It is one thing for maladjusted activists to behave as villains.
But what excuse is there for our institutions to do the same?
The New York Times published a grotesque report this weekend cheering an 18-year-old named Jimmy Galligan, a biracial Virginia resident who targeted a white girl for destruction after he obtained a years-old video of her using the N-word.
The white girl, Mimi Groves, used the racial slur jokingly in 2016 in reference to having just acquired her learner's permit. Groves, who was a freshman in high school at the time, said specifically in a Snapchat video, "I can drive, n-----s."
Three years later, Galligan obtained a copy of the video.
"He tucked the video away, deciding to post it publicly when the time was right," reports the New York Times.
And by “when the time was right,” the paper of record means the aggrieved 18-year-old waited until Groves, who spent her years in high school competing successfully as a cheerleader, had been accepted into the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as a member of its prestigious cheer team.
The New York Times reports, “Mr. Galligan, who had waited until Ms. Groves had chosen a college, had publicly posted the video that afternoon. Within hours, it had been shared to Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter, where furious calls mounted for the University of Tennessee to revoke its admission offer."
The University of Tennessee bowed to the mob, first by removing Groves from its cheer squad and then by pressuring her into rescinding her application for enrollment. Groves, who is both contrite and embarrassed for what she said as a freshman in high school, took the hint. She withdrew her acceptance and ended up attending community college online.
Galligan, whom the New York Times treats as some sort of tortured, noble soul, believes his actions were both righteous and even heroic.
"I’m going to remind myself,” he tells the New York Times, “you started something. You taught someone a lesson.”
Galligan is outrageously misguided. That much is clear. But he is not even the most disturbing thing about this wretched story. That dubious distinction goes to both the New York Times and the University of Tennessee.
It is one thing if Galligan is a bitter, vindictive young man suffering from personal hang-ups, but what good reason does the New York Times have to run his story? What public interest is served? Are we to believe now that the private remarks of children, remarks, by the way, for which they have apologized, merit attention from the most powerful media organizations in the United States? Surely, the New York Times is not serious when it says of this incident that it paints a "complex portrait of behavior that for generations had gone unchecked in schools in one of the nation’s wealthiest counties, where Black students said they had long been subjected to ridicule." Next up, I suppose the paper will dispatch a team of reporters to investigate the mean-girl table.
And what about the University of Tennessee? It arguably looks worse than the New York Times. Groves said a bad word. She also said it years ago when she was just a teenager, and she has repented for it. Groves also never directed the word at anyone, much less in hate. She certainly did not direct anything at Galligan. Yet, the university decided anyway that the best course of action would be to remove Groves from the cheer team before eventually pressuring her into withdrawing her application.
Galligan’s personal rage is his own problem. But what is going on at the New York Times and the University of Tennessee? Whose idea was it to elevate Galligan as some sort of racial-justice hero? Likewise, does the university have a policy whereby the years-old social media activity of its applicants decides enrollment? Perhaps it is as many fear. Perhaps it is that these establishments are overrun now with activists who mirror closely the bitter resentment and sense of moral superiority embodied by Galligan's smug comments to the New York Times.
The self-anointed Torquemadasof "social justice" are on the prowl, looking for victims to punish. The only thing scarier than that is that our institutions are playing along for some reason.
Where are the adults?