It’s Day Four of our account of the recent madness at “progressive” Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where Bret Weinstein, an evolutionary biologist, was tormented in late May by a radical student group for failing to take part in a “Day of Absence” that would compel white students and faculty to stay off campus for a full day. His criticism of the idea, which he considered racist, led (unsurprisingly) to charges that he was racist. It also led to student harassment of the college’s president, George Bridges, who unlike Weinstein buckled in record time, not only giving in to the students who pressured him but, as we’ve seen, praising them for pressuring him.
As we noted yesterday, one of the ways in which Weinstein responded to his demonization was by going on Dave Rubin’s highly popular podcast. As evidence of his lifelong abhorrence of racism, he recalled an event that took place thirty years ago. As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, he attended a party thrown by a “wealthy Jewish fraternity” at which the members “enacted a ceremonial rape” of black female strippers using cucumbers and other such objects. Weinstein had been so appalled by this event, which he considered (among other things) profoundly racist, that he wrote a furious op-ed about it in the college paper. This led to a scandal, to a trial at which Weinstein testified, to the banning of the fraternity for a couple of years, and to Weinstein’s own temporary departure from the university, the whole experience having soured him on the place.
Since then, as Rubin noted, Weinstein had established a “track record” of fighting racism. But none of this mattered to the livid, out-of-control students who wanted his head for refusing to bend to their authority. Weinstein noted that even though he disliked the idea of compelling whites to absent themselves from campus in accordance with some student initiative (which, he explained, had been conceived of as a response to the election of Donald Trump), he might have along with it, except that, as he put it, “It’s possible that my reaction is different than it might be because I’m Jewish, and alarm bells go off when I’m told I’m not supposed to be somewhere.” Nor did he like the stipulation that any white person who actually turned up on campus on the designated day would therefore be understood to be a non-ally of people of color.
When he circulated a letter complaining, in careful, tactful terms, about this demand, Weinstein was besieged. A group of students materialized out a classroom in which he was teaching and chanted, “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Bret Weinstein has got to go.” When he tried to talk to them, they told him to resign. When he expressed the opinion that students of color were not being “targeted” at Evergreen, some students erupted in rage. One girl called him “useless” and told him to “get the fuck out.” When he tried to reason with them and elevate the level of the conversation, he was mocked and insulted. “Resign!” one boy insisted.