“My pronouns are…” said the tour guide. My friend, taken aback, looked at her son with a confused look on her face and quietly said, “What?”
This is the experience that my friend, a UT alumnus, shared with me not too long ago about attending UT’s orientation for the first time since her time as a student decades ago.
The place that she once called home felt unrecognizable. She was greeted with a new language and a new set of mores that were all foreign to her. In other words, the first impression that UT gives to anyone not already woke is: “We’re above you, more sophisticated than you, and we’re always political. Get in line or get out.”
Notice how I italicized the word “quietly” up above for good reason. My friend knew that speaking up about the absurdity of stating your own pronouns was not acceptable at UT. However, the problem is not with UT specifically, this is a common issue spanning across the left-leaning universities of our country. The problem is with the left’s intellectual class, who laid the groundwork for this woke, self-righteous, and intolerant university culture. They are responsible for teaching university students, for example, to think that the only oppression worth caring about is the stigmas that transgender, black, gay, or Hispanic students face; not to mention professors telling students that they need trigger warnings and safe spaces to protect against “oppressive” new ideas they don’t like.
Any left-leaning professor from the past would think these new forms of “oppression” are a joke. The left of the past used to teach about and fight against the economic oppression of blue-collar workers (coal miners, steelworkers, etc.). Yet, we rarely hear the left talk about that oppression nowadays. Why?
My guess is, as Eric Weinstein and J.D. Vance like to talk about, the left traded their working-class constituency for identity politics. And they did so because the working class tends to be very traditional, Christian, and love their country (which is why they are moving to the Republican party). Their beliefs just don’t accord with the new left who wants to blow up gender norms, upend traditional marriage, and scorn America — particularly our history, our presence on the world stage, and our system of government. So as the left identifies more with the elite and the right identifies more with the working-class, the left will continue to only define their fellow elites (e.g. university students) as “oppressed” because those who they used to consider as oppressed are too conservative for them.
And it is all quite ironic.
The intellectual left — the self-proclaimed champions of the little man and the oppressed — has created a sophisticated, albeit counterintuitive, social system where the oppressed are the highly credentialed progressive elites and the oppressors are anyone who is not, which includes the ‘formerly’ oppressed working-class. Anyone who has ideas to the right of Karl Marx is considered an oppressor and, therefore, must change or keep quiet.
To make it even harder for people (like my friend) to abide by their leftist doctrines, they’ve created a language that only those with university degrees, particularly those who took the right gender studies classes, are capable of understanding. Anyone who, God forbid, says the wrong pronoun in public could potentially become a pariah and undergo an impromptu Maoist struggle session in a feeble attempt to save whatever is left of their career. In typical Marxist fashion, the intellectual left has no tolerance nor forgiveness for those who transgress the moral dictates of their high priests, such as Ibram X. Kendi. The sinners must be punished, publicly, to set an example for the rest. In other words, you could argue that, perhaps, the intellectual left has become exactly what they swear to fight against: the oppressors.