody’s caught in this, “privilege” and “fragility” – And if you… you have to admit you’re privileged, and if you don’t, then you are fragile. No matter what, you are a white supremacist. Any given white person is eo ipso, inherently an oppressor, and any movement against that will only bind you more in that sticky-wicky web. And so the protesters are caught in that they try to catch Bret, in that the faculty try to catch Bret, in that the faculty furthermore are catching other faculty in that, and that’s why we don’t have that many faculty speaking up on behalf of Bret or even on behalf of objectivity because that web is so sticky that there’s no way out of it. And furthermore, when everything gets publicized, when the whole world gets to look into that, then Evergreen itself; the people who are promoting this, the protesters, the activist professors; they can’t recognize that perhaps the world is right and they are wrong. Furthermore they don’t have to; they’ve already been excused from any sort of reckoning because everything is inherently a social construct. There is no room for reality, for feedback from reality that does not line up in that sticky-wicky web of “fragility” and “privilege”. I don’t think it even excuses oppressive behavior from the protesters, from Naima Lowe, from any of those people. It actually promotes it in a sense. They don’t even have a choice in the matter. They are forced into speaking up, into acting out, and – furthermore acting out with any actual basis in explicit acts of racism. They don’t point to any explicit act of racism that I cannot already with evidence, with actual evidence, video evidence, lived experience point out is false. Is not an actual racist thing. It’s construed as a racist event. And so what arises in this network is this victim/bully, victim/bully, victim/bully back and forth where the protesters act like bullies, then claim to be victims, then act like bullies, claim to be victims, act like bullies, claim to be victims, and it starts on a small scale. It starts on a facebook argument and then it transfers into the protests and then it transfers even bigger when Patriot Prayer comes by. They- they act like bullies and they’re like “Oh, no Patriot Prayers coming, Patriot Prayers coming!” and then when the media gets a hold of it they feel victimized by the media for the media calling them out for being bullies. It’s an unending cycle, for whatever reason, and does that have to do with the postmodern framework of not needing any evidence? Of dismissing everything as a narrative and so you have to cling stronger and stronger and stronger to your narrative? In the face of glaring contradictions with the feedback that you’re receiving, you have to cling even tighter and scream even louder and punch even more furiously at your opponents, at the whole world. And where does that leave the students? The students are exhausted, the students are never going to get, uh, never gonna land on something that’s actually beneficial for them except for the few of them that can actually maximize their victimhood. And they need a certain network of oppression points to get there. Everybody else needs to prostrate themselves and probably feel pretty bad, all told. Either that, or righteously misunderstood, all told, while everybody who looks into it and provides criticism for that, and this happened to me earlier this week, I criticized Naima Lowe on a Facebook page and people who are defenders of Naima Lowe accused me of “white privilege,” of “white fragility,” of denying Naima Lowe’s humanity purely for criticizing her behavior. Like, the whole language game gets more and more inflated and violence starts to become more and more diffuse and seen everywhere, and the microaggressions become major oppressions and aggressions and there’s no escape for anybody that interacts with this stuff. It wants to talk sissify (sp?) everybody who touches that. And furthermore, it makes me reflexive when I go in and I talk about this and I call out how white people are being victimized, white people are being targeted. Yeah, I hear that I’m stirring up the pot of actual white Nationalists or people who are so insecure in their individuality that they need to cling to the white identity. Those people get all riled up and use this as fodder for their project when the whole thing, the whole thing is a zero-sum game. When you start to apply yourself and your energies more and more to this flaky surface level, uh, identity thing, then you are caught more and more in that wave of victim and oppressor, victim and oppressor, victim and oppressor. You get caught more and more in that wave form of victim/oppressor, victim/oppressor, victim/oppressor, victim/oppressor, and you can’t see clearly anymore because everything’s stormy, foamy, tsunamis and rip tides. I go into it wanting to critique it, but I also want to critique the reaction to it. I want to be able for us to look at this and to discount it without making the pot even more frothier. That’s- that’s absolutely essential. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I believe that that’s absolutely essential for us to do.