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Deviance is defined by sociologists as the violation of expected rules and behavior by a member of a group, resulting in discord between the individual displaying the deviant behavior and the social context in which they reside. Though what is considered “deviant” varies greatly based upon a group’s conventional behaviors, deviance itself generally serves as a way for communities to define and clarify the socially normative behaviors and identities expected from its members. However, an individual’s motivation for engaging in deviant behavior has been subject to a wide range of sociological theories that have attempted to explain why people choose to renounce the establishment of their communities.
In their Feb. 12 Opinion Asks series, writers for The Dartmouth opinion staff unanimously condemned Dinesh D’Souza ’83 and the Dartmouth College Republicans for inviting him to deliver a lecture sponsored by the Young America’s Foundation, a seminal organization for young conservatives. Moreover, in its Feb. 22 Verbum Ultimum on minority identities, The Dartmouth editorial board proclaimed that Dartmouth is an institution “where conservatives invite individuals such as Dinesh D’Souza ’83 who spread hateful and intolerant ideas.” Notice that these writers fail to adhere to a journalistic maxim: support all claims with evidence. These two articles are part of a trend that I have observed among many students belonging to the Dartmouth left, some of whom are writers for and editors of the ostensibly conservative publication The Dartmouth Review. These individuals lambast Mr. D’Souza as a poor representative of American conservatism, to which I would quote National Review’s Jonah Goldberg and say, “If D’Souza is a ‘phony conservative,’ it’s hard to know who the real deal is.” Further, it is conceited to believe the College Republicans invite speakers solely to evoke a reaction from the Dartmouth left.
If there’s one thing that comes to mind when reflecting on the Trump presidency, it’s the astounding number of hate crimes and race-related incidents that have occurred before and after his inauguration. There are attention-grabbing shockers like vilifying Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists while on the campaign trail, retweeting white nationalists without remorse, his failure to attribute blame to Charlottesville white supremacist perpetrators and calling some of them “very fine people,” denigrating Native Americans, the Muslim ban, attacking kneeling NFL players — needless to say, the list goes on and on.
The offensive remarks and actions made by Dinesh D’Souza ’83 are so numerous that I can only begin to break down a few of his most egregious ones. I feel it is important to do so because many of D’Souza’s supporters seemed baffled that anyone would dare to claim he is a racist or a homophobe, even though his ideology is deeply rooted in provoking outrage with his offensive remarks. D’Souza proudly makes his shocking comments on his social media platforms and in his books, such as “Letters to a Young Conservative,” which I will be referencing throughout this piece. It appears that D’Souza is thrilled to capitalize off of controversial and hateful stances in order to gain more attention and followers. Perhaps I am feeding into his desires by putting the spotlight on him in this piece, but nonetheless I find it important not to let his dark past fade away from the public eye.
As winter term comes to an end, it’s as good a time as any to review the speakers the Dartmouth College Republicans have exposed our school to over the past two quarters: David Horowitz, Tawfik Hamid and Dinesh D’Souza ’83. The Dartmouth College Republicans speaker line-up responds to the age of post-truth unprincipled politics and amoral Republicanism with, “Yes, let’s do that.” Instead of inviting respected Republicans or policy analysts, the College Republicans have scraped the very bottom of the modern media landscape’s fringe punditry to produce a remarkable lineup of bigots and hacks. But let me back up my argument with facts — a novel idea to the men on the above list.
Dartmouth hails its diversity as an element that enriches its educational environment, calling it “one of [its] great natural resources.” The offices, initiatives and programs dedicated to promoting diversity on campus are flashed across marketing and outreach platforms, meant to demonstrate Dartmouth’s commitment to diversity and praise the impact they’ve had on students. At first glance, the demographics of the student body and the institution’s diversity efforts do appear praiseworthy; viewed more closely, though, it is difficult to ignore the unsettling nature of the language used to describe this diversity.
