America is a nation founded on a legacy of white supremacy that persists to this day, causing great pain and inequality. Before we get around to solving that, though: let’s have a serious talk about who started the protest Facebook group.

It is very easy to dismiss things that college students do in general, because they are young and embody the standard foibles of youth, and it is also very easy to mock college political activism, due to the obvious clash between its general earnestness and its cloistered setting. But college political activism has a long and proud tradition as a breeding ground and engine for much broader social movements; and, more to the point, if college students are protesting things that should be protested, it is disingenuous to mock them for it just because they are college students. They should be applauded. If not always for their specific tactics or grasp of history, at least for their spirit of righteousness.

That said, college students are—and I am going to make a generalization here—young, rash, and often stupid, as you likely were when you were 19 and smoking a lot of weed. For example: racism in America is an enormous structural problem. Racism planted its roots in this nation with the first European settlers, dug deep through slavery and segregation, and is the root of many of our socioeconomic problems today. It is admirable for college students to rise up against racism in society. It is admirable for college students to rise up against racism at their own institutions. These are huge problems that will require the combined effort of everyone if we hope to make a dent. But together, we can....

Provoke a fierce outcry over the fact that students planned an anti-racism protest without contacting “the university’s Black Student Alliance or other similar student groups” and this is a good reason to cancel the protest and also to use your time not to protest against racism in general but to protest against the propriety of protesting against racism without being properly sanctioned by the proper anti-racist groups in order to protest against racism.

“The Left” continues to prove that we will only succeed in our political struggle if we keep our eyes trained on the real enemies: other groups on The Left that share virtually all of our goals but with whom we disagree on some minor matter of theory or rhetoric or style and so they must therefore be condemned and crushed before any of the other work can begin.

[Photo: Getty]