Free Speech

A Professor Pushed Back Against 'White Fragility' Training. The College Investigated Her for 9 Months.

The chaos at Lake Washington Institute of Technology is by no means an isolated occurrence.


Elisa Parrett, a newly tenured 38-year-old professor of English at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, the only public technical institute in Washington state, realized last June that she had some qualms about the approach her university—which is located in suburban Seattle and has about 6,000 students—had taken to diversity and inclusion.

Her concerns about the campus climate had been mounting for a while. "I wasn't exactly open about my political positions at work, but I didn't exactly keep them a secret either," says Parrett, whose heterodox politics led her to vote for Green Party nominee Jill Stein in 2016 and for Donald Trump last year. "I simply avoided bringing politics up and avoided mentioning my views unless they seemed relevant to things other people had already said." She didn't like the rise of the concept of "safe spaces," or certain aspects of what she calls "capital-A anti-racist pedagogy," which she views as being distinct from mere opposition to racism.

But what most concerned her was an upcoming diversity training in which faculty and staff would be divided into white and nonwhite "caucuses." In the wake of George Floyd's death and the protests that then erupted all over the country, LWTech had, like so many other educational institutions, embarked on a large, highly visible attempt to make itself a more inclusive, less racist place. The session was a part of that. It was called Courageous Conversations, and it was scheduled for June 19.

The stated goal of such events is to allow people to talk about race and racism more openly, but the decision to have the races meet separately made Parrett uncomfortable. "Racial segregation of that kind seems like a throwback to the pre-1960s and not a good way to create any kind of cooperation or collaboration," she says. She wasn't the only one disturbed by the idea of a racially segregated anti-racism training. Her friend Phil Snider, another English professor at LWTech, said in an email to senior administrators that a "conference based on segregation by skin color does nothing to build a community of belonging."

Nonetheless, a June 18 all-college email noted that the school's president, Amy Morrison, had "made clear the expectation that all full-time employees attend Friday's Courageous Conversations" unless they had conflicting teaching responsibilities. Parrett decided to express her qualms about the training during the training itself.

What happened over the next nine months was both bizarre and oppressive. Because of a brief disruption that easily could have been brushed aside or handled with a warning not to do it again, LWTech went to war against a tenured faculty member, launching a cartoonishly over-the-top disciplinary process that included the hiring of a private investigator, dozens of interviews, and claims of widespread trauma.

Parrett is far from a perfect victim. While she was under investigation, she became convinced that the election had been stolen from Donald Trump. She and her husband eventually attended the infamous "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6, 2021. (The two insist that they protested peacefully and did not enter the U.S. Capitol or participate in the riot.) Some people will likely discount her story because of her participation in an understandably reviled political demonstration, but that would be a mistake. What happened to Parrett, while not common, is part of a trend toward an intolerant approach to political differences—one in which disagreement on mainstream political issues is reframed as a form of harm.

'I Have Never Before Sent Such a Serious Email to Any Faculty Member'

Once Parrett decided she wanted to speak up at Courageous Conversations, she drafted a statement. She ran it by Snider, who provided her with some editing suggestions; another friend took a look at it too.

Parrett should have had every reason to believe she could ask questions and express points of disagreement without fear of professional retribution. For one thing, as an employee of a public college, she has robust First Amendment protections that do not generally apply in private workplaces. For another, she had recently earned tenure. "The principal purpose of tenure is to safeguard academic freedom, which is necessary for all who teach and conduct research in higher education," explains the American Association of University Professors. "When faculty members can lose their positions because of their speech, publications, or research findings, they cannot properly fulfill their core responsibilities to advance and transmit knowledge." In other words, if you want academics to engage in quality thinking, they have to be allowed to think out loud without fear of being fired if they say something that makes someone angry.

Courageous Conversations was influenced heavily by the diversity trainer Robin DiAngelo's White Fragility, a bestselling but controversial book focused on the difficulty white people have talking about race. Among other recommendations, DiAngelo calls for race-specific codes of etiquette and behavior: In her trainings, white people are instructed not to defend themselves from accusations of racism, even ones that appear to be tendentious or to stem from mere misunderstanding. While it is OK for black people to cry during the sessions, white women are asked to leave the room if they feel themselves tearing up since, according to DiAngelo, this might make black people think of lynchings that began as a result of white women's tears. (I was very critical of White Fragility on the podcast I co-host, Blocked and Reported, and my co-host Katie Herzog has interviewed a woman who went through a DiAngelo training that she found cultlike and humiliating.)

I was leaked an audio copy of the full two-hour Courageous Conversations event. About an hour and 20 minutes in, Parrett said, "Hi, I would like to speak, if I may." The moderator replied, "Mm-hmm," indicating that she could go ahead. Parrett then explained that she had noticed something she was hoping to point out to the group and asked if she could have five minutes to read a statement she had prepared. The facilitator didn't respond to this (at least not audibly), and a beat later Parrett continued.

"Over the past couple of weeks, a lot has happened," Parrett began. "Protests have occurred, riots have broken out, people have been killed. And across the United States, companies, organizations, and schools have proclaimed their support of a movement called 'Anti-racism'"—here Parrett was referring to the capital-A variety. Parrett went on to complain about the segregated setting of the training and what she saw as the generally closed-minded nature of the nation's post-Floyd discourse. "Democracy thrives on conversations, but what we are seeing happening right now in the United States is not a conversation," she read. "It is a coup. Everyday Americans of all colors, creeds, backgrounds, and beliefs are being held hostage. Zealots are telling us, 'You're either with us or against us, and if you're against us, you're an evil bigot.' They are telling us, 'You're either part of the solution, or you're part of the problem.' They are telling us that all people may be classified into two sides: us or them, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, people of color or white, righteous or bigoted, oppressed or privileged. I don't accept such false dichotomies, and I don't accept the ad hominem implications that come with it. Too often, words like 'privileged,' 'defensive,' and 'fragile' are just ways to dismiss what another person has to say. Too often, words like 'racist' are just a way to intimidate someone into silence." Parrett argued that people should work together to solve "real problems like wealth disparity, poverty, job insecurity, unemployment, the high cost of living, or the fracturing of the nuclear family, whatever form that family takes," but are waylaid by those who claim the "real problems" are "racism, sexism, transphobia…[and] hateful words."

