In the growing tempest of our social battlefield -- and the growing intolerance of special interests who preach tolerance -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Kyle Kashuv has been caught in the cultural crossfire.
Weeks following the announcement that he had been accepted to Harvard, a controversy erupted. Kyle found himself on the receiving end of that now-common practice among social activists (on both ends of the political spectrum), the social media proctology exam.
It's not directly clear what led to this, but certainly Kyle’s immature vocal stance in support of the Second Amendment is, at the least, a contributing factor. Once he was deemed a target, the opponents proceeded to comb through his social media output from years back, and they culled objectionable content. Without dredging up the details, or examining the context, suffice it to say he expressed himself in unacceptable racist language.
The first notable detail is that the common defense heard over the past year regarding the students who endured the tragedy is that they are above criticism. You could not “attack” a Parkland victim, was the instant response to any challenge. Kyle, unfortunately, has just gone through the obligatory dance of apologizing for things he said at age 16. And, as is commonplace in these prefab controversies, the acceptance of an apology was selective. This, is in keeping with the fluid standards that are applied by activists and the media.
Just look at the act of removing Kashuv from the Fall admission list at Harvard.
While the official line is that Kashuv's words were cause for his removal, the fact is, Harvard is not going through the social media accounts of all applicants. Clearly, this was a case of the social scolds declaring archaic comments were offensive, and the institution either reacted in kind, or was grateful to have a reason to dispatch a student who was becoming a lightning rod for the intolerance set.
Regardless of your opinion on this matter -- should he stay or go from Harvard -- what cannot be ignored is that the very people clamoring for his dismissal have a very stark and noticeable blindspot. For months now we have witnessed the Democratic governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, become enmeshed in a deepening scandal revolving around his use of blackface and Ku Klux Klan iconography in his own past. The contrast is remarkable.
What Northam engaged in was not only grossly insensitive, but his were the actions of a legal adult, not an impressionable teen with a lack of social savvy. Northam clearly had to have an understanding that what he had been engaging in was inappropriate, unacceptable behavior. Further, we have been listening for weeks as those on the left have been imploring us to bypass these past transgressions. We have been told his remorse and actions are sufficient to "look beyond" the problem, and that his apology should be accepted so we can move on.
Interestingly, Kyle Kashuv is granted no such tolerance. His apology has been challenged by some, and we are told that there is no place for someone who harbors these thoughts. Amazingly, racism appears to be an interpretational aggression.
The decision from Harvard bears a serious challenge for Kyle Kashuv, in that the institution has rescinded its acceptance at a time well after the admission deadline for most other universities. Kyle now does not have the option of applying at an alternative school in the near future. Telling how his punishment for a youthful mistake bears a larger price of accountability than one by an adult, and one who currently occupies an office of power.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.