Why I’m Crying…Happily

This ad is overwhelming. Maybe it’s already been seen by every person on the planet. But just in case, here it is:


I ysatbbzanf
can’t summarize the storyline because it unfolds so wonderfully. But as for its connection to Free-Range Kids, I must paraphrase Prof. Jon Haidt yet again (I found the ad on his Twitter feed): What creates understanding and community is working toward a common goal, rather than focusing on our differences.

Unfortunately, on at least one campus he was telling me about, incoming students are lined up in the middle of the gym. Then some administrator reads a bunch of different descriptors: “If you were raised in a two-parent home, take one step forward.” “If you are of X background, take a step back.” “If English is your first language, take two steps forward…” I’m not sure of the exact categories, but they were clearly about race and class and “privilege.”

In the end, the students were asked to look at how very different they are.

Instead of a great rush of community — the excitement of starting a new adventure together — they were already, officially divided.

That strikes me, and possibly Heineken, as exactly the wrong way to create the kind of world where people bond and go forth more powerful, more optimistic and happier.

By the way, kids get this bonding experience when they play on their own, without anyone telling them to obsess about particular differences. Let’s make sure kids get ample time to play and open up to new friends, rather than just labeling them. – L.


What if we got to know each other BEFORE labeling each other?


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49 Responses to Why I’m Crying…Happily

  1. Liesbet Coppens May 12, 2017 at 2:59 am #

    What? I’ve seen this exact exercise on tv here in Belgium. Its purpose was to create understanding for each other. Not by telling people to look at how different they were, but by making them see how people that look very different from you (class, style, race…) all deal with the same issues. That inside, we are all the same. And that we shouldn’t look at the outside and judge people on the basis of their appearance, because on the inside we’re all very similar. Same exercise, completely different outcome!

  2. Jane May 12, 2017 at 3:03 am #

    Oh please. They’re British and I’ve never seen a Brit walk away from a beer, especially when it’s free, LOL.

  3. Edward Hafner May 12, 2017 at 6:20 am #

    I find these types of exorcises interesting and wouldn’t mind taking part in one but in the end, offer me something more than a beer or leave – I can’t stand the taste of beer.

    How exactly are these scenarios drawn up? Are they specific to certain segments of society or “one size fits all”? It would be nice to see them used for all manner of Public Service Employees (I work for a municipality) and Elected/Appointed Officials.

    Imagine a group of CPS employees doing one of these with average everyday parents!

  4. Andrew May 12, 2017 at 6:26 am #

    Hmm. Perhaps they filmed that advert 20 times and discarded the ones where the people walked away. Or more likely they are actors.

    But, if it is real, it would have been interesting to ask them afterwards if they still have the same views.

    The campus anecdote should end with the ones at the back being congratulated for their achievements so far, and asking the ones at the front being challenged to think about their privilege.

  5. Gina May 12, 2017 at 8:50 am #

    As an educator, I find value in showing students that their assumptions that everyone is just like them are not valid, and that they have an opportunity to educate themselves by seeking out people whose lives and views and experiences are different from their own. Pointing out that students should, from the beginning, be mindful of the diverse lives of their classmates is not ipso facto divisive. And ignoring other people’s lived realities may create an illusory unity, but it silences those who aren’t considered “the norm” for that community. Acknowledging the presence of the other — within the community — from the first moment may feel divisive to those whose sense of belonging has never been challenged or questioned, but it can be powerfully affirming for those who have been made to feel as if they are not welcome.

  6. James Pollock May 12, 2017 at 9:21 am #

    “In the end, the students were asked to look at how very different they are.
    Instead of a great rush of community — the excitement of starting a new adventure together — they were already, officially divided.”

    You’re making an assumption… that different equals “divided”.
    Being different is what gives us our strength. Significantly, running into someone who is different from you gives you a learning opportunity. Now why would a university want to develop that notion, starting on day one?

  7. Mike May 12, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    Related: On a recent Reddit thread, the question “Theists, what would you ask atheists?” had a top-rated answer “Would you like to come over, have a beer and watch a movie marathon?”