"Thank you, Elisa," said the facilitator, cutting Parrett off about three minutes into her remarks. "No, you don't get to cut me off—I'm going to finish what I have to say," she responded. "I'm going to ask that you share the platform with the rest of the 200 nearly people who are here today," replied the facilitator. But Parrett continued for about another minute, telling the all-white attendees of the mandatory, segregated conversation that universities should be places where "ideas could be discussed, explored, debated, and assessed"—and that "this is not that."

The whole thing took closer to four minutes than the five Parrett asked for, but it did undeniably disrupt the event and change its tenor. According to Parrett, the chat sidebar lit up during and after her statement, with many of her colleagues saying they were disturbed by what she was saying—sentiments they then expressed vocally after Parrett finished her address. "Yeah, that was awkward," said one colleague. "It would be wonderful if you could help us with processing that," another participant told the facilitator. The facilitator in turn referred everyone to an "emotion slide" that the group had been using to indicate what emotions its members were feeling.

From there, things got heated and a bit of a pile-on ensued. The group seemed unhappy Parrett had injected such a skeptical and defiant note into the proceedings—a fair amount of cross-talk and accusation ensued—though she says a number of other colleagues thanked her (mostly privately) for speaking up. Soon the facilitator moved on, and the rest of the event proceeded without interruption.

Before we go further, we should note two things about Parrett's statement. First, one could very reasonably argue that asking for five minutes of time from a group of 200 people—especially to read a statement written not in response to the particulars of the event, but to express more fundamental disagreement about its existence and raison d'être—is uncivil or tone-deaf or both, even in the context of an event titled "Courageous Conversations." We don't have to pretend that what Parrett did is exactly the same as simply disagreeing with a peer on a specific point in the flow of a specific, ongoing conversation.

But, second, nothing in the content of what Parrett said is anywhere outside the mainstream of American political debate. It's the sort of thing one could find any day of the week in a David Brooks column, for instance. Some of the ideas she expressed, like a preference for focusing more on class and less on race, are being loudly debated even in many leftist spaces.

Despite the minor uproar during the event, the initial response from LWTech's administration appeared positive. Suzanne Ames, LWTech's vice president of instruction, called Parrett after the training and asked her if she was OK. "It seemed supportive," says Parrett. "I thought that she was just trying to be nice." But five days later, on June 24, Parrett received an email from President Morrison with the subject line "The fall-out from your actions last Friday."

It began, "In the seven years I have served as president and twenty years in the community and technical college system, I have never before sent such a serious email to any faculty member, let alone one newly tenured." She wrote that as a result of Parrett's statements, "many of [your colleagues] spent hours trying to decompress with their respective supervisors." The only choice was an investigation: "Because of your egregious behavior which has led to substantial harm to hundreds of colleagues on campus, I have asked Dr. Ames, Dean Doug Emory, and [executive director of H.R.] Meena Park to meet with you in the next few days to have a serious conversation about how successful you can possibly be on campus in the future."

From there, LWTech's disciplinary apparatus—both formal and informal—ramped up quickly. Two days after Morrison's email, an administrator informed Parrett that she was being placed on paid administrative leave for the summer quarter because of "allegations of a serious offense." She would immediately lose access to her LWTech email and to Canvas, the college's online learning platform. The nature of the offense was not specified.

That same day, Morrison devoted the entirety of her regular all-school email update, sent to thousands of people, to denouncing Parrett by name. "This email is a dramatic departure from the typical Amy's Updates," the 1,600-word message started. The incident at the training session, Morrison argued, "was so damaging that I asked the Executive Cabinet, EDI Council, and the Bias Response Team to assist me with this college-wide message."

Morrison wrote to her community that she was "stunned, disappointed, angry, and shocked" by Parrett's dissent during the training. Parrett was being removed from her teaching duties, she explained, to ensure "students are protected from conduct of the likes that she displayed last week." In addition, LWTech would be establishing a new anti-racism task force and Morrison would be holding meetings with LWTech's black employees. "We will continue race-based caucusing over the summer," she assured her college, "for as long as it is needed."

'Insolent, Insubordinate and Disruptive Behavior'

The same day that email went out, Parrett received the sole official disciplinary complaint this incident has generated. It was filed by Suzanne Ames, the administrator who had given Parrett that seemingly supportive call. The complaint accused Parrett of "insolent, insubordinate and disruptive behavior" that was "downright scary, startling, and bewildering as she yelled a diatribe," and it said she had used her "new positional power [as a tenured professor] in a very corrupt, insolent and insubordinate manner."

When I emailed Ames for more detail about the complaint, she responded: "I observed the college's operations effectively stopping after the training and [Parrett's] interruption because colleagues needed to process what happened, and meet with supervisors to talk through the effect it had on them, personally." In this telling, a large cohort of professors and academic administrators were so emotionally devastated by hearing someone raise concerns about White Fragility–style diversity trainings that they could no longer do their jobs. In both my response to Ames and a follow-up with a university spokeswoman, I asked if I could speak with any of these alleged victims. I was never put in touch with any.

In her email to me, Ames doubled down on her claim that Parrett's behavior in the meeting had been frothingly out of control, writing that Parrett had "started aggressively yelling at folks in the meeting." At the time, Ames didn't know I had access to the leaked audio, in which Parrett does occasionally raise her voice to be heard but never comes across as anywhere nearly as aggressive or bullying as Ames described. When I sent Ames the audio file and asked her to point me to where Parrett yelled at anyone, a university spokeswoman who was on the thread jumped in, writing that "The audio speaks for itself but does not reflect Elisa's visible anger." Apparently, Parrett was "aggressively yelling at folks in the meeting" but it was the kind of aggressive yelling that doesn't show up on audio.

I was also curious about Ames' claim that she found Parrett's conduct "downright scary," so I asked her about that as well—whether she herself was personally scared or felt some sense of physical threat. Ames responded that she was scared on behalf of hypothetical marginalized students Parrett might teach. "If I wasn't able to fully comprehend her in that meeting when she was yelling, then knowing what she thought after I read her speech, how could I expect our most vulnerable students to sit in her classroom knowing how she felt?"

