Unacceptable

In Hate Speech 101, Mike Adams reprints a fellow University of North Carolina professor’s e-mail excoriating a student for “hate speech” in a class discussion. The student’s opinion created a “hostile environment,” says the prof, who shows a certain hostility toward white, male, Christian heterosexuals.

Update: Mike Adams writes that the professor has apologized for her e-mail after the department chair supported Adams’ free speech concerns. Adams writes about the fundamental flaw in the approach to diversity taken at UNC and other universities:

First, we want to emphasize diversity by bringing people with different perspectives together. Second, we want to make sure that no one is ever offended.

Make no mistake about it; if we bring people together who have different ideas and perspectives, some will be offended. There is simply no constitutional right to “freedom from offense.” And there is certainly no compatibility between the real provisions of the First Amendment and the “speech codes” that universities such as UNC-Chapel Hill are beginning to employ, presumably to thwart the inevitable tension between the two incompatible goals of the diversity movement.

Our speech code at UNC-Wilmington prohibits “offensive speech or behavior of a biased or prejudiced nature related to oneís personal characteristics, such as race, color, national origin, sex, religion, handicap, age or sexual orientation.”

To take seriously such an absurd code would place even mild expressions on either side of debates involving sexual orientation in jeopardy. It is far better that such debates take place where people are offended than that they never take place at all.

I can think of no idea more destructive to higher education than the belief that students have a right to be sheltered from ideas they find offensive.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Walter Wallis says:

    Whoever signs that Professor’s paycheck should go to jail. The Professor can not be held accountable since she is obviously insane. Her students have an excellent case to sue for a tuition refund.

  2. I’m not going to say what the “privileged, white male” said wasn’t racist; because we don’t know in what context he said these things. However, it seems that on more and more campuses if you don’t agree with the liberal view point then you are quickly and publicly called a racist. Let me state that I not offended by or anti gay couples. However, looking at the polls the majority of Americans are. The best way to challenge the major and maybe change some people’s minds is through dialog. This professor is killing the dialog before it even started by humiliating this student in public; under the contexts she is keeping the classroom a safe environment. If we can’t debate social issues in college classroom, then where?

  3. Ok, here goes.

    Those of you who have read my previous comments will remember that my best friend is a gay man who is dying of AIDS and a plethora of associated veneral and non-veneral diseases.

    I spoke to my friend several days ago and he is facing the amputation of his hands. He is considering moving to Oregon because it allows doctor assisted suicide.

    I have stated on this site that I believe that religious tradition warns that these health risks are associated with the gay lifestyle, and always have been. (Before AIDs, it was some other disease.) In other words, I’ve argued, the traditional religious proscription against homosexuality (and especially against male homosexuality) was not born in bigotry. It was born in folk wisdom about the health risks that it entails.

    The professor who is censoring her student for stating the traditional religious proscription against homosexuality is doing something very dangerous, something even beyond attempting to silence one of her students. She’s attempting to force us to discard some very important information that religious tradition imparts to us. She’s enforcing ignorance.

    My views on this are pretty complicated, lest any of you think otherwise. I am very distraught over the suffering of my friend, but I cannot ignore the reality that what happened to him is the result of his actions.

    When people seek to overthrow centuries of religious, social and religious tradition, they bear a heavy burden of convincing us that they know all of the long term consequences of overturning that tradition. I have heard no such arguments in relationship to homosexuality. I’ve heard a lot of intellectual sophistry, as if the intellect is all that matters here.

    Intellect is not all that matters. I do not have the answers to how, when or if the traditional proscriptions against homosexuality should be lifted, but I do know that the proponents of this change are short circuiting the discussion and that they are deliberately slandering good people.

  4. Insufficiently Sensitive says:

    What Stephen said: “When people seek to overthrow centuries of religious, social and religious tradition, they bear a heavy burden of convincing us that they know all of the long term consequences of overturning that tradition.”

    The human race has learned hard lessons, by observation of countless tragedies over countless generations. Some of the rules so eagerly overturned by the ‘progressives’ have good reasons for existing.

  5. I have stated on this site that I believe that religious tradition warns that these health risks are associated with the gay lifestyle, and always have been.

    More precisely, these health risks are associated with the practice of unsafe sex, regardless of the sexual orientation of the participants.

    It is true that there is a certain subculture in the gay community where unsafe sex (intercourse without a condom) is glorified and considered normal. This is not an issue of homosexuality per se, but one of social mores.

    Don’t forget condoms were (and are) vilified by many heterosexuals as “unromantic” and that they ruin the spontaneity of sex, or the male complains they dampen sensation or some other trivial reason. It’s taken a long time to change this attitude and gradually it is working.