    I think modern political discourse has become people yelling at each other, rather than trying to reach a common understanding. Right wing-nut, leftist moonbeam sjw snowflake! One side says, “well, I think _______.” The other side responds “you’re just a (long list of nasty labels) so I’m not listening to anything you say.”

    It’s the SIXHIRB style of discourse. Whatever you don’t like is shouted down as Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, and Bigoted.

    We need to change that. Both sides have good (and dumb) ideas, but we’ll never get anywhere by demonizing the other.

  8. Glen May 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    My wife teaches first grade. She says her students aren’t aware of differences until she teaches the segment on the civil rights era (and the horrors visited upon black people), and they become more aware and somewhat divided.

    History is important to know and understand, but I’m not sure how we will overcome by focusing on the one thing we can’t change. It’s hard to undo our past.

    Our climate now is so very disturbing. We don’t even talk to those unlike us.

  9. Eric S May 12, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    We learn to be divided because of differences, because that’s what we are taught as we get older. Children do not understand segregation, racism, sexism, or bigotry. These are LEARNED views. Just stop teaching them to children. Teach them tolerance and acceptance to all. Just like they would expect for themselves. You know, “the golden rule”. If anyone still remembers that.

  10. Nicole May 12, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

    Glen I work at an elementary school and kids know differences as infants. White privledge lets some of the population avoid knowing that people are mistreated because of those differences. The kids of color already knew.

    However I agree with other posters activities like cross the line if… are meant to show how similar we are despite what you look like. We might have more in common than we thought. Not divide them. Also helps kids understand some of the private battles people are fighting that no one knows. Such as cross the line of some on your family has or has had cancer.

  11. Dienne May 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

    Everything Gina said. Times ten. And, egad, what James Pollock said too.

    As for what your wife thinks, Glen, she’s obviously missing some things. Does she really think kids don’t see color? Gee, I didn’t notice that kid’s skin is ten times darker than mine. Really? Of course they notice difference. Thinking otherwise is like thinking they don’t notice who’s a boy or a girl or who’s taller or shorter or who has red hair or blond hair or whatever.

    The problem is that when we pretend they don’t notice it, they have no reference for talking about it. It’s like when we pretend not to notice that someone is in a wheelchair or has a disfigurement. It becomes the elephant in the room.

    The reality is that if your skin is darker (or if you have a disability or any number of other differences), you can’t pretend that it doesn’t matter. Your difference gets thrown in your face every day. You notice things like that people who look like you are working the counter at McDonald’s while people with lighter skin are managers or even not working at McDonald’s at all – they’re the ones wearing business suits and driving fancy cars. And that’s aside from the direct behavior of people in the dominant culture. Things like asking a darker-skinned person where they’re from and then being taken aback when they answer “Chicago.” No, no, where are you *really* from? Sigh.

    But the advantage for minority kids is that they learn to talk about it. Of necessity, minority families find themselves having those conversations all the time. Their kids know what race means because they live it every day and because because it’s talked about among the family and friends.

    It’s us white (and otherwise privileged) folks who walk around cluelessly pretending that race/color/ability/etc. don’t matter and then we’re blindsided when we stumble ignorantly into offense.

  12. SKL May 12, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

    Ick, I hate beer. LOL.

  13. SKL May 12, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

    Glen, it’s interesting to hear what your wife said. My kids are visible minorities (brown-skinned, adopted from Latin America). They went to a very mixed preschool / KG from age 2-5 – whites were always the minority in their class. Whites have always been the minority in our household too. They were exposed to information about racism, slavery, etc. as “that happened there / then” but not as a here & now thing. I observed no negative attitudes about race / color.

    Until the MLK lesson in KG. That evening my kids started comparing their color and saying, “well at least I’m not as dark as ___” [an African-American student, whom one of my kids had previously said she was going to marry].

    That got me thinking – little kids are kind of programmed to think that adults only do what is right. When they hear that most American adults, even politicians, doctors, lawyers, etc., used to treat black people as “less than,” their brain tries to reconcile it as if it must have been right somehow. I have heard many people say their kids, both black and other, have reacted in unfortunate ways to those early MLK lessons.

    Maybe as they get older, they get smarter – at least I hope so. My kids at 10yo have black schoolmates whom they admire and adore. But I wonder about subconscious effects of ill-timed / poorly designed lessons on race.

