Howard University protest of James Comey shows anti-speech leftists want to lecture, not converse

An organization of students disrupted former FBI Director James Comey’s convocation address at Howard University on Friday, seeking to “express outrage” over their school’s decision to select him as the event’s keynote speaker.

Comey “boasted many affronts to Black communities and communities of color during his tenure at the FBI, including the dismissal of racist state-sanctioned violence, and efforts to dismantle the growing Black Lives Matter movement,” according to a statement from the #HUResist student group.

“White supremacy is not a debate,” protesters chanted at one point.

Therein lies the most disturbing element of this particular protest.

Comey is not a white supremacist, nor has he actively worked to advance the cause of white supremacy during his career. Merriam-Webster defines a white supremacist as “a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.” That captures society’s long-held definition of the concept fairly well.

Comey of course does not “believe the white race is inherently superior,” but extreme progressives have expanded the definition of white supremacy to implicate anybody who does not subscribe to the progressive outlook on racial justice, lumping them into the same category society has historically reserved for the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.

With so many reasonable members of the population relegated to that category of people unworthy of being heard out, students such as Comey’s protesters at Howard leave themselves with one acceptable worldview to engage. That won’t serve them and it won’t serve society.

“I love the enthusiasm of young folks, but I wish they understood what a conversation is,” Comey said on Friday. Though we never should have gotten to this point in the first place, it is now academia’s duty to help them understand.

Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.