Sunday, October 08, 2006


Diversity doesn't really matter

Tendai Musakwa, writing in Vassar's Miscellany News, highlights perfectly the college oxymoronic obsession with "diversity" -- except for the sort of diversity that really matters on a campus, that of intellectual and viewpoint diversity. Check out some of the responses he discovered about "viewpoint" diversity at Vassar:

Alex Tanskey ’07, one of the few conservatives at the College who identifies himself as such, said, “I have a conservative freshman friend who identifies himself as moderate because he wants to be able to have friends. In class, I can’t really express an opinion without having 10 people on my throat. For this reason, I don’t really speak up in class.”

We wonder what would happen if Tanskey's friend were, say, black? Sure, the analogy isn't perfect, but what if "10 people were on his throat" when he expressed a viewpoint? It is a safe assumption that Vassar would organize a "Stop the Hate" rally. Make that rallies.

Abby Laufer ’10, who identifies herself as liberal, said, “People who apply to Vassar are liberal because Vassar is well known for being a very liberal campus.”

Similarly, Alison Burke ’10, another liberal, said, “I think Vassar doesn’t attract a lot of conservatives and I don’t really have a problem with that.”

Well well well. Imagine that. First, a contemporary college student admits that people may want to attend a college because there are "people like them" there; second, we have an admission that real diversity does not matter -- at least to liberals.

Ms. Laufer confirms why there still exist HBCs -- Historically Black Colleges. People who attend these colleges are comfortable there, mainly because there are "people like them" attending. After all, if "diversity" (the college definition, not true diversity i.e. "viewpoint" diversity) was of such real import, HBCs would be dismantled, or at least these institutions would have a much greater magnitude push for "diversity" than they currently do. If other ethnicities' "viewpoints" were of such import (as we're constantly told, as if an ethnicity was some monolith with a collective ideology) HBCs would be working extremely hard to diversify their student body, wouldn't they? This is always an inconvenient fact to query of the "diversophiles." One to which you'll never receive an adequate response, mind you.

Ms. Burke exemplifies what liberal "tolerance" is all about. In other words, true diversity -- that is, viewpoint diversity -- is of no import to liberals. Only superificial "diversity" (race, ethnicity) is valued so at least they can appear as if they value the notion. Could you imagine the response of Ms. Burke had said "I think Vassar doesn’t attract a lot of minorities and I don’t really have a problem with that"? The Vassar administration would probably haul Ms. Burke from her stereotypically miniscule dorm room and drag her in for "sensitivity" training, followed by a "tolerance" seminar, followed by "diversity" classes.

Bravo to Tendai for bucking Vassar's groupthink and publishing this op-ed.

When Black people speak up at Vassar, 10 people DO jump down their throat.
This article is absurd. My biggest problem with the article is that this person does not understand the historical oppression that people of color have had to deal with in the U.S and in the world. Colonization was a real thing, as well as lynching, jim crow laws, and segregation. There has been no systematic oppression of conservative viewpoints by the dominant society as there has been for women or people of color for instance. to call a conservative viewpoint a "minority" is laughable. If you look at Vassar well of course being a Conservative is a minority viewpoint just like being a liberal in Republican suburb. You have to look at the U.S context and World context to really understand the problem, and sadly your little mind doesn't seem to comphehend thess complex realities. Think beyond your bubble.
As a Vassar student and someone who knows Tendai, I just want to put out there that HE IS BLACK. Maybe he is simply realizing that he is used as a token to diversity, but that the true push for equality is lacking in our institution. This is hardly news for Vassar students with their eyes open. Also, I don't think all-black colleges are any more 'un-diverse' that Vassar was when it was all women. It is meant to serve an under privileged population, and that is a GOOD thing.
Are you fucking retarded? Your attempt to conflate political affiliation with racial difference isn't just stupid, its dangerous. By co-opting race into one, reductive dimension (political slant, for instance) you completely ignore the inherent entitlement in being a *white* college student. The fact that you can occupy this position of privilege, such that your greatest concern with campus demographics is the absence of a full political spectrum, proves your ignorance in the matter.
Yeah, I have to agree. You're a fucking idiot.
HBC's aggresively recruit as do all college/universities because it is the only way they can remain economically viable institutions. The desegregation of elite schools has been devastating for schools like Howard and Morehouse because they can no longer expect to get the top-tier black students. For decades HBC's have poured millions of dollars into recruiting students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Unfortunatley, because they are associated with Black people, they simply do not get the kind of response that HWC's get from their attempts to diversify.
Yeah, just to reiterate: whoever wrote this is a goddamn fucking moron. Holy shit.
I'm pretty sure he was saying that if ethnic diversity was of such importance, HBC's would try to have a more balanced, ethnically diverse community than they do. But they don't because the diversity they go for is ideological or political, not racial.

Nor do I think he was denying any other problems that deal with race. He's just stating that Vassar College, as a liberal sided institution, doesn't take kindly to conservatives or their viewpoint.

Which is true. The next time someone begins their point with "Well, as a Vegetarian I believe..." I'm outta here.
When the post says that only ideological diversity matters and refers to race as "superficial", it's safe to say that he's downplaying problems of race on this campus.

I just don't see how we can have black people being called "nigger" in classes (this has happened three times in my experience alone) and have the names and addresses of black students printed on a Neo-Nazi and still coddle the conservative population at the expense of students of color, rather than working towards building a community where we accept the ideas of ALL students regardless of political affiliation.
That's supposed to say "Neo-Nazi website".
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