My recent letter to Chenjerai Kumanyika elicited a passionate response from the regressive left at Clemson, and some comments were more intriguing than others. “See The Stripes,” an unofficial group operating at Clemson, shared a Facebook status labelling my supporters as “generally trash individuals.” This statement immediately brought to mind Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks in which she branded Donald Trump supporters as members of “the basket of deplorables.”
She called them “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic.” Clinton’s broad-brushed generalizations adeptly alienated millions of decent Americans in her trademark style, which she later apologized for. This got me thinking: how many times have we seen the regressive left use this evasive tactic to silence and censor debate? Leftist activists use these terms as a bludgeon, drawing on the gospel of identity politics to tar and feather detractors as the dredges of society.
Why do groups like See The Stripes use these tactics?
On paper, See The Stripes sets forth a noble vision for Clemson. Its Facebook page description proclaims, “‘See The Stripes’ is a campaign to help raise awareness within the general student population about commonly overlooked contributions to Clemson University.” This is a goal I fully supported; I still do. As a result of their campaign, I was shocked to learn about Clemson’s controversial history.
Released last year, the group’s website includes a list of seven demands under the header, “Grievances.” One of these caught my eye in particular, calling for “a public commitment from the Clemson University Administration to prosecute criminally predatory behaviors and defamatory speech.” In response to this blatant thought policing, three professors wrote an open letter to the Clemson student body, defending the First Amendment rights of Clemson students. South Carolina already prohibits illegal speech, such as libel, harassment, threats, and yes, yelling “FIRE” in a crowded theater. There are only two explanations for See the Stripes’ demand; either its leaders are simply legally ignorant, or they wish to further criminalize free expression.
See the Stripes was the primary organizer of the nine-day sit-in in April that resulted in the #ClemsonFive being arrested for trespassing. Unfortunately, these tactics are often used by leftists for thought control and censorship. When the student group WeRoar announced that Milo Yiannopoulos would be speaking on campus, A.D. Carson penned an article titled, “On Not Talking to ‘But’ People.” He criticized the event and dismissed differing viewpoints, invoking arcane imagery in his statement, “The devil doesn’t need any more advocacy in my mind.” In addition, one of the #ClemsonFive, Ian Anderson, immediately threatened to protest and “no-platform” the event. Libeling myself and others as “f*****g garbage a** people,” Ian stated that an unknown professor was assisting him in organizing the protest.
We can only speculate on who this professor is.
More troubling are the ties of See the Stripes to the radical, national “Black Liberation Collective” (BLC). Recently, A. D. Carson co-authored a piece with the BLC called “Walk Into The Sun With Us: A Love Letter to Black Students.” The demands of See the Stripes are also prominently featured on the BLC website. In the See the Stripes “#SikesSitIn Statement,” organizers planned to participate in the BLC-sponsored, “#StudentBlackOut Wednesday 13 April .”
The BLC describes itself as “a collective consisting of Black students who are dedicated to transforming institutions of higher education through unity, coalition building, direct action and political education.” Upon deeper inspection, this positive statement is inherently insidious. National demands issued by the BLC include “free tuition for Black and indigenous students” as well as “a divestment from prisons and an investment in communities.” Economically illogical, these demands are a clear example of wealth redistribution.
A principle of the group is “Anti-Capitalism,” and states, “As an organization, we stand against capitalist notions of infinite profit, homogenized markets, and a privatized means of production.” They reject “privatizing natural resources” and propose “a cooperative form of economics that works on shared resources and shared means of production to uplift ourselves out of poverty.” Over two decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain, these tired, socialist principles are alive and well at American colleges and universities and are ultimately destined to fail. Ask the people of the former Soviet Union, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Romania,Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cuba, and most recently Venezuela (particularly gruesome), to name just a few.
Another principle reads “On Violence” and states that continuing to remain peaceful to achieve their goals is “illogical and immoral.” It goes on to say “We condone whatever methods Black people adopt to liberate themselves and their kin.” Several months ago, See The Stripes posted the following photo of Black Panthers at Cornell University in the late 1990s.
Presumably, this is what See The Stripes desires for Clemson. But we must ask one question: Why do they use Sturmabteilung (brown shirt) tactics against Clemson students?
If See The Stripes were merely advocating for racial equality and an accurate account of history, who would honestly oppose them? We can make the assumption that many supporters of See The Stripes are probably unaware of these shocking revelations, but we must ask ourselves a serious question.
Are these ideals we support?