Last October, Michigan State University sophomore and libertarian Jason Van Dyke was told that he should not use the elevator and various other public areas of his on-campus residence, Case Hall. He is a white heterosexual male and a university-sanctioned campaign of discrimination against his u2018sort' was underway. Signs on restrooms and cafeteria tables indicated "blacks" or "gays only." The discrimination was part of a program called u2018Our Divided Reality,' which was organized by Case Hall Black Caucus, the Department of Residence Life, and MSU Prism – a support group for lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered [LBGT] students. The segregation was intended to heighten student – read white male – sensitivity toward minority groups.
The program was voluntary. Or, at least, compliance was enforced only through intimidation. u2018Monitors' dressed in black were strategically stationed throughout Case Hall, ready to use peer pressure against those who did not show proper respect for the signs. Why, then, did Van Dyke file a complaint with MSU's Judicial Affairs Office for a voluntary practice?
A complaint was filed because the question is not whether the blatant discrimination was voluntary but whether it conformed to MSU's much-vaunted Anti-Discrimination Policy. Van Dyke is one of a fast growing class on American campuses: he is a white heterosexual male who demands that universities apply their own principles without bias. Article II of the MSU Anti-Discrimination Policy reads, in part, "Thus, even if not illegal, acts are prohibited…if they: 1. Discriminate against any University community member(s) through inappropriate limitation of employment opportunity, access to University residential facilities…on the basis of age, color, gender, handicapper status, height, marital status, national origin."[Emphasis added] If it is wrong to post signs prohibiting blacks from cafeterias, then it is wrong to prohibit whites. And shaming or intimidating whites into voluntary compliance with a discriminatory policy is no more tolerable than similarly humiliating blacks. As of April 12th, Judicial Affairs has not addressed Van Dyke's complaint.
In a letter to the MSU student paper The State News [TSN], Van Dyke commented on the hypocrisy with which MSU policies were administered. "Apparently… it is only racism if it is directed at minorities. If discrimination is directed at white heterosexual males, it is called u2018diversity.'" (09/15/99) Van Dyke's words seem carefully chosen. The home page at MSU's site proudly declares one of the university's "Guiding Principles" to be: "Advance Diversity within Community."
In one of his biweekly columns for TSN (04/03/00), Van Dyke railed against the definition advanced by PC segments of MSU. "As long as you agree with advocates' positions on issues, you're their best friend, but the minute you even start questioning their agenda, it's an entirely different story. When a person speaks out in opposition to their movement, whether for religious reasons or otherwise, they are instantly branded bigots and hate mongers."
Indeed, judging by some responses in TSN, Van Dyke seems to be viewed as a right-wing agitator against women and other u2018minorities.' As one female student wrote (11/01/99), "Mr. Van Dyke, my message for you is short and brief….Please stop whining about how hard it is to get respect for being a white, Christian man. If you can't, please do the rest of us a favor and find another place to receive your education." The PC argument for diversity sounds amazingly similar to the u2018redneck' slogan of "Love it or Leave it."
Perhaps as a means of encouraging Van Dyke to "leave it," his biweekly column was abruptly dropped by TSN. On Monday, April 3rd, his last column appeared under the title "Movement Preaches Tolerance Hypocritically." It opened, "I can see it now. By about 9 a.m. today, everybody will be talking about how a bigot at MSU dared attack homosexual rights during Pride Week 2000. I say good." Van Dyke then launched a full frontal assault on the hypocrisy of the gay Pride Week that had been kicked off a week before (03/23) with a presentation by the radical feminist Mary Daly.
