The Kyle Kashuv Admission Fiasco Should Scare Everyone
No. Nobody is dead. That is the important thing to remember as everyone starts to grab their spades and dig their trenches. Harvard first granted admission and then rescinded admission to Kyle Kashuv; the now famous right-wing survivor of the Parkland Shooting. By every available metric, the initial decision by Harvard to grant Kashuv admission was the correct one: he scored 1550 on his SATs, was second in his class and boasted a 3.9 GPA. Those stats by themselves would usually be enough for Harvard (well, unless you are Asian). However, toss in Kashuv’s work to spearhead a bipartisan effort to ramp up security in schools and he is a shoo-in. That is until word came out Kashuv used racist, derogatory and hateful language in private communication with friends when he was 16 years old. Now his chances to matriculate at Harvard are no more.
The scary part of all this is–and the part that should give everyone pause–is a young man was penalized for something done in private. Private. In a private communication between friends. Nobody is doubting this one aspect. This is by far the most important piece of the rather easy to assemble puzzle. His “friends” took what he said in private and gave it to those willing to do him harm simply because they opposed one another politically.
This is a political murder in the metaphorical sense. It is something that would have elicited a “good work comrade” from Joseph Stalin. Your friends are no longer your friends because they can turn on you in an instant. Be careful of everything you do or say–even in private communications–or else it might wind up in the hands of the secret police. Do not trust anybody, especially your friends!
If this was anybody else besides the most famous right-wing pre-college student in America, everybody would be frothing at the mouth that such a thing could occur. But Kyle Kashuv believes the wrong ideology, therefore he is fair game, even when the game is not fair.
And it is unfair. If you are one of those people hand-wringing and going full-on Helen Lovejoy over this whole thing, take a step back for a moment. First, you are being a hypocrite. Maybe you have never uttered a racist or insensitive remark in your entire life. If not, congratulations, you are a saint… and I do not believe you. Here is your test. Watch that clip in the comfort of your own home. Nobody around. If you laugh, and you take Harvard’s side, you are a hypocrite.
Secondly, if you are taking Harvard’s side because Kyle Kashuv used racist and offensive language and believe rescinding his admission is correct, you are a hypocrite. Not because there is anything inherently wrong with you, but because Harvard is racist and discriminatory. Prima Facie. Only their racism and discrimination is acceptable because it is towards Asians; the highest scoring group of students in America. Harvard’s argument in a nutshell; if you devise a metric and utilize that metric in order to justify denying a specific stratum, that is acceptable if that stratum outperforms all the others. That is called discrimination. Towards a group that does not exactly have the most privileged history in America.
But back to Kyle Kashuv. This is not a defense of his words–whatever they may be. This is an attack on the confluence of events that led to Harvard rescinding his admission. Even with all of Harvard’s racist and discriminatory actions towards Asians, the mere fact they had an excuse to pull the admission is galling.
His friends handed over private communication in an attempt to hurt him. And they succeeded. The lid on Pandora’s Box is now wide open. Harvard did not simply pry it loose with a crowbar and ease it open. They shoved 100 sticks of dynamite into a crack and lit the fuse. The decision by Harvard is telling the world something dangerous; at the most elite of American universities–if you have a beef with a friend and want to settle the score–you can settle that score if you have dirt on them.
The danger should be obvious. Family and friends are the only two groups that know all your secrets. They know where all the bodies are hidden, about all the skeletons in the closet.
Kyle Kashuv thought he was making inappropriate jokes among friends. He was. Were the jokes inappropriate? He admits as such. Should he have made them? Probably not. But we live in a day and age where inappropriate jokes among friends are now technological ammunition. Where there is no expectation of privacy. Say it via text, email or social media and there is documentation of your thought crime. Readily available to be used against you by a scorned friend.
The Gestapo and the NKVD thrived in such a climate. A climate where friends turn on friends in order to even scores or prove their worthiness to the cause. You might laugh at the analogy, but today’s atmosphere is indeed frightening and has shades of those intensely dangerous epochs: toe-the-line, never question the narrative and pray you can trust your friends.
If the Kyle Kashuv saga does not scare you because you know, deep down, you have never and would never utter anything as egregious or wrong-minded, I commend you. Be secure in that knowledge. But know others before you thought like you. They were wrong and you are wrong. However, there is one poetically perfect thing in all of this. Harvard, one of the historically great universities in the world, is providing one of the most important teaching lessons of our day; you could be next.