Our college years are for many, the formative years of our lives. The transition between young adulthood and adulthood, these four years will forever have an impact on the rest of our lives.
Barry premiered in 2016 on Netflix. In 1981, future President Barack Obama is an undergrad at Columbia University in New York City. While dating fellow student Charlotte (Anya Taylor-Joy), he is faced with the existential crisis of figuring out who he is as a human being. As one of the few students of color who is dating a white woman, he is the recipient of subtle and not so subtle reactions. If that was not enough, the lack of a relationship with his father weighs heavily on his decisions.
I really enjoyed the movie. We all know the man who was President for eight years. The introduction of the the younger Barack Obama was a revelation. I don’t know about anyone else, but college was not just about the education and the degree. It was about the emotional experience of growing up and figuring out who I am on my own terms.
His journey in this film hit home because I remember going through the same things when I was in college.
These days, it’s not that difficult to see the divisions in our world. College is supposed to heal these divisions and teach our young people that diversity is not only acceptable, but it is beautiful.
Malaysian politician Mahathir Mohamad has been invited to speak at the university. The problem with this invitation is that Mr. Mohamad is not only an avowed anti-Semite, he takes pleasure in openly spewing the poison that comes out of his lips.
In defending the invitation, University President Lee Bollinger, stated the following:
“This form of open engagement can sometimes be difficult, even painful. But to abandon this activity would be to limit severely our capacity to understand and confront the world as it is, which is a central and utterly serious mission for any academic institution,”
Mr. Bollinger claims that the ” invitation is neither a “validation” or “endorsement” of the speaker’s views.”
As I see it, the problem with the invite is that it validates antisemitism. It validates the BDS movement and other organizations that regularly harass Jewish college students, especially those who support Israel.
Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in free speech and a college student’s opportunity to expand their world and their perspective. However, given the current political and cultural climate that we live in, a clear line in the sand must be drawn. That line is hate speech. The question is if university administrations have the balls to draw that line.