To the Editor,
This older alumnus salutes the “racism-protesters.” But less for seeking “social justice,” than for advancing Lawrence’s “liberal-arts/general education” itself! Who knew?
The academic disciplines of my earlier times were flawed and macro-oppressive. You have refreshed them.
Our sociology warned that social movements can be runaway, wherein a puppet-master makes us dance to the new tunes never to be questioned. Ah, but you exposed that as “institutional determinism” blocking social progress.
Our philosophy said: perform critical thinking. (Identify assumptions, logical fallacies. Seek evidence and alternatives. Consider consequences.) Ah, but you revealed this as “cerebral constipation” clogging up new consciousness.
Our psychology said: “know self and true motivations.” Ah, but you nailed this as intruding into the personhood-space of the other, namely yourselves.
Our psychology also would have (wrongly) diagnosed you as “childish, spoiled, coddled.” But no; your wresting control of oppressive institutions, seems good “baby steps” toward pro-active, mature leadership in real life. (A virtual “internship!”)
Then, we valorized “civil discourse.” (Do not combat but cooperate. Admit own biases freely. Listen truly, fully to the other person’s ideas.) Ah, but you spot-lit how this “dejecting decorum” dilutes injustices.
Finally, our communication studies said “don’t just tell, but show!” To prove your claims, give effective specifics. But did you? No. Your demands sheet claimed that Lawrence is “a campus where discrimination, bigotry, and hate occur daily.” But no evidence! So, are your claims merely unproved, unsupported blather? But as you stated, we majority people must (magically) educate ourselves. Plus, in today’s rushed age, picky “proof” fails—slogans and proverbs succeed!
So, thank you. You have usefully advanced the sixties. Its equality, is now “steam-roller egalitarianism.” Its relativism, becomes “rampant.” Its respect, is in “rubber-stamp” mode. And its simple consideration, is now “sensitivity-buffering.” Do you see what you have done? This appreciative alum does!
In fact, you’ve accelerated valid concerns into a veritable “transmogrified juggernaut!” (Well, so to speak.) This antiquated academic finds it all a teachable (or learn-worthy? moment. Especially regarding “liberal-arts, general education. Who knew—indeed?
Brian Kevin Beck, class of 1959