I know there comes a point in time when you say, okay, enough time, now things have got to change … if you need to legislate something or force something, then fine, you have those tools available. That’s why we have lawmakers. But the day the law changed to when black people could ride in the front of the bus, or not have to give up their seat, the day that law changed did not necessarily change the minds of the white riders. You can legislate behavior but you cannot legislate belief. Patience is what it takes. But patience doesn’t mean sitting around on your butt waiting for something to happen. Be proactive. And don’t just sit around and talk with your friends who believe the way you do. Invite other people who have differences of opinion.
–Conor Friedersdorf, Every Racist I Know Voted for Donald Trump
What feels like a “safe space” to one person can feel stifling or even “unsafe” to another. A sex-positive feminist may want to decorate her dorm door with a poster from a provocative art exhibition. An evangelical Christian across the hall might not feel “at home” seeing graphic images each morning upon leaving her dorm room. Yet forbid the feminist artist from decorating her door as she sees fit and she will find the space she inhabits seems less like home. The whole standard is untenable.
And I worry that some progressive college students are missing this inherent untenability by unconsciously proceeding as if there is a right to feel at home in college, but only for those with a “correct” or “enlightened” view of what home should be.
My correspondent has the best of intentions. But I fear that the best that could come of his framework is a place where students who share his ideology and temperament are very comfortable… and everyone else is not. Insofar as some aspects of home, like an environment free of racism, ought to be lodestars, it is because of their independent value, not because they are home-like.
But among my 30-something peers, I have so many friends and acquaintances, across the full diversity of identity groups, who regard the collegiate periods that were least like home––the semester abroad, the challenging roommate, the residence hall where it was forbidden to speak their native language, and yes, the late-night dorm debates with folks whose viewpoints they found offensive––as the times that most contributed to their education, their growth, and their later flourishing.
–Conor Friedersdorf, A College Is a Community but Cannot be a Home
He wants to lead the U.S. military. Yet he tells us that he had to act as he did partly because of a cartoon on the cover of a magazine. What could Vladimir Putin bait Donald Trump into doing with a strategic joke about his executive branch?
— Conor Friedersdorf, The Unnerving Insecurities of Donald Trump
It would indeed be troubling to watch Trump fall into the hands of a master baiter like Putin.