  14. SKL May 12, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    And as for that “step forward, step back” game – that is stupid on several levels. But what I hate the most about that, and many other ill-advised approaches to race, is how it tells people who “stepped back” (for any of those reasons) that they are not as capable of being great. Past statistics aside, that is unhelpful and self-fulfilling. For 8 recent years the most powerful man in the world was a black guy. It’s time to stop teaching young people that skin determines their future. Dammit.

  15. SKL May 12, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

    And when I was a teen, I went to college to be educated about all the reasons I should be stupid and unsuccessful in life.

    – Born poor.
    – 3rd of 6 kids.
    – Young for grade.
    – Female.
    – Both parents were high school dropouts on or before their 16th birthday. One couldn’t read.
    – Latch-key kid; mom worked all my life.
    – Whatever other bullshit I’ve managed to scrub out of my mind.

    Well it’s nonsense. Thankfully I never believed it, so I didn’t waste energy crying to myself about how doomed I was and how unfair it all is. I used that energy for things that paid off.

  16. test May 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    Yeah the whole privilege rhetoric is annoying. Then again, people who grew up in different circumstances and cultures are influenced by those. My kids knew how to distinguish toys for girls and boys before they were three – and I surely did not taught them that. They just learned through observation that some colors and skirts are for girls and other colors for boys. It is simply not true that kids are unaware, they are aware. Some Americans in particular tend to assume that whole world is mini-America with the same set of values, habits and interpretations (of art and history). It is just not so.

    I remember that many people I knew at university assumed that if you do not know as much as they knew about x (usually computers or electronics), you are either stupid or uninterested – it did not occurred them that other kids parents did not had money (or were unwilling to buy) all those toys and tech they learned from. Or that other kids are seeing the stuff you learned from dad or in club for the first time now. Or they could not comprehend why someone would attempt to save money – attributing it to being irrational.

    If you ignore the fact that other people are guided by different experiences, you may end up with fake unity – the one that assumes differences are result of stupidity or some inherent worthlessness. The rush of community then just means that a lot of assumptions are being made and not all of them are helpful.

    I don’t think sessions like this are necessary or even helpful in the long term, but I don’t think they are somehow preventing community by officially dividing kids. I don’t really think colleges should spent so much time on socializing as they seem to now – I would be cool with them teaching major only. However, bonding with people who grew up differently is possible even if you are aware of the fact that they grew up differently – maybe even easier.

  17. LGB May 12, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

    On this topic, Harvard is hosting a commencement ceremony for only African-American students. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/5/10/black-commencement-event/

    I’d probably get sacked for saying this in the wrong circle, but why not instead do something special during the all-school commencement to honor African-American, (and other minority) achievements at Harvard and demonstrate a united support?

  18. test May 12, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    @SKL My kids live in white only environment and they were pretty surprised when they seen black dude once. They had weird questions about it (thank god he did not seemed to understand our language).

  19. LGB May 12, 2017 at 3:12 pm #

    It’s taken me awhile to pinpoint why these divisive goings-on at universities, alluded to in Lenore’s post, get under my skin. I read a fascinating book called The Gatekeepers: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/901220.The_Gatekeepers_

    The fact is that these top-tier universities *actively recruit* new blood from our nation’s best performing and most elite high schools. But these admissions officers, who fly out to these “feeder schools” to court their top performers, are not exactly setting up information booths at at impoverished, inner city high schools, are they?

    So I’m sure you’ll forgive my disgust when our nation’s most elite institutions whine on about “micro-aggressions” and “privilege” and “safe spaces.”

    The hypocrisy is jarring.

  20. KATIE May 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    I’ve had to do that privilege exercise you described in the article, it makes you feel so small when you have to take a step back. It feels like they are telling you that you can’t get ahead in life because of xyz.

  21. James Pollock May 12, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

    “why not instead do something special during the all-school commencement to honor African-American, (and other minority) achievements at Harvard”

    Well, probably because the students who organized the “commencement ceremony for only African-American students” (which it isn’t) don’t have any power to tell the university what to do in its commencement exercises.


