VIDEO: Leftist students stage walkout, protest UNC Ben Shapiro lecture
A staged walkout by liberal students during a Ben Shapiro lecture at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill backfired Wednesday, with other students eagerly rushing in to fill the vacated seats.
Shapiro started his speech, titled “The Left’s Obsession with Race,” by asking audience members with differing views to stay for the duration of the speech, and not walk out or attempt to shout him down.
“Walking out just demonstrates close-mindedness and shouting down just demonstrates ideological fascism,” he told them.
The campus Black Student Movement had already made it known they planned to do just that, and numerous protesters dressed in black BSM shirts dutifully walked out of the lecture hall in unison once Shapiro began his speech.
Students wishing to hear Shapiro immediately poured into the room, taking the seats emptied by the protestors. Campus security did not allow the room to fill beyond legal capacity, so many students had been watching a live video stream in an overflow room while the protestors took up nearly a third of the lecture hall, and gratefully seized the opportunity to continue watching the speech in person.
The heavily conservative crowd gave a mocking round of applause when the protestors left and clapped sincerely when students came in to take the empty seats. Shapiro continued after the brief interruption.
The protesters also held a rally on the steps of the building Shapiro was speaking in, taking turns discussing their feelings on the issue.
Protest organizer Charity Lackey told The Daily Tar Heel, UNC-CH’s student newspaper that Shapiro’s lecture was hate speech and she couldn’t sit through it.
“Let us leave this place that only serves to attack the existence of the other,” Lackey said. “He has fundamental beliefs, ideologies and systems that challenge my humanity and many other people’s humanities who are here.”
A school-sponsored unity event with free food and mini golf took place nearby as a contrast to the perceived divisiveness of Shapiro’s lecture.The theme was #OneUNC and offered students a chance to share positive community with one another.
A Twitter user filmed Lackey, who encouraged students to attend the unity event and another topical discussion happening on campus to protest Shapiro.
“These are all open spaces that do not disregard your humanity, so please go to them and celebrate yourself,” Lackey said.
Shapiro said the politically correct concepts of diversity, white privilege, trigger warnings, microagressions, and safe spaces are stupid ideas made up by leftist professors and even-further-left-wing college students to excuse racism and silence conservatism in college.
“It’s the only thing that the left seems to care about when it comes to diversity: racial diversity,” Shapiro said. “But racial diversity, if you are a decent human being, ought not mean anything because it turns out that virtue means nothing and being a decent human being means nothing. If you don’t care about virtue, but you do care about skin color, then you are definitionally a racist.”
Shapiro said that he didn’t consider race an important factor in judging someone.
“I don’t care if you’re black, white, or green,” he declared. “I just care that you’re a good person.”
Shapiro was hosted by the UNC College Republicans as a part of the Fred R. Allen Lecture Series through Young America’s Foundation.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @RiersonNC