Archives For Identity Politics

Under the already oppressive cloud of the Coronavirus crisis, graduates at St. Olaf College, in Minnesota, are currently being denied an official graduating ceremony, unless they’re part of the graduating student body who ‘self-identifies as a person of colour’, International or LGBTQAI+. Though the College’s website states that ‘due to COVID-19, 2020 Commencement festivities are postponed until late May/June 2021’, the College’s Centre for Equity and Inclusion, has sent out an email invite, saying that it will be hosting virtual graduation ceremonies for minority students.

Minnesotan based Alphanews, published a copy of the invitation, written by Dr. Maria C. Pabon Gautier (Director of the Taylor Centre for Equity and Inclusion). Delivered by email, Gautier fails to mention any consolation for non-minority graduates, but firmly outlines that there would be ‘three virtual graduations’ in May for three special groups, beginning with: ‘Multicultural Graduation (Domestic Students of Colour), International Graduation (International Students) and Lavender Graduation (LGBTQIA+ students).’

Kyle Hooten, (who also penned the more evidence based Alphanews article cited above), first raised the news on April 22nd via Campus Reform. He noted that Campus Reform checked in with ‘multiple graduating seniors at St. Olaf, [and] none said [that] they’d been informed of any online ceremony for the general student body.’

While St. Olaf’s Director for Equity and Inclusion has seemingly failed to include the majority, or even reassure them that they have not been forgotten, overlooked, or worse, segregated, some consolation did come from ‘Associate Director of Communications Kari VanDerVeen’, who ‘told Campus Reform that the school is “exploring a number of ways to celebrate the Class of 2020,” but that plans were not yet “finalized.” (Hooten)

To be fair, reasons for having, what look a lot like segregated graduation ceremonies, probably include logistical limitations, technological capability, and the ease with which smaller student numbers can be catered for in a virtual graduation environment.

This said, it doesn’t provide a total explanation for the apparent contradiction between the St. Olaf’s Centre for Equity  & Inclusivity, and the claim that official ‘Schedule of Events’ which clearly states that ‘2020 Commencement festivities have been postponed until 2021.’ Neither do these reasons explain the absence of any public information reassuring the general student body about whether their graduation will be accommodated in a similar fashion to that of these minority.

While the Lutheran college’s mission statement states a specific goal towards achieving ‘inclusivity’, its Centre for Equity and Inclusivity appears to be intentionally excluding non-minority students.

Gautier may be too distracted to care, or worse, is being derelict in her duties as director. The evidence suggests either an innocent oversight in trying times, asinine good intentions, or something more malicious. All three are likely. There’s a dissonance created by Gautier. Inequality in the name of equality exposes what Jean Bethke Elshtain called ‘phony equality.’[i]

The academic world is bogged down in a quagmire of sameness. This is the direct result of political correctness; tolerance introducing ‘equality where equality is fatal’ (C.S. Lewis) [ii]. With its perversion of Christianity – reducing its primary tenants to an ethic of niceness; the academy’s obsession with identity politics, safe spaces, and inane virtue signaling, education is replaced with indoctrination.

Special privilege is rubbed in the faces of those who are excluded for their assumed privilege; excluded because of their skin colour, heterosexuality, presumed “evil” right-wing political sympathies, and “sinful” passion for living out a no compromise, honest biblical theology.

It’s a package deal. Year by year, the academy not only continues to manifest Orwell’s, ‘all are equal, but some are more equal than others’, it normalizes the special treatment of the few, with disdain and disregard for the many – the destructive anarchist vacuum of pagan tribalism.

The general student body should expect more from the director of equity and inclusivity, who like some Republicans and most Democrats, currently appear to be willingly absent at the helm. Surely Gautier and those in her team understand that ALL of their graduates are under a lot of unexpected uncertainty and anxiety.

Those graduates face the dismal prospect of trying to fit into a job market severed to pieces by multi-level government agencies enforcing questionable Coronavirus lockdowns, its consequential suffocation of the economy, and the massive rise in unemployment. Students being told in not so many words that they don’t meet the criteria for care by their own Centre for Equity and Inclusivity, is far from helpful, it’s a downright harmful abdication of responsibility.


References (not otherwise hyperlinked):

[i] Elshtain, J.B. 1995 Democracy on Trial Basic Books, Perseus Books Group p.83

[ii] Lewis, C. 1944, Democratic Education In Walmsley, L. (Ed.) 2000 C.S Lewis Essay Collection Harper Collins p.190

First published on Caldron Pool, 27th April, 2020.

©Rod Lampard, 2020.

Blogpost 18th May 2016Here’s my two cents, in response to some current events.

Human identity is not found in what the world, the oppressor, flag or economic status allows us to define ourselves as. Nor is it in the what that world, that oppressor, flag, or economic status defines for us.

If it is to be full human identity, it begins with Jesus Christ. That means that we are called to self-identify with [Yahweh] God who made humanity in His own image. The God who chose to create man as man, and woman as woman.