In addition to being Parrett's friend and colleague, Phil Snider is her union grievance officer and has been serving as her advocate since the Courageous Conversations event. He says that LWTech's pursuit of Parrett hasn't followed the disciplinary procedures laid out in the college's contract with its employees. Instead, Parrett and Snider claim, Morrison has appointed an ad hoc group of administrators to run an investigation that wasn't following any established procedure. "This has become ridiculously complex," Snider told me fairly early in the process. "The whole intent, this whole time, has been to get rid of Elisa Parrett, a tenured instructor, by whatever means possible," he said.

But there's an even bigger issue with the college's investigation: Whether or not Parrett's acts were "insolent, insubordinate and disruptive," there's only the thinnest case that she has even violated any rule. "Not any that they've been able to point out to me," says Parrett. Indeed, there's a strong argument that LWTech's investigation has violated both its own internal guidelines (Snider pointed me toward multiple relevant clauses in the union-negotiated employment contract) and Parrett's rights as an employee of a public university.

From the outset, it's been clear that it would be difficult for LWTech to legally punish Parrett. As noted above, an employee of a public college benefits from strong First Amendment protections. Lindsie Rank, a program officer at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), described the disciplinary process that Parrett was subjected to as "viewpoint discrimination" in a letter of concern the organization sent to LWTech last September. While requiring professors to attend diversity trainings is not generally seen as a violation of their free speech, public colleges "generally may not force faculty to conform to a political orthodoxy, or compel them to express political viewpoints, under the guise of diversity training," another FIRE staffer told Inside Higher Ed in a story about a different controversy.

Parrett and Snider successfully argued that after Morrison had sent her denunciatory all-campus email, there would be conflict-of-interest issues if the "official" investigation wasn't carried out independently. So the law firm Ogden Murphy Wallace prepared a 115-page set of draft findings on behalf of the school. Parrett sent me this, along with a second, 105-page collection of interview notes in February. According to these documents, the investigation was based on dozens of interviews with witnesses as well as "Relevant Evidence from the Zoom Chat, Texts, and Comments"—a Herculean effort to understand a four-minute interruption and its aftermath from every conceivable angle.

The documents describe Ames ("Complainant") as having been viscerally disturbed by what happened. "During the event, the impact of the Respondent's conduct on the Complainant personally was that it was a truly out-of-body experience," the notes explain. "Their ears were ringing, and they were sweating, and their heart was racing. It was super-stressful."

The draft findings represent a private investigator's efforts to determine whether there was "a preponderance of evidence"—enough for the case to move forward—that Parrett's behavior qualified for six fairly subjective descriptions that matched what Ames charged in her complaint. For example, the investigator evaluated whether Parrett engaged in "Insolent and disruptive behavior" and exhibited "Visible anger, yelling, and [a] divisive manner." The connections to actual, codified school rules are thin; at one point the investigator pulled some language from the "Faculty Teaching Handbook" to evaluate whether Parrett violated it.

"In 15 years at the college, 10 of which I have been involved in grievance resolution and contract bargaining, I have never seen or heard of [the handbook] being referenced as authoritative," Snider says. "The last two times it was revised, the revisions were done by administrative staff, not by faculty. The pamphlet has been without weight in labor-management discussions in the last 20 years." Elsewhere, the findings focused on whether Parrett violated the "values" of the college as "listed on its web page." It seems almost too obvious to point out that if a faculty member is deemed to have violated the "values" of their institution, but that "violation" doesn't map onto an actual disciplinary infraction, it has little disciplinary meaning. And yet the findings seemed fixated on such minutiae. Overall, more than 200 pages of documents built only a thin, circumstantial, and potentially constitutionally fraught case against Parrett.

According to Parrett, the college's campaign against her disrupted what would have been, COVID-19 aside, an enjoyable period of her career. Gaining tenure "gave me a sense of stability," she says. "I loved the school where I worked, I loved my students. And I was really excited to settle down, to have a job I knew I was going to stay at a place where I was really happy. We actually had [a] baby because I was on a tenure-track position." But during her investigation, she felt her life was "completely up in the air."

During that period, Parrett also started to slide down a conspiratorial rabbit hole, which ultimately led her to attend the "Stop the Steal" rally with her husband. I couldn't help but wonder whether this would have happened if she hadn't been so suddenly cut off from a full-time job, and in a way that would likely spark or exacerbate some of the grievances Trump is so skilled at stoking. That might have made for a tidier, more satisfying story, but Parrett insists it wasn't the case—she says she went to the rally partly because her husband said it was important to him. (Plus, the fact that she voted for Trump in 2020 means that, statistically speaking, she likely would have been susceptible to his claims about a "steal" no matter what.)

The Parrett investigation was very expensive for the college. In December, Parrett forwarded me an email from Meena Park, LWTech's executive director of human resources, in which Park noted that "the bill for the investigation is nearing $80k." That was just the cost of the investigation itself; according to Snider, it didn't include the other associated costs, like replacing Parrett in her virtual classroom or the labor various administrators have poured into this cause. In December, Snider estimated a much higher total: "I think we're closing in on a quarter of a million dollars so the administration can find an excuse to fire a tenured instructor," he told me. By now the total must be significantly higher. (LWTech did not respond to a request for comment about the price of the investigation.) This comes at a time when, as the Washington state–focused outlet Crosscut reported, the state's looming budget cuts "could dwarf those of the Great Recession."

'I Think It Caused an Incalculable Amount of Pain and Trauma'

Then, suddenly, the whole thing was over. On March 26, LWTech sent Parrett a note informing her that the final punishment had been determined: a written reprimand, paired with guidelines pertaining to her future behavior.

Well, it was mostly over. That document's language is strange in some of the same ways the draft report's language was strange. Snider isn't happy, for example, that the reprimand dictates that "Professor Parrett must not interrupt or undermine College efforts to fulfill the 2021-2024 Mission Fulfillment Plan…[including] Address[ing] and dismantl[ing] structural racism" (emphasis in the original). The fuzziness of this language could put Parrett at risk, since she has myriad disagreements with her college about how to fight structural racism and since she has every right to "undermine," within reason, a goal she doesn't agree with. Snider is on it, though: "I'm preparing a protest and yet another possible grievance requesting the references to topics Elisa may not discuss be eliminated," he says.

