Liberal ‘racism’ is not about bringing people together

By November 25, 2007

People of the political left are racists. Almost all of them, I’d have to say.

And I mean that in the kindest way.

Oh, they aren’t “racists” in the conventional, bad sense. At least not intentionally.

But many liberals are thoroughly consumed with matters of race. In the sense that “deists” are guided in their lives by the existence of God, and “militarists” are consumed with breaking things and killing people, “racists” are those whose daily lives are filled with obsessions about ethnicity and race, as well as the subject’s categorical subdivisions, such as oppression and privilege.

They are like florists who really, really like their work and compulsively fill their homes with flowers.

And, like their political cousins environmentalists, these “racists” often insist that others must share the joy.

Most colleges—most schools, in fact—include some sort of student training to encourage kids to get along. And, aside from terminology and reference points that avoid religious themes, this sort of diversity training usually differs little from the love-thy-neighbor lessons taught in the olden days.

But, sometimes, it does differ. Enormously. Sometimes, rather than simply encourage students to recognize that we’re all the same in the eyes of God (or in the eyes of . . . er, Gaia), the trainers start professing exactly the opposite. They obsess not over commonality but on divisions. They don’t seek to draw students into a communion of understanding but to emphasize their differences. And, often, these twisted lessons are the work of”racists,” which is to say people who are so consumed with matters of race that their humanity peels off like an orange rind.

The University of Delaware recently got into some hot water over a freshman-indoctrination program that fell well into the category of thought control. It was directed by obsessive racists.

The university effectively saw its “Residence Life” program as more than a means of inculcating good will. It was intended to purify students who had what the university considered wrong views regarding race, sexuality, gender and the like.

The “ResLife” lessons at Delaware were administered to the 7,000 UD frosh living in dorms by residence advisers, or RAs.

According to some teaching materials acquired by a watchdog group that looks for over-the-top programs like this one, White Americans were defined explicitly as racists (in the classic not-nice sense) “regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality.” On the flip side, teacher handbooks declared that minorities, regardless of their personal conduct, “cannot be racists” because the oppression permeating the United States renders that impossible. No such thing as “reverse racism,” the students were to be taught.

Students in the program were asked probing, deeply personal questions in one-on-one sessions with RAs. “When were you first made aware of your race?” And, “When did you discover your sexual identity?” A lot of students balked at such intrusions. They were put in the category of “worst.”

Among the program’s “competencies”—that is, what administrators expected students to “learn” from the course—was the following: Recognizing that “systematic oppression exists in our society.”

One young freshman told the Associated Press that she left one of the meetings “feeling like I was a (bad variety) racist somehow because I was a White person or because I haven’t been oppressed.”

When the ResLife program was aired out by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Delaware officials at first defended it defiantly. Then they insisted it was a voluntary program, not a requirement. Other documents, however, suggested the RAs were under enormous administration pressure to get the dorm-living freshman through the entire program. The RAs were to keep precise records of students who didn’t come around to the “right” way of thinking.

Universities long have been besotted of all things related to race, sex and gender. But Delaware, like other, edgier schools that seek to trumpet their liberal-ideological credentials, were committed to taking that mission further. The university has suspended the program, but FIRE lawyers suspect UD merely is waiting for the unpleasant media buzz (what little of it there is) to die away.

It is one thing to declare that students are expected to treat each other with mutual respect. Delaware’s diversity vision statement says a bit more than that: “Racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism and other behaviors and systems that empower some while oppressing others will not be tolerated.”

Nobody expects college vision statements to reflect the real world. But statements like that simply tell us that the authors are so absorbed by their obsessions that they become virtually untethered to reality.

They’ve become racists. Unable to view the world through any lens but a people-segmenting kaleidoscope.

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Schools: University of Delaware