[As noted, not all posts are going to be about maps!]
Disclaimer: These views are my own, and in no part reflect the institution or student body of the University of California Berkeley.
I admit, I haven’t read everything there is about this debate, nor am I actively doing anything about it. But I want to talk a lot more about this just debate also, I want to give my inside perspective of how UC Berkeley treats these counter perspectives.
- UC Berkeley & Ann Coulter
- UC Berkeley & the general ere of how controversial conversation is handled*
- So What Do We Do?
UC Berkeley & Ann Coulter
Since President Trump’s declaration of candidacy, UC Berkeley has been arming their rhetoric blades of tongue. There have been a number of papers, lectures, conversations and ideas that have been conceived because of this series of events. But dialogue has grown into something much louder, we are reenacting our 1960’s and Freedom Speech Movement foundations. After what happened with Milo Yiannopoulos, why Coulter wants to even present here is beyond me. Unless of course, she’s begging for that roar of a riot from the liberal youth and perhaps even violence to prove her point. But anyone political icon that seeks youth from constituents–no matter what side– is inarguably awful. Especially if you consider that this group is the highest public institution with the sharpest minds cultivated in the humanities and the sciences of our entire state.
UC Berkeley is being attacked heavily from the right, claiming that the First Amendment only being used one way. I do not deny that many of the students and university’s decision to remove and then reinstate Coulter’s visitation during RRR Weak (essentially a week of purely studying before finals) could be seen as a resistance to the Right’s side. But for the university, it might be more of a safety and publicity move, as all of this protesting is bad for the university and seen to be as a bad place for parents to send their children. BUT, here’s the thing about this. It is because UC Berkeley is full of scholars, professors, graduates and undergraduates alike, that are knowledgable of their social and racial positions and the production of inequality that we can parallel this dialogue and discourse of some far Right people to be oppressive. And I don’t mean in just a way that disrupts “safe spaces” or makes feel slightly uncomfortable. I mean that previous power groups have not only oppressed, but completely silenced the other group. Through imperialism, minorities have been oppressed through exploitation of resources and labour and even genocide to those who don’t comply. That sort of silencing that the current Left is looking to evade, as they understand the parallels and threats of being silenced once more. They are not abusing the First Amendment, but they are trying to keep themselves from it being used against them. There is a difference, for sure.
UC Berkeley & the general ere of how controversial conversation is handled
In no way am I meaning to translate that the way UC Berkeley is handling things is completely appropriate. The resistance to have debate is a prohibiting factor to collaboration and growth. What I’ve noticed from clubs and conversations that I’ve had with people who share minority identities is that this is the most common format: (a) define the problem, both concept and power group, (b) discuss how we are being personally effected, (c) discuss how we as a group are being “attacked” (I use quotes because these attacks are mostly legislative barriers & powergroup aggressions, but physical attacks can happen as well). And it tends to end there. So you have everyone rallied up and passionate about something, but why do that if you don’t have a solution, or if you aren’t making time to think of solutions? Of course no singular solution is going to work for everyone, or maybe not even for anyone, but there needs to be some time and focus on progress and productivity.
So What Do We Do?
I was trying to figure this out last night, if I’m going to propose such action, then I ought to offer something. So I started to scale it down. There are two groups: one of institutionalised power, one of reactionary power. I think it’s almost analogous with an adult and a child, for the sake of purpose, please do not get offended at the analogy–maybe even consider it. How do you create compromise between the two groups? One gives in for the other, okay, but in this case, neither group wants to give up anything. So let’s try a different route: how do you get people to work together on a group project? You assign one some work, and the other different work. This model can’t work though because perhaps by rhetoric the two groups have the same goal, but in reality they are trying to produce two very different realities. So it can’t be that either. But I think that, at the very least, exposes our problem: we have people with different goals trying to do the same thing, and thus implement their ideas on people who want none of it.
Unfortunately, what I’m tangibly seeing as a reaction is the spatial movement and sometimes stagnation of people. People are choosing to stick with the group they feel their own identities and beliefs are most align. But that’s a whole new idea of self-segregation. I’m at a loss.