The campuses’ encouragement of identity politics is seeping out into the wider society, too. Selective colleges and universities have long violated (and lied about violating) civil rights laws with racial quotas and preferences in admissions. And they routinely encourage blatant segregation — separate dormitories and orientations for black students, for example.
This fosters the habit of treating individuals as, in Sullivan’s words, “representatives of designated groups” rather than individuals. It assumes that everyone with a certain genetic ancestry or gender has the same views and that no one who shares that characteristic can ever understand the group — especially someone born with “white privilege” or into “the patriarchy.”
As one who has made a living for decades trying to understand the political views of people unlike me, I take umbrage. The more important points surely are that we are not prisoners of our genetic heritage and that as citizens of a democracy, it behooves us to try to understand others of all backgrounds and situations.
Sullivan is right; what is oozing out of campuses is creating a less free, less civil, less tolerant society. Can we reverse that as rapidly as — or more rapidly than — Sullivan, Rauch, and others reversed opinion on same-sex marriage?