race

Yeah, that’s the reason.

The University of Georgia’s Red & Black reports on a lecture by Enrique Neblett Jr., an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has researched black college students and their mental health.

But he also claims their physical health suffers from racism:

His study built on previous evidence that racism is tied with anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (among others) and tested what role racism plays in the development of risk factors that cause these diseases.

“When African American youth are going to college and leaving home, their parents are no longer right there,” Neblett said. “Youth are thinking about their identity and may experience race discrimination for the first time. Experiencing racism might lead to compromised health. For example, some students will cope by eating fatty snacks.”

And I thought binging on ice cream was something every freshman did, regardless of their skin color.

Neblett made his subjects “listen to short scenarios in which a subtle act of racism was described, such as an African American individual being passed over when waiting in line, or a blatant act of racism, such as being called a racial slur,” and also categorized them by “ideology” – such as “assimilationist,” “humanist” and “race-focused.”

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Dartmouth is the latest higher ed entity to engage in the groveling affair where academics lament the “lack of diversity” at their institution.

The Dartmouth gathering, hosted by the school’s chapter of the NAACP, “was held in an effort to increase the level of transparency of recruitment and retention processes and generate campus discussion on the nature of faculty diversity at the College.”

Vice President of Institutional Diversity and Equity Evelynn Ellis told the audience that “a lack of faculty diversity at a higher-education institution will not effectively prepare students for the diversity they will face in professional world.”

The Dartmouth reports:

“I think the general student body needs to get more interested in this,” Ellis said.

According to the 2014 Dartmouth College Fact Book, 82 percent of College faculty members are white, while two percent are black or African American, five percent are Asian, five percent are Hispanic or Latino, three percent are international and one percent is American Indian/Alaska Native. Fifty-nine percent of faculty members are male and 41 percent are female.

Dartmouth NAACP chapter president Kevin Gillespie ’15 said that a “mass exodus” of faculty of color has occurred in the past few years, a sentiment echoed by panelists. English professor Aimee Bahng, one of the panelists, noted that the African and African American studies program recently lost its chair.

Gillespie commented that the organizing committee aimed to feature professors from a wide array of departments, as well as administrative staff, all of whom are committed to increasing diversity and support for underrepresented groups on campus.

The article continues with the usual litany of complaints and concerns that virtually every university offers up about (lack of) diversity, but also features — as references to the subject inevitably do — the Catch-22:

Tramon McZeal Jr. ’16, who was featured in the video, said, “I know that some of my most valuable experiences with professors have been [with] professors that look like me, professors that talk like me, professors that act like me.”

Did Mr. McZeal not hear Ms. Ellis’ words above? Students need to be exposed to different faces and voices in order to succeed beyond college. How could (some of) his most valuable experiences be those which occurred with educators … from a similar background?

Perhaps McZeal’s comfort level would be higher at a Historically Black College (HBC) feeling as he does. On second thought, then he would be surrounded by folks who look like him — he wouldn’t benefit from diversity!

Make sense yet?

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Last week, Duke University held a town hall about the history of lynching and “how that history can inform future dialogues about race on campus.”

This event follows the hanging of a noose on a campus tree, which in turn led to anti-racism demonstrations.

It also follows the news that the person responsible for the noose had been identified, but the school won’t release any information on him/her citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

The Duke Chronicle reports:

Speakers in the town hall meeting—which was sponsored by the history department and was standing-room only—emphasized that the noose found hanging outside the Bryan Center last week must be part of a larger conversation about race relations on campus. Members of the faculty panel spoke about the historical significance of the symbol, and tangible steps the University can take to improve relations on campus.

“Denying race is not the goal—the utter elimination of white supremacy is the goal,” said Adriane Lentz-Smith, the history department’s director of undergraduate studies. “One need not be colorblind to respect difference.”

Nancy MacLean, William H. Chafe professor of history, focused on the necessity of placing the noose in its historical context in order to understand its significance as a “powerful symbol of dominance and oppression.”

“We need to reject the feeble, pathetic excuse that such acts could possibly be just a joke,” MacLean said. “Minimizing these kinds of acts in this kind of way is an insulting evasion. To imagine that a noose in particular might be a joke suggests and unwillingness to see through the eyes of others, to look past one’s own viewpoint of privileged insulation.”

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, chair of the Sociology department, added that “Duke is not a neutral racial space,” and that the school “oozes whiteness.”

Students and faculty together came up with a few solutions to deal with this “oozing,” and yep, you guessed ‘em: “increasing the representation of engaged black faculty, mandating anti-oppression training for incoming freshmen and better incorporating dialogues about race in the curriculum.”

Duke’s reticence in releasing information on the noose culprit has led to speculation that the incident was a hoax. But even it turns out to be just that, it’s highly unlikely it would stop meetings like this town hall. After all, it’s the message and intention that really matter, right?

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In yet another instance of contemporary college students’ delicate feelings being bruised, some undergrads were “personally hurt” after someone (or some group) hung posters around Harvard’s campus which mocked those displayed by a new student magazine.

The online magazine Renegade launched last week to “showcase the writing and artwork of students of color.” Magazine contributors had hung posters advertising the new site which included “phrases about race and diversity, such as ‘because Mather owned slaves.’”

