Rohini Sethi, the vice president of the Student Government Association at the University of Houston, has been suspended from that position, barred from participating in SGA activities, required to attend various diversity workshops, and must write a letter of reflection on how wrong she was. All this even though she has three stars on the victim meter: a racial minority, an immigrant family background, and a woman. Must be serious!
So what was her grand offense to warrant this punishment? Making the following post on Facebook: “Forget #BlackLivesMatter; more like #AllLivesMatter.” That’s it.
Yet predictably, outrage ensued from supporters of Black Lives Matter. The Black Student Union at the University of Houston called not only for Sethi’s suspension from student government, but for her complete removal from that body, using the Twitter hashtag #RemoveRohini to support that cause. The story has gained nationwide attention.
What are we to make of this incident? Let’s start by looking at what’s wrong with Black Lives Matter.
Get a Grip, Black Lives Matter
First, some have compared Black Lives Matter to raising breast cancer awareness, arguing that emphasizing breast cancer does not mean one is slighting other types of cancer. Therefore, goes the argument, saying Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter.
However, the problem with this analogy is simply that cancer is not anywhere near the same as race. It does not have the same sensitivity, history, and emotionally charged nature. So the cancer analogy does not even come close to having the same negative connotations and sense of unfairness that focusing on one race to the perceived exclusion of others has. The fact is, the slogan “Black Lives Matter” does sound exclusionary, as does the rhetoric of many of its proponents.
Secondly, Black Lives Matter is not actually focused on saving black lives. Indeed, in Chicago alone, 65 people were killed in July, making it the deadliest July in more than five years. At least three-quarters of those victims were black, and almost all of those poor souls were killed by other black people. Nationwide, black folks kill around 5,500 other black folks every year. Is BLM organizing protests and blocking freeways to combat the epic problem of black crime? Doesn’t look like it.
What about black education underachievement and the thug culture infecting black communities? BLM is silent. What about the massive problem of single motherhood? Seventy percent of black kids are born out of wedlock, even though studies clearly show that children from married, two-parent homes have better outcomes. Why the silence from BLM? If they were truly interested in helping black people, they’d be at the leading edge of fighting for all of these issues. So why aren’t they? Maybe someone can ask George Soros.
Speak Up for Free Speech
So now that we understand what BLM is and is not, what does the hostile reaction to Sethi reveal? Just like the DePaul University banning Ben Shapiro and Twitter banning Milo Yiannopoulos and craftily suppressing conservative content using a technique called shadowbanning, universities, social media sites, and the mainstream media are increasingly shutting out the voices of those who go against left-wing ideology. The standard for acceptable discourse is not truthfulness, but whether certain groups might be offended.
Groups that must not be offended are: racial minorities, women, gays, immigrants, and Muslims. On the other end of the spectrum, groups who do not have the right to be offended are: whites, Christians, men, and conservatives. Almost any amount of abuse against them will go unpunished.
My advice to Sethi: Rather than be force-fed diversity training and write an apology letter for a crime you did not commit, tell them you will not do it, and that you did nothing wrong. Document your experiences and share them across the nation. Might you even have a legal case against the university? Use this as an opportunity to advocate for free expression and exchange of ideas—what universities are supposed to be all about in the first place. Oh, and do an interview with Milo, too!