John Klar: Students demand firing of liberal Vermont professor for opposing wrong kind of racism

By John Klar

On March 8, a University of Vermont (UVM) professor joined the growing chorus of brave souls willing to risk their careers and public scorn to stand for what is right. Professor Aaron Kindsvatter, a self-declared liberal, claims that the university is embracing dubious ideological racial policies. The intolerant backlash against this professor was fast and fierce, but so too have been the expressions of support.

Americans once regarded themselves as sharing agreement on most goals, just differing in desired means. But “social justice ideology” does not broach dissent: it negates traditional liberalism and free speech protections. Thus, “liberal” professors will be silenced as readily as conservative speakers such as those at Middlebury College.  “Social justice” ideology behaves much like an institutionalized cult.

Professor Kindsvatter titled his latest video “Racism and the Secular Religion at the University of Vermont” as an allusion to that religiosity, warning that this ideology will seed future hate and division:

[W]hiteness falls under the umbrella, in the derogatory meaning of the word, of critical social justice. And whiteness, the thinking that informs it is so crude, and so lacking in falsifiability, and it speaks so eloquently to our tribal impulses that the same logic that informs what’s currently being called whiteness right now can easily find its way to desperate persons who need a group to hate and who will adopt the suppositions that inform whiteness towards their own ends.

This intelligent foresight is indistinguishable from many conservative warnings. In The Madness of Crowds, conservative Douglas Murray warned:

We face not just a future of ever-greater atomization, rage and violence, but a future in which the possibility of a backlash against all rights advances — including the good ones — grows more likely. A future in which racism is responded to with racism, denigration based on gender is responded to with denigration based on gender.  At some stage of humiliation there is simply no reason for majority groups not to play games back that have worked so well on themselves. (p. 9)

This stifling social justice ideology now predominates at American universities.  Professor Kindsvatter’s alarm should concern all citizens:

I just couldn’t believe that someone would denigrate another person by their race in such a crude way on a progressive campus. I know it happens in society, I just didn’t expect it to happen in my workplace. I was also aware though that it wasn’t OK to speak up about it[.] … I never expected the concept of whiteness to endure because it’s so obviously discriminatory, but not only has this ideology endured in the University, it has flourished[.] … Do you see how clever this ideology is at protecting itself?  It makes it impossible to dissent from on pain of being labeled a racist[.]

In response to these criticisms, a group of UVM students called “Sisters of Color” launched a petition demanding Professor Kindsvatter resign, claiming:

His most recent video, “Racism and the Secular Religion at the University of Vermont” is harmful to our campus’ community of color. His demands to remove anti-racist work done by administrators on the basis that it “reduces his identity to his race” defends his privilege and denies accountability that campus groups have spent years advocating for.

Predictably, these “students of color” demonstrate precisely the “impossibility of dissent” that this honest professor warned of:

Claims of being “suppressed” for his “moderate views” are unsavory and asinine — the first step towards any kind of progress on campus is through accountability and having honest discussions[.] … Having conversations around anti-racism and acknowledging the role of whiteness in systemic racism has been supported by every department on campus, as it is rooted in our campus’ common ground values.  Speaking out against this work is harmful when you cannot hold yourself accountable and begin practicing good allyship. This video is particularly harmful towards the community of color through his calls to organize.

(Translation: “Only after indoctrination may you express an accordant opinion.”)

The students also display the mentality of “anyone who disagrees with our racist classification of people is a racist”:

A UVM faculty member, especially one who teaches courses in counseling, should not hold this ideology employed by white supremesists [sic]. The freedom of free thought is not what is being restricted here, it’s the fact that Aaron Kindsvatter is using his position of power and authority as a platform for spewing these ideologies.

Fortunately, supporters of Professor Kindsvatter have created a rebuttal petition, encouraging more “freedom of free thought.”

“Social justice” ideology employs layers of circuitous pseudo-logic to call its racist identification system anti-racist, to call unfairness equity, to label constitutional guarantees as white supremacy, and to silence dissenting speech as a necessary precondition for “progress.” Opposing such toxic nonsense is the responsibility of not just conservatives, but intelligent Americans of any stripe who affirm the Bill of Rights.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and the former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. This commentary originally appeared in American Thinker.

Image courtesy of YouTube screenshot
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19 thoughts on “John Klar: Students demand firing of liberal Vermont professor for opposing wrong kind of racism

  1. This kind of hysteria comes about every so often in our democracy. Now it’s the left wing who have become reactionary. Some of us can recall the communist hysteria where thousands of Americans had their lives ruined if they were suspected of harboring socialist sympathies back in the 1950’s. Now the tyranny is on the left. The absurdities coming from Woke, BLM, cancel culture smack of Maoist cultural revolution philosophy.

  2. A university must have, by definition, a universalist view, i.e., all views are worthy of holding.

    If a university decides some views are allowed and others not, it ceases to be a university, but becomes a coercive, government mouthpiece, because the government, de facto, holds the purse strings.

    Money does not just talk, money distorts minds, rearranges minds, divides minds, alters behavior.

    Money is not evil.
    Evil people, who seek power, command and control, USE money, or threaten to withhold it, to gain their ends.

