The University of Arizona and aggressive diversity
The academe of today is a sad wasteland in comparison with its former self. Rot often starts with a university administration, then seeps down through deans and department chairs, and eventually pervades the entire institution through the natural process of which professors are hired, promoted, and given tenure. Many instructors indoctrinate rather than educate. “Safe spaces,” sheltering students from disagreeable ideas, abound. Homogeneity of thought, particularly political thought, is celebrated and even enforced, often through the self-policing of instructors and students alike.
Once, the very purpose of a “university” was to gather together the sum of human knowledge (Latin universus, “all, everything”) and expose students to it, thereby broadening students’ minds and preparing them for lives of significance and meaningful contribution. Since some of the concepts and ideas would directly contradict others, critical thinking was taught and intellectual rigor developed in the pursuit of truth. Students were instructed in how to think, not in what to think.
Now we have BYOI: bring your own identity. Students are allowed and even encouraged to remain in their parochial cocoons. If a student does not have a cocoon at matriculation, one will be quickly, efficiently, and happily created: “Check the boxes of the intersectional identities that define you; check as many as you possibly can, since these identities will be used to categorize you for the entirety of your college career, and will determine when you are allowed to speak and what you are permitted to say. Check this box if you are a WSCM (white, straight, cisgendered male), then take your undeserved privilege and go away.” Careful segregation, surrounding the student with the similarly-oppressed and -aggrieved, advances the imperviousness of the cocoon. Coddling keeps any nasty, opposing views or ideas from even getting close to penetrating the cocoon before it has fully matured.
A perfect example of a source of this type of twisted campus culture is “Diversity and Inclusiveness in the Classroom,” a “classroom dialogue guide” published recently by the Office for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence (yes, that’s a thing) of the University of Arizona, written by the head of the office, the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence (again, a thing).
Following are some highlights from the guide. The guide wastes no time before establishing its risible theme. The second sentence sets the tone for everything that comes after:
“In addition, many campus constituents have social identities that historically have been underrepresented (e.g. Black/African Americans, Latinx/Chicanx/Hispanic, Asian American/Pacific Islanders, Natives Americans, LGBTQIA+ folks, international students and employees, people with diverse religious affiliations, veterans, non-traditional students, women, first-generation college students, and people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds).”
That sentence begs to be parsed:
- Your sex, (chosen) gender, race, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, sexual preference, and a host of other parameters dictate your “social identity”, and determine your intersectional victimhood quotient (IVQ™)
- “e.g.” should have been “i.e.”, unless any constituencies were neglected (bonus points for identifying which, if any, were left out)
- “LGBTQIA+” is presumably shorthand for “LGBTQIASEYBWGLUGIWUNXCWADJLTHOWLONGCANTHISGOONYWIYMT”
- If the listed constituencies have been underrepresented, some other constituency must have historically been overrepresented. Any guesses as to which constituency that might have been?
Somewhat later, a metaphor is offered as a way to promote “intergroup” understanding:
“Someone might provide the following metaphor: ‘Race relations in America remind me of the relationship between the earth and the sky. The earth represents ethnic/racial minorities, which sends water (e.g., diverse cultures, perspectives, opinions) to the clouds through the process of evaporation, making the sky look beautiful. For their part, clouds (which remind me of Whites) return the water back to the earth and enrich it. Both the earth and the clouds are equally important and need each other in order to live and make life interesting.’”
Then there’s art for understanding:
“Collages/Art Work: Collages and other forms of art tap into students’ creative and visual side. Here students might be asked to create a collage depicting intergroup relations or intergroup concepts and ideas. After completing their project, students might be asked to present and explain their art pieces.”
The imagination runs wild: “Today, before digging into organic chemistry, we’re going to create some lovely collages depicting intergroup relations so that we can better understand each other and be excellently inclusive.”
So much “intergroup”:
“Fish bowl discussions: Fishbowl discussions entail placing all members of one group (e.g., African American students) in a circle in the center of the room surrounded by students without that identity (e.g. students who are not African American). The facilitator leads a discussion with the center group for a specified amount of time (e.g. 20 minutes), while everyone else listens. Then, the groups switch places and those originally in the outer circle are led in their own facilitated discussion while the those originally in the inner circle listen. Finally, both groups come together and as a whole discuss any issues that emerged from the fishbowl discussions. This is a great strategy as it creates a space for greater understanding of other students’ perspectives and experiences.
For many participants, this is their first opportunity to ”listen in“ on a discussion involving groups that they normally don’t get to hear.”
Healing through discussion of oppression, etc.:
“Explain why conversations about diversity are important. It is all of our responsibilities to be engaged in dialogue about oppression, bias, power, and other topics related to living in a multicultural world. These conversations are a part of a healing process between members of our community. Hopefully, we leave each discussion with deeper understanding and a renewed hope for the future.”
It’s all about teh feelz:
“Discourage the devaluation of emotions and feelings. We may laugh and cry together, share pain, joy, fear and anger.”
There’s more than a page just about “Dialogue vs. Debate”, which boils down to, “We’re here to hash things over, not to try to find what is actually best, true and correct. All ideas, perspectives, feelings, and cultures—among other things—are equally legitimate and beneficial to society. Shaddup with your ‘objective truth’ nonsense!”
Lest anyone think we could make it through this entire guide and escape any mention of “microaggressions”, six pages are devoted them, with repeated definitions (including microaggressions’ equally hateful cousins, “microinsults” and “microinvalidations”—yes, these are things, too) and plentiful examples, followed by a lengthy discussion of how faculty members may avoid or “interrupt” microaggressions.
The final three pages are taken up with a discussion about “Validating Students of Color”, who apparently need validation.
The most dangerous guideline of all is buried, seemingly innocuous, on page 7:
“Oops/ouch: If a student feels hurt or offended by another student’s comment, the hurt student can say “ouch.” In acknowledgement, the student who made the hurtful comment says “oops.” If necessary, there can be further dialogue about this exchange.”
How many “ouches” are required before an average college student will simply sit down and shut up, especially if the instructor is disinclined to support free speech? What would happen if an offender refused to say “Oops”? What about if the offender continued being offensive? This guideline is intended to silence unacceptable speech through classical conditioning: instead of salivating, Pavlov’s dogs are supposed to be quiet and defer to others with less privilege and greater intersectional victimhood.
The academic playbook of the American Left is a microcosm of its methodology for American society at large:
- Divide the populace/student body into groups along lines of intersectional identity
- Maximize perceived differences between groups
- Promote each group’s grievance and victimhood
- Make it seem like only a higher authority (e.g. government, university administration) can fix inequities and right wrongs
- Put groups in competition—even conflict—with each other for the higher authority’s largesse
- Gradually increase the groups’ (and the groups’ members’) dependence on the higher authority
Where students once attended university to learn, grow, and become independent adults, universities now churn out perpetual dependents, saddled with debilitating student-loan debt and steeped in leftist doctrine. This epidemic will not even begin to abate until our institutions of higher learning stop doing their students such grave disservice in the name of leftist orthodoxy. Current indications are that that won’t happen soon; indeed, it’s going to get worse before it has any chance of getting better.