In “Crashing the Conservative Party,” Abigail Anthony ’23 bemoaned the Princeton University Ballet’s decision to draft an anti-racism action plan. “If you can’t escape politics within a ballet club, if you can’t simply perform as a butterfly in Carnival of the Animals without being indoctrinated with anti-racism initiatives,” she says, “then there’s no space on campus without progressivism. It’s absurd!” Abigail, do you know who cannot ever “simply perform”? Dancers of color. Do you think that Misty Copeland could ever “simply perform”? Every time she stepped onto a stage or a rehearsal floor, she was immediately subject to the conscious and subconscious prejudices of everyone around her, which formed invisible yet very real hurdles the likes of which you will never have to clear. There is no “escaping politics” when the subject of politics is your worth and potential as a person.
This myopic self-centeredness is perhaps the most frustrating trait shared among conservatives. They think that because the world is working just fine for them, it must be working just fine for everyone else — and if it isn’t working for someone, it must be due to their own personal shortcomings. It can’t possibly be due to the shortcomings of a nation and society built on the enslavement of Black people, the exploitation of laborers, and the violent silencing of people who deviate from its norms. This attitude is not in the service of humanity and it was disappointing to see it still has a home at Princeton.