November was a colossally bad month for sensibility at Ontario’s so-called institutions of higher learning.
News broke that a free yoga class for University of Ottawa students had been cancelled by the school’s student union because of “cultural appropriation”—yoga originated in India—despite no complaints from any members of the allegedly appropriated group.
Earlier in the month, pink and blue flags set up by a pro-life club at the University of Windsor, intending to memorialize lives lost to abortion, were ordered down because the school’s student union president didn’t want to “emotionally hurt certain people.” (Oh, the irony.)
At my own alma mater, London's Western University, the school’s administration and police department are investigating a “White Student Union” Facebook page aimed at providing a “creative space for white bodies to construct-deconstruct whiteness” and “develop a positive program to restore the pioneering will and greatness of European heritage.”
The page, with no demonstrated offline presence, has not threatened violence, nor done anything to suggest its membership is anything but a handful of dorm-dwelling troglodytes still overcoming their prom rejections. But still, I have no doubt that some form of mass sensitivity training will ensue.
I feel especially bad for the pro-life, white supremacist yogis, who truly find themselves without a safe space on campus.
There is no comparison between the three marginalized groups, save for their newfound status as campus martyrs, victims of the rampant political correctness that maintains a stronghold in academia.
To blame liberalism, which has always been a force on North American campuses, would be too simplistic. The problem is unfettered liberalism, which allows students—and faculty members, to some extent—to exist within a university bubble, unchallenged by the real world.
Such challenges are discouraged, at best, and forbidden, at worst.
A few months ago, an American professor wrote a viral confession for Vox, entitled “I’m a liberal professor, any my liberal students terrify me.” In it, he wrote that “boat-rocking isn’t just dangerous—it’s suicidal.”
It’s a sad reality that was echoed by Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis, who was the subject of a lengthy investigation for a piece that she wrote on “sexual paranoia,” tackling the hypersensitivity to sexual misconduct allegations at universities.
“Emotional discomfort is regarded as equivalent to material injury, and all injuries have to be remediated,” Kipnis wrote after the fact.
The reality is worse, however.
Emotional discomfort needn’t even be present: the sheer potential for it is enough to cause upheaval, apparently.
Any day now, Canadians will be faced with the first of many yearly examples of someone somewhere removing the word “Christmas” from a store display or seasonal greeting—not to respond to offense taken, but to pre-empt possible offense.
How similar to the cancelled yoga classes in Ottawa, which were done out of sensitivity to Indian students, because their ancestors "have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy.”
Tough luck for the members of the Hindu community in Ottawa who told a number of media sources that they didn’t have a problem with Westernized versions of yoga, which is, after all, more often practiced today without any spiritual, let alone religious, component.
Poor souls—they’re oppressed and they don’t even know it.
Nothing a good set of meditative stretches can’t fix though, right?