How many times will I read these apologist pieces? Liberals tripping over themselves to make a place at the table for Jordan Peterson the way they did for Charles Murray the generation before. Charles Murray is still brought up by Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe whenever everyone starts makes apologies for Jordan Peterson as liberals always do, but otherwise he’s mostly forgotten by most people except me. One of the original snowflakes.
Like black students, gay students, and others who have transformed campuses over the past forty years, I am one of the loudmouth “liberal” students who simply by asserting my identity changed college campuses to crowd out upper income white males like Jordan Peterson and apparently, you. Your support for him shouts volumes about exactly what you stand for. You are not a liberal as you proclaim. You have asserted your status in your dominant role. We hear you. Your message is loud and clear.
Charles Murray wrote the essay, “What’s So Bad About Being Poor?” My conservative economics professor forced me to read it as part of Economics 101 my freshman year of college. The essay tore at my humanity. It traumatized and dehumanized me. What was so bad about being poor? For other students, an innocuous question, perhaps. For me, a trip to the school’s counseling center. Triggers of suicidal feelings.
I never answered the questions the professor requested we answer. I wrote him an essay about what was so bad about being poor. I told him about how Ronald Reagan demonized black welfare queens. He got Aid to Dependent Children for Unemployed Parents cut as program in my state when welfare was made into block grants in 1981 and money was also slashed. My parents were cut from the program. It was not that much later that the State of Iowa took custody of my siblings and me because my parents were not providing sufficient food or heat. I just never in my life imagined that in addition to the horror of having to go to foster care for poverty I would later have to read an essay in college by people who think that there is nothing bad about being poor. That starving, being separated from your family, and freezing were all-American. That was even more jarring. It was authoritarianism. My breastfeeding sister was ripped away from her mother. Sound familiar? Sound damn familiar?
But worse than that was reading Charles Murray say that it was a flipping breeze. And a professor endorse it. Why the hell should I bother with college? This place was no place for people like me. I was going to drop out. Just like a lot of other at-risk students do. Black students often drop out. I understand why. But we have been trying to make campuses a human place. I actually stuck around because of a black woman counselor. Once I did, I fought like hell to make sure professors like the conservative professor who assigned that Charles Murray article didn’t have the right to dehumanize us. But then they get allies like you. White men like Henry Wismayer who claim they are liberals. That’s a lie. A big fat lie. You want your white male power. Just claim it.