Fix Features

racism

BuzzFeed reports:

The suspect in the shootings at two Kansas City area Jewish facilities lectured a class at Missouri State University in 2012, an experience that the professor who invited him says was intended to illustrate the hatefulness of white supremacy to his students.

Frazier Glenn Miller, 73, has been named as the suspect in the shooting attack on a Jewish community center and retirement home on Sunday in Overland Park, Kan., that killed three people. Miller is a former “grand dragon” of a branch of the Ku Klux Klan who has remained an active white supremacist on the internet, where he has posted thousands of times in a forum called Vanguard News Network that uses the slogan “No Jews. Just Right.”

Read the full story here.

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An Althouse blog post noted that columnist George Will on Fox News Sunday dismissed how college kids today cry “racism” this and “racist” that all the time:

“Look, liberalism has a kind of Tourette’s syndrome these days. It’s just constantly saying the word ‘racism’ and ‘racist.’ … You go to a campus where this kind of political correctness reins [sic], and some young person will say looks like it’s going to rain. The person listening says, you’re a racist. I mean it’s so inappropriate. The constant implication of this that it is, I think, becoming a national mirth.”

Based on hearing Will’s tone of voice, it’s clear — I think! — that Will meant it would work amongst today’s college kids to say “You’re a racist” as a punchline when somebody says something obviously race-neutral (such as “looks like it’s going to rain”). “You’re a racist” has been overused to the point where it’s not just boring or unbelievable, but a laugh line — a national mirth.

But frequently, The College Fix reports on these students and their claims of racism, and there is no mirth involved. These kids are angry. These students have huge chips on their shoulders. Students who attend one of the most prestigious university on the globe, Dartmouth, say they’re racially oppressed. At UCLA, a group of black students angrily growled into a camera and told the world they’re marginalized and victimized and abused. At the University of Michigan, black students claim exactly the same thing.

Three examples, but it’s everywhere. Every campus. Social science professors teach students to be angry. Not just minorities, women too. Telling them they’re victims. Distorting academics to create a sea of confused, bitter, vitriolic young people. Young people who vote. Young people who have become disillusioned with America.

During the height of the Trayvon Martin fervor, the young man in the hoodie was championed by professors and students as a martyr, an example of how things really are in America. White against black. Anger. Rage. Hatred. It was ugly. It still is.

No, the cries of racism are not mirthful. Not in the least.

Jennifer Kabbany is associate editor of The College Fix.

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A group of students a faculty at the University of Utah want to change the school’s fight song because they believe it could be sexist and racist.

Our friend Katherine Timpf reports for Campus Reform:

The University of Utah (U of U) is “seriously” considering changing its 110-year-old fight song over concerns that the title “Utah Man” is sexist and the phrase “our coeds are the fairest” is racist…

Professor Joanna Yaffe said she sees not only sexism in the song but also racism — explaining that a line which states that the school’s “coeds are the fairest” could be interpreted as a reference to skin color…

Sam Ortiz, president of the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU), said changing the song is an important step in making students feel comfortable.

“The idea that man means both female and male is a little antiquated,” Ortiz told TheTribune

Also antiquated in Utah? The dictionary.

Read the full story at Campus Reform.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

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The reason black and Latino men are incarcerated at far greater rates than white men is because “institutionalized racism” is embedded in America’s criminal justice system.

That’s what Paula Ioanide, assistant professor at the Center for the Study of Culture, Race & Ethnicity at Ithaca College, argued in an extensive interview recently with The College Fix.

“The criminal justice system has always been institutionally racist,” said Dr. Ioanide, who teaches courses such as “politics of whiteness,” “punishment, prisons and democracy” and “race and sexual politics” at the private, liberal arts college in upstate New York.

“The system is racist because people who get policed, arrested, convicted, and sentenced for crimes are disproportionately African-Americans and Latinos,” she said.

“It has been consistently shown that whites commit more crimes than blacks and Latinos,” Ioanide added, noting it makes mathematical sense that white people will commit more crimes due to the fact that they represent a greater percentage of the population than people of color.

“Poor people of color, especially in black and Latino communities, are over-policed, arrested at higher rates than whites, sentenced to longer and harsher terms, and are more likely to come back into prison or jail once they’ve already been there,” she said.

What’s more, 2.3 million people are incarcerated today, while only 500,000 people were incarcerated in 1980 – and all the while the national crime rate itself has largely not changed. Why the disparity?

