Diversity and Multiculturalism: The New Racism

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Mornin', y'all. Here's an essay that talks about a couple of issues that are not only accepted on campus and in the corporate world, but have ravaged the grade and secondary schools as well.

Diversity and Multiculturalism: The New Racism

Michael S. Berliner, Ph.D., and Gary Hull, Ph.D.

from Essay

Is ethnic diversity an absolute essential of a college education? UCLAs Chancellor Charles Young thinks so. Ethnic diversity is clearly the purpose of affirmative action, which Young is defending against a long-overdue assault. But far from being essential to a college education, such diversity is a sure road to its destruction. Ethnic diversity is merely racism in a politically correct disguise.

Many people have a very superficial view of racism. They see it as merely the belief that one race is superior to another. It is much more than that. It is a fundamental (and fundamentally wrong) view of human nature. Racism is the notion that ones race determines ones identity. It is the belief that ones convictions, values and character are determined not by the judgment of ones mind but by ones anatomy or blood.

This view causes people to be condemned (or praised) based on their racial membership. In turn, it leads them to condemn or praise others on the same basis. In fact, one can gain an authentic sense of pride only from ones own achievements, not from inherited characteristics.

The spread of racism requires the destruction of an individuals confidence in his own mind. Such an individual then anxiously seeks a sense of identity by clinging to some group, abandoning his autonomy and his rights, allowing his ethnic group to tell him what to believe. Because he thinks of himself as a racial entity, he feels himself only among others of the same race. He becomes a separatist, choosing his friends  and enemies  based on ethnicity. This separatism has resulted in the spectacle of student-segregated dormitories and segregated graduations.

The diversity movement claims that its goal is to extinguish racism and build tolerance of differences. This is a complete sham. One cannot teach students that their identity is determined by skin color and expect them to become colorblind. One cannot espouse multiculturalism and expect students to see each other as individual human beings. One cannot preach the need for self-esteem while destroying the faculty which makes it possible: reason. One cannot teach collective identity and expect students to have self-esteem.

Advocates of diversity are true racists in the basic meaning of that term: they see the world through colored lenses, colored by race and gender. To the multiculturalist, race is what counts  for values, for thinking, for human identity in general. No wonder racism is increasing: colorblindness is now considered evil, if not impossible. No wonder people dont treat each other as individuals: to the multiculturalist, they arent.

Advocates of diversity claim it will teach students to tolerate and celebrate their differences. But the differences they have in mind are racial differences, which means were being urged to glorify race, which means were being asked to institutionalize separatism. Racial identity erects an unbridgeable gulf between people, as though they were different species, with nothing fundamental in common. If that were true  if racial identity determined ones values and thinking methods  there would be no possibility for understanding or cooperation among people of different races.

Advocates of diversity claim that because the real world is diverse, the campus should reflect that fact. But why should a campus population reflect the general population (particularly the ethnic population)? No answer. In fact, the purpose of a university is to impart knowledge and develop reasoning, not to be a demographic mirror of society.

Racism, not any meaningful sense of diversity, guides todays intellectuals. The educationally significant diversity that exists in the real world is intellectual diversity, i.e., the diversity of ideas. But such diversity  far from being sought after  is virtually forbidden on campus. The existence of political correctness blasts the academics pretense at valuing real diversity. What they want is abject conformity.

The only way to eradicate racism on campus is to scrap racist programs and the philosophic ideas that feed racism. Racism will become an ugly memory only when universities teach a valid concept of human nature: one based on the tenets that the individuals mind is competent, that the human intellect is efficacious, that we possess free will, that individuals are to be judged as individuals  and that deriving ones identity from ones race is a corruption  a corruption appropriate to Nazi Germany, not to a nation based on freedom and independence.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), July 11, 2000


One problem with "multiculturalism" that I've always taken issue with since I worked at a "multicultural" high school is that the "multiculturalists" attempt to validate aspects of cultures which are negative. Most Hispanic cultures are still dominated by old-world values and for the most part are still very paternalistic in nature. I always got into trouble trying to point this out to my Hispanic colleagues at the so-called "multicultural" school.

