Yeah, Nobody's Gonna Shut Up About The Racist Who Didn't Get Into Harvard (The Real Racism)
Parkland High School student Kyle Kashuv was denied admission to Harvard. You wouldn't think this is a story of interest to anyone but Kyle Kashuv. Harvard denies admission to a lot of people. It rejects more applicants than it accepts. That's what it does. It's like how the panel on "Morning Joe" is wrong more often than it's ever right.
Harvard had originally accepted Kashuv and then went "Yikes! Stay away!" after evidence emerged online of Kashuv throwing around racial slurs like a common Quentin Tarantino movie. Kashuv repeated the "n-word" 11 times in all caps in a shared Google study guide his classmates used to prepare for an AP History exam. Black students attend Parkland. Our question now is why he wasn't disciplined for this at the time. No one should use all caps that much.
We think it's the easiest thing in the world for someone to go their whole life without using the "n-word." But Ben Shapiro claimed that it's an "insane, cruel standard no one can possibly meet." This means Shapiro has likely used the "n-word" himself. If a conservative meets a personal moral standard, they can't resist gloating about it and judging others who don't. That's their entire approach to poverty.
Conservatives claim to oppose "identity politics" but they are quick to define Kashuv by his "identity" as a right-wing hack wannabe. NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch even suggested that Kashuv's downfall was directly related to his opposition to gun grabbing. Shapiro makes several mistakes here, in addition to including his photo with the article. Kashuv's remarks weren't private. He ejaculated racism on a shared Google doc. And if he thought his text messages would remain private even as he became a public figure, he's too stupid to go to college. We're also unsure of what private racism even is. Is it like "private dancing"? Private racists are the ones who sit on juries and who review resumes. We're all for the exposure of private racists.
Kashuv only "apologized" in the first place because he got caught. He also tries to justify himself more than actually apologize for anything.
KASHUV: I was in a friend group where we were saying the most shocking things for the sake of shock value, and you know, in the same kind of messages, I said extremely anti-Semitic things, and it's not representative of who I am because I go to synagogue every week, and my parents are Jewish. This isn't ... who I am.
Yes, this is exactly who you are. You are your actions, not your aspirations, which no longer include attending Harvard.
There's no evidence that Kashuv feels remorse for his past behavior, just regret over his current loss. Harvard can accept his apology. It just doesn't have to accept him. We also dispute the notion that Kashuv has shown "growth" in any way, and Shapiro, debate champeen and "cool kids' philosopher," plumb forgot to cite the "evidence" his headline claimed. Besides, few black people would consider Shapiro an authority on someone's lack of racism. Shapiro mocked a dead black teenager on what would've been his birthday, because he's a horrible troll posing (poorly) as a human being.
Yes, Kashuv survived a school shooting, which no child should have to experience. But that event alone, no matter how traumatic, didn't magically make him less racist. Rudy Giuliani lived through 9/11, after all.
There's nothing "broken" about universities excluding racists. Harvard admitted just 1,950 students to its 2023 class. If we can't impose a zero tolerance policy on the "n-word" for 1,950 kids born during the seventh season of "Friends," it's our society that's irrevocably broken and horribly racist.
Harvard also has an obligation to the 15 percent of incoming freshmen who are black. A black kid is damn near perfect for most of their life and ends up sharing a dorm room with some racist asshole. They might as well have gone to the University of Alabama and saved a few bucks. Our sophomore year roommate at the University of Georgia was a Confederate-flag displaying good old boy (and likely closet case, but that's another story) who boasted to someone on our floor that he "wanted to kill" us. Why? Because "there'd be one less [n-word] in the world." (He did not actually say "n-word," obviously. He had standards.) His logic was sound -- if we died, there would in fact be one less (n-word) in the world -- but we still decided to go with a single room our junior year. That was 1994. We shouldn't make excuses for youthful "racial indiscretions" in the year 2019.
Not doing "dumb stuff" seems like a fair expectation for admission to an elite institution. We were unaware that anyone has a constitutional right to attend Harvard. Kashuv's former Turning Point USA colleague Candace Owens, who is really stupid, suggested that Americans should lose their citizenship if they burn the flag. Did we mention how stupid Owens is? Losing a spot at Harvard for glibly uttering the most vile racial slur in history seems like a slap on the wrist by comparison.
It's also more than just "dumb" to casually toss around the "n-word" not long after the Charleston church massacre where a white supremacist murdered nine black people at their place of worship. It was such an abhorrent act that even the "heritage not hate" crowd, including Lindsey Graham, supported the removal of the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds. South Carolina is right next door to Florida. Any decent white person should've tossed out the "n-word" along with the rebel flag.
Now we're just entering Sillyville, a gated community where the residents are overly forgiving of their racist kids. Conservative defenders of Kashuv are focusing on how his prior bad acts reportedly took place when he was all of 16 -- way back in the distant past of two years ago. Colleges do judge potential applicants on what they do when they're 16 because that's when they're in high school. We probably could've gone to Harvard if they'd ignored the year we took trigonometry.
The scary takeaway is that conservatives think white kids just run around saying racial epithets. It's perfectly normal, like when they lock themselves in the bathroom for an hour or so.
Kashuv was a Harvard student for negative three ScaramuccisTwitter
Whenever a white male is threatened with consequences for his actions, there is backlash from conservatives. This is because consequences are for non-white men: The 16-year-old girl who can't have an abortion or the 16-year-old black kid who the cops shot because he moved funny. They aren't going to Harvard either, but conservatives are fine with that.
Will anyone rescue Kashuv from his self-made prison of consequences? Someone on Twitter seriously suggested that Barack Obama, the first "n-word" president, take time away from his best life to #SaveKashuv.
Green Book was just a movie, guys. Black people can't be Bagger Vance for every white person who screws up. Kashuv could use help, though. He was on Fox last night and argued that Harvard should reconsider its decision because its past faculty has included slave owners. How did this kid get accepted in the first place?
Moral formation is not like learning math. It’s not cumulative; it’s inverse. It’s through the sins and the ensuing… https://t.co/Bbnj4GdxbL— David Brooks (@David Brooks)1560814706.0
And here ... no, White Devil. Not today. We are done.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."