Ben Shapiro, who is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire and host of The Ben Shapiro Show, spoke about those topics as well as trigger warnings and microaggressions. He called all of them “leftist myths.”
Shapiro was brought to campus by the Young Americans for Freedom organization. Shapiro was applauded by some in the audience and questioned critically by others at the end of the program.
Shapiro was critical of recent protests at TCU and across the nation. He also objected to the university’s handling of a list of demands from three students, including the naming of a chief inclusion officer, a cabinet-level position.
He criticized San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who started a protest movement of not standing for the National Anthem to object to what he called the mistreatment of people of color in this country.
“To tribute the shooting of black people, to unspecify white privilege and to kneel for the National Anthem as Colin Kaepernick does, that’s racist in it of itself,” Shapiro said. “You can’t assume white people don’t care about innocent black people getting blown away without evidence. That’s disgusting and it’s racist.”
He called out the three students who met with Chancellor Victor Boschini and presented a list of demands they said would improve diversity and inclusion at TCU.
“Yes, I mean you Diona Willis, Shanel Alexander and Emily Laff,” he said. “Those are the three TCU students who have organized these silent protests during the National Anthem at football games. Shame on the administration, weaklings as like the chancellor, the vice chancellor, and the associate chancellor of student affairs and all the other administrators who gave credit for this bulls–t.”
Alexander and Willis attended the speech and said they felt disrespected by Shapiro and others who have criticized them without talking to them.
“I felt he was a crowd pleaser,” said Willis, a senior political science major. “He wanted to say what he knew would get people riled up that would obviously charge either side or the opposition to side with him.”
Alexander, who is also a senior political science major, said Shapiro and the students of YAF misunderstood the reasoning behind the protests and list of demands.
“A lot of the conservative people on campus and people on the outside looking in do not understand the reasoning behind the demands,” Alexander said. “The fact that people haven’t spoken to us to get the root of it, it just makes it wrong to speak out about it in general.”
Ron Robinson, president of the national organization the Young America’s Foundation, was among those in the crowd.
“I definitely agree with the educational provocative nature in the sense it challenges students to read a lot, to study on issues and to form their own opinions based on the conclusions they come to,” he said.
A TCU student and member of YAF Mary Beth Strobel, a senior economics major, agreed with Shapiro’s assessment that white privilege is an individual problem, not societal issue.
Prior to his speech, Shapiro spoke briefly with TCU360 about his views on inequality. “Essentially, I think income inequality is made an issue because people want to redistribute income and ignore the real problem is poverty; not further somebody is rich or not. The rich people are not stealing the money from poor people.”