We previously discussed the views of Boston University professor and head of the school’s Center for Antiracist Research Ibfram X. Kendi after his infamous description of Justice Amy Coney Barrett as a “white colonizer” for adopting two Haitian children. Despite such extreme views, Kendi remains a popular speaker at universities like Harvard. Now, Kendi is warning that the use of “legal vote” in the current election is itself racist.
Kendi declared on Twitter that “The term ‘legal vote’ is as fictionally fraught and functionally racist as the terms ‘illegal alien’ and ‘race neutral’ and ‘welfare queen” and ‘handouts’ and ‘super predator’ and ‘crackbaby’ and ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘post racial.’”
Many academic have used terms like “postracial” but the list of newly declared racist or “microaggressive” terms have been expanding at universities to combat racism, classism, fatphobia, sexism, transphobia, “othering” and other problems. As I have previously written, there are real issues and valid concerns with language and the need for greater sensitivity. I have tailored my own language after reading some of those concerns. However, the list of suspect or prohibited terms seems to be expanding exponentially. There are also issues of free speech raised by these lists and the chilling effect on discourse. Terms ranging from “melting pot” to phrases like “pulling oneself up by your own bootstraps” have been declared racist. While professors have made overtly racist statements about whites (including colleagues of Kendi at Boston University), the line of what is acceptable speech for faculty is getting more and more difficult to ascertain. Indeed, Kendi followed his declaration with “There are so many more terms like this. What did I leave out?”
Under Kendi’s new additions, it is not clear if a professor would be summarily dismissed for passing around a “handout” on the “personal responsibility” to cast your “legal vote.” [ … ]