It is fairly remarkable that such a costly and convoluted investigation led to a written reprimand. I don't think anyone keeps stats on such matters, but it wouldn't be surprising if this were one of the more expensive written reprimands in community-college history. If LWTech had proposed this outcome back in June, in lieu of suspension and the protracted investigation, Snider says he would have encouraged Parrett to take the deal.

She likely would have agreed. "I would have accepted a written reprimand at the start of this process if it had been offered," she says, "but I do not think I ever could have accepted a demand that I stop voicing my dissent publicly." It didn't matter, because no such deal was offered anyway. (LWTech did not respond to a request for comment about why it did not present Parrett with such an offer before embarking on its investigation.)

The drive to punish people for political disagreement is a human thing, not a liberal or a conservative thing. Illiberal crackdowns on speech flow from right to left and vice versa. In 2018, for example, I reported on an incident in which a CUNY student was investigated for a comment about Zionism that a pro-Israel student said she found traumatic. Were it not for the intervention of the legal-aid organization Palestine Legal, he could have faced institutional consequences for what was clearly an act of protected speech. In that case, as in Parrett's, administrators intimidated the accused without clearly stating what rule he had broken. More recently, some conservative state legislators have sought to ban diversity trainings that make certain "divisive" left-wing claims—Iowa legislators, for example, are seeking to ban the claim that Iowa itself is fundamentally racist. Whatever you think of that opinion, making it illegal to state it during a training represents a clear attempt to stifle political speech during diversity trainings.

But despite the fact that "both sides do it," stories like Parrett's arguably represent a worsening issue in progressive communities. This isn't something that can be easily measured, leading to disagreement about whether it's a problem worth focusing on at all—hence the common claim that anti–"cancel culture" pundits are just stringing together scattered anecdotes and have some ulterior motive, like a desire to be able to spew bigotry without censure. Perhaps the best way forward is to table that sub-debate and focus instead on the specific features of these blowups. We can discuss whether these features are worrisome without coming to a full agreement about frequency or trendlines.

In parts of academia and media, it appears to be increasingly common for left-leaning people to make inflated claims of harm when they are exposed within their community to opinions that might rate as blandly center-right or even center-left in a broader context. In other words, the victims of these inquisitions are often accused of having perpetrated a level of harm that would strike a reasonable observer as a profound exaggeration of what occurred.

Parrett's case is drenched in harm claims. According to the LWTech administration, hundreds of her colleagues were rendered so distraught by her words they couldn't even do their jobs. She also needed to be punished, according to Ames, for the harm she could commit against a hypothetical student from a marginalized background. 

In progressive communities threatened by illiberalism, this hysterical style of accusation is now commonplace. Take the story of David Shor, the young data scientist fired by Civis Analytics after tweeting a link to a study suggesting nonviolent protest is more effective than its violent counterpart. After his tweet, Shor was accused, as his chief antagonist Ari Trujillo Wesler put it, of committing an act that "reeks of anti-Blackness." Then, as Jonathan Chait reported, he was kicked off an important professional listserv because, as the moderators of that listserv explained to thousands of his colleagues, he "encouraged harassment that led to death threats instead of choosing to learn and grow from his mistake." No evidence was provided for those charges.

Similarly, in 2017 the philosopher Rebecca Tuvel was accused by a fellow professional philosopher of "enact[ing] violence and perpetuat[ing] harm" via a controversial paper she wrote on "transracialism" (though in that case, while she endured an alarming ransacking of her reputation, she wasn't fired or deplatformed). And just last month, when The New York Times covered the fallout from a Journal of the American Medical Association podcast in which the concept of structural racism was mildly criticized, the article included a quote from a physician who described the podcast in terms one might reserve for the drive-by shooting of a toddler. "I think it caused an incalculable amount of pain and trauma to Black physicians and patients," she said. "And I think it's going to take a long time for the journal to heal that pain."

Some people are likely, again, to write these examples off as meaningless anecdotes. But many intellectuals have been noting this tendency toward inflated claims of harm on the left for a while now. In 2016, the Australian psychologist Nick Haslam wrote a key paper, "Concept Creep: Psychology's Expanding Concepts of Harm and Pathology," that critiqued several examples from his own (overwhelmingly liberal) field. That in turn was picked up by Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic, whose article "How Americans Became So Sensitive to Harm" included plenty of non-ivory-tower examples. Other thinkers, on very different parts of the left, have noticed similar developments: That same year, Sarah Schulman wrote a book called Conflict Is Not Abuse that critiqued overstated harm claims in leftist communities. When an Australian psychologist, a heterodox American liberal, and a lesbian feminist activist are all criticizing the same phenomenon from different angles, perhaps it would be premature to write that phenomenon off as the fears of a bunch of old crusty white guys with outmoded views.

In this worldview, everything is a harm. There is no such thing as legitimate political disagreement, because we (the progressive in-group) already know the correct answer to every question (even if the answer can sometimes change overnight), and anyone who disagrees clearly—clearly—does so not because of some well-founded political or philosophical difference but because that person wants to harm the innocent people we are righteously hellbent on protecting. There is literally no other explanation for such a difference of opinion, and it doesn't matter whether the opinion being denounced is held by the majority of Americans.

It is simply toxic to treat mainstream disagreement about political issues as harmful and worthy of discipline. Yet in some circles, this style of zealotry is not just present but escalating.

"Dr. Morrison is ideologically committed to defeating systemic racism," says Phil Snider. "Heaven knows there's nothing wrong in the world with defeating racism wherever you find it. The problem is she has only one perception of how that's to be pursued, and anybody who suggests—Hey, there might be another way; can we talk about this?—is going to catch what Elisa has caught."

It would be nice to imagine that what's going on at LWTech is restricted to one cartoonishly out-of-control college administration. But that's just not true.

