Brian Farnan, vice president of the student government at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, was forced to apologize for an animated picture he sent that showed President Obama kicking a door, the Daily Caller reported Monday. The reason: Some students thought the picture was racist.
The image, William A. Jacobson said at Legal Insurrection, was used in a comedy bit by Jay Leno, causing it to go viral.
"It obviously was fake, but took on a life of its own on the internet, causing Snopes to issue a False rating and a video comparing the original and edited versions," Jacobson added.
Farnan sent the image with the caption: "Honestly midterms get out of here."
But someone took offense at the animation and filed a formal complaint citing what the Daily Caller called the "latest phrase of choice for leftist radicals seeking to blame racism for common annoyances suffered by people of all races."
That phrase is "microaggression," referring to a trivial slight that can be used to silence the alleged offender, even if there is no real racism involved.
In this case, the animation of Obama kicking a door was considered racist because of the “cultural, historical and living legacy surrounding people of color—particularly young men—being portrayed as violent,” Farnan said in his apology.
Farnan, the Daily Caller said, got off easy.
"Under the McGill student government’s Orwellian 'equity policy,' Farnan could have been suspended or even dismissed from his position as vice president in the organization," Robby Soave wrote.
Instead of being dismissed or suspended, Farnan was required to denounce the image in a public apology.
"Despite the innocent intentions influencing my decision to use this particular image, I have come to recognize the negative implications of adding the .GIF image within this given context,” he said. “By using this particular image of President Obama, I unknowingly perpetuated this living legacy and subsequently allowed a medium of [Student Society of McGill University] communication to become the site of a microaggression; for this, I am deeply sorry.”
Jacobson said McGill's equity policy is similar to speech codes at a number of U.S. colleges, and relies on the feelings of the offended person rather than actual facts.
"This is what happens when critical race and other theories take hold, and evidence is deemed an inconvenience," he wrote.
But the story doesn't end there, as another McGill student was offended by Farnan's apology.
"Brian, your GIF didn’t offend me, your apology did. I am offended that you think I’m so shallow and high-strung that I would be offended by this," wrote political science student Ameya Pendse.
"Some people at McGill are a tad sensitive, so let me apologize in advance for my offensive statements. But it’s okay because we are all oppressed together, right? We’re slowly coming to grips with fact that we are all racist, sexist, patriarchs, and so on. If I learned anything at McGill, it’s that a vocal minority has deemed us all to be both oppressed as well as oppressors," Pendse added.
Pendse also expressed offense at the college spending time and money on such a trivial complaint adding that the incident has caused him to be ashamed of the school and its equity commission -- something one reader said "sounds like something out of some kind of orwellian dystopia."
"I am forced to question SSMU’s legitimacy and objectivity. Quite frankly, Brian, it’s going to be difficult to ever take you or the equity commission seriously after this," Pendse added.
The Daily Caller said the student government plans to review the equity policy in the coming weeks.
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