    When the “I Tappa Kegga” fraternity get together to have a party to celebrate all the dudebros who will be moving on this year, will you fuss about them, too?

    “these admissions officers, who fly out to these “feeder schools” to court their top performers, are not exactly setting up information booths at at impoverished, inner city high schools, are they?”

    Yeah. And the college football coaches hardly ever seem to spend any recruiting time at the Arts or Science magnet schools, and they NEVER visit the all-girls’ schools.

    (Top, elite schools actively recruit smart, capable people who comes from families with significant means… because, with them paying full sticker price, they can offer discounts to the smart, capable people who come from families without significant means. This means that Reginald Buffington Van Der Snooty III gets recruited by lots of elite schools. But people who score extremely well on standardized tests (MCAT, LSAT, NMSQT) get highly recruited, too… no matter where they went to school.)

  22. Michael Fandal May 12, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

    Beer ok why not an egg cream? Very insightful piece and I like your advocacy for letting kids be kids.

  23. Rebel mom May 12, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Glen – this isn’t going to come out right but WTH is a first grade teacher doing teaching civil rights stuff?? Way too young for heavy, depressing baggage like that. Let them be kids for crying out loud. Teach that stuff in middle school or highschool but in the meantime let them all play tag without a care in the world. Why oh why do so many feel that informing and educating is great no matter what the age or subject matter. I even heard of elementary students visiting a holocaust museum. Jeez, that chapter needs remembering and learning from but NOT by the under ten set. They’re not ready.

  24. test May 12, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

    @Rebel mom You propose not to teach history until high school? For whatever it is worth, we have been visiting museums and learning about second world war in elementary school. Someone gonna ask why there are no Jews in so called Jewish quater anyway. And it is not like medieval history would be nice either.

    The result of that particular lesson was clearly bag, but imo, ithere is no reason kids would be unable to handle age appropriate history lessons. If you wait too long, alternative history lesson from local fascist may get to them faster.

  25. Kirsten May 12, 2017 at 5:21 pm #

    @Andrew I don’t think calling out and shaming people based on traits they were born with is a way to promote understanding, nor singling others out based on race or gender for praise.

  26. donald May 12, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

    When my son was 2 years old, he had the habit of using his shirt as a napkin. His shirts always had food stains on them. This habit was automatic like a knee jerk reaction and it was hard to ‘unlearn’ it but he did.

    Many people have the habit of

    1. Looking for differences
    2. Judging/criticizing a person or situation
    3. us vs them mentality

    However, we’re also hungry for a better world. That’s why I think that many people are ‘ripe’ for the situation that we saw in the film. When we experience a breath of fresh air like the people in the video, it’ll give us the strength to push past the bad habits.

  27. Nicole May 12, 2017 at 6:55 pm #

    Regarding MLK if part of what you are teaching is only about the hate then you are missing a lot of history! It took all kinds of people to walk togetherb and talk together and March and stay off the buses etc for real change to happen it was the coming together of people all people inspired by this man! And you must teach how people learned to change! And if you only teach about MLK you are missing a very rich culture of amazing people who contributed to this world – such as the first person to reach the artic was an African American named Matthew Henson or the first Millionaire female was an African American named Madam CJ Walker or what about Caver and how he changed the farming industry! Schools must teach all of this or kids learn a skewed version of people and not the whole story of struggle victory change etc!

  28. donald May 12, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

    As life gets more stressful, (or more accurately, our resilience to stress becomes weak) the more that the primitive side of the brain gets the bigger say in the decision making. It’s hardwired that way. It’s the primitive side is where the black and white thinking comes from. This is what generates the attitude of:
    “If you don’t agree with me, you are the enemy!”

    An example of this is:

    You won’t let your 16 year old ride her bike to school. Therefore you don’t mind if your child becomes hopelessly dependent on you and never develops any confidence.

    Oh Yeah? Well, you let your kids roam because you’re too lazy to look after them. You don’t care if they have drug addict friends.