Ioanide said communities of color tend to be “over-policed,” because the “dominant imagination,” created through media stereotypes, is that “black and Latino people commit more crimes than whites.”

Dr. Ioanide’s professional arguments are not only shared with students, but she is also invited to speak at other colleges, and recently gave a talk at the University of California – Santa Barbara titled “Cages Are The New Plantations.”

During that talk, she likened prison to modern-day slavery.

“If we confront the fact that the economies of incarceration today echo the economies of plantation slavery and worker exploitation, will our minds be receptive?” Ioanide had asked. “And if our minds are receptive of the facts, will they carry the message to our hearts?”

A Long History

Ioanide said the situation today can be traced back to America’s roots in the aftermath of slavery. When slavery was abolished – specifically, when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified – an important clause that often gets ignored, she said, is that slavery was abolished “except as punishment for a crime.”

The clause allowed for state-sponsored punishment to permit forms of enslavement and the use of free convict labor, for example convict leasing and the chain-gang system, she explained. And these systems overwhelmingly convicted Black people using Black Codes, she added.

Fast-forward to a few decades ago.

Ioanide cites an article called “Frontlash” by Yale Professor Vesla Weaver that argues that the civil rights movement discredited the idea of white supremacy, and a series of subsequent legislation had been focused on criminalizing populations that had become empowered through civil rights legislation.

These laws, according to Ioanide, are meant to be an increase of the state’s capacity to convict people and put them in jail. President Nixon began a “law and order” campaign in order to pass this legislation while President Reagan’s administration expanded it and funded the state entities that would police, convict, and incarcerate through the “War on Drugs,” she argues.

The War on Drugs targeted people who were perceived to be committing higher rates of crime, which most associated with poor Black and Latino neighborhoods.

Underscoring this, the economic crisis in the 1970s affected minorities in ways never seen before – largely due to globalization and a decline in manufacturing, in which many minorities lost their jobs, she said. Black and Latino men sometimes turned to drug markets in order to make ends meet, she said.

“Basically, black and Latino men are out of jobs, the media sensationalizes drug markets, and massive policing in these communities ensues,” she said.

A biased, broken system?

Her research also has found that white people tend to receive lighter sentences than people of color for the same exact crime, proving racial disparities in sentencing as well.

She said she learned about the everyday realities of incarceration through her students’ stories, as she taught a class at Auburn Correctional Facility.

She said she observed that today’s system of incarceration leaves “little room for people to be works in progress” because the so-called prison industrial complex has always been an “economy” of its own – people don’t want to do away with it because people’s jobs as correction officers, police officers, union employees and others would be affected if the state revoked its investments in mass incarceration.

College students – especially those who attend public universities – should be concerned about these policies, however, she said. When a state starts to allocate more taxpayer dollars to mass incarceration, it begins funneling less money to public universities, and universities make up for this by increasing tuition, she said.

It also means not as much money goes to social programs, including affordable housing, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the like, she said.

Another issue is that the vast majority of people in county jails are awaiting trial and have not yet been convicted of a crime, and, in most cases, are “too poor to make bail,” Dr. Ioanide says.

Indeed, one’s entire life can be destroyed after six months in jail awaiting trial for a petty misdemeanor or drug crime, she said. A person can get evicted from their home, child protective services gets custody of their children – and even if they are found not guilty, their whole family and life are “fundamentally disrupted,” she said.

Dr. Ioanide said she believes people shouldn’t have to await trial or sentencing in jail for simply a “petty, small misdemeanor,” such as marijuana possession.

She noted 50 percent of Americans incarcerated today are behind bars for drug offenses, compared to just 16 percent in 1970, before the war on drugs was launched.

Who’s to blame? Everyone

Ioanide said Republican and Democrat politicians share the blame.

“There’s lots of evidence of Ronald Reagan created the war on drugs campaign because he truly believed black and Latino people were essentially criminals,” Dr. Ioanide said. “Whether he intended it or not –although research says he did intend it – he invested billions of dollars for funding militarism, increased policing, and increased surveillance.”

This gave birth to the “prison industrial complex.”

“Conservatives and liberals have consistently agreed on the policies to increase public spending on the system of mass incarceration,” she said.

She added President Barack Obama’s increase of immigrant detention also exacerbates the problem, which has spanned for decades under Republican and Democratic administrations.

