Last month, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) hosted a Black, Latinx and Native American Family Orientation. After facing allegations of racial segregation from Christopher Rufo and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), UCSD’s Office of the Chancellor promised that “[a]ll students and their families are welcome to attend, subject to space availability” and that “[n]o UC San Diego student will be excluded from the Black, Latinx and Native American Family Orientation program, or any other university-sponsored event, on the basis of their race.”
My group, the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER), a watchdog organization headquartered in San Diego, set out to fact-check the chancellor’s statement of inclusivity. To our disappointment, we have caught a liar!
First-hand testimony from parents of UCSD freshmen, backed by recordings, shows that a school official admitted to sending the registration forms for the “Latinx” portion of the orientation program only to students who “self-identify” as Latinx. The recordings also reveal a point in the program when a coordinator instructed students and families “who are here for the Black family orientation” to follow a staffer from the Black Resource Center to the right place. Notably, there was no special treatment for students who self-identify as Native American, a statistically probable omission given that the school only admitted 97 American Indian students in 2022.
Why does a major public university like UCSD hide behind a pledge of inclusion in order to engage in racial segregation? Like its same-system cousins UC Los Angeles and UC Berkeley, UCSD has an elitist obsession with the orthodoxy of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
UCSD’s Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) is the political arm of the school tasked with building “an inclusive community.” In July 2020, it produced a Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence featuring best practices and a toolkit devoted to helping underrepresented minority students succeed, recruiting more underrepresented faculty, and pouring resources into a plethora of race-based groups. These groups include: the Black Academic Excellence Initiative, the Faculty of Color Network, the Black Resource Center Student Success Institute, the Raza Resource Centro’s Avanzando Juntos, an Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and Desi American (APIMEDA) program, and the White Allyship, Action & Accountability Initiative. The sheer level of identity balkanization is astounding!
The office also provides “anti-racism resources” to “to address barriers to success for our underrepresented faculty, staff, and students.” The site popularizes ideological terms such as systemic racism, microaggression, and white fragility and has an “anti-racism” database that teaches about “anti-racist pedagogy,” “whiteness,” and “decolonizing the classroom.” According to the “anti-racism” guide, university teaching must be oriented toward social justice, decolonization, and “teaching for Black lives.”
UCSD’s EDI Office also endorses “The BIPOC Project,” a social movement predicated on the notion that America “is firmly entrenched in maintaining white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism.” To combat “Native invisibility [and] anti-Blackness, dismantle white supremacy and advance racial justice,” the BIPOC Project promotes six “Solidarity Principles,” each of which reeks of racial Marxism by placing collective community action and power-based decolonization front and center.
The malady of race-based segregation, allegedly legitimized through the wishy-washy wokeisms of inclusion, equity, diversity, anti-racism, and allyship, is certainly not unique to the UC system, or to coastal progressive regions.
In 2020, the University of Alabama was exposed for endorsing a diversity program that excludes white, Asian and heterosexual students. Last year, Northeastern University and Boston College co-hosted the first-ever “BIPOC tournament,” a debate competition open to non-white students only. Segregated student housing has been created at Western Washington University, New York University, UC Berkley, the University of Miami, and more.
Black Affinity Housing at Western Washington University is a program aimed at “center[ing] the identity of Black students through the celebration and affirmation of the Black student experience.” How can one differentiate between student experiences based on race? In my short stint as a university lecturer, I never once contemplated customizing my teaching and grading in a racialized manner.
Instead, the classroom experience was color blind: every student taking the class, regardless of race, sex, or conviction, must show up on time, finish all assignments, and demonstrate proficiency in the given subject matter. When it comes to campus life, there can’t be a single “black student experience” or “Latinx student experience” or “Asian student experience.” Students identify with each other due to many other factors, such as coming from the same town or region, belonging to the same faith, or enjoying the same extracurricular interests.
This neo-segregation on college campuses, documented by FIRE and others, mirrors old-school racial segregation prior to the civil rights movement. In both cases, the letter and spirit of equal treatment have been violated. But now, inclusion is often invoked as a morally irrefutable pretext. Virtually every university today has diversity, equity, and inclusion inscribed into its core values, strategic goals, mission, and vision. In order to “include” racial minorities, goes the prevailing rationale, equal treatment is insufficient and additional programs that separate, sort, and highlight certain identities must be introduced.
Will two wrongs make a right?
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