Rampant racism on campus

University administrators fecklessly cave in to blackmail by radical leftist groups such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Protesters accelerate their demands for more black students and faculty on campuses; increased spending for racial identity programs and departments; more “diversity” programs; and “microaggression” indoctrination and reporting of perceived transgressors. (TheDemands.org)

Reality check: Evidence mounts that these “reforms” fail to reduce discrimination and inequality. In fact, they make matters worse—“likely to damage race relations and to make campus life more uncomfortable for everyone, particularly for black students.”

So conclude two social psychologists writing a recent scholarly “Hard Truth” article in the “Review” section of the May 7-8, 2016 print edition of the Wall Street Journal. Of course, the truth is what cultural Marxists do not want to hear.

Their agenda simply amplifies what American higher education institutions have been doing for decades, say New York University Jonathan Haidt and Rutgers University Lee Jussim.

Everyone with social sense knows that we all discriminate in favor of our “in-group” members: people we want to associate with because they share our values. Professors Haidt and Jussim point out that “classic studies” confirm that truth. Race is much less prominent in how we categorize each other when we share social characteristics such as membership in organizations. This relates to a basic principle of psychology.

Another principle of this discipline is “the power of cooperation.” When we face common threats or challenges we tend to work together; when we are forced to compete with each other we “readily shift into zero-sum thinking and hostility.”

Affirmative action programs involve “using different admissions standards for applicants of different races, which automatically creates differences in academic readiness and achievement.”—and resentment.

Blacks generally enter college with math/verbal SAT scores 200 points lower than Asians and 120 points lower than whites. Admitting more black students with weaker qualifications will make racial gaps larger. According to the professors this leads to “self-segregation visible on many campuses.” This means fewer cross-race friendships and “even stronger feelings of alienation among black students.”

Other demands by protesters also end up with “backlash” and resentment. For example, forced diversity training implies that innocent participants are at fault for assumed racial problems they did not create. Furthermore, there is no experimental evidence that these programs work despite “hundreds of millions of dollars that corporations and universities spend on them each year.”

A major 2007 review on corporate diversity training found: “on average, programs designed to reduce bias among managers responsible for hiring and promotion have not worked” because, obviously, participants resent the implication of blame for racial problems.

Another common demand of university administrations requires large amounts of money to be spent on “ethnic enclaves”—programs and departments “devoted to specific ethnic or identity groups.” Authors write that the results of a 2004 study by a team of social psychologists were “mostly grim.” With the identified ethnic groups these programs actually increased “the feeling of victimization by virtue of one’s ethnicity.”

As one might expect, the study showed that white students in fraternities and sororities also had an increased sense of victimization and opposed intergroup dating. The authors of the WSJ article conclude based on the evidence that expanding ethnic enclaves on campuses will “backfire.”

A relatively new demand by aggrieved ethnic agitators on college campuses is called “microaggression” training—what we might call awareness of sensitivities to indignities. This new hurt-feeling-victim-status may be purely unintentional on the part of presumed perps, but if it makes “people of color feel denigrated or insulted” presumed victims demand that everyone must be indoctrinated to look for and report it. Authors believe this, too, is “likely to backfire and increase racial tensions.”

For the past fifty years university administrators have been trying to satisfy grievance agitators with nothing to show for maybe billions of dollars spent—money diverted from properly educating students who come to learn subject matter rather than waste time on social justice activities. Yet, racism, bigotry and intolerance seem to be increasing on campuses. Two reasons why:

Affirmative action and expanded grievance-generated programs were designed for a problem that didn’t exist. And—it was predicable—the results of these misguided efforts have created the problem as with all government-sponsored social justice projects. In my opinion, this is another social disruption tactic by cultural Marxist groups to destroy American institutions and transform the country into their evil empire.


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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