The PJ Tatler

Yale Halloween 'Controversy,' Seen Through a Culturally Marxist Prism

If were any lingering doubt that the New York Times, a once-great newspaper, is now entirely infected by the language of cultural Marxism, look no farther than this story about the Halloween-costume “controversy” at a once-great university.

Weeks of simmering racial tension at Yale University boiled over in recent days into a heated debate over whether the administration was sensitive enough to concerns about Halloween costumes seen as culturally offensive, students and adminstrators said. Peter Salovey, the president of Yale, said he had been left “deeply troubled” by a meeting he held with students of color last week who were “in great distress.” Many said they did not believe the university was attuned to the needs of minority students.

“The experiences they shared went beyond the incidents of the last few days,” he said in a statement. “Their concerns and cries for help made clear that some students find life on our campus profoundly difficult.”

Hard to know where to begin with this one, since the piece by Liam Stack uncriticially accepts the entire Marxist premise of the story itself — that racial minority students, many of whom are necessarily affirmative-action students, now find the university setting “profoundly difficult” and therefore (here comes the hidden premise), it’s Yale that should change and not the students. 

The debate over Halloween costumes began late last month when the university’s Intercultural Affairs Committee sent an email to the student body asking students to avoid wearing “culturally unaware and insensitive” costumes that could offend minority students. It specifically advised them to steer clear of outfits that included elements like feathered headdresses, turbans or blackface.

In response, Erika Christakis, a faculty member and an administrator at a student residence, wrote an email to students living in her residence hall on behalf of those she described as “frustrated” by the official advice on Halloween costumes. Students should be able to wear whatever they want, she wrote, even if they end up offending people. An early childhood educator, she asked whether blond toddlers should be barred from being dressed as African-American or Asian characters from Disney films.

“Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious … a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” she wrote. “American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.”

Behold the wreckage of the entire Leftist project: it’s okay to “culturally appropriate” a vampire costume, or a naughty nurse costume, or a Viking costume, but not a costume that makes references, however obliquely or frankly, to that of a protected class. It’s a disgrace, but such is the pathetic state of the Ivy League today. Lux et veritas, indeed.


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