“Diversity.” In the world of academia, social engineering-minded progressives take the noun in one direction: race. On MindingTheCampus.com, Princeton University’s Russell Nieli captures the attitude of ivory tower elitists.
Asians, unlike blacks and Hispanics, receive no boost in admissions. Indeed, the opposite is often the case, as the quota-like mentality that leads college administrators to conclude they may have “too many” Asians. Despite the much lower number of Asians in the general high-school population, high-achieving Asian students–those, for instance, with SAT scores in the high 700s–are much more numerous than comparably high-achieving blacks and Hispanics, often by a factor of ten or more. Thinking as they do in racial balancing and racial quota terms, college admissions officers at the most competitive institutions almost always set the bar for admitting Asians far above that for Hispanics and even farther above that for admitting blacks.
“Too many” Asians and “not enough” Hispanics and Blacks? Amazing arrogance it takes to hover far above the masses and proclaim that academically aggressive, highly entrepreneurial Asians should be denied access to college because Hispanics and Blacks don’t exhibit Asians’ aggressiveness and business sense.
Nieli offers insight based on a landmark Supreme Court case: the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. In 1978, the Court decided that race could be used to determine university admissions. Nieli writes:
…Justice Lewis Powell rejected arguments for racial preferences based on generalized “societal discrimination,” social justice, or the contemporary needs of American society as insufficiently weighty to overrule the color-blind imperative of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. That imperative, however, could be overruled, Powell said, by a university’s legitimate concern for the educational benefits of a demographically diverse student body.
Powell made sense before descending into nonsense. “[A] university’s legitimate concern for the educational benefits of a demographically diverse student body” is a notion about as valuable as the paper on which the “concern” is recorded. The “student body” got rendered “diverse” by entrants already handicapped by liberal racism–Welfare, affirmative action, minimum wage, liberally available abortion, etc. Powell’s highfalutin idea ignored down-to-earth reality: Treat everyone reasonably, accept no excuses for nonperformance, hold people accountable, and you get results.
Let’s apply a liberal racism acid test.
If pure race-bating were not in liberals’ motives for “diversity,” then why wouldn’t liberals demand complete diversity? Nieli points out:
Most elite universities seem to have little interest in diversifying their student bodies when it comes to the numbers of born-again Christians from the Bible belt, students from Appalachia and other rural and small-town areas, people who have served in the U.S. military, those who have grown up on farms or ranches, Mormons, Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, lower-middle-class Catholics, working class “white ethnics,” social and political conservatives, wheelchair users, married students, married students with children, or older students first starting out in college after raising children or spending several years in the workforce. Students in these categories are often very rare at the more competitive colleges, especially the Ivy League. While these kinds of people would surely add to the diverse viewpoints and life-experiences represented on college campuses, in practice “diversity” on campus is largely a code word for the presence of a substantial proportion of those in the “underrepresented” racial minority groups.
Indeed. Liberals want true diversity? So do most Americans. But let’s not hold our breath.