One of my friends visited Scripps College and photographed all of these fliers for us. I think they are very revealing about the kind of culture that many people want to instill on our 5-College campuses. In this case, they want to change the culture of Scripps College to be more racially and ethnically diverse. Notice how they use the nebulous phrase "bias-related incident" -- a phrase we've discovered means whatever its users want it to mean. It's newspeak for the P.C. police among us.
We've seen this kind of thinking at other colleges. Many people believe that ethnic diversity is the only form of diversity that is important. Janet Alexander has already examined this issue at Pitzer College where she recorded some of the more racial engineering schemes that Pitzer President Trombley is advocating.
What many on this side of the issue fail to understand is that when we make racial factors the overwhelming factor for admission, we rob individuals of their autonomy. We say that "Diversity" is an entirely subjective goal, while academic factors have some bearing in fact.
The notion that colleges should be representative or proportional to the races of the wider community is weak on its face. Do we force the college to make sure that it the racial composition is proportional to Los Angeles county, California, the U.S, North America, or the world?
Racial diversity, we know, is more important than political diversity. This group from Scripps College would never criticize the lack of conservative or libertarian thinkers at its campus and so we must presume that racial diversity is more important.
Notice the judgments made in the fliers. Somehow there is "inadequate" representation and there is presumably too much representation of "Korean," "Japanese," and "Chinese" students. Who decides what is adequate? If we admit a Korean student instead of a Malay student, are we making a political statement or are we simply assessing the applicants as individuals?
The implicit suggestion is that diversity is a numbers game and that we need to increase those numbers because a certain number of black or brown faces makes the community richer. As colleges are a zero-sum game and there are a finite number of seats when we decide to admit a group of students, when we make a decision over an arbitrary factor like race we hurt those students who worked hard in high school to pursue their dreams of attending Scripps College.
I reject that rationale for diversity for the same reason that I reject the rationales that Jews be kept out of our colleges of higher learning and that Asians ought to be denied entrance to many of our schools because of their overrepresented ethnicities.
I reject the racist view present on those fliers that what matters most is racial diversity and not the content of an individual's experiences and mind.
Scripps College deserves better.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
By Charles Johnson at 2:40 PM