Sarah Silverman has never been one to care too much about political correctness. Yet she understands that publicly identifying with a particular political group is one way to signal your basic ideologies, and she’s worried that some people who self-identify as liberals or progressives might be losing sight of what that stands for.
As Mediaite reports, Silverman shared a personal story on the latest episode of her podcast about how her friend’s kid goes to a so-called “liberal” school, where they just expelled a group of eighth-graders for essentially doing the kinds of things that eighth-graders do. In this case: Making a list of all the kids in their class, then ranking them by popularity, from most to least.
Silverman said that she couldn’t stop thinking about the story, because it was something she was “seeing happening with liberals and progressives. [And] I worry what liberal has become is becoming antithetical to its cause.”
Given that the traditional definition of a liberal is one who supports the individual and individual rights such as freedom of speech, Silverman has a point. Which isn’t to say that she agrees with the exercise in question. But, in her mind, it could have been a teachable moment:
“It’s not nice, of course. But it is a part of how children develop. These misguided attempts of figuring out: Where do I fit? Where am I in this picture? It’s very usual of behavior at that age…
I mean god, what an opportunity to teach them about why you had that impulse, and who you hurt, Give them detention, punish them. But expulsion? There needs to be, especially, and critically for children, a path to redemption when you make a mistake. It’s such a f***ing teachable moment.”
To Silverman, that the school’s immediate reaction was to remove the teens involved in the incident means that they should no longer be able to identify as a liberal place of learning.
“You are not progressive if you’ll not allow children with developing minds—if you allow them no room to progress for progress,” she said. “You can’t call yourself progressive if you’re kicking kids out of school for navigating childhood poorly.”
You can listen to the full episode on Spotify.