Kyle Kashuv, a student who had been admitted to Harvard University, has had his admission rescinded after it was revealed that he had made racist remarks on “text and Skype messages as well as in a shared Google document for a class study guide two years ago” that apparently made “threats against Jews and racial slurs in reference to African Americans.”
His comments were revealed recently.
“The more prominent he got, the more I was bothered by his hypocrisy,” Ariana Ali, one of Kashuv’s classmates, said about him recently. “He pretends to be this God-fearing, squeaky-clean type, but everyone who knows him knows that’s not who he really is.” Who he really is, according to Ali, is a bigot. According to another classmate, Kashuv “used the N-word frequently,” both in text messages and in person. A different classmate said, “He was obsessed with ranking which women were most attractive, by race. Out of nowhere, he’d go, ‘Wanna hear my racial ranking system?’ ” Political disagreements are one thing, Ali said, “but Kyle’s behavior was way, way over the line.” Ali had several more anecdotes attesting to this. She also, as they say, had the receipts.
On Twitter, Ali posted a video of Kashuv and some of his classmates chatting on a Google Doc in December, 2017. They were supposedly studying for their A.P. American-history midterm, but, around midnight, the review session went off the rails. At first, the attempts at humor were innocent enough. (On one page, the names of the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party were changed to “Fed boyos” and “Demdem Reppy swag.”) But Kashuv’s contributions were more unhinged. He referred, in capital letters, to “my jewish slaves.” Elsewhere, he wrote the N-word eleven times in a row. “I’m really good at typing” the word, he explained. “Practice uhhhhhh makes perfect.” The same day that Ali put the video out on Twitter, Kashuv posted a statement announcing his resignation from Turning Point. A few days later, he tweeted another statement. He acknowledged having used “callous and inflammatory language,” but he didn’t apologize. A Turning Point spokesperson called Kashuv’s comments “unacceptable” and “un-American.” (Kashuv declined to comment.)
After the comments were revealed by a classmate, he apologized for them to Harvard, saying that he had ‘grown’ since then and that the university should have taken that growth into account. They clearly did not agree.
Apart from the question of whether the university should or should not have revoked his admission, what struck me were the reasons he gave for why he had made the offensive remarks in the first place.
On Monday Mr Kashuv took to Twitter to say “we were 16-year-olds making idiotic comments, using callous and inflammatory language in an effort to be as extreme and shocking as possible”, and added that he “immediately apologised” for the two-year old exchanges.
“I’m embarrassed by it, but I want to be clear that the comments I made are not indicative of who I am or who I’ve become in the years since.”
Ah yes, the old “What I did and said is not indicative of who I am” ploy.
I can understand young people trying to make a splash among their peers by being “as extreme and shocking as possible” but I do not understand why he felt that it had to be done in racist terms. Why not do so by streaking across the sports field, a time-honored act designed to gain attention? Why not take a stand against popular culture icons? When I was 16, saying that the Beatles were a third rate band or that The Catcher in the Rye was a boring book would have been utterly shocking. I am sure there must be current-day equivalents.