In my previous post I gave a just-the-facts-ma’am account of the controversy over the appearance of gay- and fat-rights performance artist Kimberly Dark at the Virginia Military Institute. In this column, I’ll give my personal reaction.
There are three elements to the controversy (1) the incident is solid evidence that VMI is introducing a left-wing brand of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; (2) Dark’s message about military weight requirements, insofar as we can tell what it is, is just plain lunacy; and (3) while Dark’s right to appear at VMI must be respected, the administration has opened itself to justifiable criticism for inviting her to an official function.
DEI at VMI. There are many brands of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Benign versions train people to be sensitive to unconscious bias and strive to create an organizational culture in which all types of people feel a sense of belonging. The Robin DiAngelo “White Fragility” strain inculcates White guilt and shame for White privilege and requires Whites to engage in ritualistic self criticism. The Ibrahim Kendi “Anti-racism” strain views any racial disparity in outcomes as proof of racism, which can be countered only with reverse racism. As the DEI controversy at VMI has raged over many months, it has been unclear which, if any, of these strains would come to predominate.
From what I can glean, Dark falls into the DiAngelo camp. I can find no record of what she actually said last night, but one can infer her views from her website. Insofar as her word-salads are intelligible, she refers to herself as a “social justice” advocate and seems concerned primarily with gay rights and fat rights, although she also alludes to her “White privilege.” While such rhetoric may be routine fare at many universities, it’s new for VMI. Continue reading