If Harvard is a racist institution, it’s not because of its past actions. It’s because of its current actions. Look no further than Harvard’s unjust, unfair, and implicitly racist treatment of Asian American applicants. Harvard still puts people in racial categories and judges their merit on those categories. That strikes me as far worse, and far more dehumanizing than Kashuv’s admittedly disgusting childhood remarks.
The difference between Kashuv and the Harvard administration is that Kashuv has apologized and stopped. Harvard defends and continues its practice. And while Kashuv made those remarks when he was 16 years old, the Harvard administration is made up of seasoned adult cynics who should know better. They should exercise better judgment, and should be held accountable for failing to do so.
Harvard may claim to believe that, other than Kashuv, every member of the Class of 2023 is a completely and utterly upstanding moral citizen who, in his or her 18 years of life, has never said or done anything regrettable. I’ll take the opposite bet. It seems entirely reasonable to assume that every single person admitted to Harvard this year — and every year — has done or said something offensive, silly, unkind, or unwise. It’s certainly possible that admissions officials at Harvard operate under the self-serving pretense that this isn’t the case. It’s also possible, though, and much more likely, that Harvard, like all institutions of higher learning, understands that children do and say horrible things sometimes. Rather than dumping Kashuv in an attempt to purify its intake, Harvard ditched him in a misguided attempt at quelling an online mob that wants to destroy anyone who obstructs its leftist and decidedly illiberal aims.