Most people supporting "multiculturalism" reject the idea of America as "melting pot". My former boss would say she thought of America as more of a "salad" where cultures could coexist. I've always rejected this notion. I do not think it is a good idea to allow oppressive cultures to coexist in America. I have no problem with American culture being influenced by some of the better aspects of other cultures. But I do not think that perpetuating the negative aspects of many cultures is doing anyone any good and in many cases those negative aspects conflict with American ideas based on the rights of the individual.

-- Buddy (buddydc@go.com), July 11, 2000.


I agree with your regarding with abhorrence the attempted validation of the negative aspects of cultures. I mean, without even having to go into the philosophical principles -- just look at the slippery slope here: What about the ones that practiced human sacrifice? Cannibalism? Even the Nazi "culture"? Are all these practices and cultures to be regarded the rough equivalent of the ones that show respect for human life?

From this anyone should be able to clearly see the irrationality of the whole thing.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), July 11, 2000.

We've been dicked by the diddling digit of diversity.

-- (nemesis@awol.com), July 11, 2000.

The only "Culture"we have is Agriculture.

-- Farmer Fanny (corn@noon.corn), July 11, 2000.

So would it have been correct to continue to allow "Rich, White Men" only to be admitted into Ivy League schools or other institutions of higher learning? Do you really think that affirmative action was just a cute little idea to help some folks get ahead? Do you think there would ever have been a need for affirmative action if our institutes of higher learning were making educational opportunities available to all?

Do you really want to return to the times before civil rights legislation? Affirmative action IS flawed, and I have not always agreed with the results, BUT let's face it, folks, the rich white male dominated society, left to its own devices, would continue to oppress woman, people of race, the handicapped, etc.. Why, President Clinton signed a bil either last year or this which imposed strcit penalties for paying a women less than a man in a similar job. Why did he do this? After years of civil rights and years of women fighting for equal rights...guess what-woman are still being discrinated against.

The bigger question is "What is the goal and aim of society as a whole?" To what degree can the "fittest" trample on the "unfit" in their path to economic glory? If the goal of our society is to afford the opportunity to all of succeeding, then the doors have to remain open to minorities and women in our institutes of higher learning. We have already proven what we do when we are "left alone". We discriminate-plain and simple.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), July 11, 2000.

>>Advocates of diversity claim it will teach students to tolerate and celebrate their differences. But the differences they have in mind are racial differences, which means were being urged to glorify race, which means were being asked to institutionalize separatism. <<

I'm not sure I can agree with this.

I live in Toronto, which is arguably the most multicultural city in the world, as well as one of the more peaceable. And the evidence I see around me on the streets and in interactions with my fellow citizens belies the statement that advocates of diversity are asking that we "institutionalize separatism".

Toronto has a long history of accepting and absorbing immigrants. For obvious reasons, immigrants when they first arrive head for neighbourhoods where they know they will find others who speak the same language and can assist them in understanding Canadian society. What happens over time is that the 2nd generation will begin to move away from the initial areas and also that some of them will marry people not from their particular country of origin. Hence birth announcements for "Suzuki McDonald".

Many of the newer suburbs surrounding the city are tremendously mixed, in terms of the ethnic origins of those who live there. This weekend I attended a birthday party for a friend of my toddler's. I met a fellow immigrant (I'm originally from Northern Ireland) who is a Russian Jew. He lives in the northern part of the city in a neighbourhood filled with people from around the world. It is one of the things he loves about Canada; diversity wasn't much celebrated in the old USSR (from where he emigrated).

The reason I think diversity works in Toronto is that people here seem able to blend the best of "the old country" with the what's best about Toronto and Canada. This isn't always easy but it seems to make this a wonderfully liveable city.

Just to add a little context: Canada has historically regarded itself as a "cultural mosiac" in contrast to the American "melting pot". This may explain part of the reason Americans and Canadians can react differently to the concept of diversity. Also, the Canadian federal gov't has had an official policy of promoting multiculturalism since the 1970s. This policy has not been without its critics (mostly on the right wing of the political spectrum), but in general I think it enjoys fairly broad public support.

-- Johnny Canuck (j_canuck@hotmail.com), July 12, 2000.


My son will be applying to the University of Michigan. He's got close to a 4.0 GPA and good test scores. His heart is set on U of M, although I don't have my hopes up. Why? Because they openly and proudly practice racial discrimination (of course they label the program differently) in their admissions and he's in a disadvantaged group. Which one? The white males.

