Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire and a Harvard Law School graduate, called “The Left’s Obsession With Race” in Carroll Hall.
Shapiro was invited to speak by the UNC College Republicans as part of the Young America’s Foundation Fred R. Allen lecture series.
Before beginning, Shapiro told the crowd that walking out demonstrates closed-mindedness.
“I hope that nobody walks out — I hope that nobody shouts down because this is a free country, and I’m hoping to have a fun conversation with everybody,” he said.
About five minutes into the speech, students silently walked out.
“Let us leave this space that only serves to attack the existence of the other,” said Charity Lackey, a student and the organizer of the walkout, outside. Lackey said she was walking out because Shapiro did not have respect for her or her opinion.
“He has fundamental beliefs, ideologies and systems that challenge my humanity and many other people’s humanities who are here,” she said.
After the walkout, Lackey and the other students who walked out gathered in front of Carroll Hall.
Lackey led the group of students in chants of, “Black Lives Matter,” and, “Can you see us now?”
The crowd outside snapped to Lackey’s words of disappointment in the UNC College Republicans and their speakers’ lack of compassion.
“These are not conservative lecturers,” Lackey said. “This is hate speech.”
Lackey said the walkout was done to tell Shapiro and the UNC College Republicans they are not willing to engage in a discussion with them.
“We can walk out of a space and show that we will not engage; we will not give you that satisfaction. I will not waste my energy because it took a lot of energy to sit in there for five minutes to be quite honest,” Lackey said.
Back inside, Shapiro’s lecture provided a harsh critique of the ideology of the left. He said the speech might make people uncomfortable, and he didn’t care.
“We are going to debunk and talk about five of the left’s favorite terms on campus, and these are all stupid and counterproductive terms,” he said. “The first is diversity, the second is white privilege, the third is trigger warnings, the fourth is micro-aggressions and the fifth is safe spaces.”
Frank Pray, chairperson of UNC College Republicans, said he liked what Shapiro had to say.
“He presented the conservative viewpoint on a whole host of issues, mostly related to race, very expertly.”
Part of Shapiro’s speech focused on the nonexistence of white privilege in today’s society.
“If you are a black person and you feel like you are not succeeding in life, it’s a lot easier to say white privilege is responsible for my non-success than maybe I made some bad decisions,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro concluded the evening by saying actions are more important than thoughts and feelings.
“Be decent to other people, and you really don’t have to worry about any of these other problems,” he said. “Just continue to be decent to your fellow human being and recognize that they have basic rights to free speech and liberty, just the same as you do, and everything will be OK.”