In this country, we live in an era virtually free of mainstream racism, just as we live in an era of relative gender equality (speaking of only two genders now) and of vastly declining violence against women. Yet if one were to believe the left, America today is rife with racism manifesting itself in countless microaggressions. Likewise, according to the left, there is a war on women being waged in America, one aspect of which is "rape culture," particularly on college campuses, where women are being subject to sexual assault by evil white men on a scale to rival the incidence of rape in the war torn Congo. Both claims, incredibly destructive to society as well as to individuals who get caught up in their web, are wholly disconnected from reality. So why is the left doing this, and how is the left justifying these canards?
In regards to both microaggressions and claims of rape culture, the left is taking this incredibly damaging tack because they want to balkanize America, and as part and parcel thereof, to keep minorities and women feeling as if they are under siege. With respect to race, this has been the playbook for over the past half century. When it comes to the modern radical feminists, however, there is a far more ambitious goal - to punish men as a whole and do away with societal norms of sex and family.
How they are trying to accomplish this is likewise obvious - do away with any objective standards for defining racism or rape. No longer is an actual act of racism necessary to sustain claims of racism. No longer is an act of rape or sexual assault necessary to sustain claims of rape or sexual assault. It is all now about the subjective feelings of the "victim."
This from Jim Goad in his article, Land of 1000 Microaggressions:
If a person of color feels offended by something a well-meaning white person said and no one knows they’re offended, is it still a hate crime?
This is the implicit question posed by the very idea of “racial microaggressions.” The concept seems to have been formulated by the racial-grievance industry to fill the savage dearth of truly aggressive acts committed by whites toward nonwhites over the past few generations.
In other words, if what used to be known as “racism” no longer exists, you have to greatly expand the term’s breadth so that it includes words, thoughts, and acts that have zero conscious hostility behind them. You have to make everything racist just to stay in business. . . .
Even if you have no hatred in your heart for a person of color and even if you make the most obsequious gestures of appeasement toward them, you are still hurting them and acting racist toward them because, well, you’re white, and that’s what you people do.
That’s what’s ultimately dangerous about this concept of “microaggresions”—even the demented fanatics who insist that such things actually exist will concede that the perpetrator may not harbor or exhibit any malice whatsoever. They may not even be the least bit conscious that they are being horrid bigots. Under this framework, bigotry is solely in the eyes of the accuser. No matter how pleasant your demeanor or how generously you act, you can still be bludgeoned over the head with baseless accusations of unconscious racism, and your accuser will feel like a good person for doing it.
I can’t imagine the agony of being a person of color on a college campus these days, what with all the microaggressions, microinsults, microinvalidations, microassaults, and especially all the microrape. Why, it’s enough to make a person of color want to drop out of college entirely. . . .
The study bears the catchy title of Racial microaggressions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Voices of students of color in the classroom. I highly recommend it as the finest comedic document I’ve seen so far this year.
Sponsored by the University of Illinois Racial Microaggressions Project and conducted by a specially appointed “Racial Microaggressions Team” whose associates have colorful first names such as Efadul, Shinwoo, Tanisha, Sang, and Artesha, the study concludes that it really, really, really, really sucks to be a person of color on campus these days.
For example, a robust two-fifths of the online study’s respondents claimed they “felt uncomfortable on campus because of their race.” . . .
Some sample testimonials from the POCs who claim to have been microaggressed upon:
People do not necessarily say I do not belong, but I feel as if I do not when I am in a classroom and I am the one non-White person. (Latina, Female) . . .
Do read the entire article.
And if the testimonial in that last quoted paragraph sounds familiar, it should. Not but a few weeks ago, no less than Michelle Obama, a woman who has led a truly charmed life and now sleeps in the White House, gave a speech noting how victimized she felt by, what in so many words, were microaggressions. She even went so far as to note that she, as a minority and like all minorities, felt very uncomfortable going into museums and other places of culture in America.
For another outrageous example, thoroughly explored by Heather MacDonald in The Microaggression Farce, there is the case of UCLA Professor Val Rust. He committed the racist microaggression of "correcting the capitalization, grammar and punctuation of a minority student's paper." This from Ms. MacDonald describes the insanity:
Val Rust’s dissertation-prep class had devolved into a highly charged arena of competing victim ideologies, impenetrable to anyone outside academia. For example: Were white feminists who use “standpoint theory”—a feminist critique of allegedly male-centered epistemology—illegitimately appropriating the “testimonial” genre used by Chicana feminists to narrate their stories of oppression? Rust took little part in these “methodological” disputes—if one can describe “Chicana testimonials” as a scholarly “method”—but let the more theoretically up-to-date students hash it out among themselves. Other debates centered on the political implications of punctuation. Rust had changed a student’s capitalization of the word “indigenous” in her dissertation proposal to the lowercase, thus allegedly showing disrespect for the student’s ideological point of view. Tensions arose over Rust’s insistence that students use the more academic Chicago Manual of Style for citation format; some students felt that the less formal American Psychological Association conventions better reflected their political commitments. During one of these heated discussions, Rust reached over and patted the arm of the class’s most vociferous critical race–theory advocate to try to calm him down—a gesture typical of the physically demonstrative Rust, who is prone to hugs. The student, Kenjus Watson, dramatically jerked his arm away, as a burst of nervous energy coursed through the room.
