The Oberlin jury said, in effect, enough is enough. College administrators cannot continue to have it both ways. No matter what the Oberlin faculty and students imagined about their experiences inside Gibson’s Bakery, the Gibsons were not engaged in racial profiling. They manifestly were protecting their business from shoplifters.
Inside and outside academia, a lot of people in recent years have been accused of violating someone’s idea of their lived experience, often with “hurtful speech.” Leading, in turn, to being suspended from their jobs or ostracized by people they considered colleagues.
Agreed. One shouldn’t need a multimillion-dollar liability judgment against a college to define recognizable boundaries of common sense. But given the intensity of political animosities these days, maybe that’s what it takes.