Readers of my recent columns are already aware that UNC-Wilmington graduates can get a gold cord for good grades, a purple one for being a homosexual, and a lavender one for just being really supportive of homosexuals. Most readers probably think this is too many graduation cords. I actually think we need one more. In fact, I think we should offer a white graduation cord for students who got their degrees without ever asserting victim status in an effort to get something they didn't really deserve.
Of course, if we ever do distribute these cords, we will have to decide exactly what "without ever asserting victim status" means. Here are my initial suggestions for defining white cord status:
1. When applying for college, the student never revealed his race or ethnicity in order to get bonus points on the SAT or any other standardized test.
2. Once admitted, the student never used disability services for the purpose of getting extra test time for some manufactured "disability" such as Attention Deficit Disorder.
3. The student never set foot in the African American Center, El Centro Hispano, or any other racially segregated victim center (unless for the purpose of asking them why they spend scarce taxpayer resources advancing racial segregation).
4. The student never filed a complaint alleging a violation of the Seahawk Respect Compact simply because she lacked the intellectual fortitude to respond to an opposing argument with a rational argument of her own.
5. The student never signed up for a class in any department ending with the word "studies."
6. The student never filed a false claim of rape or sexual harassment or spread an uncorroborated story about being racially harassed by off campus rednecks shouting epithets from inside a crowded pickup truck. (This requirement alone would disqualify at least one professor on our campus, but that's a topic best suited for a separate column).
7. The student never used the course evaluation form to punish a professor for his political beliefs even though his beliefs were never expressed in the classroom. (Nor tried to ban Chick-fil-A from campus even though the subject of gay marriage never came up when he was trying to get an extra packet of honey mustard for his waffle fries).
8. The student never changed the content of an essay in order to get a good grade in a class taught by a feminist English professor.
9. The student never pretended to share a Marxist feminist professor's views in order to impress his peers during classroom discussions, which were designed to a) indoctrinate students through peer pressure and b) prevent the Marxist professor from actually having to teach.
10. The student never asked for an exception to class rules concerning tardiness, absenteeism, or assignment due dates. In other words, the student simply accepted the rules and the consequences of his own failure to follow them.
My plan for issuing these white cords won't cost the taxpayers much money in the overall scheme of things. We'll probably need about a hundred purple cords per year for UNCW homosexuals. We'll also need a few hundred lavender cords for their die-hard supporters. But we'll only need about a dozen cords a year for students who made it all the way through college without holding themselves out to be victims. Thus, we need not be troubled by the prospect of making our graduation more expensive by having to supply these white cords in mass quantities.
Nor do we need to be concerned that the white cords might be construed as having an offensive racial connotation. Wearing a white cord is more like wearing a wedding dress than making a racial statement. It means the student's character hasn’t been soiled by trying to get something he really didn’t earn through the fruits of his own labor, no pun intended.
It's also a reminder that academic distinction should be tied to individual honor, not to sexual identity politics.
Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.