    There is not a similarly intense push in the gay community. If you check, you will notice that gay porn videos made after a certain date (sometime in the late 80’s I think), condoms are always used. These people, at least, understand the risks of frequent sex with multiple partners.

    Again, this is not an issue with sexual orientation, per se, but one of education and cultural standards.

  6. Anne:

    I’d like to believe what you say, but I do not. Reality intrudes.

    Every single man in my friend’s intimate circle of friends from 15 years ago is dead.

    I’m not talking theory. I’m talking reality.

    Nor is the traditional religious proscription against homosexuality based solely on health concerns. It is also based on issues of personal responsibility and responsibility to the community at large.

  7. Bill Leonard says:

    Let’s stay on point, folks. The issue at hand is not what any of us may think of heterosexual or homosexual behavior.

    The issues for our consideration in this thread are whether major questions can, in this day and age, be frankly discussed in a college classroom; and whether the student in question was in fact libeled by this professor — i.e, she accused him of racism and other unsavory traits that could hold him up to public scorn and contumely. Arguably, calling someone a racist in the current academic environment is about on par with calling someone a communist back in the ’50s. And she did it in an email, which should qualify as publication. (Courts have long held that even a private letter, if sent to another, constitutes publication.)

    My guess is, the student probably has a case. If it were me, I’d get an attorney and slap a libel suit on her. It certainly would get her attention, and ideally it might make her think twice in future before she squelches dissenting opinion and hurls accusations.

  8. John from OK says:

    Here we go again. I mean the comments, not the post.

  9. I think what I have said is on point.

    If traditional Christian lore tells us something that is real and true about human experience with homosexuality, then how is relating that experience a form of bigotry? Once again, the teacher is trying to enforce ignorance of that tradition.

    And as a side note. I lived in San Francisco in the early 70s, the beginning of AIDs epidemic. At that time, gay activists would gladly call you a bigot if you raised moral issues about the bathhouse and orgy scene.

    The definition of what is a bigot keeps shifting according to need. This makes me rather suspicious of the motives of the accusers.

  10. Religion is really kind of irrelevant to the issue here. The student expressed a personal opinion in an academic setting, and was attacked for that opinion by the professor because he said something that wasn’t politically correct.

    No one seems concerned that the professor’s opinion might be offensive. It probably is to a lot of people (including this student obviously). But that’s because the professor’s opinion is in line with the modern “progressive” agenda.

    The point is, students should be allowed to speak their minds freely without being vilified by their teachers for having a “wrong” opinion. The nature of that opinion, its origin, etc. are not relevant.

    The fact that this student’s opinion may have originated with religious doctrine is not relevant to the principle at work.

  11. I disagree, Anne, and I think that your post shows how thoroughly you have been indoctrinated.

    A specific type of knowledge has been decreed out of bounds in this class. That knowledge is religion and religious tradition. I agree that freedom of speech is another issue in the case, but the fact that religious tradition is the target is quite relevant.

    Specifically excluding the knowledge that is religious tradition is part of the program.

    I sense that you think that religion is irrelevant, and for you that may be right. For me, the exclusion of the religious viewpoint goes beyond the denial of an equal right to free speech, although I do not deny that that is an important issue.

    I am saying that this prof is doing something more than denying the student’s right to freedom of speech. She has declared, in that progressive fashion, that religion is a form of supersition. She has excluded what is to many people, including me, a source of knowledge that informs their lives. I can tell that this is meaningless to you. It is not to me.

    My religious training informs me about centuries of human experience, including human experience as it relates to homosexuality. You want to discuss these issues only on the terms of intellect and rationality. I am telling you that for many people, including myself, much more is at stake than intellect and rationality, although those are also issues at stake. And excluding these non-intellectual, non-rational issues is as much the problem as the restrain of speech.

  12. Stephen is correct, whether Anne has been indoctrinated or not (I imagine Anne thinks she freely derived her opinions, without indoctrination) Neither mentions race in this discussion, and of course, I don’t want to mention that particular issue, so I won’t.

  13. One of the interesting things about this issue (academic censorship, not the other comments on this post) is the degradation of logic and argument in so many of these cases. The professor objects not only to the expression of views contrary to her own in an academic setting, which is bad enough, but also apparently to any argument that is made in defense of such contrary views. She implicitly sees the logical defense of views she disagrees with as wrong, independent of the quality of the logic. This is an absurd and contemptible position for an academic to take.

