As The Daily Wire previously reported, Parkland shooting survivor and gun rights advocate Kyle Kashuv’s Harvard admission has been rescinded over comments he made privately to his friends when he was 16 years old. The comments in question are certainly gross, stupid, and racist, but they were also the comments of a high school boy joking around with his buddies and trying to be as shocking and outrageous as possible. He was not a public figure at the time and would have had no idea that a couple of years later he would be in the limelight due to a massacre at his school.
Kashuv has apologized for the comments, which were leaked to the media in a transparent effort to destroy him for his Second Amendment advocacy. Since taking on this new role as a gun rights champion, he has not said or done anything to demonstrate racism. He says he has changed — due in large part to the traumatic event that he and his classmates endured — and all of the evidence seems to support this claim. Still, despite his efforts to repair whatever damage the gross jokes he told privately when he was 16 might have done to the people who were exposed to them after they were leaked in a coordinated effort to destroy his reputation, he was punished anyway. This move by Harvard is craven and nakedly partisan. Every sane person knows that Kashuv’s affiliation with the conservative movement weighed heavily against him. Would his admission have been revoked had he been an anti-Second Amendment liberal like his classmate David Hogg? We can’t know for sure, but we have reasons to be suspicious.
The rules, after all, are not applied equally. Take the governor of Virginia, for example. College yearbook photos of Ralph Northam surfaced months ago appearing to show Northam in blackface. Northam denied that he was the one in the image, but he admitted that at a different point in his 20s he smeared shoe polish on his face and dressed up like Michael Jackson. This means Northam is guilty of wearing blackface at least once as an adult. If you think that the guy who advocated infanticide may be capable of lying, then you may tend to believe that he was also the one wearing blackface in the yearbook. In any case, the fact remains that Northam, as an adult, engaged in blatantly racist behavior. Yet he is still governor of the state of Virginia.
If you are intent on missing the point, you may argue that the two cases are unrelated. The Harvard admissions office has nothing to do with the governorship in Virginia. Governorships also can’t be as easily revoked as a college acceptance letter. But that is not the point. Harvard made its decision because of the relentless pressure placed on it by leftists and the media. Northam, on the other hand, survived his racism scandal because there was very little pressure put on him by the media and leftists. That is where the double standard is clearly evident. In the end, it is the mob, stirred up by the news media, that calls the shot in our culture. And the mob seems to be rather selective in its outrage.
If we were interested in developing a more consistent approach to these kinds of controversies, I would suggest that we take a few things into consideration: 1) How old was the person when they did or said the offensive thing? 2) Did they do or say the offensive thing publicly? 3) Were they public figures when they did or said the offensive thing?
Kashuv was 16. He said (or wrote, rather) the things privately. He was not a public figure. All three of these factors would seem to call for grace and forgiveness. Northam was an adult, and his behavior wasn’t private (he said he dressed in blackface for a talent show), but he wasn’t a public figure at the time and it happened a long while ago. I can see an argument for letting Northam off the hook. But I can see no argument for letting Northam off the hook while holding Kashuv to account. It seems that you only have the intellectual credibility to call for forgiveness for Northam if you have done the same for Kashuv. There is no reasonable argument that can make Kashuv the bigger bad guy here.
For another comparison, consider Samantha Bee and Roseanne. Bee called Ivanka Trump a “feckless c*nt” on her show. Roseanna compared Valerie Jarrett to the Planet of the Apes. Both of these women are adults. Both made their comments publicly, in front of millions of people. Both were public figures at the time. Both should have known better. There is a reasonable argument in favor of firing both Roseanne and Samantha Bee. There is no reasonable argument in favor of firing Roseanne but not Samantha Bee. Yet, again, that’s exactly what happened. And that’s because Bee, like Northam, is a liberal. And at the end of the day, as experience has taught us time and again, that’s all that really matters.