race

Our Exquisitely Sensitive Academic Culture

“Mind your Ps and Qs,” Wikipedia tells us, “is an English expression meaning ‘mind your manners,’ ‘mind your language,’ ‘be on your best behavior.’” Recent advice provided in the Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that academic conference goers also need to mind their PC. The Chronicle’s July 7 “Daily Briefing” to subscribers links to two […]

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College Students Now–the Good and the Bad

First, the good news:  My undergraduate students here at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, are quite literate, contrary to all the bad press and fears. Every week I give them a 20-minute writing assignment in class, the sole preparation for which is having done the week’s homework.  Turns out they write pretty well; arguably, in […]

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“Diversity” Is Now Required At UCLA

After rejecting several previous proposals over the past several years, the UCLA faculty has finally succumbed to politically correct pressure from above (Eugene Block, the Chancellor, and other administrators) and below (“progressive” students) and voted to impose a four-unit “diversity” course requirement on all undergraduates. Ironically, the felt necessity for this new course requirement reveals […]

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“Diversity” in College Sports

A new report from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, Black Male Student-Athletes and Racial Inequities in NCAA Division I College Sports, points with horror at the “racial inequities” in big-time college sports, finding it “shocking” and “astonishing” that college leaders, the NCAA, and the public at large have “accepted as normal the […]

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Politics and the Race/Class/Gender Trinity

My City University of New York colleague David Gordon has penned a convincing analysis about the current state of history in higher education. I share, and fully endorse, his critique about the direction of the field, with the vise-grip of the race/class/gender trinity “distort[ing] historical enquiry.” Stressing above all else victimization and oppression poorly serves […]

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The Mangling of American History

The evolution of the historical profession in the United States in the last fifty years provides much reason for celebration.  It provides even more reason for unhappiness and dread.  Never before has the profession seemed so intellectually vibrant.  An unprecedented amount of scholarship and teaching is being devoted to regions outside of the traditional American […]

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Preferred and Prohibited Discrimination

Is the Fourteenth Amendment inferior to the First? If states are generally prohibited from discriminating on the basis of political identity, why should they be allowed to discriminate on the basis of racial identity? Consider Teresa Wagner’s much-discussed lawsuit against the University of Iowa College of Law for not hiring her due to her political […]

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The Sixth Circuit Undermines Affirmative Action

On November 6 the voters of Oklahoma, following in the footsteps of voters in California (1996), Washington (1998), Michigan (2006), Nebraska (2008), and Arizona (2010), passed  a constitutional amendment that prohibits the state from offering “preferred treatment” or engaging in discrimination based on race, color, gender, or ethnicity. On November 15 eight of the fifteen […]

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An Unusually Stupid Court Ruling

Yesterday the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that Michigan’s Proposal 2 violates the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.  Proposal 2 was a ballot initiative that amended the state constitution to provide that state and local government agencies (including public universities) in Michigan “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment […]

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Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover, But…

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or its title, but how about from an extended interview with the authors? On November 2, Inside Higher Ed carried such an interview with the three authors of a new book entitled Occupying the Academy. The authors, Christine Clark (a professor of multicultural education at UNLV), Kenneth […]

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UCLA’s Latest Display of Outrage

Cross-posted from Can These Bones Live  UCLA law professor Richard Sander has been the target of student protests at his university this week. Sander, a critic of affirmative action, published a report that argued UCLA’s supposedly “holistic” admissions process was quietly including race as a prominent factor in deciding who would be admitted to the […]

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Intellectual Standards = a Politics of Exclusion?

Universities today have lowered their standards of admission and accepted more students regardless of their level of preparation. For example, at the University of South Carolina, where I am presently employed, the number of undergraduates has gone up from about 18,000 in 2006 to 22,000 in 2011. As a result of the increased number of […]

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Why Size Matters in College Preferences

By Stuart Taylor, Jr. and Richard Sander Even for people who approve in principle of some use of racial preferences in university admissions — notably including Justice Anthony Kennedy — the size of the preferences, and of the resulting racial gaps in academic performance in college and beyond, should matter a great deal.  So it’s […]

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Trickle Down Racial Double Standards

Advocates of affirmative action never seem to realize that abandoning the “without regard” principle of colorblind equality — i.e., legitimizing the distribution of benefits and burdens based on race — can result in unfavorable, discriminatory treatment of their favored minorities, even when that harsh lesson is staring them in the face as it is now […]

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How the Colleges Skew U.S. History

American history has been radically transformed on our campuses. Traditional topics are now not only marginalized but “re-visioned” to become more compatible with the dominant race/class/gender paradigm. In two posts last fall, I took a look at U.S. history offerings at Bowdoin College. The liberal arts college, one of the nation’s finest, long enjoyed a reputation as a training […]

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A ‘Magisterial’ Work on Affirmative Action