  29. Margot May 12, 2017 at 8:37 pm #

    Seen this before and loved it.
    But @Edward Hafner, can we stop using Lenore’s blog to demonise CPS workers. I am one. Have been for 22 years. It’s the most thankless job in the world, and comes with life or death complexities that most professionals will never ever have to encounter for the duration of their careers. I am also a free range (single) parent. I don’t work with average everyday parents. I work with parents who are severely mentally ill, drug addicted, violent, and suffering from a lifetime of trauma. My challenge is to help them see that a genuine desire to improve life for their kids is the common goal that unites us.
    Isn’t this the message of this ad…to focus on what unites us (a genuine desire that kids grow up to be contented, competent, contributing individuals) rather than assume that our work (or race, socioeconomic status, disability, sexuality or whatever) means we can find no common ground.

  30. theresa May 12, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

    Justine’s law is up for maybe being a real law. If it goes thourgh no more guinea pig kids hopefully. Too many doctors get full of themselves and take it out on the family. Cps is a weapon and justice is a dream. If cps comes into your life hope for a miracle.

  31. Kenny Felder May 12, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

    Absolutely fantastic. I spend so much of my life trying to convince both liberals and conservatives that people who disagree with your politics–your view on abortion, feminism, race relations, Donald Trump, whatever–are not necessarily mustache-twirling villains. That lesson seems to be so incredibly difficult.

  32. elysium May 12, 2017 at 9:50 pm #

    This is a great ad. Generally, we are more alike than we are different, and I think it is easier to see that when we get to know people on a human level.

    What you describe about a lineup is called the Privilege Walk. It has benefit when done with a skilled facilitator. But the skilled facilitator is absolutely key. I also think it would be important to have it done in a small group in order to have a good conversation afterwards, no more than 30 people maybe. If all that was done was to say “Look at how different you are!” it was not facilitated well at all.

    I’ve done it and it’s interesting to watch people walk back and forth in a way that you might not expect and can lead to some great discussions. Here is a good example: https://peacelearner.org/2016/03/14/privilege-walk-lesson-plan/

  33. LGB May 13, 2017 at 12:54 am #

    “Well, probably because the students who organized the “commencement ceremony for only African-American students” (which it isn’t) don’t have any power to tell the university what to do in its commencement exercises.


    When the “I Tappa Kegga” fraternity get together to have a party to celebrate all the dudebros who will be moving on this year, will you fuss about them, too?”

    Snopes hasn’t really refuted anything from the Harvard Crimson link that I provided. Student organizations, including the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance and the frat house bromancers, are free to organize their own events. But like the producers of this Heineken ad, I’d like to see less division and more unity and support.

    “Top, elite schools actively recruit smart, capable people who comes from families with significant means… because, with them paying full sticker price, they can offer discounts to the smart, capable people who come from families without significant means. This means that Reginald Buffington Van Der Snooty III gets recruited by lots of elite schools. But people who score extremely well on standardized tests (MCAT, LSAT, NMSQT) get highly recruited, too… no matter where they went to school.”

    /This sounds like speculation. Can you provide any data on how many low-income, minority students attend top-tier universities?

    Read The Gatekeepers. The admissions process is quite a cutthroat game.

  34. James Pollock May 13, 2017 at 3:28 am #

    “Snopes hasn’t really refuted anything from the Harvard Crimson link that I provided.”

    No… just your characterization of what’s been planned.
    Here’s a celebration of our members who have achieved something. How divisive!

    “Student organizations, including the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance and the frat house bromancers, are free to organize their own events.”

    Make up your mind. They’re free, or they’re not free. By coincidence, my daughter is also graduating this June. There’s a ceremony for Marching Band members, wherein they only celebrate members of the marching band who are graduating, and not all the other students who are not MB members. How divisive! There’s also a reception for the College of Liberal Arts, which celebrates only liberal arts graduates. There’s also a hooding ceremony, separate from commencement, which is only for people earning doctorates. How divisive!

    For that matter, this year’s commencement celebrates only those who graduated this year… thus dividing the recent graduates from past graduates. How divisive!

    The lesson, I guess, is that you can find divisiveness pretty much anywhere, if you are determined enough to find it. Such determination is not a positive quality, however.

    “This sounds like speculation.”
    It’s not. It’s fairly well documented (the industry term is “high tuition, high aid” and several state schools have adopted it as well as top private schools.) Try Googling “high tuition, high aid”.

