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I’m skeptical about the soundness of this view: The university report justifies the view by saying that “Blackface minstrelsy first became nationally popular in the late 1820s when white male performers portrayed African-American characters using burnt cork to blacken their skin” and that “wearing tattered clothes, the performances mocked black behavior, playing racial stereotypes for laughs” — but it doesn’t follow to me that wearing black makeup without mocking black behavior or playing racial stereotypes for laughs should be perceived as offensive.Nonetheless, it is a fact (though one that Shurtz apparently didn’t know) that many people do, rightly or wrongly, view this as offensive.Orthodoxy, enforced on threat of institutional punishment, is what the University of Oregon is now about. This all began with a Halloween party hosted by tenured University of Oregon law school professor Nancy Shurtz.(I rely on the facts as described in the university’s report; Shurtz has questioned some of the factual assertions in this report, but these ones appear accurate.) Shurtz had invited her students, something law professors sometimes do; about a dozen students came, and about a dozen nonstudents did, too).Or for suggesting that there are, on average, biological differences in temperament or talents between men and women.All such speech at the University of Oregon will risk your being suspended or perhaps even worse.Why not sign up for an account and take our personality compatibility test today?
Shurtz’s “costume incorporated a white doctor’s lab coat, a stethoscope, black makeup on her face and hands, and a black curly wig resembling an afro.” The university report states that Shurtz “was inspired by this book and by the author, that she greatly admires [the author] and wanted to honor him, and that she dressed as the book because she finds it reprehensible that there is a shortage of racial diversity, and particularly of black men, in higher education.” But many people find whites putting on makeup to look black to be offensive.
Moreover, the report notes that, as part of the uproar, students said things of which the administration disapproved: The report specifically notes that students used “other offensive racially-based terminology during class times in the context of discussing this event and broader racial issues.” It related that “some of the witnesses reported that the students’ reactions to the event were racially insensitive or divisive.” And it apparently viewed such statements as relevant to whether Shurtz’s own speech was properly punished. So we have speech, at a professor’s home, but at a party to which she had invited her students, which in turn leads to speech by various people at the law school.