The one who chose to raise humanity up, then speak and walk with both, in a garden of His making. Providing for both, even when both chose to entertain the subtleties of evil and its sly use of God’s own words to incite human rejection of Him.

Defined by their Creator, man is to be fully man, woman is to be fully woman. Unique, different, reconciled, enabled to be together in a joy-filled, committed relationship with each other. Both free for each other and free for God.

New life begins here. This is real freedom. Real identity. All of which is based on the call to relationship within a new covenant. One called into being by the God who acts in freedom.

Choosing to decisively grasp humanity one final time, in His physical appearing and dwelling in history through His son, Jesus Christ. Choosing to once again to make Himself the painful reminder to humanity of its real identity; of its real home and ultimate place of rest.

Offering humanity a path to freedom from it’s oppressors, it’s soulless routines; freedom from the false security of its alliances, the injustice of empty promises and the smoke and mirrors used to buy and sell our hearts allegiances.

Our freedom was brought at a great price. We are instructed to be responsible with how we choose to invest it. May future generations look back with reverence, gratitude and humility towards those who stood against the currency of shares, likes and comments. Who stood firm against the tide of over indulgence, abdication of responsibility, blame and selfish self-fulfillment.


Related reading:

When a Man Loves a Woman: Barth’s Freedom in Fellowship

A Dose Of Dodgem: Dads

April 19, 2015 — 2 Comments

Dodgem, April, RL2015For most dad’s it’s a case of getting their jobs done. They’re not worried about having labels such as ‘super’ or ‘working’ pinned to their chest.

Granted, some dads fail so miserably that applying such a prefix would render the term meaningless.

As much as it is appropriate and has been necessary for ‘working [super] mums’ to be recognised as such, it is rare to hear those seemingly necessary titles applied to men.

It would be capitulating to the intellectually absurd if we denied that there is an imbalance when it comes to good publicity, or lack thereof, for dads that do their absolute best. Dads who, despite their circumstances or how they themselves may have been let down by their own fathers, refuse to use abuse as an excuse.

These dads, by God’s grace, are able to step up and step in to the void of their own brokenness. To confront themselves and allow themselves to be confronted in order to move forward.

They are not ignorant or arrogant about the failures of men towards women or why it is important to be on guard against misogyny. Nor are they ignorant about the negative side effects of it. Such as,  misandry, the very Marxist paradox of creating inequality in order to achieve equality; or the grotesque abuse applied to anyone who does not placate, hypocritically oppressive forms of contemporary tolerance, by using the ”correct” label in order to avoid offending others.

It’s overlooked, but, in a similar way to a lot of mums, some dads soldier on in spite of their pain. They breathe, pray, think, act carefully and hope for the best. They stand on sacred ground. Applying what they have learnt about life from their pain, experience and healing.

I think one would be hard pressed to find a dad who actually feared not being labelled with the correct badge. One that measured his achievements with the principles of identity politics. The kind that sees people forced to meet the need for affirmation and legitimacy in others, even if they disagree on reasonable grounds.

As a side note, this is something that can be linked back to some in the politico-academic aristocracy. (That ironic institutional group of anachronistic, reject-anything-Christian, Marxists who are stuck in the early 1900s and 1960s – I refer to Camus’ ‘The Rebel’, et.al and Elshtain’s discussions in ‘Public Man, Private Woman, et.al’ on both these)

The great thing is, for most of those dads, none of the branding matters.These dads are not worried about the lack of politically sensitive labelling.

Their homes matter. In the right order, their families and friends matter. Their wives matter. Life matters. Faith matters. Providing for their families and creating a healthy home, matters.

Taking this into consideration we can see why God chose to be identified in the language of the biblical texts as being a dad who loves, firmly guides and protects. Although, ‘God is'[i] in His being more than a father (because ‘he is not creature’ [ii]), the retelling in Luke of Jesus’ parable of the prodigal speaks profoundly about how much God is for us, even when we are at or worst.

This is a genuinely revolutionary ethic. It teaches us, by example, that by God’s own standard, established in covenant and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, that a dad is not to be viewed as a means to an end; a ‘mechanism or a naked ape who is imprisoned by hidden motives and controlled by what the intelligentsia so often call hang-ups, such as: altruism and values'[iii]; i.e.: social constructs.

It will only reflect the sad state of a society when one day it becomes necessary to loudly protest and point out, that dads are far from, Matt Groening’s satirical, bumbling, ‘Homer Simpson.’ To one day, have to loudly protest that what it means to be a dad is not doing what is popular or comfortable, but doing what is right.

 


Sources:

[i] Barth, K. 1957 CD. II/1 The Doctrine of God: The Being of God in Freedom, Hendrickson Publishers (p.283)

[ii] ibid, (p.313 & p.323)

[iii] Frankl,V.1978, The Unheard Cry of Meaning: Psychotherapy & Humanism, Touchstone, Simon and Schuster (p.55-57) [paraphrased]

Photo: Introducing my youngest son to dodgem cars a few weeks ago (bumper cars)