An Open Letter to Heather Mac Donald

By Johanna Mackin ‘20
Guest Writer

Following my own experience attending the Nov. 18 lecture by Heather Mac Donald and the defenses I have heard for hosting a “conservative” speaker on campus, as a student at Holy Cross, I’d like to express my concern for the speaker’s message as well as the reasons why she was invited to speak here.

I attended the lecture in protest. I was not there because I believed anything Ms. Mac Donald said would persuade me to change my views on diversity. I walked out after 15 minutes in solidarity with hundreds of other students. I cannot claim I was there to engage in any dialogue entertaining the views of the speaker. But let’s not pretend that anyone from the Fenwick Review or Ms. Mac Donald herself was there to engage in constructive dialogue either.

I do not believe The Fenwick Review invited Heather Mac Donald to speak to the Holy Cross community because they believed her speech would begin or inform any true political dialogue, nor do I believe they invited her out of any hostility towards minority groups on campus. They invited Mrs. Mac Donald to speak simply because they could.

I believe the invitation, which was a legitimate expression of academic freedom and freedom of speech, was issued to promote controversial ideas The Fenwick Review feels are on par with the liberal ideas spread by speakers invited to campus by various other student organizations with whom they fundamentally disagree. The difference, however, between Heather Mac Donald and others, is that she was not invited for her academic expertise or background, seeing as she is not an academic by trade. I believe The Fenwick Review purposely selected her over others with more academically based messages because her opinions were more controversial. Moreover, she did not come with the intention of starting any open dialogue from which anyone could benefit. Ms. Mac Donald made her purpose known when she her began her speech with immediate attempts to discredit, humiliate, and deny the existence of minority students.

Photo courtesy of city-journal.org

One of the very first statements made by Ms. Mac Donald called attention to how privileged every student on this campus is to have the education provided here. Wholeheartedly, I agree with this. What I do not agree with, and will aim to disprove, is her assertion that every student on this campus has the same access to resources and educational opportunities. For example, every alumnus of Holy Cross is allowed to get married in the St. Joseph Memorial Chapel…unless they are LGBTQ. Any student on this campus is allowed to apply to become a resident assistant… but accepting that position can negatively impact the financial aid a student receives. And, speaking of financial aid, Holy Cross very quietly decided last year to shift its admissions criteria from need-blind to need-aware, which will disproportionately disadvantage students of color seeking admittance into the College. Inequality is ingrained into the culture and administration on this campus.

In denying the persistent and pervasive inequality between races, sexes, and those of differing sexual orientation, Ms. Mac Donald is not just denying her privilege, she is abusing it. As Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist whom she also chose to quote in her lecture, once said, “The white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by the black man’s misery.” The platform she is given by nature not only of her God-given rights but also by her privilege to access them, is one not every person can reach. I am not advocating for her silence or denying her right to have an opinion; I’m asking her to stop pledging her allegiance to the fight for academic freedom if her only contribution is denying that right to others.

Finally, if The Fenwick Review’s goal really is to promote academic freedom and constructive dialogue, next time they invite a speaker to campus, they could at least choose someone whose argument is not premised on the denial of truth.

Diversity is not the delusion, Ms. Mac Donald, equality is.

Categories: Opinions

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15 replies »

  1. You violate the golden rule by refusing to allow other people to hear views they want to hear while reserving to yourself the right to hear views of which you approve. I hope that you grow up before it is too late.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Only children are stupidly stubborn enough to say “you can’t convince me of your position, no matter what evidence you have!”, and only children are stupid enough to think that screaming over the top of your opponent so nobody can hear their position means you won the argument. Universities that pander to your victim mentality delusions to avoid upsetting you are nothing more than manchild daycares at this point.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The behavior of the whining, pacifier sucking “protesters” shames the entire college. Their conduct allowed Ms. MacDonald to have an opinion piece published in the Nov. 27th issue of the WSJ which relected very badly on Holy Cross students. Complaints of lack ofDiversity and inclusivenes as well as oppression are on campus ate silly comments made by some foolish students. Going forward, try applying Jesus’ teaching, “love thy neighbor as thyself for the love of God” when welcoming those who have a different point of view. Tollerance is a valuable character trait.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Silly spoiled young lady. Flies to Peru on daddy’s dime to lay on the beach, and then whines about her oppression. If she thinks she’s oppressed now, wait until she finds out how worthless her quarter-million dollar pol i sci degree is worth. Have fun cleaning after junkies in the Starbucks bathroom.


  5. There’s a good way to resolve, once and for all, who is “privileged” at Holy Cross and who is “oppressed.”

    (1) Using admissions records, create an anonymized database that tracks students admitted on the basis of any particular characteristic, like athletes, legacies, musicians, racial diversity, ethnic diversity, geographic diversity . . . anything.

    (2) Identify any patterns concerning the high school grades and standardized tests (if disclosed) of students admitted according to any group. For example, are legacies admitted with lower GPAs than racially diverse students (or vice-versa)?

    (3) For informational purposes, identify whether any particular group of applicants discloses standardized tests more or less than any other group.

    (4) At the end of every academic year, calculate and publish aggregated and anonymized statistics showing average GPA and class rank of the people admitted according to any group. Look to see if any patterns emerge, such as whether legacies have lower grade point averages than racially diverse students (or vice versa).

