San Diego State student-indoctrination video

Yes, this is from, and was publicized by, the right-wing site The College Fix, but I suspect this video is genuine. It shows what is reported to be a “sensory experience” that’s part of San Diego State University’s (SDSU’s) “student life” program, described by the university like this:

Each year, San Diego State University challenges its community to step outside their comfort zone and into the shoes of those who are struggling with oppressive circumstances.

Through an event titled “A Shared Humanity,” participants will be guided through a series of vignettes that highlight the many forms of oppression people face every day.

“A Shared Humanity” is an element of Residential Education’s larger goal to better inform SDSU students on a variety of social issues. The event succeeds in challenging predisposed beliefs and attitudes.

And according to the College Fix, some students were required to view this:

This year, some students were required to attend the event as part of their classes. During the experience, students are walked through a darkened multipurpose room to view a series of theatrical vignettes acted out by campus leaders.

For example, in this year’s rendition, held earlier this month, students observed skits that included a black man yelling at them to stand against and face the wall and not look at him.

“Let’s go! Face the wall! Don’t look at me,” the performer yelled as if he was a drill instructor commanding recruits. Then he went on.

“First they came for the Native Americans, but I’m not Native American, so I did not speak up. Then they came for the Jews, but I’m not a Jew so I did not speak up. Then they came for the gays, but I am not gay so I did not speak up. Next they came for the crippled, but I’m not crippled, so I did not speak up. Turn around. What do you see? What do you see?

“There’s one light left?” one student offered.

“One light. One life. My life, and when they came for me there was no one else to speak up,” the performer concluded.

Judge for yourself; it begins with a scenario that seems to justify the presence of illegal immigrants in the US, portraying ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) as nefarious and oppressive. That’s debatable, of course: in my view some of their actions are fine, others unconscionable. But to portray them this way is simple indoctrination.

“Jews will not replace us” is a cry of white supremacists, but I had to look it up. It could well be taken as a cry of Palestinians objecting to the presence of Israel! There’s an amateurish anti-Islamophobic video, and you can watch the rest for yourself. I suspect most of us agree with most of the sentiments, but this is simply authoritarian brainwashing imposed on students at a state university. It’s not the business of colleges to engage in political indoctrination.

24 Comments

  1. daveyc
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m puzzled by the fact that you had to look up “jews will not replace us!”. It was one of the rally cries at one the recent neo-Nazi rallies. It received HEAVY coverage in the news and I very much doubt it would be confused for anything other than what it was.

    • Posted December 2, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Well, call me ignorant; maybe I didn’t watch enough neo-Nazi rallies. But I suspect that if I didn’t know its meaning, there are a lot of similar people out there. Besides, chiding me for ignorance is irrelevant to the point I’m making: students shouldn’t be indoctrinated in this way and forced to endure it.

  2. Posted December 2, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Wow. When i was in college, student life held movie nights, and tried to curtail pot smoking. Now they hold interactive SJW Hell Houses. I’m so glad I missed that update.

    • Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Hell house. That was the analogy I was looking for.

    • danstarfish
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      That is the perfect analogy. I was thinking it reminded me of awkward Christian indoctrination, but couldn’t think of a good example of what it was reminding me of.

  3. Filippo
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    “A Shared Humanity” is an element of Residential Education’s larger goal to better inform SDSU students on a variety of social issues . . .some students were required to view . . . .”

    I infer that commuter students are not required to do this.

    ‘ . . . students observed skits that included a black man yelling at them to stand against and face the wall and not look at him.

    “Let’s go! Face the wall! Don’t look at me,” the performer yelled as if he was a drill instructor commanding recruits.’

    What happens if students refuse to turn around? Are they required to obey his “orders”?

    I probably would turn around – the “accommodationist” in me at that callow age trying to Keep The Peace and get it over with. (Or, in my older age, having had enough of fatuous indoctrination, in response burst forth with “La Donna e Mobile” at the top of my lungs. Or would the skit performer interpret that as a “trigger”?)

    Reminds me of my brief experience as a fraternity pledge, the “brothers” of the house chewing on us at-attention pledges for various and sundry alleged infractions committed against their admirable, noble institution, thereby offending their delicate aesthetic sensibilities.

    • Merilee
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      LOL. You’d definitely need trigger warnings ( or ear plugs) were I to belt La donna e mobile ( or anything else, for that matter…)

  4. Jon Gallant
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I notice that the San Diego indoctrination program makes ritual use of the disabled (“they came for the crippled etc. etc.”). The purpose here is purely decorative.

    In 2013, Ethan Saylor, a young man with Down Syndrome, was fatally manhandled by police in Maryland (see
    abcnews.go.com/Health/syndrome-man-movies-ends-morgue/story?id=20046376 ). None of the recent campus agitations have ever cried “Disabled Lives Matter” or, as far as I know, even mentioned this case. [This could be related to the fact that Ethan was a person of no color.]

    Although the pop-Left displays no passion at all about this matter, ritual reference to “the disabled” is occasionally added to the canonic victimhood hierarchy as a gesture, and to make it sound better.

