The normalization of Orwellian practices at higher education establishments continues apace, with the UK’s University of Sheffield hiring a team of student eavesdroppers who will catch and stop others from being racist.
The prestigious northern university will train and pay roughly 20 students £9.34 ($12.20) per hour to “moderate” conversations on campus as a means of making such discussions “healthier.”
The recruits are to be called “Race Equality Champions,” and their ultimate aim is to challenge the ways people think about racism.
This all fits into a much larger initiative called the Race Equality Strategy. On top of the crack team from the Party Youth League, students across the entire campus are encouraged to attend classes where they can develop microaggression coping methods.
For those unaware, a microaggression is a weaponized term to describe minor faux pas or even seemingly innocuous comments or actions that supposedly betray deeper prejudices.
If the previous paragraph is any indication, microaggressions can be anything and everything. All it takes is one person to find something offensive for whatever reason, and in an era where people are racing to the bottom to become the most victimized, it’s easy to see how the term is taken advantage of.One example of something that is considered a racial microaggression is simply asking someone who appears foreign born where they are from. The University of Minnesota even describes the phrase “America is a melting pot” as something to be considered a no-no. Though perhaps my favorite is where the same school claims it’s in bad taste to suggest the most qualified person should get the job, as this pushes the “myth of meritocracy.”
As it pertains to the University of Sheffield, it’s hard to imagine any of this addressing actual instances of racism. In fact, if its own student union website is any indication, the new initiative will shut down healthy conversation, not promote it.
In a list of microaggression examples, it states the question “why is black face weird?” as something not to be said. This is on a page titled “A bit racist is still racist.” But in what way is that question racist? It’s potentially ignorant, but ignorance isn’t racism, and ignorance isn’t something to be viewed as offensive, especially if someone is genuinely trying to educate themselves on the issue. If asked in good faith, it can lead to valid discussions on what it is, why it upsets some, and why in some cases it might not be all bad, like if used in comedy.
Sheffield’s student thought police however, would metaphorically kick down the door of the conversation and put an end to it. A notion that contradicts the college’s attempt at encouraging students to think critically about race-based issues.
In the age of trigger warnings, there is no place for tough discussions, nor is there room for the various ignorances we all carry. To these people, the world is black and white. You either are something, or you aren’t. It is a regression of the human mind, something that runs counter to what a university should be all about.
School is supposed to be a beacon of not just education, but free thought. A place for students to prepare for the real world by facing ideas they aren’t accustomed to. But now, instead of allowing that, colleges are becoming adult baby daycare centers, tattletales and all.
But it’s one thing when the right-thinkers hide in their safe spaces, but much worse when they walk among us, watching, listening, writing down, and reporting.