Diversity hypocrisy in higher education

The latest twist to the diversity obsession in colleges and universities comes from an accomplished Korean-American playwright who attributes her success to affirmative action (“I’m Asian-American. Affirmative Action Worked for Me.” The New York Times, Feb. 10).  Young Jean Lee believes she was admitted to the University of California at Berkeley because Asian-Americans were underrepresented in the English department.

Lee goes on to explain how being exposed to people from different races expanded her intellect.  What she fails to mention is that diversity in higher education is limited only to race and gender.  It does not apply to thought.  That’s the supreme irony of what is happening on campuses across the country.  Political correctness prevents students from getting a real education.  Anyone doubting my view needs only to recall speakers who are shouted down by students when they attempt to present views not in line with what they want to hear.

If students are shortchanged by the disproportionate absence of people of color on campus, they are even more shortchanged by lack of exposure to diverse viewpoints.  That kind of hypocrisy makes a mockery of what a college education is supposed to be.

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4 Replies to “Diversity hypocrisy in higher education”

  1. I’ve always preferred the idea of a one-year or two-year required “national service” obligation following high school graduation (or at age 18 for those who drop out of high school). Could be military or civil. The young people in the program would be assigned to an area far from where they grew up, would live in barracks or dorms with other young people of all races/religions/ethnic backgrounds/levels of affluence. In addition to contributing their time to improving the nation, the young people would be exposed to a lot of influences and kinds of people that they might otherwise never experience + this would be a chance for the young people to experiment with alcohol, sex, staying up all night, and perhaps marijuana without wasting a year or two of college and their family’s tuition $ doing so. Then, hopefully, after the two years of national service, the young people who wanted to could go on to college as more serious students. It’s possible also that at least some of the young people who — absent the national service program — would have marched in lockstep off to college in order to experience freedom from parental rules or get away from their hometowns would instead decide to skip college and pursue a trade.

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  2. Labor Lawyer: We had something similar during the Great Depression in the Civilian Conservation Corps. Not only did the program expose men to others different than themselves, but it also helped improve the environment in the form of various projects. But my point is that college is supposed to teach students how to think critically. I fail to understand how that is possible if they are not exposed to ideas they don’t necessarily agree with. Students who prevent speakers from expressing their views by shouting them down have no place in college. Unfortunately, administrators let them do so without any penalty.

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    1. Clearly, students, professors and colleges as institutions should never allow shouting-down as a means of restricting the expression of ideas. Not sure how much of this actually goes on in college — when it happens, the media loves to cover it, so perhaps we get a false impression that this goes on all the time at many/most colleges. My kids — who attended college in the 1990s — recall no such incidents. I have relatively little personal contact with today’s college students; I’ll ask about this when my path crosses with current college students.

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  3. Labor Lawyer: The trend toward “safe spaces” for students on campus has led to the present absurdity. If students can’t handle views that they don’t like for one reason or another, how will they survive after graduation? The term “snowflake” aptly describes most of them.

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