By Walter E. Williams
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
There are some ideas so ludicrous and mischievous that only an academic would
take them seriously. One of them is diversity. Think about it. Are you for or
against diversity? When’s the last time you said to yourself, "I’d better
have a little more diversity in my life"? What would you think if you heard
a Microsoft director tell his fellow board members that the company should have
more diversity and manufacture kitchenware, children’s clothing and shoes? You’d
probably think the director was smoking something illegal.
Our institutions of higher learning take diversity seriously and make it a
multimillion-dollar operation. Juilliard School has a director of diversity
and inclusion; Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a manager of diversity
recruitment; Toledo University, an associate dean for diversity; the universities
of Harvard, Texas A&M, California at Berkeley, Virginia and many others
boast of officers, deans, vice-presidents and perhaps ministers of diversity.
Rev. Al Sharpton gives the keynote speech to the Yale Political Union on affirmative
action, at Yale, in New Haven, Conn., Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2006. Sharpton vigorously
defended affirmative action and criticized conservatives who seek to ban the
use of race and gender preferences in a speech that opened debate on the topic
at the Yale Political Union. (AP Photo/Douglas Healey) George Leef, director
of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in Raleigh, N.C., writes
about this in an article titled "Some Questions about Diversity" in
the Oct. 5 issue of "Clarion Call." Mr. Leef suggests that only in
academia is diversity pursued for its own sake, but there’s a problem: Everyone,
even if they are the same ethnicity, nationality or religion, is different.
Suppose two people are from the same town in Italy. They might differ in many
important respects: views on morality, religious and political beliefs, recreation
preferences and other characteristics.
Mr. Leef says that some academics see diversity as a requirement for social
justice — to right historical wrongs. The problem here is that if you go back
far enough, all groups have suffered some kind of historical wrong. The Irish
can point to injustices at the hands of the British, Jews at the hands of Nazis,
Chinese at the hands of Indonesians, and Armenians at the hands of the Turks.
Of course, black Americans were enslaved, but slavery is a condition that has
been with mankind throughout most of history. In fact, long before blacks were
enslaved, Europeans were enslaved. The word slavery comes from Slavs, referring
to the Slavic people, who were early slaves. White Americans, captured by the
Barbary pirates, were enslaved at one time or another. Whites were indentured
servants in colonial America. So what should the diversity managers do about
When academics call for diversity, they’re really talking about racial preferences
for particular groups of people, mainly blacks. The last thing they’re talking
about is intellectual diversity. According to a recent national survey, reported
by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni in "Intellectual Diversity,"
72 percent of college professors describe themselves as liberal and 15 percent
conservative. Liberal professors think their classrooms should be used to promote
a political agenda. The University of California recently abandoned a provision
on academic freedom that cautioned against using the classroom for propaganda.
The president said the regulation was "outdated."
Americans, as taxpayers and benefactors, have been exceedingly generous to
our institutions of higher learning. That generosity has been betrayed. Rich
Americans, who acquired their wealth through our capitalist system, give billions
to universities. Unbeknownst to them, much of that money often goes to faculty
members and programs that are openly hostile to donor values. Universities have
also failed in their function of the pursuit of academic excellence by having
dumbed down classes and granting degrees to students who are just barely literate
and computationally incompetent.
What’s part of Williams’ solution? Benefactors should stop giving money to
universities that engage in racist diversity policy. Simply go to the university’s
website, and if you find offices of diversity, close your pocketbook. There’s
nothing like the sound of pocketbooks snapping shut to open the closed minds
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