On November 7th, Ben Shapiro gave a speech at Stanford University.
Though there was considerable protest by some on the left side of the aisle (which I covered here , here, and here), the conservative figure actually devoted a considerable part of his address to the racism of the Alt-Right.
Still, the university’s provost clearly didn’t appreciate his offering; therefore, she mentioned him in a recent letter to students announcing new moves to end the malady of “misgendering” on campus.
As reported by The Daily Wire, on the 18th, Provost Persis Drell declared a new era of “gender inclusion” which aims to exclude the distasteful use of ‘incorrect” pronouns.
Here’s a few spoonfuls:
[R]ecently, we heard deep concerns from TGNC students about the recent Ben Shapiro event on campus, which was open to off-campus visitors as well as students. Shapiro’s comments questioning gender diversity run directly counter to our values that support community members of all gender identities. Moreover, transgender students reported hostile and offensive comments directed toward them by attendees.
She lays out the problem and the damage done:
Gender identity is the understanding one has of one’s own gender; gender attribution is the practice of assigning a gender to another person. One challenge TGNC community members have shared with me is resistance to, or discomfort with, non-binary gender identities that some other members of our community express. A related challenge is the day-to-day experience of interacting with others who ignore or misuse the pronouns (he/him; she/her; they/them; and others) that people choose to use in identifying themselves.
Most of us have had the experience at some point in our lives of having one of our identities misattributed by another – whether it’s on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or a deeply held belief. It can be invalidating and disrupting when others identify us in a way that we do not identify ourselves. And there is frustration and harm when the misattribution of the identity continues, especially if it is done intentionally.
In reality, people shouldn’t “insist on [their] own incorrect labels”:
This is not a matter of simple awkwardness, but of the deeper distress that is produced by feeling alone, disrespected, misunderstood or weary of defending one’s identity. We need to respect the manner in which individuals identify themselves rather than insist on our own incorrect labels.
So the Title IX office is waiting:
Persistent and willful misgendering or misidentifying, or other forms of disrespect toward TGNC individuals, are at odds with our campus expectations. Reports of discrimination on the basis of gender, gender identity or gender expression can be reported to the Title IX Office, the Sexual Harassment Policy Office or, for staff, to your local human resources manager.
The school’s also committed to logging everyone’s preferred words:
[T]he IDEAL Engagement system is chartering a group to incorporate student pronouns into the student information system and advance other best practices for gender data collection and usage in the university.
And it’s working toward placing an “all gender” restroom in every building, which won’t be completely without collateral damage:
[T]hat will mean in some cases that restroom facilities will change in order to prioritize the goal of campus-wide gender inclusion.
Additionally, the school’s launching a new website dedicated solely to “transgender and gender expansive support,” which will “serve two goals: first, offer direct support and direction for resources for our TGNC community members; and second, offer educational information and guidance for our broader community. This website will expand on existing materials that have been a great resource for our community.”
Persis wants to see inclusiveness in every area of the school, including sports, fraternities, and sororities:
Beyond supporting the use of pronouns, I encourage all of us to recommit ourselves to respecting difference in identity and experience, and to working to create environments – whether residential, academic, professional, athletic, Greek or otherwise – that are fully inclusive. Our larger goal is to improve the campus culture where all community members are respected and feel they belong.
That’s the long and short of it. You can read the message in its entirety here.
Persis’s letter reminds me of two things, neither of which have anything to do with gender identity or any sort of politics..
- As I’ve written before, in my opinion, the focused purpose of school should be education. I don’t understand the implementation of social components in terms of any administration’s discourse with its students. My view is clearly outdated, but I imagine school as something wholly different than what it appears to have become.
- Again, putting wholly aside any issue of gender identity, it seems to me our society is in a very poor place — that is to say, a very weak place. Not long ago, the pervasive wisdom was, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” These days, it looks to be that people are literally being told they cannot survive syllables. In my view, a better message is, “Who gives a crap what anyone says or thinks? Live your life in the way that makes sense to you. If people don’t like it, that’s their problem. Forget ’em. You don’t need their approval.”
What are your thoughts? I look forward to hearing from all of you.
See 3 more pieces from me:
Find all my RedState work here.
Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.