  35. Dingbat May 13, 2017 at 8:47 am #

    Good add (and why I wish people would have let the kids on Ohio concerned about the locker room shower situation talk as opposed to hurling accusations/demonizing them as transphobic and automatically making it into a huge legal issue), and I’ll have to watch Jonathan’s video when I can. I like listening to his discussions. He does pose some interesting suggestions in his article like campus wide discussions on Mills v. Marx and votes to decide if you want Truth U or SoJus/Marxist U because they can’t exist simultaneously (and Marxist U’s will eventually eat each other, and burn).

    I recently watched a Gad Saad video where he read over a letter he received from a college student/viewers. He does this regularly. I can’t remember the college off hand but during an orientation excerise they asked students questions about political opinions and you had to go to one side of the room if you agreed and another if you disagreed. The ones who disagreed with SoJus narrative were viscously shamed until they started agreeing with everything just to avoid problems. The ones who refused were given hell and told their life would be made hell. It’s not the first time I’ve heard of this. Several years ago FIRE fought a group on campus that handed out surveys and then pulled students with different views and put them through a “re education” program of sorts where they were shamed for political ideology, religion, being for free speech, etc. It’s something that hurts every conservative, be they moderate – extreme, every libertarian and every liberal. College has been a rough place for the last 17 years that has progressively gotten worse.

    We did see a bit of the same in the late 1980s and early 1990s. We saw the creation and implementation of rights violating hostile environment policies being used to quite honestly persecute students for wrong think today. Students did a good job shutting it down. They took the policies to court, where they were ruled against and precedent was set. They shut down enthusiastic consent policies that were being used to wrongfully expel students, and resulted in litigation, after it was implemented in one college.

    It’s never ended, though. They backed off from 1994-2001 and started all over again. The same policies have continued to be reimplement and continuously ruled against in court but affirmative consent was largely unchallenged and allowed to be implemented in multiple colleges, where it has unsurprisingly resulted in mass litigation. When you put the Dear Colleague letter on top of that…

    Like Jonathan I only see it getting worse unless something gives. I’ve been donating to Civil Liberties groups monitoring and handling the intolerance/persecution since 2010, and am keeping my fingers crossed that they will be able to have issues they are bringing to congress addressed. They are asking that colleges stop using vague and watered down definitions for harassment, coercion, and assault and start using the legal definitions. This would also mean bye bye to disciplinary actions for “microaggressions” and “microassaults”. They are also asking that colleges have funding pulled if they refuse to respect the first amendment and rights of staff & students. They should have done this some time ago. They have been trying to extend good faith efforts to colleges for 2 decades (and have been waiting for Berkeley to conduct an investigation over the Milo incident for 2 months, as things become more hostile).

    I’m hopeful that several judges reviewing cases have likened the environment on campuses to the Salem Witch Trials, while also decrying the mishandling of cases where legitimate victims were treated unfairly.

    I’ll never let go of my grudge with radical feminism because this is all I’ve known it to do. It hurts. I’m also tired of older mentally ill women or teenagers attempting to speak on my behalf. If you want to work with victims, know video yourself out but do not censor, persecute, be excessively vicious/cruel to others, expect people to bow to your every absurd request and violate rights in the name of all women.

  36. Dingbat May 13, 2017 at 8:51 am #

    That should be … Knock yourself out! Work in shelters, do things to help but don’t act like women can’t handle art or opinions

  37. theresa May 13, 2017 at 9:24 am #

    It would be nice if college courts weren’t kangaroo courts but unless the government get some common sense not likely to happen. And sense seem to be down this year.

  38. Dingbat May 13, 2017 at 10:08 am #


    That is the truth! I know no one, other than small groups of students who have been taught that college kangaroo courts handling cases that should be addressed in a court of law is best, who thinks this is a good idea.

    The definitions they use are absurd. Harassment and coercion have both been watered down to anything that hurts your feelings once.

    I was both amused and appalled at the number of feminist sites that recently tried to paint FIRE as a right wing hats organization because they don’t think rape cases should be handled on campus. Support for students who have experienced it… 100%! Colleges do have an important role to play there, but they should not be handling the cases. FIRE had to send out a press release the address the smear campaigns against them and provide a list of liberal politicians who felt the same, which is absurd. A statement like that has nothing to do with political affiliation. I don’t think many are keen on rape accusations being handled by professors, or about those accused being smeared, having their due process rights violated and then suspended and blackballed from every university if found guilty. If they are falsely accused it’s a horrible situation and if they are actually guilty, suspension isn’t enough.