  14. But, Jonathan, it is also a very common position for an academic to take.

    I have observed that the large majority of people today routinely use imprecise and faulty logic; they make leaps that are not supported by the facts and their relationship, and they are so ignorant of the rules and boundaries of logic and reasoning that they laugh off or condemn any attempts to apply them.

    ‘Some’ does not necessary imply ‘all’. ‘a -> b’ does not therefore imply that ‘b -> a’. One instance of anecdotal evidence does not imply known, documented cause-and-effect. UNLESS, of course, you use fuzzy, faulty logic.

    Unfortunately, the largest portion of people today do NOT know how to reason critically. And don’t even waste your time trying to point out the lapses in logic in their ‘arguments’; most of them are incapable of even understanding your points.

    Sometimes I get so depressed over the willful stupidity of a large portion of humanity. As we say around here, “dumb as a post and proud of it”. Or what my daddy always used to call ‘educated idiots – they can tell you how to build an umbrella but they ain’t got sense enough to come in outta the rain’.

  15. Here’s a followup by Adams:

    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/mikeadams/ma20040219.shtml

    Some sanity prevails, at least in this case.

  16. Nick Blesch says:

    Stephen: What about all the homosexual couples that are monogamous? What about all the homosexuals who don’t have any diseases? What about all the non-monogamous heterosexual couples? What about all the heterosexual couples with diseases?

    You are guilty of a distinct logical fallacy, the hasty generalization. Just because 100% of the homosexuals you know sleep around and/or have diseases and/or are dead/dying absolutely, unequivocally, does not mean they all are. And I can provide evidence from a much larger sample than my limited circle of friends.

    As for the prof in the story: it’s a shame didn’t get in more trouble. It’s just another example of support for diversity of skin color and sexuality rather than diversity of opinion.

  17. Mr. Blesch:

    The average life span of a homosexual man is 30 years less than that of a heterosexual man. You are engaging in sophistry.

    The denial of the AIDs epidemic in America is one of the most remarkable stories of our times.

    I have no animus against gays and in fact associate very frequently with them. However, I do find it fascinating that the push for gay rights comes on the heels of the AIDs epidemic, which would seem to argue for the traditional view. I believe, and worked for, the right of gays to come out of the closet. I haven’t made up my mind on gay marriage.

    I have been saving what is my conclusion for your remark. The animus against white, hetero men is a classic case of psychological distancing and deflection. Gay activists have literally blamed white, hetero men for the deaths of tens of thousands of gay men. That’s what the violence against gays hysteria was all about, dumping the responsibility on hetero men. Tens of thousands of gay men did not die from hetero, male violence. They died of AIDs. There was and is no problem of widespread violence against gays. It was invented for political effect.

    It is a truly ugly story. I did not tell the story above for the purpose of suggesting that gays should be treated differently than any other class of people. I did it for the purpose of demonstrating just how devious and vicious the campaign against white, hetero men has been.

    Gay activists, I repeat, have indicted hetero men for the deaths of tens of thousands of gay men, when, in fact, those men died as a result of their own actions. They did not die as a result of white, hetero male violence. And what has happened over the past 30 years is a concerted effort to shift the blame to somebody else.

  18. Thanks, folks, for a very good discussion.

    To cap off what I have had to say, I suggest reading Andrew Sullivan at length.

    His argument is that gay marriage will save gays from themselves. And in making this argument, he is once again accusing the hetero male community of responsibility for what gay men did to themselves.

    Thanks again for a good argument without the usual invective.

  19. Anne said:

    More precisely, these health risks are associated with the practice of unsafe sex, regardless of the sexual orientation of the participants.

    The student did object from a religious viewpoint; the professor pointed this out.

    In the religious traditions I was taught, sex outside of marriage was discouraged. As Stephen pointed out, many religious traditions stem from health concerns.

    There is much wisdom we discard based on the arrogant assumption that modern science and academic knowledge encompasses all useful knowledge from the past and present. This is false. We are doomed to repeat history as a result.

  20. Stephen:

    I am saying that this prof is doing something more than denying the student’s right to freedom of speech. She has declared, in that progressive fashion, that religion is a form of supersition. She has excluded what is to many people, including me, a source of knowledge that informs their lives. I can tell that this is meaningless to you.

    Actually you’re quite wrong there. But obviously I am being unclear in my explanation. I agree that the professor is expressing a prejudice against Christianity, and that the professor has come to the conclusion that such beliefs, when expressed, constitute hate speech.

    And you’re absolutely right that there is a war being waged by progressive that specifically targets Christians/Catholics, white males in particular (other religions such as Islam and Buddhism do not seem to be similarly hated). I have seen plenty of evidence of this and it is clearly unjust.

