An interesting panel at this weekend’s Roanoke Conference was titled “Free Speech and Identity Politics.” The panel included Benjamin Boyce, an Evergreen State College alumni and a vocal critic of the school. Andy Ngo with The Post Millennial, who recently received national attention for being attacked by Antifa protestors in Portland, and Kan Qiu with Washington Asians for Equality which was recently successful in defeating Referendum 88.
Boyce detailed Evergreen administration’s actions that led to the 2017 civil unrest on the campus. Boyce said the school made race the core issue of all aspects of college life. Whether someone was “privileged” or “oppressed” was determined by skin color and by their sexual identity. White males are considered privileged and everyone must listen to the oppressed “no matter how stupid their ideas are.” Boyce said the atmosphere on campus was “like Germany in the 1930’s when government needed to find someone to blame.”
Ngo has long been targeted by Antifa because he has exposed the groups’ violent methods. Ngo said Antifa’s tactic is to call individuals who do not support its communist politics, “Nazis.” Ngo described the ironic fact that a recent public forum on Antifa’s violent tactics at the University of British Columbia was cancelled due to the threat of violence from Antifa. Ngo concluded his remarks by stating the mayor of Portland has yet to criticize Antifa’s violence and many liberal politicians have chosen to remain silent about the far-left organization.
Qiu warned that “identity politics divides people. It is very dangerous. It pits groups against groups.” As a Chinese immigrant who took part in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Qiu compared current identity politics to the Chinese Cultural revolution where individuals were sent to “re-education” camps because of their views.
Qiu also expressed outrage over Senator Patty Kuderer’s (D-Bellevue) recent ethnic slur at a committee hearing (for which she has yet to apologize). Qiu elaborated that Identity politics is the creation of the left and only those who do not agree with liberal politics are condemned. Meanwhile people like Senator Kuderer can make hurtful comments without punishment.
Conference emcee John Curley encouraged the crowd to stand up for those who are negatively impacted by identity politics. Curley gave the recent example of Nordstrom’s removing a Salvation Army holiday bell ringer away from its doorway because some employees were unhappy with the organization’s stance on gay marriage. Curley said the public should have written letters to Nordstrom’s and posted their outrage on social media.