Cancel Your Talks: A Way for Academics to Make a Statement Against Hatred
The In a time where Nazis and white supremacists are putting boots on the ground to wage campaigns of fear and violence, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that much of their hate speech occurs around and on college campuses. Many campuses and the ACLU support the right to free speech, but the xenophobia, racism and hatred espoused at these events is beneath contempt. Talks by Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos were cancelled at UC Berkeley earlier this year amid safety concerns.
In the face of these events in my hometown, I’m a huge fan of the cowbell. It’s noisy, it drowns out prattling hatemongers and it makes it very difficult for them to get the media sound bites they so crave. It’s also legal and non violent.
Things have escalated and the violence and hatred espoused at these events is intolerable. But what is an academic to do? This fall, I have decided to align my professional life more fully with my personal one and only go to campuses where I feel safe.
In the next three months, I’m giving three talks and attending a national meeting all on college campuses. As much as I’m looking forward to seeing collaborators and learning about their research programs, if any of these campuses sponsors a white supremacist or provides them a safe space to speak, I will cancel my trip.
I will write letters thanking them for considering me, but letting them know that the lack of regard they show for people of color, women, LGBTQ folks, immigrants or whatever population is targeted is not something I can support.
This strategy was very effective when the board overseeing college athletes in the NCAA left North Carolina because of their dangerous discriminatory policies towards the transgender community.
I figure if college athletes can do the right thing, surely their professors can as well.
Protips: Search for talks sponsored by National Policy Institute or speakers like Richard Spencer and set a google alert for campuses they visit.
UPDATE: Stanford professor has also started a multiresource tool Campus AntiFacist Network to teach about facism and fight it on campuses.