Connecting the Dots: A response to Scott Yenor’s opinion piece in the Daily Signal by a concerned Boise State University colleague
There is something here. This is not random. There is a reason that I was contacted by both colleagues and community members expressing concern and outrage about an update from one of the campus departments, which shared an article, that one of their faculty members has recently produced. Folks that contacted me were concerned about the content of the article that they characterized (I think correctly), as derogatory of feminists, the LGBT community and people generally concerned with issues of justice related to gender. This issue arose just the day before the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va. became a national moment of attention. There is a reason that these things happened in succession and their proximity in my attention is no accident.
The article that folks were referring to is a piece written by a tenured professor at Boise State University, Dr. Scott Yenor, entitled, Transgender Activists Are Seeking to Undermine Parental Rights. Dr. Yenor’s ties to the Heritage Foundation should shed some light on the general “culture war” tenor of the piece, in which he posits, basically that feminism’s ultimate aim is something slightly less than cultural Armageddon, in which the real end to the march of progress that saw gay marriage as a victory, is a social order in which neither children nor parents have any rights protection with respect to one another in a sort of stalemate of gender sovereignty. His piece is easy enough to dismiss on logical grounds, but serves as a very telling peek into the pathetic fear of change gripping those that patronize such sources as the Heritage foundation.
It is also, however, the seed of a dangerous idea; the dangerous idea that those different from you are not just different than you, but that they actually have nefarious ends and seek to destroy you and everything you cherish. It is this dangerous idea that is the very same seed that, when nourished and allowed to grow, becomes the kind of hatred and intolerance that we saw on Display in Charlottesville. The anti-defamation league’s pyramid of hate (available on the anti-defamation leagues’ website) visually depicts the relationship between this kind of seed and its ultimate end. It is a meaningful graphic that brings into sharp relief the evolutionary relationship between behind closed-door cultural alienation as an individual and how those lonely individuals seek out like-minded others and eventually foster a sense that these fear based and misguided ideas should spur some action. The pyramid depicts a process which builds from bias to individual acts of prejudice that ultimately produce discrimination, bias motivated violence and build to a genocidal end. It is a powerful graphic that cites history as its ultimate author.
There is a direct line between these fear fueled conspiratorial theories and the resurrection of a violent ideology which sees the “other” as a direct threat to existence and therefore necessary to obliterate. It is not an absolute succession and it is not a line without potential breaks or interruptions. Not every person who agrees with Yenor’s piece is likely to become an espoused Neo-Nazi, but likely every Neo-Nazi would agree with the substance of Yenor’s piece. It is this troubling truth that should move us to more critically and forcefully call this connection out in a clear and plain way. Yenor’s piece includes a seed of hate that needs to be labeled for what it is, the spirit of an ideological animal called supremacy; supremacy of male over female, of straight over gay and of our way over yours. Supremacy is the root of genocide and this is a seed that we must label as clearly and plainly as possible as “toxic”, and a danger to all those that would handle it. I realize that some would call me alarmist for identifying such an association at all, but as someone that has grown up in the rural west, I just don’t know how you can deny the logic that reducing the impact of toxic seeds by identifying them helps us to ultimately control the character of what we will inevitably have to sow.
Director, Student Diversity and Inclusion