    I know there was a recent case where a college allowed a student who had be set on fire by her boyfriend, who recorded the whole think, to invoke the victims right not to report as they do with rape cases. No one told the police that a student had set another on fire. That’s insanity!!

  39. Dingbat May 13, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    Im going to slap my auto correct.

    One last comment. The last time I looked at the list of demands (linked under Jonathan’s article) I believe it was up to 30 some colleges. They all said the same things…. you’re a racist, sexist, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, islamaphobic, bigot who better give us money, money, money, more money, segregate everything, give me more money, but don’t allow men to have their own clubs, (more money, now), do not cooperate with law enforcement or ICE, sort out the prison industrial complex, give me more money, and provide free tuition and housing for felons upon their release from prison.

    It was a greedy, confused, immature and delusional mess and still is. Stuff like this has caused many to lose donations. I think Mizzou has cut programs, jobs and shut down 7 dorms now. Berkeley is losing a ton of money/support and will soon be in the same boat.

    I think a statement under Browns list of demands sums up part of the problems rather well.

    “We recognize that in an era of colorblind racism and the derailment of social justice conversations via neoliberal assertions of free speech, activism continues to be neglected…”

    They have been taught that thinking of your commons as opposed to only focusing on differences, and often shaming/persecuting you for them = racism and assume free speech is a neoliberal concept.

    They also apparently assume due process is a radical right wing concept.

    Identity politics for the mind

  40. Dingbat May 13, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    Rot the mind

  41. Frustrated High School Teacher May 13, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

    I think if I was to do the college exercise, I might arrange the questions to move people apart (step forward/step backwards) but make two changes. One, randomize the forward/backwards move (too much connotation to the direction – affluent forward, poor backwards? No). Second, I’d make sure the questions end with everyone back on the same line (like everyone who was accepted at this school, step back onto the line). This way, one could point out how everyone is different – because we are, thankfully (wouldn’t want a world full of me!). But, in the end, we are all the same – humans.

  42. Vaughan Evans May 13, 2017 at 7:42 pm #

    In 1977, I purchased a phonograph called
    “Songs and Poems by Robert Service
    The record album has a large photograph-of Dawson City in the year 1898.
    I enjoyed the poem called
    “The Man Who Won’t Fit In

    There’s a race of men who don’t fit in
    A race that can’t stay still
    So they break the hearts of kith and kin
    And they roam the world at will
    They rage the field, they rove the flood
    And they climb the mountain crest.
    Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood
    And they don’t know how to rest

    If they just went straight, they might go far.
    They are strong and brave and true
    But they’re always tired of the things that are
    And they want the strange and new
    They say,”Could I find my proper groove?
    What mark I would make
    So they stop and change and each fresh move is only a fresh mistake
    And each forgets who strips and runs
    In a brilliant fitfull pace
    I’s the steady quiet plodding ones
    Who win in the lifelong face
    And he forgets that his youth has fled
    Forgets that his prime is past,

    -These are the first lines of a poem written by Robert Service(a Scot)who lived in the Yukon.

    Around Dawson City,is the site of Robert Service’s cabin.
    (I was in Whitehorse in 1978, I went to a vaudeville show.
    “The Cremation of Sam McGee”
    (Sam McGee was a real person. Robert Service was a bank clerk-as a vocation.
    Writing poetry was an avocation-of his.
    (Many people are known more from what they do as an AVOCATION rather than as a vocation.
    From 1900-1910 Robert Service was a bank clerk at the Bank of Commerce-in Victoria, B.C-in Dawson City(Yukon) and in Whitehorse, Yukon

    Dan McGrew was pure fiction; although if such a person did not exist, he surely should have.

    Robert Service borrowed the name Sam McGee from the bank’s ledger of customers
    (In those days, bank clerks started their careers as ledger keepers.)

    Poor Sam! All his life, people would pester him-and expostulate.
    “Are you warm?”

