In September, a student whistleblower caught one of her professors calling Donald Trump and the Republican party “Nazis” as a guest lecturer for a human rights course.
The instructor, associate professor Ester Shapiro who teaches at the University of Massachusetts Boston, berated one of the students, Mary O’Sullivan, after she questioned a number of Shapiro’s false and misleading statements.
O’Sullivan responded by recording the entire exchange on her phone and releasing the footage to multiple news outlets, including The Western Journal.
“The question I initially asked my professor was ‘Can you please refer back to the slide where you’ve stated that the United States government are like Nazi Germans?'” O’Sullivan told The Western Journal.
Overall, the sheer number of slanderous and historically inaccurate statements blurted out by Shapiro in response to O’Sullivan was stunning in and of itself.
To make matters worse, the far-left political talking points that the psychology professor parroted out over the course of the nine-minute video are not unique to the University of Massachusetts Boston. (Following publication of this article, the school issued a comment to The Western Journal, which can be read in full here, regarding the situation).
These ideas are being taught at public and private colleges around the country. While some students may not know better or may agree with professors like this, plenty of conservative students across the country feel marginalized because of it.
When students recognize a professor’s political agenda bleeding into their class material, it’s important for them to also know how to debunk such lessons.
Shapiro’s many inaccurate claims are the perfect place to start.
Claim: “The United States baked in white supremacy into the Constitution”
While discussing groups that “believe equality will take something away from them,” Professor Shapiro made the claim that “the United States baked in white supremacy into the Constitution” by protecting slavery.
This lie, that the founders of the United States were white supremacists who built the country to further their racist agenda, is often repeated by the radical left.
Nowadays, many mainstream Democrats parrot versions of this absurd claim.
In a 2019 article for Reason, Timothy Sandefur, the Vice President for Litigation and Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair in Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute, explored the history of the claim that slavery is intrinsically tied to America’s origins.
In doing so, Sandefur fully debunked the notion that America’s founders were motivated by “white supremacy” when they authored the United States Constitution.
“In 1857, Chief Justice Roger Taney sought to make the myth [that America was premised on slavery] into the law of the land by asserting in Scott v. Sandford that the United States was created as, and could only ever be, a nation for whites. ‘The right of property in a slave,’ he declared, “is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution.’ This was false: the Constitution contains no legal protection for slavery, and doesn’t even use the word,” Sandefur wrote.
“Both [Abraham] Lincoln and [Frederick] Douglass answered Taney by citing the historical record as well as the text of the laws: the founders had called slavery both evil and inconsistent with their principles; they forbade the slave trade and tried to ban it in the territories; nothing in the Declaration or the Constitution established a color line; in fact, when the Constitution was ratified, black Americans were citizens in several states and could even vote. The founders deserved blame for not doing more, but the idea that they were white supremacists, said Douglass, was ‘a slander upon their memory.'”
Claim: America was uniquely protective of slavery
Shapiro’s claim that America “gave the southern slave-holding states the power to count their slaves not as full humans” is incredibly misleading.
“When the rest of the world was trying to find its way against enslavement and the United States protected, not only protected slavery, but gave the southern slave-holding states the power to count their slaves not as full humans, but as votes to dominate our politics. We’re still at it,” the professor said to the class.
The law that Shapiro seemed to be referring to is the Three-Fifths Compromise, which was actually used as a way to prevent slave states from using their slaves’ votes to gain more power in congress.
More importantly, to debunk the overall sentiment of Professor Shapiro’s comments, the United States was not especially determined to protect the institution of slavery.
Britain and the United States both passed legislation banning the slave trade around the same time, in 1807 and 1808 respectively, according to a Reuters timeline detailing “who banned slavery when?”
In the next few decades, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Portugal and Brazil all abolished slavery.
Then, in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation and in 1865 the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution banned slavery in the U.S.
This was before numerous countries outlawed the practice.
Slavery has continued to exist in many nations to this very day, but in order to end slavery in this country, Americans fought the bloodiest war in the country’s history.