NEXT: U.S. Saw Fewer Suicide Deaths in 2020 but More Drug Overdose Deaths

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  1. Whether or not Parrett’s acts were “insolent, insubordinate and disruptive,” there’s only the thinnest case that she has even violated any rule.

    Ahem. The fact that she had to be investigated for nine months makes a very strong case for violation! /sarc

    Let the lawsuits begin.

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    3. Suing is really her only option.

      My take on this is threefold.

      1: This is nothing new, I was subjected to this more than 30 years ago.

      2: She is lucky that her body wasn’t found face-down in a ditch somewhere. I do not say that lightly — and while institutions are less willing to let loose the thugs on faculty, that is changing.

      3: They will inevitably “get’ her for something else later — that’s what the language is about, and something will inherently be construed to be in violation of that. I’ve seen this done way too many times.

      The other thing that a lot of people are missing — when someone goes from supporting Jill Stein to Donald Trump, that’s not a minor political shift, and it’s reflective of where this country is going, regardless of if higher education wants to admit that or not…

  2. The white fragility argument is the most maddening of arguments because it’s simply an argument that you’re racist and the more you deny that you’re racist the more it proves that you are racist. It’s being condescended to by your inferiors.

    1. “Let us have a free-flowing conversation (about race especially)”…

      REALLY translates to…

      “You sit there quietly while I lecture you”!

      This has been going on since the Clinton Administration, and probably longer than that!

      1. This has been going on in Chicago since busing in the 80s. Take a look at how wonderful it as turned out. This summer will be an epic slaughter of innocent people and a “banner year” for murderers, looters, and race baiting.

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      2. I don’t think sitting quietly allowed. Silence is violence! after all. Enthusiastic support of the program is mandatory to avoid suspicion.

        1. Exactly. I’m feeling the Germany 1930s vibe going on lately.

          1. I’m thinking China in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

            1. Can’t it be both?

              1. As long as it’s not a 1994 Rwanda vibe. Look up “mirror politics”.

                In truth, our best possible outcome would be for this whole thing to be no more than the “Red Scare” of the 50s. Which, contra about 40 histrionic Hollywood movies, resulted in little more than the disruption of several Hollywood screenwriters’ careers.

          2. Wow. Good thing you’re not a Disney employee!

    2. Denying you have a drug problem is a sign you have a drug problem.
      We let this shit get started decades ago.

      1. Google “Gaslighting.”

      1. … basically what JesseAZ and his bffs do anytime someone is critical of the former president.

        1. True that.

          1. Nice samefag, White Overflow II.
            And conversely, it’s what you and your sockpuppets do anytime someone contradicts the DNC party narrative.

            1. fuck off tulpa or tulpa’s buttrose

              1. It isn’t criticism in general. It’s just that you and Dee, Jeffy/DOL, Buttplug, etc, make up a lot of leftist TDS bullshit.

                There is plenty to legitimate criticism towards Trump. The man is far from perfect, and didn’t always make the right call. You guys paint him as the stupidest person on earth and make up lots of bullshit that isn’t true, or lull it from democrat propaganda mills that do.

        2. Retard. A Kafka trap means the accused is extra guilty because they deny their guilty. WTF is apposite about that here, you TDS end-stager?

    3. > It’s being condescended to by your inferiors.

      Not an argument in your favor. Pro-racist is not the appropriate counter to capital-a anti-racist.

      1. It is being condescended to by someone making a fallacious argument. The capital-a anti-racist argument assumes privilege regardless of circumstances.

      2. It is a simple fact that it is impossible to be condescending after getting punched in the face. The whole conversation changes tone. What is the point of arguing with a race-baiting idiot? We need to re-structure the “Knock Out” game while the mask wearing is still in place.

        1. I said…. +++++

      3. Not an argument in your favor. Pro-racist is not the appropriate counter to capital-a anti-racist.

        How exactly is “People who argue X are idiots” a “pro-racist” assertion?

        1. Obviously, the “People” making the initial argument feel that the race they are “offended for” are idiots.

    4. “” the most maddening of arguments because it’s simply an argument that you’re racist and the more you deny that you’re racist the more it proves that you are racist.””

      Just throw her in the water and see if she floats.

  3. [O]ne in which disagreement on mainstream political issues is reframed as a form of harm.

    Civil wars are not ignited from nothingness. If you are going to demand that people shame, shun, intimidate, harass, beat, imprison, and execute their political enemies, you damn well better make sure that there is a virtuous foundation for such conduct that helps people sleep at night, or a sufficient enough threat to their own safety (but, that comes later).

    1. Pol Pot slaughtered all the “educated” people during his purge. I never understood his motives until recently.

      1. Wearing glasses was a crime under that regime. As were un-calloused hands.

        But so few seem to learn anything from these.

      2. Pol Pot didn’t have to deal with a long history of respect for educated bureaucrats and teachers like Russia and China. Where Stalin and Mao had to replace those people with subtlety, Pol Pot just lined them up and shot them.

        In America, the Marxists infiltrated academia and kept quiet until they had tenure. They will soon do away with that tradition because it serves people who might disagree with them.

        1. During the cultural revolution Mao and his Red Guards were anything but subtle when they targeted the educated. Most of the most barbaric struggle sessions were hosted by university students and featured their professors.

          The most brutal lynch mobs always feature university kids.

  4. The woke inquisitors come for all. Progressives are just awful people.

    1. Yup, the left doesn’t cancel others because they’re good people who just feel too strongly about injustice.
      It’s because they’re terrible, awful, evil people who are using injustice as an excuse to indulge their garbage natures.

      1. “Courageous conversations”.

        Haha. Jesus fucking Christ.

  5. “Parrett is far from a perfect victim.”

    Nice, start the discussion with blame the victim. Was her skirt too short, as well?

    1. Or perhaps she was provocatively dressed in a MAGA t-shirt?

    2. “Really, I prefer my victims to be bound, gagged, drunk, stripped naked, and maybe a little retarded before I’m really in the mood to defend them.”

  6. …whose heterodox politics led her to vote for Green Party nominee Jill Stein in 2016 and for Donald Trump last year.

    She’s not only a heretic but a lunatic!