    ANd he forgets who strips and runs in a brilliant fitful pace
    It’s he ssteady quiet plodding ones who win in the lifelong race.

  43. Kimberly May 13, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

    In my Race & Racism class we did this exact same exercise. On the last day of class.

  44. Nicole R. May 14, 2017 at 9:05 pm #

    I liked the video. I think getting people to cooperate before they realize how different they are is a great idea!

    I disliked the original college exercise because none of those things are within the students’ control. It doesn’t make any more sense to me to make the kids in the front feel guilty for their privilege then it does to treat the kids in the back badly for anything else.

    (But I do think the “all back on the same line” version has potential.)

  45. Jenny Islander May 14, 2017 at 11:48 pm #

    If kids don’t see differences, why is there bullying? And why are the main targets of bullies children who are physically not average, kids who are mentally not on quite the same track, the ones whose parents couldn’t or didn’t buy them the same economic level of clothes or food or toys or media, the ones already isolated by anxiety or depression or parental decisions–the different ones?

  46. Jenny Islander May 15, 2017 at 12:10 am #

    @Nicole R.: Guilt isn’t the point. Realizing that what you experience as basic reality is not what other people can expect, purely on the basis of privilege that was handed out to you at birth, is the point.

    This is a true story of my friend and me and the government aid office. We are at the same stage of our lives, both married to good steady breadwinners who have picked themselves up from life’s speed bumps (hence the government aid), both college graduates with small, entirely planned families, nonsmokers, nondrinkers, nonusers, and we have the same broadly heard West Coast accent that is often called “just American.”

    I needed a specific type of government aid at one time in my life. I made an appointment, went down to the aid office, and was treated with respectful courtesy and given prompt, on-topic answers to my questions. So when my friend found herself in need of the same type of aid, I told her that the local aid office was great and they made it easy. My friend was greeted at the door by the same person who talked to me yelling at her across the room that she had to come back with an interpreter and then ignoring her. My friend had to go right up to the desk and tell her that she was in fact the employee’s 2:00 appointment. The employee did not apologize. Before getting to the actual point, the employee launched into a spiel about GEDs and handed my friend pamphlets about smoking cessation and contraceptives. She then hauled out my friend’s completed application and went over the questions one by one, carefully explaining them as if to a child. My friend got out of there after about twice as much time as I did.

    Now. Guess which one of us is white, and which one of us is not.

    See also: people who grew up with extracurriculars and birthday cars cheerfully telling somebody who has 17 dollars left after student loans, medication, and ramen and beans that the key to success is to buy fewer lattes.

  47. SKL May 15, 2017 at 10:21 am #

    Jenny, bullying knows no color or other category. I was bullied by people who looked like me, and that is probably true of the vast majority of bullying situations. Bullying happens because bullies have a need to manipulate others.

    And I don’t think bullies are brave enough to mess with people in other groups, unless that other group is, as a group, too weak to retaliate. Because what I’ve seen is that if you cross the line and mess with someone on the other side of it, the whole group on the other side is going to come over and whup your ass.

  48. James May 17, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

    “I disliked the original college exercise because none of those things are within the students’ control.”

    This is why I dislike it as well. It presents the unchosen as paramount, and sharply divides kids based on those criteria. Maybe 20 or 30 years ago it was important to demonstrate that some kids don’t have the same advantages as others coming into college, but let’s be real here–there’s not a person in the USA that’s entering college that doesn’t understand this. It’s deeply engrained in our culture, and pounded into us via the curriculum of grade and high schools.

    There is open violence in major cities because of these issues. It’s hardly something we need to raise awareness of!

    In our divided nation I think it’s important to highlight similarities more than differences. Sure, some kids started life with more advantages than I did, and some started with fewer; however, we’re all there for the same reason. THAT should be the emphasis.

  49. SteveD May 17, 2017 at 2:57 pm #


    I just copied the link to this video…

    …and I pasted it in a new window.

    When I clicked it and went to the youtube page containing THIS VIDEO,

    Guess what happened?


    The video was black with that odd little red face – and it said CONTENT WARNING: This vdeo may be inappropriate for some users. (sign in to confirm your age.)