University of Chicago instructor Rebecca Journey has accused a student at the school of inciting white nationalist terrorism against her after he drew attention to a class she was going to teach entitled “The Problem of Whiteness.”
The student, Daniel Schmidt, is sophomore at U-Chicago, where he has developed a reputation as a brash conservative student activist with a budding online persona.
Part of his activism includes exposing left-wing bias at his own university, which he did quite exquisitely in November when he posted information about Journey’s proposed class on social media.
In The Problem of Whiteness, Schmidt reported, Journey’s students would learn that “whiteness had resurfaced as a conspicuous problem within liberal political discourse.”
Like most left-wing “critical inquiry” jargon, you need a translator to parse what she is actually saying. But it doesn’t take a vivid imagination to predict what the typical conversation in Journey’s classroom might look like. It suffices to ask whether Journey and her ilk would shrug off another university offering a course called, “The Problem with Black People,” or a Harvard course, “The Problem with Asians”.
Backlash to Journey’s racially charged course offering was swift, and the class was eventually pulled for the fall semester.
Now, Journey, who got her Phd in 2021, is going on the attack against the student who put a spotlight on her work.
In a discursive post at ChicagoMaroon.com, Journey claims she’s the victim of a cyberbullying campaign that “placed a target on my body and therefore on my classroom.”
Schmidt never suggested any action be taken against Journey, but some people on social media were able to find her public email address.
“I won’t spend time here characterizing the 146 and counting taunts and threats to my body, safety, and psyche that have flooded my inbox since November 2,” she writes.
She then proceeds to quote extensively from what she claims is a batch of hate mail. I know from personal experience that the emails she calls terroristic threats would be known to a conservative radio personality or a Barstool Sports podcaster as a slow afternoon.
Welcome to the Internet, Doctor.
She blithely asserts that: since someone did a tweet or sent an email she doesn’t like, therefore violence has been committed against her.
It’s a type of power move liberals invoke when they’ve been exposed for harboring or advancing radical ideas, like teaching an entire class about white people being a problem.
If they’re the victim, you see, they can’t possibly be in the wrong.
She accuses Schmidt of “weaponizing his free speech to stifle” hers — an objectively false claim, since earlier in the post she says the “Problem of Whiteness” will still be taught in the Spring, and here she is using her free speech to smear Schmidt.
Journey concludes with harsh criticism of U-Chicago’s handling of the entire affair. (Again, for someone whose free speech has been stifled by mean Tweets, she seems perfectly capable and willing to use her free speech to respond to critics and attack her employer…) But then she goes in for her victimhood coup de grâce.
“The University has permitted the opportunist to terrorize an instructor, her students, and I would also argue our campus,” she writes. “Let me spell out the nature of that terror if it is not already clear. A teacher is not free to do her job if she is fearful that an armed white nationalist, activated by a provocateur, will track her down and shoot up her classroom.
“This is not hyperbole,” she writes.
Sadly, this is what passes for intellectual debate now on a campus typically held in high regard, even by philosophical conservatives. Although Journey does attempt to defend her course offering on its merits, she can’t stop there. She instead questions the motives of her critic, levels ad hominem attacks, and accuses him of inciting white nationalist terrorism against her.
The undercurrent of her entire post, like much of modern leftist rhetoric, is that freedom of speech is a problem, and institutions like U-Chicago need to use their power to punish those who use their free speech in ways powerful liberals oppose.
“This is America in 2022,” she concludes.