Campus snowflakes are at war with reality.
That is the only way to read an open letter written by three students who say the idea of objective truth is a “myth” designed to “silence oppressed peoples.” The authors, Dray Denson, Avery Jonas, and Shanaya Stephenso, along with over twenty co-signers, are demanding that all five Claremont Colleges “take action” against the conservative journalists on the staff of The Claremont Independent, presumably for reporting facts that make them feel unsafe.
The letter — which reads like something from The Onion but is sadly all too real — was written to outgoing Pomona College President David Oxtoby in response to his April 7 email espousing the college’s commitment to “the exercise of free speech and academic freedom.” Oxtoby’s email came in the wake of protests that shut down an April 6 speaking appearance by conservative scholar and author Heather Mac Donald.
“Protest has a legitimate and celebrated place on college campuses,” Oxtoby wrote. “What we cannot support is the act of preventing others from engaging with an invited speaker. Our mission is founded upon the discovery of truth, the collaborative development of knowledge and the betterment of society.”
During an appearance on Fox News on April 10, Mac Donald, a critic of “Black Lives Matter,” said that what happened to her at Claremont was an “exercise of brute totalitarian force.”
“This is not just my loss of free speech. These students are exercising brute force against their fellow students to prevent them from hearing me live,” Mac Donald told the Fox and Friends hosts.
In their open letter (which has since been removed from the Internet), the self-identified black students sharply disagreed, saying that “free speech … has recently become a tool appropriated by hegemonic institutions.” The authors characterized the idea of objective truth as a “construct of the Euro-West” that in effect silences “oppressed peoples.”
It has not just empowered students from marginalized backgrounds to voice their qualms and criticize aspects of the institution, but it has given those who seek to perpetuate systems of domination a platform to project their bigotry,” they write.
“Thus, if ‘our mission is founded upon the discovery of truth,’” the students continue, citing Oxtoby’s letter, “how does free speech uphold that value?”
The students also characterize truth as a “myth” and a white supremacist concept.
“Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, and wielded a dichotomy of ‘subjectivity vs. objectivity’ as a means of silencing oppressed peoples,” they explain. “The idea that there is a single truth–‘the Truth’–is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain. 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.”
As if to prove their point that the truth is relative, the letter writers described Mac Donald as “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, would have amounted to a debate not “on mere difference of opinion, but [on] the right of Black people to exist.”
They asked President Oxtoby: “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?”
The letter concluded by demanding that Oxtoby apologize for his April 7 email and issue a new message that the college “does not tolerate hate speech and speech that projects violence onto the bodies of its marginalized students and oppressed peoples.” The authors also demanded that Claremont Colleges “take action” against the staff of the The Claremont Independent for their “continual perpetuation of hate speech, anti-Blackness, and intimidation toward students of marginalized backgrounds.”
“Provided that the Claremont Independent releases the identity of students involved with this letter and such students begin to receive threats and hate mail, we demand that this institution and its constituents take legal action against members of the Claremont Independent involved with the editing and publication process as well as disciplinary action, such as expulsion on the grounds of endangering the wellbeing of others,” the writers insisted.