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Thursday, April 21, 2005

elitist anti-elitests

It's funny, the Crimson OpEd page is really hit or miss. Sometimes, you'll get a totally inane column like this one (that argues that ethnic groups on campus shouldn't exist), and sometimes you'll get a wise something that is actually smart, reasonable, and non-obnoxious. Sometimes you even have to read things that I write (apologies all around).

I just wanted to point out this column from yesterday, about conceptualizing protests on campus, why they're done, how they're done and what effect they should have. It's a well-reasoned piece (mostly because I agree with it) and I highly recommend it. I've hinted at this in some of my column in the past (my frustration with the self-serving, unstrategic nature of some of the protesting left), and I think this argument captured my feeling (and likely others') well. I also wanted to build on a central point. Those who aren't strategic in how they protest are, despite their anti-elitist liberal ideologies, the worst elitists. (more in expanded post)

Ms. Strayhorn hints at this with her final line:
Quite simply, in a protest, the protestors are not the issue—and never should they be.
Quite right. What angers me (and yes, it is anger and not simply frustration) is those who do not prioritize the results of the protest, but are simply pleased to do so. I can handle the protestor who does something I think is unstrategic in their methods, but prioritize strategy and results for their protest. The people that infuriate me are those who are simply pleased with the action itself, with how clever it is, with how good it feels to vent their opinion, with the general high of being a part of a movement or cause. If those things are a motivator for people, I guess that's fine. It would be ridiculous to say that it was no part of what drives my passion for change etc. (hell, obviously I love venting).

BUT, when those things are primary, and impede change, that is when you are the worst kind of elitist. You are a self-serving, hypocritical liberal who hurts the people you claim to care about. Those people anger me.

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