The surprising section of that paragraph is not the description of the Founders as white men of privilege and so forth — that’s boilerplate these days — it’s the endorsement of free speech, which cannot be taken for granted on college campuses (see, e.g., “Unlearning Liberty,” by Greg Lukianoff).
Nor can academic seriousness. While it’s nice to see that UCSB endorses free expression, however reluctantly, there’s another story contained in this kerfuffle that ought to make sensible people’s heads swim. Want to know what this taxpayer-funded professor teaches? Glance at the course catalog, and you’ll find three courses that seem to amount to the same thing. “Sexual cultures,” ‘‘Genders and Sexualities” and “Women of Color: Race, Sex, and Ethnicity.” The first course is described as thus:
‘‘Seminars focus on the political, social, and cultural dynamics of sexuality in modern society. Offerings may explore sexual representations, economies, laws, identities, performances, literatures, technologies, relationships, communities, and customs in the United States or abroad. Topics may vary.”
That’s not a course description; it’s word salad. The other classes are indistinguishable. Miller-Young, a tenured professor, is also a self-described expert on pornography. Actually, reading excerpts from her forthcoming book and an opinion piece she wrote for The New York Times last year, it’s not too much to say that she’s an enthusiast for porn, which she describes as “empowering” for women. Her book will be titled “A Taste for Brown Sugar,” and contains constructions like this that apparently pass for English at UCSB:
‘‘They use the seductive power of brown sugar to intervene in representation, to recuperate their subjectivities, and to make a living ... in the porn industry’s complex sexual economy ... black women grapple with a hierarchal system shaped by racial and gender difference and discrimination ... Like countless enslaved women who fought in ways big and small against slavery’s tyranny, black sex workers in porn enact forms of antiracist and antisexist counterinsurgency.”