Now, assuming he loses out because of the color of his skin, would that be your idea of "justice," because someone else of a different color may have lost out decades ago? If so, well -- thanks, but I'll pass.


You paint a lovely picture of the cultural mosaic in Canada. And Im all for emphasizing and celebrating our various cultural heritages. As long as its voluntary and comes naturally, and cultural characteristics and traditions arent assigned a higher priority than individual achievement, reason, and the like.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), July 12, 2000.


>>As long as its voluntary and comes naturally, and cultural characteristics and traditions arent assigned a higher priority than individual achievement, reason, and the like. <<

I agree with this. One of the great things about Toronto is that the mixing comes naturally.....it just kinda happens. (It's hard to explain until you actually experience it.)



-- Johnny Canuck (j_canuck@hotmail.com), July 13, 2000.


-- ff (q@w.n), July 15, 2000.


I went to Toronto earlier this year and loved everything about it except the bloody weather. The concierge at the hotel was Albanian, the cab drivers Sikh and Ethiopian, and the shopkeepers Indian and Yemeni. I visited a Somali neighborhood, met some Jordanians on the bus and Iranians on the Metro. For a hobo like me, great stuff.

Oh, and I finally got me a Tilley hat!

-- Morgan (aaf96@aol.com), July 15, 2000.


I had not seen your response to me before today. Would it be fair if your son did not get admitted? I do not know. Could you really be sure that the reason he did not get in was affirmative action related? Grades are not everything. If an african american student had a 3.5 GPA, average test scores, and was president of his class and as well as a member of many clubs, they may select the african- american because of his involvement in extra-curriculars. I cannot imagine your son will not get in.

I understand your point to a degree; it is the prevailing argument against any affirmative action-some white folks get "discriminated" against. This is why I said there ARE some problems with affitmative action. What you did NOT address at all, was my assertion about what would happen if they were completely eliminated; women and minorities will once again be shut out by a dominant old boys network-this still goes on in the financial world of law street as well as the legal world-I know-my wife is an attorney in Manhatten and she has seen the old boys at work, including the judges.

You fight the good fight, Eve, but the philosophies in which you believe assume some kind of fundamental goodness in humans-which IMO is just not true and never will be. Without oversight by the government, men revert back to primitivism; we will have another harvard law school circa 1971(I have this on tape from a speaker at a seminar) when there was not ONE woman in the school. Your ideas would work eve if man were inherently good-sadly, this is not the case.

You have not really respponded to me; you have only stated the prevailing afirmative action counter-rhetoric and have not addressed the bigger question of "What is the aim of society". Your idea of nearly eliminating government would simply lead to survival of the "fittest" as it always has been. Do you like your right to vote? Why did you not have it for the first 130 years in this country? This is what MEN do when they are left to their own devices.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), July 15, 2000.

Mornin' FS,

I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to you before this, but personal issues took me offline longer than I'd expected.

Wow, FS -- you really do seem to have a negative view of people. Tell me, does this view extend equally to racism and sexism in women and minorities, or does it just pertain to those elements in white males?

What I was assuming in my last post was a situation where all else but the color of their skin was roughly equal. Or say, my son's credentials across the board, or in a few areas, were slightly higher. If in those scenarios my son is passed over because of the color of his skin, then what we have is institutionalized racism. The terrible injustice here is that it assumes that all of the same color are interchangeable, and that it's ok to punish someone for the wrongs committed by another. It's this part of these programs that I see as really vile and disgusting. Outreach programs are pretty much fine by me, though.

I'm sorry that I didn't answer your main concern. You wondered what would happen if programs for women and minorities were completely eliminated; would they be shut out by an "old boys" (i.e., white males) network.

The answer is that it depends on whether, and to what extent, people would allow racism a higher priority than the success of their business -- you know, minorities' intelligence, talent, skills, and money is just as real as the white guy's. Further, the business would have to contend with bad publicity and probably boycotts if and when word got out about an "old boys" network.

Due to the above, and the fact that people in general are more enlightened nowadays with respect to the evils of racism, I think that you'd see far less of this than you might envision, from the businessperson's standpoint. So, I don't see this as the issue it used to be. By the way, I think this occurred IN SPITE of Affirmative Action. The racist element of affirmative action only fomented anger by promoting, hiring and accepting people who were less qualified than others, based on racial factors. And it left the impression that the women and minorities weren't able to achieve these things on their own -- racism or not. So I think it actually slowed up progress in race relations.