“Mend it, don’t end it” was the famous advice on affirmative action from Bill Clinton, who did neither. There are, of course, other useful slogans, such as “Muddle it,” which the Supreme Court essentially did in the 2003 Gratz and Grutter cases. The Court held that the University of Michigan could not give a fixed […]

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We Don’t Need a Different “Affirmative Action”

On the day the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fisher v. Texas, a case challenging racial preferences in college admissions, the Wall Street Journal published a piece purporting to give “A Liberal Critique of Racial Preferences.” Author Richard Kahlenberg argued (as he almost always does) in favor of changing “affirmative action” to a system […]

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Justice Kennedy and Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court holds oral arguments tomorrow in Fisher v. Texas, possibly the most consequential case in years involving affirmative action. Many of us critics of racial preferences are optimistic that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the likely swing vote, will agree to modify if not overrule Justice O’Connor’s ruling in the 2003 Grutter case, which, in […]

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Left-Right Agreement on Affirmative Action?

Perhaps anticipating a defeat for affirmative action in the Fisher v. University of Texas case about to be argued before the Supreme Court, Columbia University political philosophy professor and former Dean of the College Michele Moody-Adams has just suggested moving away from a fixation on affirmative action and “Toward Real Equality in Higher Education.” Whatever […]

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Look What they’ve Done to U.S. History

If you doubt that leftist activists now dominate the study and teaching of U.S. history, take a look at the program for the 2013 American Historical Association conference in New Orleans. The pattern  is similar to the University of Michigan’s history department, discussed here yesterday—a heavy emphasis on race, class, and gender, with more “traditional” […]

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Plagiarism and Feelings at Amherst

Carleen Basler, a professor at Amherst who said she struggled with her writing, resigned after she was caught plagiarizing and the Amherst Student did a good job covering the story. So far, so good. But Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit notices a few odd paragraphs in the paper’s report: Since some believe that Basler did not […]

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In History—the Obsession with Race, Class and Gender

The University of Michigan history department has 28 tenured or tenure-track professors whose research specialties in some way relate to U.S. history after 1789. Race is the favorite topic; at least eleven of the department’s professors indicate that their research in some way deals with race in America. Gender is the next prominent area of […]

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Fisher and “Diversity”: The More Things Change…

Browsing through the collection of over 70 pro-“diversity” amicus briefs submitted on behalf of the University of Texas in the Fisher case, I am reminded, as I often am, of how eerily the current defense of “taking race into account,” i.e., preferential treatment based on race, resembles the old Southern arguments in defense of segregation. […]

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The Anti-Defamation League Reverses Course on Affirmative Action

In explaining why the American Jewish Committee had (with his help) supported Alan Bakke’s lawsuit against the University of California but also supported the University of Michigan’s racial preferences in Gratz and Grutter, Alan Dershowitz wrote that We feared that our hard-earned right to be admitted on the merits would be taken away. The WASP […]

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Washington Tries to Intimidate the Schools

If African American students are disciplined in schools at a higher rate than are white students, the obvious reason is that African American students commit a disproportionate number of infractions.  Not according to “disparate impact” (or “disparate outcomes”) thinking, however.  Any time one sees significant gaps in black and white treatments or results–suspensions, test scores, […]

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Texas: Racial Preferences Now, Racial Preferences Forever!

The University of Texas has filed its main brief in Fisher v. University of Texas, and it’s a doozy. It argues, among other oddities, that the continuing “underrepresentation” of blacks and Hispanics requires the continued use of racial preferences to increase their numbers, but that the reason for increasing their numbers has nothing to do […]

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Thirty Million for Race and Gender Hires at Columbia

In 2005, amidst the Harvard faculty’s ultimately successful effort to purge President Larry Summers, Columbia president Lee Bollinger announced that his university would launch its own “diversity” hiring initiative. Bollinger committed $15 million to “add between 15 and 20 outstanding women and minority scholars to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences over the next three […]

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In Hard Times, Diversity Bureaucracies Do Well

By Duke Cheston Originally Posted from the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy About a year and a half ago, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro attempted to hire a new chief diversity officer. The university sought an administrator who would focus on increasing appreciation for racial differences on campus–even though UNCG already had […]

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The Affirmative Action Zealots Have Won: Time to Surrender

For a half century I’ve vehemently opposed racial preferences in higher education. Opposition was partially ideological–I believe in merit–and partly based on sorrowful firsthand experience with affirmative action students and faculty. Though my principles remain unchanged I am now ready to concede defeat, throw in the towel and raise the white flag. Abolishing racial preferences […]

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Affirmative Action Starts to Unravel

Listen closely and you can hear the sound of “diversity” crumbling, this week mixed with laughter over the news that the City University of New York has created two more official diversity groups–“white/Jewish” and “Italian-Americans.” Critics of the new Jewish category claim that “the creation of a label for Jewish professors could be used to […]

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