On academics and the culture wars with @ayjay:

Koganzon brings up some good points and I want to read Gray’s book. But she does not acknowledge the viewpoint of those on the outside enough. Gray’s quiet dignity pushed against Harvard’s institutionalized sexism, but I doubt the same strategy would have worked for James Meredith.

Her citing the Calhoun College controversy is telling. Calhoun was a white supremacist who fought like hell to enshrine the enslavement of African Americans. A college named after him sends the same message to Black students as a Joseph Goebbels College would send to Jewish Students.

There are certainly excesses of political correctness in academia, but declaring that it is no longer acceptable to honor a man who would have broke our country rather than accept any limitation on owning other human beings is not one of them. The true horror there is how long it took for Calhoun College to become a scandal.

Koganzon is right that change requires institutionalists like Gray working within the system, but she misses that the protestors at the gates are just as important. Often it is the fear of revolution that gets those in power to listen to the institutional reformer’s voice of reason.