I don't accept your premise of "survival of the fittest." It implies that all those who are less fit somehow won't survive, which I don't buy for a minute. If you'd like my reasons, let me know.

You asked, "what is the aim of society?" Well, first we shouldn't accept "society" as an entity -- there's no such thing. Society is instead, an aggregate -- i.e., of NONinterchangeable individuals. This society's aim should be the recognition of the rights of the individual, regardless of color. And we can start NOW by eliminating all forms of institutionalized racism, such as those elements in Affirmative Action and "diversity" programs.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), July 19, 2000.


Affirmative action has an interesting history. It was originally intended to be completely nondiscriminatory -- against anyone. The (politically correct) presumption was that members of minorities with competitive qualifications (whatever they might be under the circumstances) were "out there" all the time. *Therefore*, if minorities weren't being recruited in numbers roughly reflecting their community presence, something was wrong with the recruitment process itself.

Most of the time, the affirmative action types figured, the problem lay in the "not like us" principle of exclusion. People everywhere tend to recruit people most like themselves, with whom they feel most comfortable and have most in common. So we don't presume deliberate discrimination, see? We just presume that the effort to give minorities an equal opportunity based on their merits is not being made. This is "passive discrimination", the disinclination to make the *effort* to find these qualified people among members of minority groups.

So originally, Affirmative Action was billed as an attempt to overcome rather inadvertent passive resistence. Of course nobody is *actively* excluding specific groups, oh my no. Nobody is *prejudiced*, perish the thought! They're just following the path of least resistance and long-standing habit. Once they break out of that rut and actively LOOK for qualified minorities, they'll all be delightfully surprised at the wealth of minority talent just waiting to boost the average talent level of any organization. You bet.

The disparity between this presumption and reality caused immediate administrative and political headaches. In fact, members of many minorities with competitive qualifications simply didn't exist in numbers anywhere close to their community presence. Politically, it was necessary to DEFINE this fact as FALSE. As a result, a program billed as an attempt to break old habits was *implemented* as a quota system. "Success" needed to be defined as percentage of minorities recruited (very measurable), rather than effort made to find nonexistent people (indistinguishable from doing nothing different, but newly defined as "discrimination").

The practical results have often been comical. Organizations created bloated janitorial staffs. Schools crafted dual curricula -- the real one, and the "affirmative action" one. Men named Johnson legally changed their name to Hernandez to get a job. Black women with hispanic names were heavily recruited despite lack of any useful qualifications at all, because they could fill three quotas all by themselves. The Supreme Court postponed the Bakke case until Bakke had graduated from another institution, and then declared the case moot for lack of an aggrieved party. Companies found ways to adapt to employees who vanished on payday and didn't return until the money was gone -- and then expected to be paid for the time they missed. There was a minor scandal when it was revealed that the government's merit exam secretly graded blacks only against one another, then told organizations all grading was global and equal. Companies set up figurehead "minority owners" for special government privileges. And so on.

But another practical result has been the emergence of a surprising number of success stories. Many members of minorities have taken full advantage of opportunities they got *instead of* someone better qualified, and gone on to do very well. Minority representation throughout the economy has been rising, both in percentages and in positions of responsibility. It remains nearly impossible to tell whether such trends are a direct result of affirmative action, or whether affirmative action programs simply grew out of the same historic, economic and demographic trends that also spawned current diversity.

In practice (as opposed to intent), affirmative action is discriminatory, and forces us to rationalize some distinction between "good" and "bad" discrimination, an unhealthy moral quicksand. The program reminds me of Lincoln's comment about John Brown - "He's the wrongest right man I ever knew."

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), July 19, 2000.

My fiancee's youngest sister, who is black, applied to get into UCLA in 1994. She had a 3.98 average, was valedictorian and class president. She was in the debate club, school band, and was very competitive in track, volleyball, and gymnastics. In addition, she had a 1300 SAT. She was smart and well-rounded, with a couple of stellar recommendations to boot. It was hard to imagine a better qualified candidate. We were all very surprised when she didn't get in.

Sometimes, affirmative action admission policies are easier to blame than admitting you may not have been the best most qualified.

-- Tarzan the Ape Man (tarzan@swingingthroughthejunglewithouta.net), July 20, 2000.

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