Thursday, November 09, 2006
Melting Pot in name only
Nahum Welang, writing for the Minnesota State University Reporter, is miffed that the university he now attends used the "propaganda" of diversity to "capitivate" him and thus lure him there:
My decision to come to MSU was largely motivated by the captivating slogans I saw on their Web site, bulletins and brochures. My best slogan was "The Office of Admissions is committed to enthusiastically, ethically, and professionally serving students with their college planning process while upholding a commitment to enhancing diversity that is consistent with the University's educational mission and enrollment goals." This slogan made me visualize MSU as a university with authentic diversity. MSU to me was an opportunity to meet and interact with people from a rich array of U.S and foreign cultures.
Welang is perturbed because he feels the university is whistling Dixie about diversity. He says that MSU students are "shockingly self-centered and unfriendly." They "build these huge fences around their lives pushing away people away with different backgrounds, beliefs and ideas." It seems to us that Welang is misinterpreting just what "diversity" means, however. You see, we believe that Welang shares the misconception that way too many college administrators and professors possess -- that "diversity" must mean mandatory acceptance of, if not "diverse" views and opinions, at least the mere company of those who are different. MSU might indeed have a very diverse campus; however, this does not necessarily have to mean that the people are friendly and/or all-embracing of the philosophy of heterogeneity. In this, Welang is contradictory:
I am not trying to force the students of MSU to make friends with 'complete strangers' if they don't want to. If you don't see the need of having friends from other countries, that's fine, but the university should not make international students feel that there is diversity on this campus when it doesn't even exists [sic].
Welang continues with his "non-diversity" tirade, again, only because people do not "mix" enough around campus. Thus, diversity is a charade ... a farce:
I also heard about a globalization project coming soon to MSU. The program will allow students from other countries to come and study at MSU. The initiative makes me feel sorry for these future students because I already know the outcome. Most of these students will come here, they will have no friends and they will be forced to form their own distinct communities. There's no need in trying to globalize when the school has no diversity.
And then there's the real kicker:
America's myth of being a melting pot of cultures is nothing but a propaganda tool. Though everybody pretends to be one big happy cross-cultural family, race and color are still very serious issues.
Welang should know better than to use the most-politically incorrect term "melting pot" in a college newspaper. To do so is tantamount to sacrilege against the prevailing PC orthodoxy that is embedded in nearly every institution of higher learning. But this is beside the point. The fact here is that Welang is full of excrement. Just because America's myriad cultures and ethnicities do not amalgamate to Welang's satisfaction does not mean that there isn't a melting pot. The plain truth is that there has never been a more successful "melting pot" on the planet. The whole concept of "America" is that people come here from all over and accept what "America" is -- its institutions, government, laws. They do not (or, are not supposed to) demand that people here accept what they bring with them from the "old country." Perhaps Welang can point us to a more successful example of a multicultural society that has prospered so unimaginably well. Our quite educated guess is that he won't be able to do it. And people here do not "pretend" to be "one big happy cross-cultural" family; happiness is not a requirement for success in this regard. Mere acceptance is quite sufficient. The fact that America still has problems with race and ethnicity does not a thing to detract from this.
Welang is yet another of the misguided utopians who want everyone to hold hands and sing the song of that 70s-era Coca Cola commercial. If they do not, then America is mere "propaganda" and "myth." Comparing America's success over the last 225 years to the rantings of a modern college student -- let's see ... which one would we go with?
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Capitalism means racism
In the College of New Jersey Signal, writer Tom Stone offers this incredibly thoughtful headline: Racism hinders social progress, capitalism. Gee, you think? But Tom's headline is misleading. Tom would have you believe that capitalism is an outgrowth of racism:
For proto-capitalists, enslaving Africans was a practical choice. All they needed was some sort of "rationalization" for treating people as property - and this "rationalization" was found in racism. Crackpot pseudoscience of the era "proved" blacks to be "inferior to whites," while certain Bible verses seemed to morally justify slave ownership.
The thing is, Tom, capitalism was around for quite a while before European "proto-capitalists" began enslaving Africans. We tend to think Tom knows this, but being the committed Marxist that he appears to be, he needs to make his socially conscious point: "Hey, people -- racism exists in the United States. Oh, and capitalism is the main culprit." Tom quotes freely from Marx and Engels, Howard Zinn and Malcolm X, educating us pathetic minions on the virtues of world socialism and the dastardly evils of capitalism. You see, capitalism/racism results in people not being able to "unite and challenge exploitative social conditions," Tom says. We must admit this is news to us; because, our basic civics knowledge tells us that capitalist countries tend to have democratic governments which allow people to do a thing called "vote." This gives them an opportunity to "unite and challenge exploitative social conditions." It also seems to us -- correct us if we're wrong -- that Marxist countries do not allow such popular suffrage or, if they do, there is but one candidate on the ballot -- the communist candidate. Further, it seems to us that "social conditions" for people in capitalist countries are magnitudes more preferable to those of Marxist countries. Even the poorest in capitalist countries live better than your average Marxist country constituent. Why is this, Tom?
Tom feels the craving to remind us all what many people used to think back in the day, but what no clear-thinking American still harbors in his/her cranium -- that genetic differences should lead us to believe that one race is "superior" to another. Tom must be so immersed in the latest Chomsky treatise that he doesn't realize that the only such folk who still harbor such a notion are severely undereducated Caucasians with bad buzz-cuts and abnormally large forward brows. But that's usually the way it is with folks like Tom. It's easy to remain warm and coddled in the womb of academia, reading the utopian oratory of the greatest radical minds of our time ... then wonder, "Gee, what the hell is wrong with people? Can't they see how oppressed they are?" Then, you become like a Green or Libertarian party candidate in American politics: Flaunt your intellectual "superiority" while secretly (sometimes openly) mocking the mentality of the average joe.
If only the masses would "wake up," right Tom? If they did, they'd finally be able to enjoy the Shangri-La of the Cubas, Vietnams and North Koreas of the world.