Berea College — and its emphasis on providing a college education to those who don’t have the means to pay for it — should become a model for the rest of the country, renowned scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. told the school’s graduates yesterday.The nation needs an economic bill of rights, guaranteeing access to a safe, good education, affordable health care and a place to live, said Gates, a Harvard professor of African-American studies and a cultural critic.
He challenged the 245 graduates to do better than his generation.
“Will you have the will to insist that the Berea ideal becomes the American ideal?” he asked.
Gates noted that Berea, which was founded in 1855, was the first interracial college in the south. He said the school has been a model for the rest of the country ever since.
The college, which admits only low-income students and does not charge tuition, awarded Gates an honorary degree of humane letters. Jean Fairfax, a civil rights leader who began her career at Kentucky State College, now Kentucky State University, was also awarded an honorary degree.
An economic bill of rights would have the effect of affirmative action for the poor, Gates said. Race-based affirmative action provided a way for blacks to enter the middle class, and he was one of those who benefited, Gates said.
Alan Cooperman wrote a interesting story for the Washington Post that talks about the views that college faculty have towards religion. Specifically it seems that negative views of evangelical Christians topped the list in the one study that was done:
The other survey, by the San Francisco-based Institute for Jewish and Community Research, confirmed those findings but also found what the institute’s director and chief pollster, Gary A. Tobin, called an “explosive” statistic: 53 percent of its sample of 1,200 college and university faculty members said they have “unfavorable” feelings toward evangelical Christians.
A graph accompanying the story drove the point home. By comparison, only three percent of faculty members had unfavorable feelings toward Jews. What’s funny is that the latter survey was designed to gauge anti-Semitism.
The only groups with significantly negative responses were Christians and Muslims. A full third of faculty had negative views toward Mormons, with 22 percent reporting unfavorable views toward Muslims, 18 percent with negative feelings toward atheists, 13 percent with negative feelings toward Roman Caholics, 10 percent with negative feelings toward the non-religious, nine percent with negative feelings toward non-evangelical Christians and four percent reporting negative views toward Buddhists.
Link to the full article at washingtonpost.com
Is Diversity Enough? November 12, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in affirmative action, African, Black, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, college, Discriminate, Discrimination, Diversity, Poor, Race, Racism, Racist, Rich, White.
Walter Benn Michaels asks us to consider the harm done when we worry about identity and forget about inequality
The University of Illinois at Chicago, a struggling but ambitious public university in the heart of the city, celebrates its ethnically diverse student body as a great achievement. But Walter Benn Michaels, chairman of the university’s English department, is unimpressed. The commitment of universities, corporations and other institutions to such diversity is “at best a distraction and at worst an essentially reactionary position,” he argues in his new book, The Trouble With Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality.
Right-wing academics and pundits have built careers taking potshots at affirmative action, multiculturalism and identity politics—pursuits that some postmodern leftists see as the heart of radical politics. Michaels criticizes diversity politics from the left. His argument represents a fundamental and constructive challenge to conventional thinking about the most important issues facing our society. But it is also easily misunderstood.
“I’ve been called a liberal racist more often than anything else in my life,” he says, sitting in his office at the university’s one towering office building, stylishly dressed in black jeans and t-shirt under a black window-pane jacket.
He argues that the pursuit of diversity is based on a flawed understanding of humanity and stands as a roadblock to confrontation with the most basic injustices in society: “The trouble with diversity … is not just that it won’t solve the problem of economic inequality; it’s that it makes it hard for us to even see the problem.”
Race, as virtually all modern anthropologists and geneticists agree, is not a scientifically valid concept. Obvious physical differences exist among humans, but the genetic variation within conventionally defined races is often greater than the variation among those races. Still, “race” is a concept that people use all the time with profound consequences, even if they can’t define it.
Race gets defined in ways that vary by time, geography and situation. Why, except for the peculiar American notion of blackness as being determined by one drop of “blood” of African ancestry, would a person of half African and half European genetic heritage, like Sen. Barack Obama, be called “black” rather than “white”—the latter a supposedly racial category that has grown more inclusive over many years?
Blog Entry: “Reverse” Racism/Sexism October 23, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in Brown, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, college, Discrimination, minority, Race, Racism, Racist, reverse racism, White, Women.
Racism is a horrible facet of out society but reverse-racism is just as negative.
By reverse racism (or even reverse-sexism) I refer to when a person or group that is a part of a minority is shown favoritism and “assisted”. For example, I am on a board that gives out money to student organizations at my college. A black student group came in and the chair and the other board members gave them more money than we would have if they were a non-minority group. We also made things easier for them. This happened because the board was tired of getting discrimination charges piled against it.
Coed Citadel Still A Work In Progress August 14, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in alcohol abuse, assimilation, cadet corps, Card, Citadel, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, coed, college, Discrimination, honor code, legal, male, minority, racism and discrimination, Sexual harassment, sexually assaulted, Tara Woodside, U.S. Air Force Academy, West Point, woman.
Ten years ago, The Citadel threw open its doors to women after a protracted, heated legal fight. On Saturday, a new class of 650 freshmen — including about 40 women — arrive. But the challenge of bringing women into the once all-male cadet corps isn’t over. Some male cadets and alumni still don’t like the idea.
“There will always be pockets of people who don’t want a coed school,” said Nancy Mace Jackson, the college’s first female cadet graduate.
Tara Woodside, a junior from Salem, N.J., was in grade school when Jackson arrived on campus.
“There are some guys who are skeptical at first,” Woodside said. “But once a woman proves herself, they are your biggest supporters.”
One of the biggest difficulties is attracting more women, who now make up 6% of the cadet corps. During the past decade, 129 female cadets have graduated, and this year there will be nearly 130 women among the college’s almost 2,000 cadets.