    (5) Using this data, identify whether particular groups of applicants to HC regularly do worse academically, and therefore are the most “privileged” in terms of getting admitted to HC.

    Anyone who wants to have an honest discussion about privilege and oppression, or who seek to defend admissions of people according to any characteristic, should welcome this analysis.

    If, for example, people seek to defend legacy admissions, they should welcome an analysis that shows whether legacies are pulling their weight once they get to HC. Same thing goes for diverse students, of course.

    People who oppose this kind of analysis should: (a) not defend the fairness of these types of special admissions criteria; (b) not complain about oppression; or (c) admit that they are afraid what the data will show.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So you admit going without any intention of even *listening* to what she had to say. You are admitting to being a bigot. And you somehow think you have a right to prevent *other* people from hearing what she had to say. Which makes you an elitist bigot.


  7. Per the college Dean of Students, one of the reasons for the students’ rude behavior was the contention that heather Mac Donald believes or posits that “sudenys of color” (whatever that means) “should not attend elite universities”. I have asked the college to provide documentation of that allegation/statement of fact but as of yet have not received a reply. The condescending tone of the ean’s response/excuse is truly remarkable.


  8. Good for you Johanna! What a thoughtful response to a very volatile and inaccurate speaker. It is HEATHER MACDONALD who is intolerant of varying points of view, not the protesters at HC. I decided to become educated on Heather MacDonald by reading book summaries on Amazon.com and by reading her tweets – as any student who felt denied in access to her speech can easily do and probably has already done. Oh my. The mere title of her book is designed to provoke anger and fear: “Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and undermine Our Culture.” Her visit to HC appears to be a part of her well-orchestrated plan to provoke anger on college campuses in order to acquire the media coverage that she needs for increased book sales. She provoked college students out West while promoting her book “War on Cops.”

    On the internet and on Fox News (I googled and found her there too), Heather MacDonald says some things that are obviously true. But in the end, she does not believe that diversity has value. Her tweets mock the “Metoo” movement and the “Black Lives Matter” movement – even though these movements have successfully raised the bar for civility and fair treatment for all in the U.S. She fails to point out how rich people are often rich due to inheritance, nepotism, or exploitation of low-wage workers. She fails to point out that privileged teens across America often get into the most competitive colleges because they can afford private SAT/ACT tutors, multiple retakes of each at great expense, highly educated parents who hand down legacy benefits, and access to expensive club teams and coaches that help secure athletic scholarships. She fails to acknowledge that SAT scores punish students who are very intelligent and have an excellent work ethic, just because there is no standard English or books in the home. Some young people of color have to rely on affirmative action just to get a fair chance at a college interview or first job. After that, they are on their own. Diversity is not a delusion. Ignoring the existence and value of diversity leads to closed mindedness and oppression. Acknowledgement of suffering is not “pandering” – in fact it is incredibly healing. Your letter above shows your maturity and education that life really isn’t fair.

    My daughter is a sophomore at HC participated in the protest as well. She definitely does not think she is oppressed. She knows how incredibly lucky she is to be at Holy Cross. She is keenly and painfully aware of her privilege and the things that were given to her in life for free. She protested the MacDonald speech to show her solidarity with students who haven’t had things given to them for free. Your generation values fairness and equal opportunity. Because of the tech revolution, your generation is the mostly politically informed age group of all time. Continue to work hard and spread the wealth, Johanna! Thank you for being a guest writer.


  9. Its tuition, food, housing, books and fees are handouts of Other People’s Money. It failed to come anywhere close to our minimum standards for admission but got in on set-asides and quotas. But it screeches that it’s “oppressed.” Parasite.


  10. It is indeed a sad day at HC when an invited speaker is harassed by a group of dissidents…whatever happened to open dialogue and honest debate…these dissidents will have serious difficulties in the future when co-workers disagree with their childish behavior. WTM 66


  11. Dear Oppressed Students:
    Transfer. Go away. You have that freedom and opportunity here in this great nation, therefore you are not oppressed, merely confused.
    You applied to Holy Cross, no one abducted you.


  12. Johanna Mackin is the prime example of privilege in this country. If America is so oppressive then there is nothing stopping her or anyone else from leaving, or better yet, swapping places with any of the millions of people in other countries who would gladly trade places with her. If she is so sure Heather MacDonald is just so wrong, why not let her speak? If you have to drown someone out, maybe your own message isn’t as strong or right as you think. Common sense seems to have been removed from our society over the past couple of generations. The victim mentality is the prevalent attitude now, and this makes us a laughingstock to the rest of the world.


  13. You should be extremely embarrassed for such a childish display and autocratic behavior. If someone were to come to campus to speak about white supremacy and privilege would you have found it acceptable for a bunch of white people to prevent you or anyone from attending? You don’t belong in college. College is to expand your knowledge, to challenge how you think and what you stand for. You had no right to speak for other students. You didn’t change anything or better your argument. All you did was prove to the students you denied entry that Mac Donald’s words were exactly what you displayed. A chip on your shoulder when you’re actually privileged, attending a $70K a year college. You’re a joke.


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