“If conservatives are really serious about small government, they shouldn’t be in support of all this government money going to mass incarceration that disproportionately affects minority populations,” she said.

Today’s system is set up to continually punish people even after they leave incarceration because a criminal record is a “permanent stain” on one’s life, she said.

In fact, even Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) echoed a similar sentiment in a recent interview, saying, “If 30 years ago you grew marijuana plants in your college dorm, you should get your right to vote back. It’s ridiculous. We have people in Kentucky who can’t vote after 30 years after they serve their time for a nonviolent crime.”

College Fix contributor Andrew Desiderio is a student at The George Washington University.

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A mysterious email that appeared in Dartmouth College students’ inboxes Monday that claimed the Ivy League institution is racist and sexist and demanded a series of reparations under the threat of “physical action” was met with mixed emotions from students Tuesday.

Some Dartmouth students simply laughed. Others shrugged, saying they had deleted it immediately. A few became visibly upset and were too flustered to express specific concerns. A handful said they agreed with some points, but disliked the aggressive attitude of the message. Several students representing a variety of ethnic backgrounds said they disagreed with the email’s call for affirmative action and its claims the campus is racist.

Ultimately, the majority of students were not surprised by the email. To them, they said in interviews with The College Fix, the list of demands sent to all Dartmouth students, staff, and faculty by a group calling themselves “the Dartmouth Freedom Budget” was an unfortunate but all-too-typical occurrence.

The email contained 8-pages worth of varying demands, including: the creation of new ethnic studies departments; the widespread use of affirmative action and racial enrollment quotas; and the recruitment of and financial support for illegal immigrants, which the manifesto insisted must be called “undocumented.”

Other demands included gender-neutral bathrooms in every building on campus, new queer and sexuality studies classes, and the creation of a policy to penalize and discriminate against students who use the Indian mascot.

The letter went on to outline further measures and even carried veiled threats if its demands were not met, saying “physical action” would be taken.

As of Tuesday, the email’s origins remained unclear, as it was not signed by individuals or specific groups but rather “concerned Asian, Black, Latin@, Native, Undocumented, Queer, and Differently-Abled students.” A meeting is scheduled for today by the group to answer questions about their proposal.

Some students said they believe it likely came from one of two informal groups known to stage radical protests at Dartmouth. For example, last spring, some student radicals’ protests claiming the campus was oppressive and racist prompted administrators to cancel class for a day of dialogue.

Administrators did not respond to a request for comment about the “Freedom Budget” by The College Fix.

As for whether these demands resonated with students at the rural New England Ivy, including those whose ethnicities were singled out, not everybody agrees the campus is in such dire straits.

Brian Chen, a freshman of Chinese background, said that “I think that these people are completely out of touch with reality.”

He stressed the financial burden the changes would create and asked what purpose such cultural pandering would accomplish. When asked if he felt discriminated against on campus, he answered: “Only for my political ideas.”

A freshman woman wishing to remain anonymous argued that while the demands were “pretentious” and too numerous, “the problems are real.”

One proposal included in the document was that the penalty for a student found guilty of rape be expulsion. This measure seemed to inspire universal support among students, but the same woman said that including such things as the creation of seemingly random new departments next to this popular demand was an insult to its importance.

Students of all ethnic backgrounds seemed to disagree with the email’s call for affirmative action.

“It is important to have diversity, but it is also important to get the best students possible, regardless of color…. [The proposal] is intrinsically racist,” freshman David White told The Fix.

A freshman of African descent who wished to remain anonymous even said that she found the suggestions of the document insulting. When asked about affirmative action based on race, she said: “I don’t think that’s a good idea because it encourages complacency.”

She said that while she thinks it is important to have a broad range of people and to give underprivileged students a chance at success, she feels that many of her peers have been told that they do not need to work hard to get into college simply because of the color of their skin.

Her view, as well as the view of most students interviewed, was that financially based affirmative action made the most logical sense. When asked about whether she felt excluded by the school’s culture, she replied that she did feel that she was not in line with the general demographics of the student body, but that she never felt targeted or unwelcome.

College Fix contributor Sandor Farkas is a student at Dartmouth College.

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OPINION: It is important to meet such misguided opinions head-on and challenge them on the merits of their arguments. The fact is UCLA does much for diversity already and is a very diverse school.

Back in November, UCLA undergraduate Sy Stokes, a third year Afro-American Studies major, produced the following video. Since then, it’s been viewed nearly 1.8 million times.

