Breaking News: The Entitled Act Entitled
This Slate piece by Amanda Hess really touched a nerve with me. Students are protesting chosen commencement speakers, based on some of their previous actions. Now, I understand the intent. I can’t imagine anyone other than Liberty University being complacent with Jerry Fallwell to wish them the best on the rest of their lives, or having someone whose entire brand/existence is targeted hate would be problematic, but seriously, let’s gt some perspective. Not every commencement speaker’s entire life history of decision making will resonate with each individual student.
Smith College’s original commencement speaker pulled out because of promised protests, and Smith’s president said it best:
But valorizing the famous and powerful—even the ones whose political views you agree with—is a morally bankrupt exercise that stands in contrast to the democratic values that these liberal institutions purport to uphold. These commencement speakers are being tapped for the value of their stature, not their ideas. Smith president Kathleen McCartney recognized this when she expressed disappointment at the student protests that had sidelined her commencement speaker: “An invitation to speak at a commencement is not an endorsement of all views or policies of an individual or the institution she or he leads,” she wrote. “Such a test would preclude virtually anyone in public office or position of influence.”
It’s easy to write this off as entitled twenty-two year olds having a tantrum when they don’t get exactly what they want- I see it more as the glaring culture shift to completely shut out any opposing view or anything that doesn’t give confirmation bias to one’s current views. In simplest terms, it’s just posting a “haters gonna hate” gif as a response to any criticism.