On April 16, Colby College President David A. Greene came out of the closet as a white man. He had been brooding in his luxurious office and presidential lodgings about his condition for more than a year when an outbreak of toleration on his campus provided appropriate conditions for his acknowledgment. Actually, many people on campus had harbored suspicions for some time, but they had been too tactful to mention it.

Although conditions for self-revelation were appropriate, they did fall a little short of the president’s dream scenario. He had been waiting for news about a Maine police officer shooting a person of color — an “unarmed black youth” would have been ideal — but either Maine’s policemammals are slow on the draw or there just aren’t enough targets of color.

Greene had to settle for an outbreak of Yik Yak Hate to set the scene for his “Coming Out” event. The big thing was to get aboard the We Hate Hate bandwagon while it still rolled. He knew that a sudden announcement at some random point lacked the dramatic mise-en-scène provided by the national grievance festival currently underway.

Senior citizens falling steadily further and further behind developments in the Wide Wired Word (e.g. me) need to know that Yik Yak is an “app” (this appears to abbreviate “application” although I don’t know why) created late in 2013 by college grads Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll. It was designed as a “local bulletin board for your area,” and allows users to post comments anonymously onto a feed that can be viewed by people within a five-mile radius of the poster.

Yik Yak app downloaders must check one of those “I agree to the Terms and Conditions” boxes. No ordinary user actually reads such boxes; the texts are always far too long for people locked into the Tweeter Epoch. Eccentrics and researchers who bother to check up on what they checked off will read, in part: “By way of example, and not as a limitation, you will not directly or indirectly transmit any pornographic, obscene, offensive, threatening, harassing, libelous, hate-oriented, harmful, defamatory, racist, illegal, or otherwise objectionable material or content.”

Unless this is meant as a shield against lawsuits, the Appsters are just kidding. What’s the point of anonymity if you are not allowed to be nasty or otherwise objectionable? That T&C section is useful as a list of suggestions. It has no prohibitive utility. None. Consequently, a minor Colby Hate Hating Festival about racial injustice and cops shooting unarmed blacks stimulated a tsunami, flood, wave, spate or trickle (not clear which) of rude, mocking and otherwise objectionable Yik Yak responses.

It was this Twitter Trickle (or tsunami — as you will) that stimulated a mass outpouring of hate-hating indignation at Colby College and gave President Greene an indignant crowd of 500 people before whom he could discloset himself. Our hero did not waste the opportunity. He told students he should not enjoy privileges he “did not earn” solely because he is white and affluent.

He denounced the societal attitudes about race that give him, as a white man, privileges he did not earn. “I walk through TSA lines in airports without being searched. I drive my car without fear of being stopped,” he wailed. “I’m never followed in stores. Cabs stop for me when I hail them,” he sniveled. “I never want to forget that the color of my skin, the size of my wallet, shapes the way I see and I experience the world.”

A man would have to have a heart of stone to remain unmoved by these displays of presidential grief, but the man’s speech contained a couple of discordant notes. How can he say “Bigotry and targeted hatred have no place at Colby,” with a straight face after targeting the whole white race for resentment, and belittling their achievements as a product of their tincture?

When he told the crowd, “those who raise their voices in support of social justice deserve our gratitude and our attention,” was he praising himself? And if so, how can he justify his salary? I don’t know what it is for the current year, but I do know his predecessor received $695,000 in 2007. If Greene is earning anything like that, he is in no danger of forgetting the size of his wallet, but he ought to forget about that social justice talk. He’s asking for “blowback.”

John Frary of Farmington is a former congressional candidate and retired history professor, a board member of Maine Taxpayers United and publisher of www.fraryhomecompanion.com. Email to [email protected].


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