After Tal Fortgang’s article explaining his own privilege and why he isn’t ashamed of it went viral, liberals began attacking the parent organizations of The Princeton Tory, where the article was originally published.
Adam Weinstein, over at Gawker, displayed his lack of understanding of the “Check My Privilege” article in his first paragraph, calling Fortgang “the privileged white Princeton freshman who wrote so passionately about how he’s not a privileged white guy” despite Fortgang observing his own privilege.
Weinstein took issue not with Fortang’s article, but the conservative organizations–run by “old, rich, white men,” apparently–that make publications like The Princeton Tory possible. “No one, not even the New York Times, noted that his post was made possible by a conservative group that bankrolls and grooms college kids for right-wing leadership,” Weinstein complained, as if the funding behind Tal’s article somehow tainted his work. Perhaps the New York Times, then, isn’t even that petty.
“Conservative groups like the ISI and Collegiate Network still mostly fund white guys like [Pete] Hegseth and Fortgang,” Weinstein goes on to say, “who spend most of their time (and the ISI’s money) railing against the campus dynamics that they say label them unfairly as privileged white dudes with an insufficient measure of guilt for their status.”
Weistein’s pinheaded assumption that most conservative publications spend their time fighting off those progressive students who assert white privilege is utterly false. What ISI and CN funding really goes toward is funding alternative publications and viewpoints. I know this because the campus newspaper I edit, The Michigan Review and this very site you’re reading now, The College Conservative are both members of the Collegiate Network.
In all his attempts at white guilt, Weinstein also brashly assumes all funding goes to white people. On my staff at The Michigan Review nearly a third of my staff is a minority. This is another case of a liberal valuing ethnicity over principle or merit. ISI and CN don’t simply fund conservative student organizations because they’re white. They fund them because they’re conservative, an orientation that is much smaller in number on most college campuses than any racial minority.
Weinstein goes on to spew about Collegiate Network alumni and big name donors that he seems to have a beef with, as if their money and “whiteness” delegitimizes them.
In the typical liberal fashion, Weinstein points out that the Center for American Progress and Campus Progress offers the lefty alternative to ISI and CN, without mention of CAP’s donors. I don’t know if Mr. Weinstein has ever read a mainstream daily campus newspaper, but they’re overwhelmingly liberal, reflecting the typical campus demographic.
Weinstein’s attack on groups like the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the Collegiate Network are yet another Harry Reid-esque witch hunt meant to crucify conservative donors, who all happen to be “old, rich, white men” and Koch-like evildoers in the eyes of liberals.
As the editor of a campus newspaper that receives grants from the Collegiate Network, I can tell you firsthand that CN gives us just enough money to print issues. A significant portion of our funding comes from subscriptions, alumni donations, advertising and fundraisers.
What’s more, the Collegiate Network–and any donors that fund them–in no way infiltrate the editorial process of discretion of discourse that goes on within our conservative campus newspapers. Simply put, their only influence (other than the grants they send) comes in the form of administrative guidance, when we ask for it. They in no way direct what we, the students, choose to write.
In my one year at the University of Michigan, I have gained a more practical education from organizations like ISI, CN, and SFPA–free of charge, if I may say so–than I have from my university, where professors toss their syllabi and self-written textbooks down from their ivory towers at a cost of $13,142 per year. Indeed, a privilege in and of itself, but one that conservative student of any color can benefit from.
Such organizations provide students with an alternative and supplemental education through free books, conferences, internship and fellowship opportunities, and personal mentorship by professionals. All these opportunities cost money, and are made possible by the “rich old white men” who contribute that money.
What really gets progressives’ panties in a bunch is that money is speech–an idea the courts have ruled in favor of time and again–and that these conservative donors are exercising their right to free speech by funding organizations like ISI, CN, and SFPA. It’s because these donors are conservative that progressives like Weinstein take issue. Liberals have a nasty hypocritical habit of criticizing conservative donors while ignoring the likes of the Soros family. If it’s rich, white, and conservative, it’s somehow simultaneously radioactive as an added threat.
Despite all the conservative donor bashing, I, like my peers, enjoy being part of Weinstein’s so-called “Campus Right-Wing Outrage Industry.” Maybe by raising our voices, we’ll actually learn a thing or two.