    1. Dunno, I can see a justification for least worst on the ballot for both choices …

      1. I love Trump but I voted for Mike Castle in 2016 as the “least worst” and “most libertarian” candidate on the ballot. 2020 for Trump.

        1. I say I voted for Kanye West so that people will look at me funny and change the subject.

          1. Don’t blame me, I voted for Thanos.

          2. I hope Kanye is Trump’s VP pick the next time around.

    2. I actually know someone in real life who voted that way. Once you get Team Sports out of your head it’s not as crazy as you think from your Orange colored glasses.

  7. She didn’t like the rise of the concept of “safe spaces,” or certain aspects of what she calls “capital-A anti-racist pedagogy,” which she views as being distinct from mere opposition to racism.

    So it turns out that the racists are the good guys after all! Who coulda guessed?

    1. These people fail to understand that it is not illegal, nor is it immoral, to be a racist. You can’t force people to like just as you cannot force people to hate. Blaming one group exclusively, white males, is going to backfire in spectacular fashion.
      If any of these woke, two bit professors wants to get a very real class on racism, I’ll give them a one way ride to the Chicago ghetto on a summer evening for a quick “field study”. I’ll film the event to ensure that the rest of these race-baiting buffoons gets the data.

      1. Grow up as a white kid on the southwest side and you will quickly learn what raceism is

  8. Impeach Obama! He and his Black Supremacist Muslim pals incited INSURRECTION and the murder of Capitol Cops

  9. Reads like an unholy abortion arising from a conjugal union of Kafka and Solzhenitsyn.

    Tempting to write it off as a tempest in a teapot, just some crazy academics enduring the vapors arising from an interdepartmental disagreement. But it is impossible to not see this mental cancer spreading though all aspects of society.

    So we have an impending economic [from government fiscal irresponsibililty] collapse, political discord, and social implosion on our horizon. It’s enough to make you a prepper.

  10. My biggest takeaway from this article is the jaw-dropping inability of “professionals” to tolerate and comprehend even the smallest deviation from their desired mindset and narrative.

    How can educators and researchers learn about, explore, and teach about humanity and the world if the slightest inconvenient fact or statement sends them scattering to safe spaces and counselors? These are some of the most simplistic, incapable, emotionally fragile people I could ever imagine.

    1. Yes, this. But I also think a lot of it is posing in order to win the battle without sounding like raving mad lunatics as they often do. More a wah wah you hurt our widdle feelings rather than we’re pissed off and coming to get you.

    2. Either they really are that emotionally fragile and have no business engaging in rigorous debate or they are pathological liars making shit up to advance their careers. No other possibility.

  11. That was long. Reason must pay by the word
    Elisa Parret sounds like a cool chick.

    The “both sides” boilerplate is a bit of a reach.
    In 2018, for example, I reported on an incident in which a CUNY student was investigated for a comment about Zionism that a pro-Israel student said she found traumatic.
    Is CUNY “the right”? Is the pro-Israel student?

    1. “Both sides” may do it, but the vast majority seems to be coming from one direction….

  12. I earned $5000 ultimate month by using operating online only for 5 to 8 hours on my computer and this was so smooth that i personally couldn’t accept as true with before working on this website. if you too need to earn this sort of huge cash then come and be part of us. do this internet-website…….

  13. This reminds me of a job my brother and I had done for a psychologist years ago. He had bought this big old house in town that he was having re-modeled as an home/office and wanted us to put up some fairly elaborate crown moulding in the front room. So we agreed on a price and we put up the crown moulding and then the psychologist, who was there watching us work, didn’t want to pay us as much as we had agreed on, not because he wasn’t happy with the job but because, as he said, he didn’t know putting up crown moulding was much easier than he thought and we didn’t work that hard. My brother sarcastically replied that if he had known we were going to be paid by how hard we worked he would have broken out the hand saw and hand-nailed all the trim. The psychologist immediately accused my brother of being passive-aggressive and defensive and suggested he might have some psychological issues. My brother just laughed and pointed out the whole reason the guy had hired us in the first place is because we were professionals, we had done this shit a thousand times before and it’s a pretty piss-poor professional who can’t make a difficult job look easy and the job looks easier if you’re using several thousand dollars worth of professional tools to get the job done and he wasn’t buying any of this psychology bullshit.

    We wound up having to threaten to take the guy to small claims court to get him to pay up, but we did learn one valuable lesson from the experience – no matter how easy the job is, do plenty of cussing and complaining about how difficult the job is to convince the homeowner you’re doing hard work.

    1. Good story. Not just about not making a job look too easy, but that there are plenty of entitled assholes you are going to have to deal with, in the course thereof.

      1. Just the opposite: I know that if someone makes the job look easy, he knows what he’s doing.

        Go ahead, *you* trying hanging wallpaper without turning the air blue.

        1. Late reply, but I hate fucking wallpaper. Won’t touch the stuff.

          1. “Fucking wallpaper”

            I see your problem. Not enough lube.

    2. The line to use in that situation is “fuck you, pay me”. If they refuse, take the chiseler to court. DO NOT argue with the asshole, it’s a waste of time.


    3. How much does a psychologist make? Looks like an easy job anyone could do..

  14. The party says there are five lights.
    You are not permitted to say that you see four lights.

  15. “it appears to be increasingly common for left-leaning people to make inflated claims of harm”

    Oh they are shrinking violets all right. They might appear tough but crumble under any pressure. Even their so called mafia goons run when confronted. Anyway this is Seattle so you can expect a lot of ridiculous behavior from obnoxious idiots with nothing to lose because they couldn’t hold down a job in the real world.

    The blue states and cities are crumbling. You know where to live if you want to live free.

    1. “The blue states and cities are crumbling. You know where to live if you want to live free.”

      I do. We are already living in different countries; I wonder at what point it will actually be divvied up?

      I will also be prepared when the denizens of those dysfunctional places hit the road in search of sustenance.

    2. The claims of harm or feeling threatened are magic words. It forces the university to investigate.

  16. How long will it be until the anti-racists propose their “final solution” to the racism question?

    1. 2023 is my guess

    2. The final solution (2023? hmmm ok) will be that none of the undesirables will be employable anywhere. I work in high tech where this nonsense is rampant, I fear that I will have to bow at the altar at some point so. I’ve already had to sit through one talk and explain my views as a white male (lying is sadly the only real tactic here).