The video is prefaced by a slide reminding or enlightening us of the assassination of two black students on the UCLA campus in 1969. It then jumps to black students standing in a group lodging their grievances openly on campus, behind their head spokesman, Stokes, who is currently working on a degree offered by an Afro-American Studies program that may soon become its own independent department at UCLA.

The video implies that current black students are as equally oppressed as black students on campus in 1969. Yet the video’s creator studies in a department wholly devoted to the study of black culture. Of course, only a thoroughly racist institution like UCLA would bother to offer Afro-American Studies as a major.

Judging from the anger in Stokes’s voice and in his peers’ demeanor (at the end of the video the group dramatically takes off their UCLA sweatshirts and drops them to the ground), one might think students and administrators maliciously and intentionally try to thwart black students’ attempts to be successful. That black students face brutality and brick walls everywhere they turn.

Alas, Stokes’s grievance is against something just a tad more tame than physical abuse: he claims black students are “underrepresented,” “marginalized,” and graduating at relatively low rates.

However, in reality, different groups of people are simply represented unequally in different endeavors. It’s what happens in a diverse society where people are free to pursue their own goals. Professional sports, such as basketball and baseball, provide illustrative examples of this.

The racial makeup of the NBA last year was: 76.3 percent black, 0.2 percent Asian, 4.4 percent Latino, and 19 percent white (funny enough, The Institute for Diversity and Ethics and Sport, which produced these statistics in its annual “diversity report card,” gave the overwhelmingly black NBA an “A+” for diversity).

Juxtapose that with MLB, which is only 8.3 percent black. Is there something sinister going on here, or do black athletes simply choose to play basketball at a higher rate than they do baseball? Or perhaps Michael Jordan was really a closet civil rights activist trying to break down the barrier of “misrepresentation” by taking a crack at baseball.

In 2012 in California, the total percentage of the black population was 6.6 percent, and the total percentage of the white population was 73.7 percent. In contrast, the percentage of white student at UCLA is 27.8 percent and the percentage of black students at UCLA is 3.8 percent.UCLABlackBruin2

In effect, white students are actually severely “underrepresented” compared to black students: the white percentage at UCLA is only 37.7 percent of the total percentage of white residents in the state, whereas the black percentage at UCLA is 57.6 percent of the total statewide percentage of black residents – a 20 point difference!

All that aside, let’s concede that attaining proper racial representation is an admirable goal: do we get black enrollment to exactly 6.6 percent to achieve perfect representation and then stop there? What if black enrollment goes above 6.6 percent, would that, too, be an injustice, because blacks would then be “overrepresented?”

To take the video to heart would lead one to believe that UCLA does not currently do much in the name of boosting diversity and increasing the representation of minority students. The opposite is true. UCLA and the wider UC system operate a multitude of programs aimed at increasing diversity, and have been doing so for a long time.

There is an entire UCLA website devoted to diversity, the aptly named https://diversity.ucla.edu, where you can find information on no fewer than 112 student organizations either explicitly or tangentially related to fostering diversity.

Many of these groups receive funding from the UCLA student government. We have 16 “___________ studies” majors ranging from Chicano Studies to Gender Studies to Israel Studies. UCLA has an actual written “Strategic Plan For Diversity.” In the 2011 “UC Accountability Report,” an annual report that addresses subjects such as “Affordability” and “Undergraduate Student Success,” the longest section, totaling 22 pages, is devoted to “Diversity.”

On top of the programs aimed at recruiting minority students, we already have many that address minority retention rates. We have the Campus Retention Committee that has been operating since 1969. UCLA students have voted six times since the CRC’s inception to increase its funding, the most recent vote occurring in 2009. The CRC specializes in “serving specific communities that have been historically damaged by low retention,” according to its website.

We also have the Academic Advancement Program that has been operating for 40 years and offers tutoring services, grad school prep courses, and community development programs. The AAP’s primary objective is to “ensure the academic success and graduation of students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education;” it is touted as the “nation’s largest university-based student diversity program.”

We have the largest diversity program in the nation, yet we’re simultaneously racists!?

On Jan. 14, Dr. Charles Alexander, assistant vice provost for student diversity and director of the Academic Advancement Program, announced construction of a brand new Learning Pavilion on campus where minority students will be able to take advantage of expanded tutoring services. We also have many scholarships provided exclusively for “underrepresented” students.

