J. Pharoah Doss: The inglorious bastard boom on campus

The baby boom was between World War II and the 1960s. When baby boomers reached adulthood, their elders criticized them for being self-centered and materialistic.

The boomers were dubbed the “me-generation.” 

Millennials were the grandchildren of the “me-generation,” but the Millennials, who became social elites, birthed the me-me-me generation. The me-me-me generation was not just another surge in birth rates; it was an inverted bastard boom.

In Shakespearean times, the bastard child could not inherit. The original goal of higher education was to pass on a cultural inheritance to the next generation, but the me-me-me generation has rejected their inheritance as a rite of passage.

For example, student activists at Columbia University in New York violated school policy by establishing a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.” Hundreds of student activists pitched tents in the middle of the campus. They gathered to criticize the Israeli government for perpetrating genocide against Palestinians in the current Hamas-Israel war. They also demand that Columbia University withdraw its investments in firms that profit from Israel’s military activity in Gaza.

These student activists copied a group of Columbia students who protested apartheid in the 1980s, leading to the university’s divestment from South Africa. The present divestment demand is an indictment against Israel as an apartheid state, but if the institution does not acknowledge Israel as an apartheid state, then the demand won’t make any sense to Columbia’s administrators.

Another group of students in the encampment waved Palestinian flags and chanted anti-Zionist slogans. They were not copying the 1980s demonstrations. These student activists were the inglorious inverted bastards.

The Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics issued its spring 2024 survey of voters aged 18 to 29. 15 issues concerned this demographic’s non-elites.

The top five were: 1. Inflation 2. Health Care 3. Housing 4. Gun Violence 5. Jobs

The bottom five were: 11. Crime 12. Climate Change 13. Taxes 14. Free speech 15. Israel/Palestine

Invert 1–15, and Israel/Palestine becomes the most important issue. One person at the encampment delivered a speech in order to invert their peers, who were more concerned with inflation than the Palestinian cause.

The speaker stated, “Let it be known that it was the Al-Aqsa Flood [Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel] that put the global intifada back on the table. And it is the sacrificial spirit of the Palestinian freedom fighters that will guide every struggle in every corner of the earth to victory. So, what are we willing to give up here? How far are we willing to go to lose all the trappings of a respectable life and these imperial spoils that we have been taught to value as individuals? As the great Black communist James Boggs said: The revolution to be made in the United States will be the first revolution in history to require the masses to make material sacrifices rather than acquire more material things. We must give up many of the things which this country has enjoyed at the expense of damning over one-third of the world into a state of underdevelopment, ignorance, disease, and early death. What will we do to gain back our humanity?”

Columbia’s “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” sparked similar protests at universities around the United States. Meanwhile, Hamas continues to hold hostages in Gaza, but these student activists think they can gain back their humanity by pledging solidarity with Gaza.

“Solidarity with Gaza” is doublespeak.

Nobody expresses solidarity with a certain location. Their support is either with the Palestinians or Hamas. By employing the slogan “solidarity with Gaza,” the student activists conceal their support for Hamas.

After weeks of protest, Columbia University told the students they could not grant their demands, but they were willing to continue a constructive dialogue; nevertheless, they had to immediately disperse the encampment, and those who refused would face suspension.

Columbia University’s president made two points clear to student protestors.

1). Protests must adhere to time, place, and manner restrictions, which prohibit loud protests at night while other students are attempting to sleep and study for examinations. One group’s freedom to express their opinions cannot be at the expense of another group’s right to talk, teach, and learn.

2). Our values, as well as our duties under civil rights legislation, require us to condemn hatred and protect all members of our community from harassment and discrimination. Anti-Semitic language and actions are unacceptable, and calls for violence are simply abhorrent. Many of our Jewish students, among others, have found the atmosphere intolerable in recent weeks. Many students have left campus, which is a tragedy.

However, a group of activists fled the encampment, broke into an academic building, barricaded themselves, and continued to make demands. New York City police rapidly reclaimed the academic building and arrested around 300 people.

After the police intervened, student activists around the country insisted that America just proved to the world that it was a fascist police state.

Unfortunately, that was not what America’s enemies saw.

According to Reuters, officials at Yemen’s Sanaa University praised the American students’ humanitarian stand against Israel’s military actions in Gaza. Sanaa University offers suspended American students the chance to finish their education in Yemen.

There is one problem.

The Houthis dominate the area around Sanaa University. Iranian-backed Houthis, known for disrupting international shipping in the Red Sea to support the Palestinian cause, are considered worldwide terrorists. The extent of the Houthis’ influence at Sanna University remains unknown, but it is assumed to be significant.

Sanaa University officials did not offer suspended American students the opportunity to study abroad because they valued their humanitarian stance. They believe that inverted bastards will be more effective allies in reducing America’s global influence than the useful idiots of the previous generation.



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