Jessica Valenti in Medium:
This week, racists marched through the streets of Orlando, flashing white power symbols in advance of a Donald Trump rally; the Democratic presidential frontrunner bragged about his ability to hobnob with segregationists; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the U.S. doesn’t need reparations because “we’ve” made up for slavery by electing a black president; and a political debate erupted over what exactly constitutes a concentration camp. And so, in the midst of what feels like pride week for bigots, I find it difficult to muster empathy for Kyle Kashuv, the Parkland-shooting-survivor-turned-conservative-activist, whose admission to Harvard was rescinded after violently racist comments he made in 2016 resurfaced. In this time of emboldened racism, we need schools, employers, clubs, and everyone else to send a clear message about what kind of behavior our society values, and what we find intolerable. The language Kashuv used is about as intolerable as it gets.
Prominent conservatives have argued that Kashuv shouldn’t be punished for something he said when he was 16-years-old. (Although what is college admission if not a judgment of who you are at 16?) More disturbingly, they argued that expecting young white people to not use racial slurs is an unreasonable standard of behavior. Conservative podcast host Ben Shapiro, for example, tweeted that Harvard’s decision “sets up an insane, cruel standard that no one can possibly meet.” No one? Really?