Readers on WSU culture wars, Nethercutt column

Letters to the editor

Readers respond to WSU culture wars, Nethercutt column
Rodney Dunning
A scene from the culture wars in Pullman


Yes, explore the perspective that some feel these hateful views are jokes ("Class Warfare," 9/28/17). But when the other side's perspective is summed up and portrayed like this:

"The college campus, many students feel, should be a 'safe space' protected from words or ideas making students feel uncomfortable."

...I'm not buying it. White supremacists get the writers' full sympathy while left-leaning students are lumped in with petty descriptions of "microaggressions," as though calling for "ethnic cleansing" is something small and they're just overreacting.

Apples and oranges. Nazis are not mere internet trolls, even if they started out that way, even if they don't like being called Nazis. Nazi opponents want to protect a lot more than somebody's feelings.

Shawn MacKay

Spokane, Wash.


Why did you miss the fact that "WSU: A Campus Torn" appeared during Banned Books Week ("Class Warfare," 9/28/17)? A high percentage of banned books concern racism. One frequently banned book is by Sherman Alexie, a former WSU student and a regional indigenous writer. Most book-banning originates in a far-right politics that insists on its own freedom of speech.

Your story assumes that only people of color want to curtail speech rights. University administrators seem to agree. But if speech were so free, then why does the far-right censor writers and scholars of color? We faculty of color fill far-right blacklists. Your writers — and administrators — need to ask who is censoring whom? Two years ago I was ordered to change the word "deferring" in my syllabus because Fox News and the university charged that it was coercive to "certain readers." But unlike those who attack our speech, I use the dictionary and know "deferring" is an innocent word. Who is silencing whom?

On campuses today, the rights of bigots are honored but not the rights of their victims. Hate speech is violence. Defending the hate speech of already empowered bigots, universities tell people of color that they are indifferent to our safety. Campus diversity programs have existed for two decades now, yet our campuses are more hostile to people of color. We don't need more diversity schemes. We need justice.

And your writers need a history lesson.

John Streamas, Associate Professor Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies

Washington State University


George Nethercutt is still trying to make that pig's ear in the White House into a silk purse, blaming the mainstream media for not getting on board with the oinking ("Deeds, Not Tweets," 9/14/17). He criticizes Democrats in Congress for not supporting the "superbly qualified Neil Gorsuch," yet manages to overlook the fact that Obama's nominee, the also very qualified Merrick Garland, did not even get the courtesy of a Congressional hearing. What hypocrisy.

Ted Wert

Sagle, Idaho