All white people, that is.
The University of Delaware subjects students in its residence halls to a shocking program of ideological reeducation that is referred to in the university’s own materials as a “treatment” for students’ incorrect attitudes and beliefs. The Orwellian program requires the approximately 7,000 students in Delaware’s residence halls to adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is calling for the total dismantling of the program, which is a flagrant violation of students’ rights to freedom of conscience and freedom from compelled speech.Why is this program so appalling? First of all, a public university is using compulsion, threats, and intimidation to force a certain set of beliefs on students. And secondly, the content of those beliefs is more than a little questionable:
“A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination. (This does not deny the existence of such prejudices, hostilities, acts of rage or discrimination.)"It's a fascinating (if stomach-turning) look into what becomes of "movements" when they achieve major goals. New issues must be championed; new enemies must be identified; the work has to continually grow -- otherwise, how will the money keep coming in? How will organizers keep their jobs if they can't keep the supporters perpetually outraged about something? Look at what's happened to groups like NAACP or MADD or CSPI or Planned Parenthood. They have to look harder and harder to find social issues to turn into crises which are threatening our rights and our way of life!!! Notice that's the way rights get expanded, too. People have the right not to be offended or inconvenienced or even potentially harmed by anything ever.
“REVERSE RACISM: A term created and used by white people to deny their white privilege. Those in denial use the term reverse racism to refer to hostile behavior by people of color toward whites, and to affirmative action policies, which allegedly give 'preferential treatment' to people of color over whites. In the U.S., there is no such thing as 'reverse racism.'"
“A NON-RACIST: A non-term. The term was created by whites to deny responsibility for systemic racism, to maintain an aura of innocence in the face of racial oppression, and to shift responsibility for that oppression from whites to people of color (called "blaming the victim"). Responsibility for perpetuating and legitimizing a racist system rests both on those who actively maintain it, and on those who refuse to challenge it. Silence is consent."
Is there racism in America? Sure. But to listen to modern "race experts" you'd think we still had Jim Crow laws, poll taxes and white citizens' committees. Racism is alive and well -- mostly on college campuses, in minority-studies departments, and in diversity training programs. The ghosts of the past are constantly summoned to never let us forget how horrible we are.
"Never forget" is an appropriate slogan for Holocaust remembrance because Jews live in a world still poisoned with anti-semitism. There are real terrorists funded by real nations who really want to wipe Israel off the map and murder all the Jews they can. "Never forget" is a reasonable worldview when surrounded by enemies who want to repeat history and fire up the gas ovens. But there really is no significant movement or institutional power which wants to return to Jim Crow, segregation, or slavery. Israelis don't have to go looking for anti-semitism; the rockets are a pretty good reminder. Who is that is actively trying to demean, disenfranchise or destroy black Americans? What actual institutional structures exist to keep black people down? And if you could find any, how would they compare in impact relative to the policies, programs, and laws which do exist to help minorities?
Frankly, I think this racist victimhood mentality is a destructive pathology in American culture. It has no place in a serious academic environment except as a case study of dangerous and bankrupt sociology, like Nazism or communism. I'd prefer such things were consigned to the dustbin of history, only to be studied as examples to be avoided.
But we live in a free country. If students want to waste their time, cripple their moral reasoning, and squander their parents' money being indoctrinated into this kind of ludicrous hate speech, they're free to do so.
Schools, though -- especially public schools -- have to recognize that they have no right to compel students to be brainwashed into a pathetically naive, intellectually dishonest, self-serving, racist worldview.
UPDATE: Blogfriend Michael Reynolds of Sideways Mencken ("Politics, blasphemy and self-indulgence" -- now there's a masthead!) gives me an 80% approval rating, but points out painful examples of alive-and-well racism in America. You really ought to go read his piece and follow the link there to an incredible documentary.
80%! I'm more than twice as popular as Bush, and 5-7 times better than Congress. Of course, that means I'm still less well-liked than Kim Jong Il. Oh, well.
UPDATE (11/2): Under the pressure of public scrutiny, the University of Delaware first tried to lie and obfuscate, but then quickly dropped its thought-crime reeducation program. Of course, the guy who initially defended the program will now be in charge of identifying "the proper means by which residence life programs may support the intellectual, cultural and ethical development of our students." He thought the existing program did that, so let's not hold our breath.
Hot Air has video of FIRE's President talking about the issue. The University was apparently working to hide the documents from the public for several years.