    Being WOKE is one-track, dead-end thinking

    • It’s essentially about power and control. Some of us suspect that BLM is really a deliberate distraction from the attempt to gain control of the population through disease/fear mongering.

      Since we’re good people, we tend to forget that there are people who lust after power and control. Coincidentally (not), these people tend to have power.

      All this woke stuff is to divide and confuse people and set them against each other. That’s exactly what’s happening, is it not? Is this really all an accident, happening now? Yes, race is an issue, but surely we have more serious concerns right now than ensuring that everyday folks have just and moral intentions? What a coincidence: we’re not attacking our governors and leaders for lockdown and destroying livelihoods and independence, we’re attacking each other for not being pure enough. We’re not questioning everything we’ve done to fight the virus and if any of it was necessary, or if tyranny hasn’t come in through the back door of medical necessity, we’re questioning whether or not we, the people, have embedded racism in our hearts. Is all of this just coincidence?

    • Perhaps its time to tax UVM’s $500+ million endowment at the same rate the rest of us pay on capital gains.

    • One does not have to be “evil” to seek power, command and control or to use money, or threaten to withhold it, to gain their ends. It can be done with the best of intentions and can come from both sides of the political spectrum.
      Knowing the danger of power, and the almost universal desire for it, is why are founders wisely put in a system of checks and balances when creating our Republic

      • The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

        My guess? During a period of time when children and family and friends died on a regular basis– death was very much a part of life back then– our founders would’ve been astounded that we shut down everything and gave up our liberties for such a minor illness that rarely harmed children (let’s face it: basically we did all this so some old folks could have a few more years of TV. I’m an old folk myself.) Courageous men who risked their lives by signing the Declaration of Independence– it was, after all, treason against the king, as they knew full well– would have been appalled at our cowardice.

        In truth what happened was that the Replication Crisis in science came to visit the WHO and the CDC in a big way and, ignoring that there was even such a thing, they said: heck, that study sounds good to us, let’s go with it. Due diligence? What’s that? Neil Ferguson? A God, a soothsayer.

    • Dano, This is my personal synopsis.

      In 1971 the Socialists Democrats were able to get the right to vote for 18 year olds passed in a constitutional amendment. It is a scientific fact that the adult brain has not been fully formed on average until the mid twenties. The last area of the brain to fully form is the frontal cortex. This is the section of the brain involved in assessing risk/reward scenarios, problem solving, aggressiveness, impulse control, behavior, emotions, social control etc. Basically it allows us to think things thru and determine how to use information located elsewhere in the brain.
      We can all recall risky dumb things we did as a kid and think how did I ever survive that! I hold myself forth as exhibit “A”. Here in lies the problem with children voting. Who in their right mind would turn over control of the family’s financial decisions to their 18 year old child? We can all only imagine how that would turn out! Yet we are supposed to be at ease with children determining the future course of our nation. Whatever could go wrong?
      In truth what has happened is the Socialist Democrats have by design through the education system which they fully control, are in fact the primary parent of your child. The genetic parents, in today’s society, are merely sperm and egg donors for the State. The State will instill it’s values and social concepts in the child and not those of the genetic parents. This manifests it’s self in the fact that so many of today’s children are disparaging and scornful of their genetic parents views.
      Hey kid! How would like some candy? How would you like legalized drugs? How would you like someone else to pay for your college education? You know what to do kid, you vote for us, right?

      The die has already been cast.
      Addendum: The Socialist are now in the process of introducing a bill in the House which would further reduce the voting age to 16.

  3. My experience and others in suggesting changes to the draft Anti-Racism Policy in the White River Valley Supervisory Union, elicited similar harsh comments in response. This is a hard conversation even among those of us who have known each other for many decades and worked together on numerous projects over the years.
    It is indeed sad that our ability to listen to each other and have civil discourse is so difficult these days. People often jump to the worst assumptions without trying to understand what someone who disagrees with you is trying to say and whether there might be some kernel of truth in their words.

  4. The intellectuals and the young, booted and spurred, feel themselves born to ride us. Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America.
    – Eric Hoffer, First Things, Last Things

  5. Faulty thinking:

    1. If you’re black, then you have a problem inherent in your race and upbringing.
    2. If you’re white, then you have a problem inherent in your race and upbringing.

    3. We’re going to decide for everyone else what’s proper thinking and what’s a proper perspective.

    4. Censorship is good.

    5. History teaches us nothing except how prejudiced people are.

  6. Don’t yield one inch to these disgusting cretins who can’t exist without seeing racism in every single thing.

    It’s past time to turn the tables on them.

  7. The Communist Youth Corps turns it’s vicious racist hate on on the good professor. Notice how they are always making demands by never contribute a thing.

    • It is the phony indignance which points to who is the intolerant;

      These ubber people who claim all high ground, even as they are the most intolerant folks on the campus !

      All good on this brave Professor!!

  8. Students ” Demand ” firing …..isn’t that just precious, they little whine azz’s must of
    got their feathers ruffled hearing something that wasn’t part of their indoctrination into
    socialism accademia……

    So go call daddy, maybe he’ll send you more money to get you over this atrocity in
    your learning experience !!

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