  17. Of what do these dreaded “investigations” consist?
    Looking up your public records — birth, marriage, etc documents? Military documents? School records? Online comments? Interviewing old friends and exes?
    Are people supposed to be embarrassed or afraid?

    1. Afraid. For their jobs and their reputations.

      You live in a cave I guess.

  18. Wokeness, like Marxism, isn’t a solution to oppression, it’s a political takeover

  19. Jill Stein in 2016 and Donald Trump last year

    I can’t believe this woman would go on the record admitting that, especially living in Seattle. She can now look forward to the antifa lynch mob appearing at her door. At the very least, she has taken a crap on her own career prospects. Guess being well educated can’t get you common sense.

    1. Why would anyone ever raise an unpopular opinion? We should all just keep our heads down and fit in.

      1. Yeah in general I don’t advise people to say unpopular stuff in public unless they are financially and professionally secure. But it’s sort of the whole point of academia to say unpopular things.

  20. “In parts of academia and media, it appears to be increasingly common for left-leaning people to make inflated claims of harm….”

    And also everywhere else.

  21. So in a gathering of nothing but white people, someone disagreed with something, and everyone was so traumatized they couldn’t work. White fragility proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, though pretty ironically.

    1. That trauma was alleged by the admin but never demonstrated. “In both my response to Ames and a follow up with a university spokeswoman, I asked if I could speak with any of these alleged victims. I was never put in touch with any.”

  22. But what most concerned her was an upcoming diversity training in which faculty and staff would be divided into white and nonwhite “caucuses.”

    Because segregation works!

  23. If your employer attempts to inflict this shit on you, reply with “go fuck yourself, you guilt-peddling racist asshole.”


    1. Its more fun when youre black. Then they have to pretend to care that you think theyre racist.

  24. “More recently, some conservative state legislators have sought to ban diversity trainings that make certain “divisive” left-wing claims—Iowa legislators, for example, are seeking to ban the claim that Iowa itself is fundamentally racist. Whatever you think of that opinion, making it illegal to state it during a training represents a clear attempt to stifle political speech during diversity trainings.”

    The problem here was these trainings are mandatory! And as this article shows, any disagreements are harshly dealt with. I’m very much against making ideas illegal, but how else to practically deal with these “trainings” ? I agree they are heavy handed and silly, but if you may be fired for not attending them, I’m not sure what recourse you have.

    Most people do not want to deal with what this woman dealt with? I know I don’t.

    1. Seems the simple thing to do would be to pass a law explicitly stating that any training that segregates by race or states that only people of a certain skin color can perform or are guilty of any action, constitutes a hostile work environment. Cut liberal judges off at the kneecaps by taking away their ability to pretend equal protection under the law only applies to certain people.

      1. It’s a mistake to pass any new law, instead apply existing laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans discrimination in employment, and the penalties for denying a person’s civil rights are severe. The trainers, organizers, and corporate officials who authorize these trainings should be prosecuted for conspiracy to deny Americans their civil rights.

        Of course this needed to happen while non-leftists had at least a foothold in the national legal apparatus. But think tankers and non-left academics should be working on the case now so the next Republican administration can act on the plans.

    2. Such a law has been proposed on my state re: schools and what can be taught. As a social studies teacher, and a libertarian, I have no problem with the law. If we start from the position that the school is the state, the state has every right to decide what it will or will not say. And the particular law in my state outlaws teaching these “divisive” ideas as concluded fact only. It does not forbid discussions of them on an academic level. I could, under the law if passed, discuss that some people follow Critical Race Theory, explain what it is, discuss its pros/cons, and solicit views from the students. I could not, however, teach that CRT is definitively true. I could not say that a student’s virtues or vices can be concluded merely from their skin color or attempt to assign blame or victim status to a student by virtue of their gender.

      Given all that.. what is wrong with the law? It would seem OK for the state to forbid that I teach that children can fly, or that the earth is flat, or that Jews kill Christian babies as issues of decided truth (the last one we discuss in class as it was part of a lesson small German children were taught in the 30s). Why not forbid that I tell DeMarcus that all his problems are because of whitey (while he happens to be the most successful family in the class) while Timmy (whose parents are in jail for meth) owes DeMarcus yet another pound of flesh because… reasons?

  25. Beginning to want off this ride, these people are the fucking worst of humanity.

  26. “It’s the sort of thing one could find any day of the week in a David Brooks column, for instance.”

    Or, you know, most sane people on a normal day.

    I’m somewhat concerned about a standard of thought that requires a collaborating editorial column for acceptance. Good ol’ sanity and logic is good enough for me.

  27. It is time where we must defund higher education (including federal student aid grants) that are openly hostile and unabashedly racially discriminatory . No one should have to sit through this type of racially targeted humiliation. Time for a Janus expansion.

  28. Psychologists in the future will have a field day analyzing this part of our history.

    1. Actually, no.

      They are required to pass a litmus test to become licensed.

    2. Not for another one or two centuries until the cult has run its course. Remember that Das Kapital is only 150 years old, and the Fabian Society 130.
      Most death cults have a run of 250 – 300.

  29. These incidents/situations that make the news are the tip of the iceberg. It happens when the wolks don’t have their act together to shut down the dissent before it starts. Last fall I had an interview in an academic situation where they asked how I was holding up during the pandemic. I responded regarding the pandemic. They looked at each other and a significant moment passed. Then they had a few more questions and it was over. Only afterwards, when I didn’t get the job, I realized “talk about the pandemic” meant “say approved things about George Floyd’s death and BLM.” One of the interviewers had realized I was taking it literally and had a wry grin the rest of the interview. The ones who are good at this never let it get to the point with a tenured faculty member being stern on Zoom.

    It worked out better that that job didn’t happen. But it was an eye-opener.

    The thing about “harm” is if you try to say the censorship has gone too far, then you’re assumed to be defending all harm. The Kafka trap is real. I forwarded an article from John McWhorter’s substack recently and the person wrote back thanking me, subscribed to it, but also explained that I should never under any circumstances forward anything like that ever again and they certainly would not be either.

