It's OK to Offend: The Wesleyan Bake Sale and the Word "Racist"

Ashley Thorne

  • Article
  • December 08, 2010

Peter Wood has published a new article at the Chronicle of Higher Education's Innovations Blog, "Racism at Wesleyan?" In it he reviews the recent controversy over an affirmative action bake sale at Wesleyan University, where Ward Connerly will be speaking today at 4:00. Peter argues against censoring the term “racist” but points out that the word can be abused as a label “to intimidate and to polarize,” as was the case at Wesleyan University. He writes that eliminating racial preferences in college admissions will help diminish racism:

We would as a society be better off if we jettisoned race from our consideration of how public goods such as college admissions are distributed.  Getting rid of race, like getting rid of racism, is far from easy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take the preliminary steps. One of those is de-institutionalizing racial categories.

His essay comes at a timely moment, when some politicians are making an effort to erase the words "racist" and "socialist" from our vocabulary.

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