A Review of the Radical

A handwritten issue of "The Dartmouth Radical"

A handwritten issue of “The Dartmouth Radical”

Another year at Dartmouth, another Disorientation Guide. Our esteemed colleagues at The Dartmouth Radical (which has not published a print issue in approximately two years) and The Action Collective have come out with a new rendition of their beloved classic, this time in a campus-wide email. The Review thought that this would be an opportune time to review their pamphlet, especially from the perspective of a queer person of color.

The Disorientation Guide contains some useful nuggets of insight, such as Safety & Security’s number. However, true to its name, most of the publication is spent on disorienting freshmen with factually untrue, nonsensical, or patently absurd writing. For example, take “A Year of Mourning” by Gabrielle Bozarth. On faculty diversity, it states that:

My undergraduate teaching has suffered under the instruction of a homogenous group of white people. There is only so much you can learn from someone with the same life experiences of whiteness, wealth, ability, and heteronormativityregardless of the subject. A subject is not unbiased when those teaching the subject are always whiteit does not make the research objective, more removed, or refined in academia, but capitalizes on a binary of otherness where Blackness and non-whiteness are always subject and whiteness the observer.

Few would deny the advantages of having a diversity of perspective and thought in both the faculty and the student body. Alas, as usual, the radical left runs afoul of reality with its post-structural theories, making a farce out of actual issues in the process. Miss Bozarth, rather than making an actual case for diversity, seems intent on attacking white people–particularly white, straight men, the recurrent boogeyman of the identitarian left.

She displays a shocking arrogance in her assertion that she has little to learn from some professors simply because their race is not to her liking. Furthermore, her attack on white professors as wealthy and straight is troubling, especially because neither of those traits have very much to do with the competence of an instructor. It is clear that a certain racial animus is motivating this so-called movement for “faculty diversity.”

This is all before she takes an incomprehensible aside into racial (and racist) theories. The so-called “binary of otherness where Blackness and non-whiteness are always subject and whiteness the observer” is simply of her own invention. In short, Miss Bozarth’s commentary shows the dangers of falling down the rabbit hole of obsessing about identity rather than acquiring knowledge, a problem that her vision for faculty diversity is unlikely to solve. True faculty diversity would support alternative viewpoints, including those of conservatives, libertarians, and evangelical Christians.

In addition, much of the content that is actually comprehensible either tends to be disturbing or wrong. For example, when discussing the infamous Black Lives Matter protest of November 2015, an article addresses widespread criticism of the profanity and violence at the protest by stating that “no reports were filed [sic] to the college or otherwise to corroborate.” Notice the peculiar wording and the lack of an express denial; this is because participants in the protest, including then-campus NAACP President Jonathan Dikawana ‘16, have already admitted to profanity and harassment having taken place.

Although The Review would love to take credit for the courageous display in Collis honoring our law enforcement officers for National Police Week, we must correct the record. The Review, as an organization independent from the College, does not have rights to reserve space in Collis. The College Republicans were the responsible organization, and despite conspiracy theories from the authors of Disorientation Guide, the bulletin board was booked months in advance and has nothing to do with Black Lives Matter or Aimee Bahng.

As an example of some truly questionable content, consider “Classic Comebacks” by KWill. In response to the suggestion campus protesters should be held accountable for facing the consequences of their actions, it states:

Cool. Then all white people should serve life imprisonment for the mass murder, genocide, and enslavement of black and brown bodies. I’ll serve my sentence when you do.

For a supposedly anti-racist publication, the Disorientation Guide sure enjoys painting a broad racial and factually untrue brush about white people. Quite simply, no one alive bears personal responsibility for slavery, which makes the Disorientation Guide’s “comeback” laughable. Moreover, even during the height of slavery in America, only 1.4% of the white population owned slaves. Since the majority of today’s non-black Americans descend from immigrants who arrived in America after the Civil War, less than 6% of white Americans bear any sort of generational ties to slave owners. Of course, the Disorientation Guide never lets history, facts, context, and the proper perspective get in the way of feeling oppressed.

In the same article, in response to the suggestion that minorities may not be easily offended by microaggressions and triggers, KWill suggests that:

White supremacy is functioning in your assertion of non-offense. If you are a person of color, you are probably identified as such before you ever open your mouth upon meeting anyone in AmeriKKKa.

While I am not offended by “microaggressions,” I am certainly offended by the Disorientation Guide’s statements. Hypocritically enough, KWill implies white prejudice when he is the one being prejudiced. As a person of color, and a queer person of color at that, I will not fall prey to the collectivist and emotionally fragile mindset of the Disorientation Guide. I refuse to blame some nebulous idea of white supremacy for issues in my own life when taking personal responsibility is the adult thing to do. It would not only be disrespectful to myself, but it would also disrespect the sacrifices of my parents, who immigrated to this country because it was far more free and less oppressive than whence they came.

I consider the author’s affront to America, the only nation in the history of the world founded not upon a common culture or heritage but a common idea of freedom, an affront to my own person. And I am especially contemptuous of the claim that I somehow cannot think for myself because my mind is colonized by white supremacy. In fact, I wholly reject the Disorientation Guide precisely because I am a critical thinker who does not credulously believe every emotionally appealing argument that I hear. To suggest otherwise is incredibly condescending and disrespectful to all people of color.

With all the problems of the Disorientation Guide, at least it is an improvement from the previous version. This year, there is no article titled “F*** Your White Tears.”