    Prediction, “fourth wave” a little later this summer, more police brutality, more riots. They’ll find a way to work in the “migrant surge.” I saw 2023 further up the thread, but it’s been too quiet lately. There are plenty of people who stand to gain from instability in the US who don’t care at all about the experience of Black people in the US.

  30. “She has robust First Amendment protections that do not generally apply in private workplaces”

    And the rest of us only have a worthless constitution regularly violated as a partisan weapon.

  31. She just needs to agree with the assertion. “Yes this college is racist and has been for some time now. Especially the current administration is racist. In fact if I was a person of color I’d be suing this college administration for its racism. And I would collect a bundle.” That should stop it.

  32. “a bestselling but controversial book focused on the difficulty white people have talking about race”, White person talks about race, and has a quarter million dollar investigation to try to take her job. Huh, maybe that’s why they don’t want to talk about it.

    She needs to sue them. Sue them for the equivalent of a lifetime of paychecks. After she allegedly hurt the feelings of 200 people, they spent months trying to destroy her. I suspect her feelings are hurt more then 200 times the feelings of any person who had to hear her 4 minute statement in the middle of a two hour conference on why she’s a bad person.

    When people want to support public schools, I’ve been given one more reason to say “no”.

    1. The difficulty many white people have talking about race is that they do not accept the idea of the collective guilt of white people. In other words, they fundamentally disagree with the premise of this type of training and are uninterested in playing along with its advocates.

      1. People in the USSR also had difficulty talking about politics. “Russian Fragility”, I guess.

      2. That’s not the premise, but wokeists could do a much better job explaining that. In their defense, you think it’s about guilt and shame because that’s what the right-wing assclowns you watch on YouTube tell you to feel.

        Responsibility isn’t about moral judgment, it’s an accounting ledger. Nobody is guilty of the sins of their ancestors, but the sins of our ancestors nevertheless have consequences for justice and fairness in the present day.

        Nobody’s asking you to sacrifice anything but bad manners.

        1. Nobody’s asking you to sacrifice anything but bad manners.

          That’s the most disingenuous statement any of us will read today.

        2. “Nobody’s asking you to sacrifice anything but bad manners.” Oh.

          “Political correctness is just fascism disguished as manners.”
          —- George Carlin

          1. George Carlin didn’t live to see Republicans become actual fascists.

  33. “…whose heterodox politics led her to vote for Green Party nominee Jill Stein in 2016 and for Donald Trump last year…”

    The woman seems, uh, ‘troubled’.

  34. Someone stands up and presents a reasoned argument about a situation. She is not met by a reasoned counter argument but an appeal to the hurt feelings of the listeners. If this is academic discourse then we are in big trouble.

    Every time a listener declares their emotional responses they are in fact de-humanizing any debate. Human beings solve problems by pitting arguments against each other until they reach an agreed action. As soon as you try to influence the course of action by referring to your emotions then you are exposing yourself to very real doubt in regard to your humanity.

    Emotions are very important in moving us but all movement must be reasonable and able to be argued. The inability of these listeners to present nothing but emotional responses shows how lacking they are in genuine human qualities.

    People who deny that racism exists may well be hateful and bigoted but those things are part of human nature. They are being human. Responding to arguments with a litany of your hurt feelings is not being human.

  35. These college administrators like to convince themselves that they are fighting against racism. In fact they are perpetrating racism at an institutional level.

    Their presumption always is that black people cannot tolerate any criticism and must be protected. Everyone should be protected from discrimination when it comes to color but that is not the same as protecting someone from views or opinions that they disagree with. No human beings have this ‘right’ to not hear disagreement. The administrators want to give black people something that no other human beings have a right to.

    They want to segregate black people on the basis of their supposed inability to tolerate opposing views. They are by their actions showing that they believe black people to be less able to take their rightful place in the human family. This is racism pure and simple.

    If black lives matter then they matter because of their humanity and any action by any institution which questions that humanity should be challenged.

    1. There’s racism and there’s PC racism. The Left knows which to practice with impunity.

  36. Does anyone want to comment about the fact that all the berserkers in this story are women? What ever happened to the first rule for success in life,” Don’t take it personally.”? These women seems utterly determined to take everything personally, to the detriment of all. It would almost make one think giving women the vote was a strategic error.

    1. Bitches be crazy.

    2. Giving women the vote was so that women could not exclusively blame men for their woes …… not that women still don’t blame men for their woes.

      But, at least men have that retort to use, that women now have power and are, thus, also responsible for their woes.

      So, actually, it was a good strategic move.

  37. I’m just surprised a tenured professor at a Seattle college would be so blind to what would happen when she spoke against the training.

  38. “[A]n understandably reviled political demonstration.” Kiss my ass.

  39. Sometimes SJWs in colleges go too far, especially in cherry-picked anecdotes.

    Any civil rights movement that demands sacrifices on the part of the wealthy majority is going to cause tension, and the more threatened white people feel, the less they’re going to care about civil rights, or even democracy.

    Step 1 is kill FOX News until it’s dead, so that fewer white people feel irrationally threatened.

    Once all the rightwing propaganda outlets are eliminated, we can start having good-faith conversations about the excesses of college professors we disagree with. If you have a PhD and work on the offenders’ faculty, your opinion might even be worth a shit to them.

    1. You did it!!

      FINALLY, a comment so stupid you killed a thread. Congrats.

      Veers awfully close to Rev Kuckland/Liberaltarian parody, but your reputation sells it.

      1. Deep down you know everything I say is true.

  40. “Report to Room 101 immediately.”

  41. this is quite common

    not just colleges anymore either

    our local HS was just in Federalist for their incredibly racist mandatory CRT training

  42. Institutions of learning, as well as other institutions like corporations and bureaucracies, should offer “desensitization training” along with “woke, anti-whatever” training, thus relieving the burden on society – i.e., other people – to have to walk on egg shells out of fear of offending someone with some rude or inadvertent comment.

    Desensitization is a proven therapy in many fields from developing tolerance to allergies to athletics to combat.

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