After pressing “send,” he immediately regretted it. Colorado College student Thaddeus Pryor realized he had acted recklessly when he made a Yik Yak post on campus which said that black women “aren’t hot.” He soon deleted the message. But as Business Insider reports:
… the damage had already been done. The next day the student center was filled with banners of many of the racial comments posted to Yik Yak — including Pryor’s post.
Pryor went before the school’s student life disciplinary panel…
The school initially suspended Pryor for 21 months, lessening the sentence to six months after his request for an appeal. However, the school refused to give him a new hearing.
“I have considered your request carefully, and I see no grounds for appeal. In your own words, you accepted responsibility for your comment, which you deemed hurtful and distasteful, and stated you deserve to be held accountable for your actions,” a Colorado College official wrote Pryor in a letter posted by the College Fix.
No doubt the post was emotionally “hurtful and distasteful.” That said, if the motive in punishing Pryor was justice, several months of suspension seem rather disproportionate.
Aside from the obvious free-speech angle, the episode raises a worthy social question. Do our romantic preferences reveal racial bigotry?
This is not a trivial or facetious question, not in an age where “white privilege” is heralded as a social scourge. Does Pryor’s impression of black women as unattractive deprive them of something they deserve? Does it reveal an unjust inequality?
If you listen to talk about white privilege for any length of time, you’ll soon realize that it’s merely free association. Critics object to the fact that people generally want to associate with the familiar, and call the broader repercussions of that tendency “privilege.”
In a real sense, relationships are a privilege. In a world where relationships are consensual, they are a privilege sustained by mutual consent. I retain certain privileges with my spouse, my children, my friends and co-workers, the members of my congregation, and anyone else willing to associate with me.
If we’re going to bemoan such privilege as somehow unfair to those we choose not to associate with, the only practical remedy is removing consent from relationships. When we pause to think about it, we realize that has been the prescription of every “social justice” warrior. Is that not the nature of affirmative action? Of public housing mandates? Of anti-discrimination law? Is not the practical effect of all such policies the removal of consent?
Certainly, Thaddeus Pryor learned an object lesson in the dangers of expressing romantic preference. I guess everyone has to be hot in the eyes of everyone else. It’s only fair.