Compare and contrast, as examination questions used to say, these two passages:
"[University training] is the education which gives a man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them. It teaches him to see things as they are, to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought, to detect what is sophistical, and to discard what is irrelevant."
—John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University, 1852
"Citizens capable of contributing to the development of a sustainable society must first develop empathy. This empathy will be developed through an advanced awareness of oppression and inequity that exists at a local and national level. Students will become aware of inequities, examine why these inequities exist, understand the concept of institutionalized privilege, and recognize systematized oppression (e.g. individual, institutional, and societal). Students will also examine forms of oppression related to specific social identities (e.g. race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, SES, religion, and age) and will recognize the benefits of dismantling systems that support this oppression. By having this knowledge, students can then learn how to change these systems and other systems which impact equity of resources."
—University of Delaware, Residence Life: Competencies: Narritive [sic] 2, 2007.
Things have changed, eh?
A friend of mine who went through U.S. Marine Corps boot camp in the mid-1960s has some gruesome stories about the methods his Drill Instructors used to assault and break down the individuality of their recruits. My friend recalls, for example, having had a letter from his girlfriend intercepted and read out to his whole platoon, all standing at rigid attention, by the D.I., who embellished the reading with many sarcastic asides, affected renderings of the young lady's tenderest phrases, and ribald speculation on her intimate physical charms.
Forty years on, these techniques have been taken up by our universities as instruments of "diversity awareness" training. Freshmen—at least, those unfortunate enough to be resident on campus—are put through personality-destruction programs every bit as intensive as those pioneered by the Marine Corps, though somewhat differently oriented.
The goal of Marine Corps training is to produce soldiers robust enough in their group loyalty and instinctive physical responses to act effectively under the severe stresses of battle. The goal of "diversity awareness" training is to instill uniformity of opinion in matters social and political.
The functions of Marine D.I.s are carried out in our colleges by Resident Assistants. The disciplinary techniques available to an R.A. do not quite match a D.I.'s in severity, but they are sufficiently intimidating to young people living away from home, usually for the first time in their lives. Those techniques often include the power to issue an Intervention Report—a black mark carrying the full authority of the college administration. At some institutions, three I.R.s are grounds for suspension.
In any case, the college R.A. and the Marine Corps D.I. have a common goal: to break down the individual personality and build a new one on the ruins—one that would look on the previous, discarded self with distaste and contempt. Here is recruit Rico of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers on his first weekend pass:
"There were some young fellows there, too, about our age—the right age to serve a term, only they weren't—long-haired and sloppy and kind of dirty-looking. Well, say about the way I looked, I suppose, before I joined up."
We got a glimpse into diversity boot camp the other day, from the University of Delaware flap.
First the good news: The incident came to a happy conclusion November 1, when university president Patrick T. Harker [Email him] terminated the freshmen's "Residence Life" program via a message posted to the university's website. The timeline was as follows:
Harker's termination of the program followed that same day.
Not the least of the services performed by F.I.R.E. in this matter was the bringing to light of some of the actual materials used, both in the training R.A.s were giving to freshman students, and in the training given by university authorities to the R.A.s themselves. Among the latter was this gem, put together by Dr. Shakti Butler, [Email]described on her website as "an African-American woman of biracial West Indian and Russian-Jewish heritage", who is a major celebrity in the "diversity" world. No, you don't have to read the whole 15-page thing. I have abstracted it for you, listing just the section headings below.
(Definitions and Descriptions)
Oppressor, Oppressed, Oppression
What is Racism?—A Group Brainstorm
A Campaign of Confusion on Racism
Word Power: A Small Group Exercise
1. Reverse racism is a form of racism.
2. Racism is personified by the TV character Archie Bunker.
3. Racism is the same as prejudice or discrimination.
4. Racism is the same as race relations.
5. Anti-racism is the same as diversity or "multi-culturalism."
6. Racism is an oppression like other isms: sexism, classism, or heterosexism.
A Working Definition of Racism
U.S. Race-Colored Glasses
A human being is renamed a "slave": the economic lens of
Race: the lens of subhumanity
Race through the legal lens
The invention of the "White Race"
The creation of a "white" nation
Sexual violence through the lens of "race"
"Race" is just like ethnicity: the sociologist's lens
Talking about "race" perpetuates racism: the liberal lens
Anti-Racist Concepts of Race
Racism and White Supremacy
For More Reading...
Do you get the idea that Dr. Butler has some one particular thing on her mind? Hmm?
If you actually do read the training materials, here's the main thing you will learn:
You will learn much else, too, of course: for example, that
"A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e. people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture, or sexuality."
"Africa is the motherland of human civilization: religion, philosophy, art, language, architecture, science, medicine, agriculture, and urban planning. People indigenous to Africa and the Americas have always celebrated the diversity of the human species. You can see that celebration in paintings of peoples on the tomb of Ramses III (1200 BC) of Kemet (Egypt) and the four directions of the world celebrated by Native Americans. What makes these representations so different from those introduced by Europeans is that the former bear no witness to any hierarchy of value of humans based on ethnicity or skin color."
"Mongolia was presumably the historical home of 'mongoloids' or people of Asian descent. If you check the dictionary you'll find that an "obsolete" meaning of "mongoloid" is an idiot. (A far cry from today's stereotype of 'the model minority.')"
and so on... and on... and on...