We best not forget that.
Claim: Border detention is right-wing fascism
“We thought this would never happen again. We thought we were never going to see fascism of the Nazi Germany sort ever again. We now have children on the border in cages,” Shapiro continued, referring to the since discontinued Obama-era policy that housed undocumented migrant children in chain-link enclosures at the border.
“We have the criminalization of immigrants. We have a criminal who’s a president and who’s going down in flames, don’t think he’s not,” Shapiro told the class.
Multiple left-wing figures, like Michelle Obama for example, have accused President Donald Trump of throwing undocumented migrant children into cages.
Back in August, however, the former first lady was fact-checked by The Associated Press for accusing Trump of putting children in cages but failing to mention that the “very same ‘cages’ were built and used in her husband’s administration, for the same purpose of holding migrant kids temporarily.”
As the AP noted, “prominent Democrats have continued to cite cages for children as a distinctive cruelty of Trump.”
“The reference to cages is misleading and a matter that Democrats have persistently distorted.”
The myth of voter suppression
Another claim Shapiro made during the class was that “[w]e have the Republican militias with armbands preparing to go to the polling booths, they are preparing for election suppression, for voter suppression.”
“The minute the Supreme Court was challenged to say that we still have voter suppression in the United States, they said no with no evidence,” she continued.
[W]e now have the problem of having to go county by county, state by state, to address the manipulation of the vote. The only Republican strategy right now. And, look, I didn’t used to say Republican-Democrat, but now that we have Nazis we got to do it.”
First, there is absolutely no evidence to back up the claim that “Republican militias with armbands” are heading to the polls for “voter suppression.” There is no evidence of a “Republican strategy” to attempt to keep minorities from voting or to harass voters into changing their vote.
Nevertheless, over the past few decades, voter suppression been one of the left’s favorite myths.
There has never been one shred of credible evidence backing it up.
On Dec. 2, 2019, Jason Reily, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, broke down the myth of voter suppression in a video for PragerU, a conservative organization that creates educational videos in defense of conservative values.
Before debunking the left-wing narrative, Reily laid out the left’s most oft-used examples of so-called “voter suppression” — former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams and former mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, Andrew Guillem.
“At a 2019 NAACP dinner in Detroit, California senator Kamala Harris told the audience that ‘voter suppression’ in Georgia and Florida cost Democrats gubernatorial races in the 2018 midterm elections. ‘Let’s say this loud and clear,’ said Ms. Harris. ‘Without voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would be the governor of Georgia. Andrew Gillum is the governor of Florida,'” Reily said.
“A few days earlier, Miss Abrams herself, apparently still bitter over her defeat, made a similar claim. ‘We had an architect of voter suppression that spent the last eight years knitting together a system of voter suppression that is unparalleled in America,’ said Miss Abrams in reference to her Republican opponent, a former Georgia Secretary of state.”
Reily then went on to discredit this notion pushed by liberals such as Harris and Abrams.
“But if minorities are harmed by mandating voter ID and other anti-fraud measures, such as removing inactive voters from registration rolls, why does the evidence all point to the opposite conclusion?” Reily asked.
“A recent census bureau report found that voter turnout in 2018 climbed 11 percentage points from the last midterm election in 2014, surpassing 50 percent for the first time since 1982. Moreover, the increased turnout was largely driven by the same minority voters Democrats claim are being disenfranchised.”
A one-sided view of America
Unfortunately, it remains the case that students like Mary O’Sullivan at schools across the country only ever hear one side of the story — often the liberal side — when it comes to politics, pushing them to live in fear of having different beliefs, and giving them no real chance to form opinions of their own.
Far-left professors teach a one-sided view of history with the goal of molding their young students into political activists rather than independent thinkers.
No wonder it feels like the country is falling apart.
UPDATE, Oct. 30, 2020: This article has been updated to direct readers to a comment provided by the University of Massachusetts Boston to The Western Journal following publication. The remainder of the article, and its headline, remain as published.
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