  5. RossR
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Were the students forced to watch this indoctrination given trigger warnings? And if not, why not?

    • DrBrydon
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Trigger warnings are only for when Bad people are speaking.

  6. DrBrydon
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Agitprop. Sure am glad universities are no longer part of a system of indoctrination.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Took me a while to find this.

  7. Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I am thinking this could be illegal for a state run school to do, although I am not sure how to put my finger on it. Here they are requiring certain students to go through a demonstration which enforces a particular point of view (ICE is bad, etc.), while this view also happens to be characteristic of the political left. So they are forcing students to think and say agreeable things about a particular political point of view — how is that even legal?

  8. TreeRooster
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    This seems entirely appropriate for college students. They are not too young to be subjected to the points of view of the people portrayed in the skits. They are seeing the skits/interactive experiences as part of classes they signed up for, at a college they chose to attend, as stated in the post. I can see calling something indoctrination if one is forced to accept an idea uncritically, but as far as I can tell the students still possess the ability to judge the messages in the performance. They know that the portrayal is just that: actors; and they know that there are debatable aspects to ICE. Is the fear that they are too young and impressionable, and might come away convinced that all government immigration officials are evil? Maybe.

    Adopting Martin Niemöller’s poem to express the idea of empathy (and the conclusion of reciprocal support from others) is overused, but still valid. Again, is the concern that the vehicle of interactive skits is too hard for students to resist, resulting in brainwashing or anxiety attacks? I don’t think any subject is off limits for discussion at the college level, and if something politically controversial is not allowed then there will little left to discuss. I might have a problem with this if grade-school students were required to attend and then required to agree. They are a captive audience and maybe too young to discuss issues without prompting.

    • Craw
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      No. It’s not a debate or even a neutral discussion. It’s a demand for acquiescence and conformity. This is clear enough from the fact it’s required as part of orientation: “this is the essential stuff for you to know”.

    • Posted December 2, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      If it was part of a class or other program that students signed up for, then there should be no issue that it is a required part of their education. The link does say “This year, some students were required to attend the event as part of their classes“.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      “…students still possess the ability to judge the messages in the performance.”

      Yes. And the message is that the administration, which has control over the students’ futures, has a definite point of view on highly politicized topics.

      • Craw
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Nice GPA you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.

        • TreeRooster
          Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

          You have a good point. It would be bad if the students are given poor grades just for arguing for a different conclusion about a nuanced issue like illegal immigration. Whatever the grading rubric is–valid reasoning, well-sourced material, clear language–it shouldn’t include “agrees with the professor’s gut feeling.” I didn’t see any graded work mentioned in connection with these interactive skits, but I’m sure it could happen.

  9. BJ
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    How disgusting to use the famous Niemöller poem to refer to the oppression, like microaggressions, experienced on a college campus, or even the actions of ICE and Islamophobia in first-world countries. As if what a bunch of college students go through is akin to the damn Holocaust.

    • Craw
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      That kind of thing is ubiquitous on the left. I talked to people who compared Trump winning a primary to Kristallnacht.

      That was where David Irving blew it. Rather than pretending the Holocaust never happened, he should have compared it to the horror and suffering of having to live with the fear that Milo might be in town next week.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    If this program were a mandatory student-body-wide requirement, such as a school orientation, I would agree that it constitutes improper indoctrination. But as I understand it, the program is required only for participation in specific classes.

    I should think (or at least hope) that there are classes at San Diego State that have all manner of requirements, such as ones with reading lists that include Mein kampf, or The Communist Manifesto, or religious texts like the Qur’an or the Bible or Bhagavad Gita. That being the case, I have a hard time seeing how this is much different, especially if the classes are electives and their professors believe the program has some pedagogical value to the subject-matter covered.

    I mean, the program seems rather pointless and silly to me in the abstract. But it doesn’t strike me as improper indoctrination, assuming the circumstances are as I’ve stated them.

  11. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    some students were required to view this

    OK, I’m at obviously 30 years out of date on this, but I don’t understand the word “required” in this. I went to university to (1) learn a skill set and (2) have a good time. If someone had approached me on the Quad with a flier proposing that I attend something like this I would probably have handed it back after 3 or 4 seconds of trying to figure out what it was about. If someone in the university authorities had tried telling me that I was “required” to attend this “event”, they’d probably have had to pick the flier out from their throat bringing it into a closest-ever encounter with their teeth.
    Which branch of the university’s disciplinary structure could have made this requirement?
    It’s not a book-loan thing, so nothing to do with the library (they can stop you graduating).
    It’s not a fees-payment thing (residential or coursework), so the General Admin Office have no hold on it.
    It’s not a threatening behaviour, dope-smoking, or other criminal thing, so the Police aren’t involved.
    I genuinely can’t imagine who would – or could – be “requiring” anyone to attend a piece of modern art.
    But hey, I was a representative of the colonial power from the south (England) or one of an oppressed minority (Ireland), depending on whether or not the other person in the conversation recognised my name as being Erse. What would I know?

  12. Eric D
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of this 15 year old episode of southpark..

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Death_Camp_of_Tolerance


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