As a loather of the current President of the United States, I was surprised by my ability to find merit in one of Donald Trump’s main policies. While pondering the consequences of American dominance (a favorite activity of mine), I realized that, in a twisted sense, “Making America Great Again” is the answer to my prayers. I am an advocate for the reduction of power of nation-states and the growth of pan-global institutions. I believe that the dominance of one nation should be a fixture of the past and the remains of an old world order.
My intent was to write an article about U.S. tax reform — that’s why I went to Dirt Cowboy Café, my writing spot. I came in late in the afternoon, around closing time. It was quiet. I ordered my usual coffee, paid, found a table and realized I forgot to ask for a glass of water. A young barista whom I recognized but whose name I did not know brought me my coffee. I thanked her. Before I could ask for a glass of water, she said:
I hold my coat tight to my chest, the only protection from the biting Chicago cold. The sun just edges up from the jagged tree line, casting long shadows on the almost vacant Toys-R-Us parking lot. It is 4 a.m., and I could not be more awake. The year is 2006, I am 7 and my brother and I have managed to convince my mom to wait in line with us to buy the newly released Wii. A wad of ones and fives bulges in my pocket, dollar by dollar meticulously saved from the past year of birthdays, holidays and any odd jobs with which my neighbors would trust a 2nd grade child. Like everyone who arrived in line earlier than the store’s 8 a.m. opening, we had managed to snag a Wii, but the now outdated gaming console is, unsurprisingly, not what sticks with me all these years later — my brother ended up selling it to pay for some newer system. No, what sticks with me is the line.
The sense of disgust in one’s mouth is palpable when reading the racist anonymous messages sent to students and faculty members over the past few months. Thus far, at least 18 students and three faculty members have been targeted by racist and sexually explicit messages — that two of those students had been physically targeted with slurs put on their doors only makes the matter more disturbing. That most of the targets appeared to be Asian, and that this fact played a role in the bigoted mocking present in the messages is even more loathsome.
The 2020 presidential election is rapidly approaching. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign war chest grows to over $100 million; meanwhile, more and more Democrats are announcing their campaigns to replace him. America is not ready for another round of the polarizing, tribalistic turf war that increasingly defines this country’s presidential politics. Tensions still run deep from the toxic 2016 elections, and little suggests that the entrenched party elite on either side of the aisle will jostle for power in 2020 with any more civility than last time.
When convicted illegal campaign contributor Dinesh D’Souza ’83 tweeted Tuesday morning about his lecture at Dartmouth Monday night, he had little to say about the content of his “A World Without Walls” speech. Perhaps D’Souza — who started his career as provocateur by outing gay classmates while editor of The Dartmouth Review and has since gone on in his numerous books and movies to make abhorrent statements that do not merit repetition — felt as though his followers already knew what his brand of hatred had to say about the border. More likely, though, D’Souza saw an opportunity to stir up his base. “...the campus leftists yelled, chanted, obstructed, & even cried!” D’Souza wrote. “Despite the best efforts of these little fascists-in-training, the event went on ...” Fox News reporter Heather Childs parroted this idea in her coverage of D’Souza’s visit, claiming on Twitter and television that protestors had “harassed” and “verbally attacked” him.
I can’t speak anymore — not without people attaching the same searing comment, like a parasite, after every point I make. It’s rattled in my brain since my first term here as a freshman.
Four years ago, Dartmouth formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Grading Practices and Grade Inflation, and to quote Douglas Adams, “This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” Of course, the rationale seems both simple and unimpeachable: Dartmouth gives a lot of As, and if we keep going about it this way, soon everyone will have an A (and if that happens, Dartmouth isn’t doing its job). I added the part in parentheses because it’s an implicit assumption of Dartmouth’s approach toward education, and because I want the reader to read it in a stuffy bureaucratic voice that undermines it as a normative assumption about what Dartmouth’s job is. A giver of well-distributed grades is a terrible way to think about a college education.
We all know what winter means.