Last September, a drama teacher met two black theater students in a Coastal Carolina University classroom. The students wanted to bring back segregation, AKA: They wanted to do their drama, with anyone who wasn’t white. The teacher dutifully wrote the dictated names of non-white students on a whiteboard. When the teacher left, the names were still on the board.
Then, the real drama started. Shortly thereafter, other SOCs (students of color) walked into the classroom. They were thunderstruck to see names of SOCs on a whiteboard.
Racism! The list of names. It’s in, black. The board…WHITE as a KKK hood.
When you can see racism in a glass of milk and you’re a drama student? Good God, it’s like dumping a frozen turkey into hot oil. The drama nerds collectively went KABOOM. As fast as their little theater legs could carry them, they were in the faces of administrators and were boycotting the department.
Like dutiful toadies, the administration avoided any critical thinking, bowed to the mob of drama queens, and launched an investigation to find the Bedford Forrest who wrote the list. Professors were assigned to track down the racist whiteboarder. Alas, they discovered within hours that it was just a list of names. That should have been the end of it, right? Nah, it’s 2021.
The Drama Department’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee authored a groveling apology to the pearl-clutching SOCs.
Faculty explained that the list was…a list, dictated by a SOC, and the purpose of the list was to team up with other SOC drama queens. Faculty also wanted the future waiters at IHOP to know that the school was “deeply sorry” and the list of names was “dehumanizing” to those who saw it. They further wrote that facts “in no way undermine[s] the feelings that any of you feel about the incident,” and that “it should never have happened.”
The teacher who wrote on the whiteboard was tracked down. He dutifully prostrated himself in humiliation, writing:
“No matter the good intention. … I still want you to know I’m an idiot and I am sorry.”
Then, Steve Earnest happened.
Professor Earnest teaches at CCU in the theater department. He’s a conservative and a Trump voter, and being faculty in the theater department, he was cc’ed on the apology email. He wrote a “reply-all” email that stated a plain and simple truth: “Sorry but I don’t think it’s a big deal. I’m just sad people get their feelings hurt so easily. And they are going into Theatre?”
The drama queens went postal (not literally: they were acting). How dare Earnest tell them they are easily offended!? They were, of course, immediately offended by being told they were easily offended.
A 24-year-old student named Jihad (I am not making that up) emailed Earnest with: “Grow up.” The irony was apparently lost on Jihad. The drama nerds went on a drama jihad. They demanded Earnest resign or be fired. They wanted blood because, well their feelings don’t care about your facts. They revolted because actors who still believe they can make a living “acting” don’t deal in facts — they emote. And emote they did. They held vigils and boycotted class. Tears were shed, teeth gnashed.
Dr. Earnest was suspended pending an investigation. The only thing CCU investigated was how to throw Earnest to the mob. They asked that he retire. He told them to pound sand. CCU told him would be terminated. He told them to pound sand. CCU gave him choices ranging from a sabbatical with termination to termination. His lawyer told them to pound sand.
Students called Earnest a racist and other nasty names. They posted lists on the theater door. One student wrote: “We are not PAYING (keyword) for proffesors(sic) to be PROTECTED for 10 years.” I’m not sure what that means, but when you go to a college with a graduation rate of around 42%, you don’t tend to attract future Nobel laureates or even spelling bee rejects.
In any event, CCU huffed and puffed, but Earnest is still standing. CCU agreed that his chiding email wasn’t fireable; likely the result of counsel telling them that CCU would be sued, and lose. But alas he won’t be teaching any classes. Students are too traumatized to attend his class so he’s going to be paid to do nothing.
He apologized, which is always a mistake, but I think he was acting.
In his office sits a mug with “Liberal Tears” emblazoned on it. It’s overflowing.