'Wokeness' at the University of Kent is out of control, writes Connor Tomlinson, with staff now joining some students in opposition to the 'divisive doctrine' present on campus. 

My alma mater, the University of Kent, has mandated students indoctrinate themselves with Critical Race conspiracy theories.

Among the ideological decrees Kent's Diversity & Inclusion department unpacked from Peggy Mcintosh's knapsack are that 'dress[ing] in second-hand clothes' and having 'neutral or pleasant' neighbours is white privilege. They also accused any dissenting non-white students of performing 'white ideology'. Doubling-down since this bad press, their Black History Month reading list emailed to students contains Kehinde Andrews, Ibram X Kendi, and Ta-Nehesi Coates.

Kent's academics have raised alarm over the ostracism of conservative voices on campus in the past; with non-intersectional left-wing staff now joining the chorus of non-compliance with this divisive doctrine.

But despite calls to defund universities for practicing this bigotry, conservative students should be encouraged to enrol in leftist courses. How else are we to wage the war on wokeness?

'Whiteness', according to the Smithsonian Institution, is an oppressive mindset that views behaviours, including individuality, punctuality, politeness, and hard work, as normal (the presupposition being that 'Blackness' involves the opposite of these things). Freedom to identify as an individual, and not an arbiter of a racial group, is 'white freedom' according to Coates.

It's apparent that 'white ideology' is just a projection by genuine racists, who profit from perpetuating racial resentment. They engineer animosity by segregating behaviours and beliefs conducive to success based on race, holding non-whites back; then blame the resulting inequalities on whites, and ask for donations to their endless sham activism. No wonder BLM's founder could afford to buy mansions after last summer's riots, when low-income towns were recovering from over $2 billion in property damage.

If we all got along, they'd be out of a job.

But this article wouldn't be necessary if Critical Race Theory weren't permeating our corporations and institutions. Coca Cola employed DiAngelo to berate staff into 'be[ing] less white'. The NHS pays Diversity tsars 70k annually to tell white people to be 'uncomfortable'. The Conservative Party paid for Parliament to undertake unconscious bias training; despite the test's creators disavowing. Only forty MPs abstained.

Now, the University of Kent too is isolating ethnic minorities from English liberalism, moral colour-blindness, and equality under law. Just as parents in America protest school-boards, the UK's students must play their part in fighting this new bigotry.

My university experience was a long dance between verbal landmines. I was often the sole non-woke one in the room. Some was self-inflicted: I took modules on Marxism and postmodernism, taught by open socialists and man-hating feminists. I was presented with works by communists Pablo Neruda, Michel Foucault, and Allen Ginsburg, without mention of their sexual predatoriness.

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My American literature module used Rutgers University's "feminist" curriculum: with obscure authors 'decolonising' the reading list, replacing Kerouac, Salinger, Fitzgerald, and Hemmingway. Lectures on the Founding Fathers called them irredeemable racists; before promoting Gloria Anzaldua's intersectional treatise on making America a borderless dictatorship chaired by non-white women.

It was all quite frustrating.

But isn't the purpose of University to challenge one's worldview through exposure to new ideas and debate?

Many academics disagreed. My incursions on their efforts to train the next generation of offense-free revolutionaries were unwelcome.

This affected my grades. I was marked down for 'anti-feminist sentiment', when citing polling from unmarried women self-reporting lower life satisfaction. One academic admitted to not reading my essay, 'distrusting' me because I challenged the postmodernist 'ideas [they] have stake in engaging with'. One dissertation marker graded it a first; another a 2:2, because he stated Soviet Gulags were not concentration camps.

Believe it or not, our Student Union was worse. Heir apparent to officers who promoted Zayn Malik during Black History Month, the new Union were involved in antifa, and aimed to start fights at right-leaning student events by 'bait[ing] them into being abusive'.

But I didn't retreat from my principles. These confrontations were necessary sacrifices to test my mettle against the coarsest of whetstones.

These academics, administrators, and activists were wrong to build this echo-chamber. University should be the catalyst for discovering and interrogating your values. Risk putting your head above the parapet, and for every shot Cancel Culture vultures pot across your bow, you're likely to find like-minds to network with.

Yes, the uncomfortable truth of humanities degrees are the £9250 annual fees indebting you to fund the same academics who see you as a 'privileged' enemy. You will have to over-stuff your intellectual bandolier. Read beyond the set material for each week's seminars. Be the first to pose contentious discussion topics. Stay stoic in the face of a full room of dissent. But these battles will refine your argumentative voice, teach you humility and patience, and are a precondition to reforming academia from the inside.

But the most rewarding thing about it all?

Sometimes you discover you're the voice for what everyone was thinking, but was too afraid to say; including academics. I met and was marked by as many academics who were on the left and hated censorship, as those who enforced woke tyranny.

This is not a call to martyr yourself; nor to take pride in contentiousness. Make your mission to speak truth rather than win arguments, and be assertive and authentic. You will make the most of your degree when you are willing to risk being wrong, and the only one in the room who is on the right.

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