    What I meant in my original comments was that the fundamental dispute involved between the professor and the student is one of free speech. That religion is the particular belief being targeted is another issue altogether.

    I got the impression from your response that you were arguing that the religious tradition is a legitimate base of intellectual knowledge and that for that reason it should not be dismissed as improper.

    In other words, I’ve argued, the traditional religious proscription against homosexuality (and especially against male homosexuality) was not born in bigotry. It was born in folk wisdom about the health risks that it entails.

    That does not seem right to me. I’d be curious if you have any evidence to offer for that. It seems much more likely that homosexuality is/was simply viewed as unnatural (a casual observation of other animals suggests that male/female pairing is the natural norm, and thus God’s will), and thus against the will of God.

    But the fact that you ascribe your friend’s actions to his ultimate illness is important, because it reveals what I think is the essential factor — free will.

    I do not think that homosexual sex is, in itself, inherently more likely to transmit disease than heterosexual sex. The extreme promiscuous behavior that has resulted in the AIDS epidemic (and a recent rise in some other previously unseen diseases such as syphillis among the gay population), is a product of culture and not of biology.

    The pervasive anti-hetero bigotry in the gay subculture is a divisive and dangerous belief. They seek to blame heterosexuals for problems that are fundamentally of their own making. By turning the blame outward, they increase their own suffering by refusing to address the real issues. The gay community could dramatically reduce its disease transmission rates overnight — but only if they change the culture that says that promiscuous, unprotected sex is ok and “healthy”.

    Robin:

    The student did object from a religious viewpoint; the professor pointed this out.

    Yes, although there is a difference between “pointing out” the origin of the viewpoint and chastising and ridiculing the student for it. It may be useful to analyze the origin of the belief for academic purposes — I think that constitutes healthy discussion. But to classify it (or anything) as “hate speech” is, frankly, intolerant.

    Also I would argue that the “intellectual” nature of progressive is pseudo-intellect at best, and does not reflect genuine logic and objectivity of analysis. The professor’s attitude stemmed from pure emotion, and not any reference to reason or rationality.

    True rationality, or at least the genuine attempt of it, does not allow for such baseless, emotion-based rebuttal of an argument or opinion.

  21. The average life span of a homosexual man is 30 years less than that of a heterosexual man.

    That statement does not have sufficient data to support it. How can you possibly know this it is true? We don’t have any reliable data on how many people are homosexual, either as a percentage or a hard number. 10% is often cited but that’s purely a guesstimate based on extremely sketchy data (part of the problem is self-reporting).

    We also do not have enough data to refute the claim of a -30 year lifespan for gays. Therefore it is pointless to introduce the claim itself.

  22. How did the right to speak freely turn into a privilege?
    This is absolutely frightening: http://www.dogstreetjournal.com/story.php?aid=1337

    Although I find it hard to believe, I think this is honestly how this student feels. And that’s scary. I hope he doesn’t end up running the country . . .

  23. WM Jr.: That link is truly frightening. I know I’m a free speech zealot so I guess I should understand that some people go the other way, but it’s always scary to hear. Reminds me of that old John Stossel special…

  24. WM Junior,

    That link is so extreme it verges on parody. I had to check to see whether the “Dog Street Journal” was an Onion-type pseudo-newspaper. It’s not.

  25. Amritas – No, that’s one of the college newspapers . . . sadly.

  26. Stephen,
    Thanks for writing from your personal experience. You made some good points that I’ll think more about. Some of the things you said were wrong, and others undocumented, but overall you make a good case.
    I think i’m hearing you saying something like,
    if Matthew Shepard had gone to that bar that night, met those guys, had sex with them, gotten aids, died horribly, we wouldn’t have heard any of the same outrage.
    I came out in 78 on the east coast. I’ve only had one friend die of aids, but it’s a good guess
    many of those in my support group then are now dead of aids. I move alot and haven’t kept in touch. My experience is that people I know die of cancer and/or complications from alcohol. I agree that religion transmits folk wisdom. (As a wiccan, that’s one of our critiques of christianity; it has lost much of the older folk wisdom about sustainable live styles.)In my case, geekiness and lack of social skills resulted in few sex partners and kept me alive.
    I find PC-ness objectionable, but maybe part of your point is that PC-ness is preventing dialog between diverse points of view – including those of the bigots – and that that lack of diversity creates dangerous blind spots with the end result that people die needlessly.

  27. The Dog Street Journal is for real??? I was certain I was reading a satire site.

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  1. Controversy and Rules

    There are few topics more controversial these days than homosexuality and the issue of gay marriage. It is raising First Amendment and civil disobedience issues all over the country. Amid such strong passions, the rules of law and civil discourse