Soon after, an unknown entity exhibited their own posters satirizing Renegade’s message.

The Harvard Crimson reports:

The apparent parody posters, however, were black with white text and included the messages “because all straight white men are racist” and “because anyone that disagrees with me is racist.” The posters included the url of the magazine’s website and its launch date.

In her statement on behalf of Renegade, Gathright confirmed that “[a]ny other posters in Pfoho imitating the style and font of Renegade were not produced by or endorsed by Renegade.”

“These posters were put up by people outside of Renegade, presumably with the intention of mischaracterizing our mission and reducing the work we are trying to do on this campus,” [Jenny A.] Gathright’s statement said on behalf of the group.

“The production and distribution of these fake posters is an immature and unacceptable attack on students of color in Pfoho and across this campus who have come together to speak their truths,” the statement read.

Pforzheimer House Masters Anne Harrington and John R. Durant said “Whatever the intent behind these posters, their effect has been to potentially mislead our community about Renegade, and to personally hurt and undermine some members of that group who live here in Pfoho. That is absolutely unacceptable, and we intend to take those posters down immediately.”

We’ve already seen today how a screening of the most popular film of 2014 was nixed due to it making some students feel “unsafe;” at this point one wonders how colleges can even fulfill their basic mission when anyone, at any time, can gripe about battered sensibilities and immediately have it turned into a cause célèbre.

That is, if it’s the “right” cause.

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So says the Associated Press in a story yesterday featured at Philly.com. Which begs the question: Does the AP — or anyone else, for that matter — seriously expect racism to have been eradicated completely by now?

But consider: despite the fact that the occasional racist incident “pops up,” as the AP puts it, “students are becoming increasingly vocal in protesting racism and administrators are taking swift, zero-tolerance action against it.”

In addition, “millennials are more likely than older generations to say society should make every possible effort to improve the position of blacks and other minorities,” and “are also more likely to support interracial marriage and have friends of other races.”

These facts apparently don’t alter the feelings of various minorities “not being safe” on campus where “no one cares about” them.

“We’re literally begging people to care about our issues,” [University of Maryland student Kayla] Tarrant said, with tears in her eyes, to applause from about 100 students – blacks, Hispanics, Asians and a few whites – gathered to discuss the racial climate at the predominantly white, 27,000-student campus.

Tasia Harris, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said racially charged events in society are “blatant reminders that this is something that continues to affect our lives.” She is among students who are trying to get a plaque placed next to a Confederate soldier statue on her campus, explaining its history.

“White supremacy isn’t just in Ferguson or isn’t just in New York or isn’t just Cleveland or where have you. It’s also in these very privileged sites,” said Omololu Babatunde, a North Carolina senior.

So, notwithstanding the quite positive feelings, desires and actions of the millennial generation, why does someone like Ms. Tarrant get tears in her eyes because her peers appear not to care much (at least as much as she does) about race and racism?

Maybe this explains it (click image for a larger version):

Yep, that’s from “Bloom County,” a popular syndicated comic in the 1980s. Thirty-plus years ago.

Now, if creator Berkeley Breathed thought the hyper-sensitivity of Americans was bad then, one can only guess at what he would think of it today … in the world of “micro-aggressions,” “safe spaces,” and “bias response teams.”

Ms. Tarrant’s frustration may be symptomatic of another facet of the millennial generation — that of not being able to handle the word “no,” and/or failure. This, in addition to the (progressive) academic obsession with all things race and diversity where, superficially at least, “conversations” about such are desired, but the giving of lectures is the reality.

Reluctant recipients of these lectures become cultural apostates, which subsequently requires their attendance in mandatory “sensitivity” and “tolerance” trainings — so they can get their way of thinking “right.”

Couple all that with instantaneously generated outrage at any perceived racial “offense” on social media and maybe, just maybe, college students’ (and folks’ in general) seemingly indifferent attitude is merely a manifestation of  “race overdose.”

Dave Huber is an assistant editor of  The College Fix. (@ColossusRhodey)

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The “Old South Ball,” sponsored by the Kappa Alpha Fraternity at Louisiana State University, won’t take place at an old plantation this year due to concerns that it is racially insensitive.

This, according to the frat’s national chapter.

The ball is the frat’s spring formal event where attendees dress up in costumes like those worn in the film Gone with the Wind.

This, some members of the university believe, is offensive.

Tiger TV reports:

“Just going back to a plantation and wearing the clothing of their supposive [sic] ancestors but it’s not a time that was great for everyone,” said [Vice President of Black Student Union Brent] Chapuis.

When contacted, [KA national assistant executive director Jesse] Lyons said less than half of the KA chapters in the nation call their spring formal social events “Old South.” He also said the event does not support the theme of “Partying like its 1865.” He explained that the themed events began after set costumes were left over from the movie “Gone with the Wind.”

Another African American student named Willie Jones went to the fraternity house in person to ask questions about the event.
“I just feel like the Old South Ball is something that’s racially insensitive and if you can’t celebrate something without offending a group of people or minority then you shouldn’t be doing that at all,” Jones said.

Lyons noted that Kappa Alpha is “expected to follow the fraternity by-laws” which include prohibitions on displays of the Confederate flag and uniforms.

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