This was an interesting choice of speaker for a week supposedly devoted to tolerance. Daly is notorious for refusing to admit males into her classes at Boston College. Yet Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments prohibits dual-sex universities that receive federal funds from discriminating on the basis of gender: this measure is often used by women to their advantage. A male student who had been refused admission into one of Daly's classes – another member of that group u2018white Y-chromosome grumblers' – demanded that the College apply Title IX equally. If women could not rightfully be excluded from classes, then neither could men. When the Center for Individual Rights [CIR] threatened a lawsuit on his behalf, the College suddenly found a sense of fair play. Almost literally kicking and screaming, Daly was pushed into retirement. The ensuing write-up in "Accuracy in Academia" was titled "Radical Feminist, Victim of Right-Wing Conspiracy?" In commenting on this conspiracy, Daly herself stated, "It is very clear that I'm a target. CIR has Boston College as a willing collaborator and no doubt the Vatican."
The bitter irony of Daly as a spokeswoman for sensitivity and broad-mindedness was not lost on Van Dyke. The April 3rd article commented, "Daly is among the most intolerant people in the United States. She is an advocate of segregation and openly promotes women's-only space." He might have added that she ridicules uppity women, like me, who don't share her views as "honorary white males." On the other hand, Van Dyke was able to get into enough trouble without my advice. He asked, "[H]ow tolerant is the gay rights movement?" He concluded, "Gay rights activists who claim to be teaching tolerance and ridding the world of ignorance are actually some of the most bigoted and intolerant people."
The next day (04/04/00), TSN printed a letter from Blake Spear, vice-president of MSU Prism. He threatened to bring MSU Judicial action against Van Dyke for violating the MSU Anti-Discrimination Policy. When Van Dyke e-mailed Spear to inform him that any frivolous prosecution would result in a lawsuit, Spear reportedly forwarded the e-mail to TSN Opinion Editor, Daniel Macklin. It was accompanied by a demand that the unrepentant columnist be ousted. Van Dyke explained, TSN "didn't like me in the first place for my conservative views" and, so, they "basically canned me." Undoubtedly, one of his more objectionable views is a strong support for Second Amendment rights.
Van Dyke has announced, "I plan on contacting an attorney to seek legal action against The State News." In doing so, he will be one in a series of conservative student journalists who refuse to be silenced arbitrarily. Most recently, David Swope at Georgetown University was fired from the student paper The Hoya after asking a question in his column:
"Is there such a thing as a good rape?" The query was in response to a play sponsored by the GU Women's Center in which a 13-year old girl – after been fed alcohol and seduced by a 24-year old woman – eulogizes the experience as a "good rape." The column was killed before publication. In the last few days, Swope's columns have been removed from The Hoya archives.
PC voices on the MSU campus have found a pugilistic opponent in Van Dyke. Indeed, his aggressive style must rankle them as much as his content. For example, Van Dyke's first column for TSN was entitled "The Racism of Affirmative Action." It opened with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous lines, "I have a dream that….my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Then, Van Dyke proceeded to break the PC monopoly ownership claim on King. He "honored" him by tearing apart "one of many programs our government has instituted that is keeping" King's dream "from becoming a reality," namely, affirmative action. Calling the policy "racist and discriminatory," Van Dyke ended with the comment, "I think Dr. King would agree."
Having used such techniques in my feckless days of Marxist-baiting, I know that few things anger the politically pious as much as being outflanked on the left and out-radicaled. They prefer to believe that critics are right-wing, rifle-shooting bigots whose wits have been slowed by religion or country music. Van Dyke is familiar with this preference. He observes, "Sometimes, I even hear about some conspiracy theory having to do with the alleged-FBI COINTELPRO papers. Apparently, some people actually expect the rest of us to believe that there is a racist nationwide conspiracy to hold down minorities. If you believe this, well, then perhaps I could interest you in buying some magic beans."
It is not difficult to understand why PC types erect this straw man and, then, attempt to believe in its reality. The alternative is to confront the fact that they are the single greatest source of discrimination and social injustice in our culture today. It means acknowledging the immense and calculated damage they inflict upon an entire class of human beings – white males – irrespective of any man's individual guilt or innocence. No wonder Hillary chose to blame even her husband's proclivity for sneaking blowjobs on u2018a vast right-wing conspiracy.'
If people are known by their enemies, send me a V.R.W.C. application form.
Wendy McElroy is author of The Reasonable Woman.