Last year, we wrote about Kyle Bristow, a student at the University of Toledo College of Law. Bristow had been the chairman of the Young Americans for Freedom student chapter at Michigan State University when he was in college. The MSU-YAF was designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Hey, we’re living in a world where convicted murders get to go to law school. We can’t be surprised when the chairman of a so-called “hate group” gets in too.
But admitting a student with Bristow’s… colorful past, and holding him out as a representative of the law school, are two very different things. Toledo now seems strangely comfortable promoting Bristow and his views.
It’s an interesting choice. One that Toledo is certainly free to make. One that students who want to go to law school in an environment welcoming to minorities might want to notice….
At the heart of this story was a stupid panel about constitutional issues, held in recognition of “Constitution Day” earlier this month. The panel was run by the university, not the law school. A tipster explains:
On September 16th, the University of Toledo held a Constitution Day panel discussion. Invited on the panel were two U of Toledo law faculty, a local judge and a UT Law student, Kyle Bristow. Seems a strange choice and that there were no other students that could better represent the University.
Really, Toledo? You couldn’t find one other student to represent the student body on this issue? You want a conservative for that panel? Fine. Please tell me that somewhere at Toledo Law there are some red-blooded, gun-toting, small government conservatives who aren’t also former leaders of hate groups. Please tell me that the right wing party as represented on the campus of Toledo Law hasn’t gone so far that a kid like Kyle Bristow represents mainstream campus viewpoints.
Now, some would argue that Toledo made a wise choice in picking Bristow for this publicity. My colleague David Lat said to me, “I actually think it’s very fitting that Bristow be placed on this panel. If the First Amendment means anything, it includes the freedom to spout views like his.”
I certainly think that Bristow should be allowed to say whatever he wants, wherever he wants. Yay First Amendment. But the strictures of the First Amendment do not require Toledo to tacitly or indirectly endorse the views of a guy like Bristow.
And don’t even get me started on Bristow’s bio that’s up on the Toledo Law website:
Kyle Bristow, a third-year student in the UT College of Law, is a prominent conservative activist who has received national media attention. As an undergraduate student at Michigan State University, he was chair of the university’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. He also wrote a fiction book that raises an alternative proposal to the native people of America.
Honestly, I find this write-up disgusting. I find this attempt to paint and gloss over Kyle Bristow’s unabashed résumé just below the seal of Toledo University to be a disgusting act on the part of the people at Toledo who approved this message.
Kyle Bristow’s “fiction book” is nothing more than a racist diatribe, in my opinion. I’ll not link to it here, but I’m sure you can find it for yourself. I haven’t read the full thing, as I don’t tend to read what I determine to be racist literature. Here’s my favorite quote about the effort:
The Soul Train Hypothesis holds that Europeans first colonized North America and were systematically murdered by the Asiatic stock today commonly called Native Americans. This is supposed to be evidence of the superiority of the European stock, even as the superiority of the European stock has for years been predicated on the fact that Europeans showed up after the Native Americans had colonized North America and subsequently murdered millions through disease and overt violence, and herded those who remained onto reservations. Now, apparently, evidence for a superior race comes by way of being victimized by ethnic cleansing. Don’t ask me how to sort this all out, as I lack the requisite skills of perception available only to those demonstrating the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Obviously, if you like this sort of thing, you can find many websites that praise this fiction. And apparently one of those websites is that of the University of Toledo. They are highlighting this thing on their website even though it is a fictional work that has little to do with the constitutional issues Bristow was there to speak about.
Again, Bristow is free to write whatever the hell he wants, but Toledo’s attempt to whitewash Bristow’s record is galling and insulting. In his Toledo-approved bio, the referenced book is called
“The Soul Train Hypothesis.”
CORRECTION: The book is called the Solutrean Hypothesis — which makes a lot more sense in terms of stupid things some people believe in.
Toledo artfully avoids mentioning Bristow’s other, more popular book, White Apocalypse. The Soul Train Hypothesis sounds like it could be about black people, dancing their way to freedom. White Apocalypse sounds exactly like what it is.
If Toledo wants to support Kyle Bristow, if they want to promote him and his writings, then the university should own all of it. It should own the truth. It shouldn’t be able to just pick and choose the softer bits. It shouldn’t be able to just throw this guy out there as a representative from the law school about constitutional issues without explaining exactly what perspective this guy is coming from.
And if Toledo had been open, honest, and truthful about the views of Mr. Kyle Bristow, if they had perhaps offered up a counter speaker from the law school to emphasize that Toledo Law is not a school that supports gross racial intolerance, then I don’t think anybody would have had a problem with having Bristow join in on this or any other panel. I love it when people like Bristow have an opportunity to speak. Their arguments are usually dumb and easy to counter. Their cherished beliefs are usually so abhorrent to the general public that simply getting them to admit to what they actually believe is half that battle.
There was a way to handle this that would have promoted the free speech rights of all members of the Toledo community while still being respectful to the hundreds of students at Toledo Law who were not members of a designated hate group. Instead, Toledo tried to slip this guy in and hope that nobody would notice.
Again, Toledo is certainly free to make that choice. But if I were a prospective student, I’d exercise my freedom to consider that choice before deciding to go to Toledo.