After each of these debates, the self-professed “students of color” exchanged e-mails about their treatment by the class’s “whites.” (Asians are not considered “persons of color” on college campuses, presumably because they are academically successful.) Finally, on November 14, 2013, the class’s five “students of color,” accompanied by “students of color” from elsewhere at UCLA, as well as by reporters and photographers from the campus newspaper, made their surprise entrance into Rust’s class as a “collective statement of Resistance by Graduate Students of Color.” The protesters formed a circle around Rust and the remaining five students (one American, two Europeans, and two Asian nationals) and read aloud their “Day of Action Statement.” That statement suggests that Rust’s modest efforts to help students with their writing faced obstacles too great to overcome.
The same subjectivity now used to find racism rampant throughout our nation is equally apparent in the claims that our nation is involved in a "war on women," part of which is "rape culture." These claims come from radical feminists running the women's studies programs in our nation's ivory towers. Robert Stacey McCain, who has quite literally written the book on modern radical feminism - Sex Trouble - explains:
Once we go beyond simplistic sloganeering about “equality” and “choice” to examine feminism as political philosophy — the theoretical understanding to which Ph.D.s devote their academic careers — we discover a worldview in which men and women are assumed to be implacable antagonists, where males are oppressors and women are their victims, and where heterosexuality is specifically condemned as the means by which this male-dominated system operates.
Feminist professor Camille Paglia was sounding the alarm bells about this twenty years ago. This from her 1995 interview with Playboy:
The women's movement is rooted in the belief that we don't even need men. . . .
It's a mess out there. Men are suspicious of women's intentions. Feminism has crippled them. They don't know when to make a pass. If they do make a pass, they don't know if they're going to end up in court. . .
. . . [Y]ou can't have the Stalinist situation we have in America right now, where any neurotic woman can make any stupid charge and destroy a man's reputation. If there is evidence of false accusation, the accuser should be expelled. Similarly, a woman who falsely accuses a man of rape should be sent to jail. My definition of sexual harassment is specific. It is only sexual harassment--by a man or a woman--if it is quid pro quo. That is, if someone says, "You must do this or I'm going to do that"--for instance, fire you. And whereas touching is sexual harassment, speech is not. I am militant on this. Words must remain free. The solution to speech is that women must signal the level of their tolerance--women are all different.
Far too many people still view the modern feminist movement as merely one seeking fair and equal treatment with men. That was true of feminism until the late 60's when, just like the civil rights movement, it was co-opted by our modern neo-Stalinist left. But these truly radical and insane interpretations of feminism - that our society is inherently discriminatory against women, that white males are the implacable oppressors of women, and that all heterosexual sex is rape - was still largely confined to corners of the ivory tower until recently. Thus, in 1995, when Prof. Paglia was sounding her warning, it was easy to dismiss her. Not so any longer. These utterly toxic views are now mainstream and driving policy throughout our government and in academia.
To justify their claim of "rape culture," the radical feminists rely on bogus statistics. This from Ashe Schow:
The doom-sayers began with the statistic that 1 in 5 college women will be sexually assaulted to get their foot in the door. They screamed from the mountaintop that any woman in college will probably be raped any day now. Not in India, not in Iran, not in South Africa, but here. In America. On campus.
Using that false statistic (most are at least intelligent enough now to stop using it), activists began a crusade to right the injustices of the past (and potentially present) by swinging the pendulum to the other side. This, not surprisingly, has created a new problem of male students losing their due process rights and being treated as guilty until proven innocent.
But 1-in-5 isn't the only statistic being used to create these new policies. Now that the issue is consistently in the news, other statistics with equally dubious origins are cropping up.
One is that only 2 percent of rape accusations are false. This factoid traces back to a single source (Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book Against Our Will), which in turn cites a police officer talking about a study that no one has been able to find. But from this dubious claim springs the dogma that one must therefore believe all rape-accusers to be true victims.
Couple the notion that all accusers must be believed to another statistic — that relatively few men commit the majority of sexual assaults — and the prevailing logic becomes that anyone accused of sexual assault must immediately be treated as a serial rapist, because they likely are or will be.
This is how we get to a culture where an accusation is all the evidence needed in campus disciplinary hearings — and evidence and witnesses telling a different story are discounted.
With due process sacrificed, what the feminists have accomplished is to redefine rape and sexual assault so that they no longer require objective acts of rape or sexual assault. It is enough if, post coitus, a woman feels like she should not have engaged in the act of sex and wants to claim rape. Men are guilty until proven innocent.
Moreover, this view of heterosexual sex as rape is being written into black letter law:
California’s “yes means yes” law turns the idea of sexual consent upside down. Suddenly, nearly all sex is rape, unless no person involved reports it as such.
Consent, under the California law that is spreading to other American universities, is required to be “ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.” The law also states that “a lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent.” Also, previous sexual activity “should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.”
The law also states that incapacitation due to drugs or alcohol is considered nonconsensual. In theory, one could imagine that meaning black-out drunk or visibly not in control of one’s actions. But in practice, even having one or two drinks hours before sexual activity can constitute "too drunk to consent."
By this definition, the only sex that isn’t rape is sex where consent can be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt for every stage of the activity. Sure, that sounds reasonable, but the fact that one of the bill’s sponsors doesn’t know how anyone could prove consent tells you a lot about the bill.
The left's goal, to make and keep America balkanized, can only be sustained by taking away objective standards. How incredibly damaging it is to teach people that they are to view the world through the hypersensitive lenses of their gender or skin color, and that they are indeed being victimized if they simply feel that way. At this point, one could say the left's efforts with microaggressions and "rape culture" have reached the level of farce, but there is no humor in this game where the costs of the left's canards are so damaging to this nation. And there is no doubt that the groups hurt most are the women and the minorities who are taught that they are actually being victimized, then adjust their lives in respect of it.