Having absorbed this "diversity facilitation training", the R.A.s then headed off to the university's halls of residence to pass on Dr. Butler's pearls of wisdom to the newly-arrived freshmen. They were also trained to probe into the minds and personalities of those freshmen, submitting them to quizzes and interrogations:
Participation in these Khmer Rouge-style "thought reform" sessions was compulsory. The university has tried to deny this, but records unearthed by F.I.R.E. make the compulsion clear. (See point (2) here, for instance.)
That the University of Delaware has now, though very grudgingly—We can't really see that we were doing anything wrong, but the fuss is kind of embarrassing, so we'll back off a little, for a while, under protest—pulled back the program, is a victory for F.I.R.E., whose work in this field I can't praise enough.
But now the bad news: this was victory in a battle, not victory in a war. The forces of "diversity" are now mighty, and waxing stronger by the day. Untold thousands of people have their careers invested in this gibberish: not only outright babbling lunatics like Dr. Shakti Butler, but bland, cheerful middle-class careerists—pod people, whose nervous systems have been taken over by alien intelligences.
And don't think this is just once incident at one university. There are entire professional organizations with thousands of members building careers on this poisonous filth: N.A.S.P.A., for example, and A.C.P.A. They see themselves at the real educators of our young people.
They're not going away; they're not going to disappear; they're certainly not going to abandon the careers in "diversity" they have staked so much on and switch to more honest and socially-healthful lines of work—devising computer viruses, say, or running confidence scams on elderly widows, or selling crack cocaine to minors.
It may even be the case that the University of Delaware is unusual in showing even the grudging, qualified degree of embarrassment implicit in their climbdown.
Here is a mid-November—that is, after the Delaware incident—news item about a hunger strike by some students at Columbia University. Among the hunger strikers' demands: more multi-culti brainwashing of freshmen.
And, guess what?—Columbia has caved!
"Administrators at Columbia University threw a bone to the four famished students on a hunger strike yesterday, giving in to some of their lofty demands.
"Columbia agreed to raise $50 million to beef up ethnic studies and expand programs for multicultural students, strike organizers said, but refused to budge on the protesters' biggest demand—killing the school's proposed expansion into Harlem. ... Columbia's concession will expand the school's multicultural student center and expand the required [my emphasis] freshman ethnic-studies class from a several hundred-student lecture to small seminar groups.
"Administrators have also agreed to add diversity training to orientation programs for new faculty and hire five new ethnic-studies professors." [Taste Of Victory At Columbia, By Julia Dahl And Samuel Goldsmith, New York Post, November 16, 2007]
Note that word "required". Columbia's hate-whitey indoctrination sessions look to be every bit as mandatory as were U. Delaware's—and Columbia doesn't care who knows it!
A peculiarity of our higher education system is that these "diversity training" and "ethnic studies" impositions seem to swell and multiply as the colleges get richer.
Richer they are certainly getting. Any time I visit a college campus nowadays, my first impression is: OK, here's the construction site—where's the college? New buildings are going up right, left, and center. Endowments are expanding faster than the primeval universe: Columbia's was $5.9 billion in June, up 18.4 percent on the year.
I asked an academic acquaintance, professor at a large private university, to explain this to me. He said:
"The country has a lot of seriously rich people, a lot. Joe Blow starts a hedge fund, makes a billion, looks for something to spend it on. Having a building put up at his alma mater, with his name on it, is very attractive to him. Plus, he wants his regressed-to-the-mean kids to have assured college places."
What about the other side of the equation—the relentless pressure for more PC indoctrination? The professor's reply:
"Americans don't want to study hard things. That's for foreigners. Fluff courses like these ethnic-studies timewasters—that's what people want. Unless a university is 'anchored' by a big department teaching real subjects—a medical or engineering school—the drift is all that way."
Higher education sets the pace here, but the "diversity" tumor has metastasized, infecting every part of our educational system. While I was typing out this column, I took in my lunchtime mail, which included the daily sheaf of letters from my daughter's high school. (If they were half as good at filling my girl's head with knowledge as they are at filling my mailbox with paper, the folk at Huntington High School would be world-class educators.)
Here is one of the four letters in today's batch:
"Dear Parent or Guardian,
"I am writing to advise you of an upcoming assembly program scheduled for Friday, November 30, 2007 to observe World Aids [sic] Day. ... We have invited a speaker who will talk about the disease and its effects on his/her life..."
So as part of my 14-year-old daughter's public education, she is to be exposed to the details of a venereal disease propagated mainly by promiscuous homosexuals and revolting Third World customs, and she will be encouraged to believe that this is a matter of general public concern, relevant to her life and personal development.
(To be fair, one of the other letters is a release form I have to sign and return to excuse my girl from this vital addition to her understanding of the world.)
I sink fondly into reminiscences of my own arrival at University College, London, forty-four years ago. A group of upper-classmen volunteers took us aside for a half-day orientation session. "What do you mainly hope to get out of your university experience?" my own proto-R.A. inquired of me earnestly, pencil poised over clipboard. "Why," I said brightly, "I hope to get a degree!"
His frown told me this was not the right answer. I didn't get the whole life-enhancement business then, and I guess I still don't get it now.
Still, at least back in those days they didn't ask us about our "sexual identity."
John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. His most recent book, Unknown Quantity: A Real And Imaginary History of Algebra, was reviewed here in July, 2006.