On top of the many legal channels by which we are promoting diversity, a 2012 report by UCLA law professor Richard Sander propounds that UCLA may actually be violating the 1996 California ban on affirmative action by accepting minority students at higher rates than their similarly qualified non-minority (Asian and white) counterparts, due to UCLA’s two-tiered holistic admissions process. Sander claims, somewhat controversially, that an independent report produced by UCLA Sociology professor Robert Mare corroborates his results.

Stokes actually addresses Sander’s report in the video—he chooses to ignore Sander’s facts and instead lobs an ad hominem attack at him. Stokes attempts to refute the report by slandering Professor Sander as someone who thinks UCLA has “far too many black kids.”

Speaking of faculty, we currently have a “vice provost of faculty diversity and development” to address faculty diversity. And, much to my non-surprise, I received an email from the UCLA chancellor in December informing students of the creation of a new administrative position, the “vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion.” Keeping count, yet?

Additionally, the chancellor created a new position dubbed “discrimination officer” who will henceforth investigate “incidents of racial discrimination and harassment.”

Interestingly, this email came out in early December, just after the Stokes video was posted on Nov. 4 and after an alleged incident of “racial discrimination” in mid-November.

What sort of terrible racial event could have prompted the university to respond with the inauguration of a brand new administrative position? A group of students staged a “sit-in” in Professor Val Rust’s dissertation course offered by the UCLA Graduate School of Education in an attempt to highlight Professor Rust’s racially underpinned “microaggressions” toward this particular group of students.

Among the 81-year old professor emeritus’s alleged transgressions are repeatedly requiring students to write “Indigenous” in lowercase form instead of uppercase form (consistent, by the way, with its not having proper noun status as can be discovered readily in any standard dictionary), requiring students to capitalize “white” if they also choose to capitalize “black,” and my personal favorite: requiring the students to use the Chicago Manual of Style instead of the style standards of the American Psychological Association.

Oh, the horror! Have you noticed our descent into the Twilight Zone? I had to read past the first article just to make sure this “sit-in” episode wasn’t an elaborate parody on diversity.

Given everything UCLA already does for underrepresented students, which includes blacks, it is difficult to understand where all the anger in the Stokes’s video comes from. UCLA is currently doing everything it can to increase minority enrollment and retention, short of traveling to underrepresented neighborhoods, abducting minority kids, and forcing them to attend and graduate from UCLA.

In an interview with MSNBC, Stokes decries the fact that there is “a consensus within the black community that you either become a rapper, a basketball player, or football player to become successful” and that “the stress on academics isn’t there anymore.”

How exactly is this the fault of the University of California, Los Angeles, and why exactly is the onus on a public institution that by law must be color-blind to change this “consensus?”

Stokes then goes on to say that this (he is non-descriptive of what “this” is) is “used against us [blacks] to keep us at that low point.” Used by whom exactly?

Normally I wouldn’t care whether a small group of particularly vocal students voices their opinion on campus or not—people can say what they want. I do begin to care when these groups of students’ (Stokes et al. and the students involved in the sit-in) protests help result in the formation of an interminable administrative money-pit, like the “Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” will undoubtedly become.

Chancellor Block boldly assures us in his email that the new position will “have the resources and authority necessary to succeed and carry out this critical mission,” which of course is a euphemism for “we’ll throw money at some career bureaucrat as long as it boosts our reputation as a particularly diverse institution.”

I actually agree with Stokes that UCLA administrators are more interested in UCLA’s reputation as a hub of diversity than anything else. I blame administrators such as Block for capitulating and creating extraneous administrative positions more than I do Stokes for inviting the capitulation by voicing his opinions (be they misguided).

But it is important to meet such misguided opinions head-on and challenge them on the merits of their arguments. The fact is UCLA does so much for diversity already and is really a very diverse school: it is 18 percent Hispanic, 3.8 percent black, 35 percent Asian, 28 percent white, and 12 percent international students.

Stokes claims that black UCLA students “feel like Rosa Parks on the bus” while in class and that the only possible solution to this “marginalization” is to “rewind time with role-reversal as our [Stokes et al.’s] revenge.”

Is he actually saying that modern blacks should deny civil rights to whites as the solution for past and perceived current injustice? The people who espouse these kinds of combative opinions must not be allowed to dictate university policy unchallenged.

College Fix contributor Josh Hedtke is a student at UCLA.

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