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The Balkanization of college campuses

By Robert S. Sargent, Jr.
web posted December 23, 2002

The New York Civil Rights Commission (NYCRC) has put out a report that documents how "little attention has been given to the color-conscious policies of the colleges and universities that permit or encourage, and, oftentimes, fund a balkanized campus environment." The report is titled: "The Stigma of Inclusion: Racial Paternalism/Separatism in Higher Education."

In describing the objectives of the NYCRC, the Commission says when they formed, "The objective was to reduce an ethnically-polarized civil rights effort, to rekindle the spirit of multi-racial, joint action to defeat race-baiting hatemongering and the divisive forces of defeatism, despair and racial separatism." The report, which surveyed 50 prominent colleges and universities, shows that college campuses are working in the opposite direction, promoting racial division, separation and segregation, all in the name of "diversity."

The report shows these schools encouraging minority students to join ethnic organizations, to live in racially separated dormitories, and to participate in race-based cultural activities. This is done in the name of "cultural awareness," which provide "support systems."

Many of these programs stereotype minorities. For example, at Brown University, there is a Third World Center, which represents a commitment to "students of color." They don't explain why they associate students of color with the Third World, or why they would be more interested in Third World issues than any other issues. Minority publications and activities, in the name of cultural awareness, assume people of color are "different."

Many of the programs also stereotype minorities as being educationally disadvantaged, needing special help. Special classes are given to minorities to help them make the transition from high school, assuming they can't compete at a higher level. "The range of schools that offer these programs indicate that even at the most elite schools that presumably choose minority students with the most exceptional credentials, minority students are tagged as differently or under-prepared."

In a two-page position paper summarizing the 28-page report, some of the most prominent minority programs found on campuses are listed:

"Colleges create special administrative positions and "minority" offices that strengthen separatist campus organizations.

Colleges organize separate events and programs for minority students, including, in some instances, separate orientations and 'Minority Weekends.'

College-endorsed minority student organizations on campuses encourage minority students' separatism, in an effort to promote 'group-identity.'

Colleges target and treat minority students as in need of remedial services, just because they're students of color on a predominantly white campus.

Colleges provide courses and departments with a politically-correct multicultural/diversity bent.

Colleges provide racially identifiable, ethnic housing on campus – sometimes with links to academic programs – that allow for the steering of minority frosh to racial/ethnic 'identity' dorms."

The Executive Director of NYCRC, Michael Meyers, wrote about the study: "Through color-coding, (colleges and universities) have done a disservice to both minority and non-minority students. Separatist housing, stilted courses, and ethnic cheerleading programs disseminate poisonous stereotypes and falsehoods about race and ethnicity. They rob students of their individuality and limit interactions between minority and non-minority students, and promote and reward separatist thinking….Although they claim to have minorities' interests at heart, these colleges in fact take the civil rights movement giant steps backward." (The Colleges surveyed included Amherst, Brown, Cornell, MIT, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and many other prominent schools.)

Finally, quoting from the Washington Times (12/16/02): "Colleges and universities have a mania with group identity," said Thor Halvorssen, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. "Colleges are underlining the differences between students instead of building bridges. What they are doing is promoting Balkanization, not a humane environment."

How depressing! Those of us who believe in the original goals of Martin Luther King, that is, we are to be judged as individuals, not as a member of a race, not only have to deal with Trent Lott on the one hand, but the excesses of the far-left academia on the other. As Michelle Malkin wrote regarding the recent hate-crime hoax at the University of Mississippi, "'Students of color' are herded into separate dorms, separate departments and separate graduation ceremonies….(R)ace-consciousness reigns in such a poisonous way that it would make integrationists weep."

Robert S. Sargent, Jr. can be reached at rssjr@citcom.net.

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