Thursday, December 12, 2002

President Saigo speaks, but who listens?

Well bully for him! The president has written a response to the vicious StarTribune editorial. Arguing that "Inflammatory phrases in the editorial do not truly reflect the general atmosphere" at SCSU, he proceeds to say why he is proud of SCSU.

Crying "bigotry at SCSU" seems to have become an involuntary reflex that resists the influence of deeper investigation and analysis. I challenge you to compare our track record of diversity initiatives against any educational organization in the region. We are working to become a model for diversity education. Someday, I am confident that SCSU will be recognized as a leader in this area; I look forward to reading a StarTribune editorial singing our praises for this leadership.
As I stated last night, this is unlikely to work, as diversity education seems to create more negatives than positives. (Though without a doubt this point will be lost on the StarTribune and other media outlets.)

As if to prove my point, this afternoon came a response from faculty member Frankie Condon taking exception with Saigo's letter for the institution as well as other posts (and most likely this blog.) A full Fisking here is unfair as the letter is not on the web for all to view; it's been my policy to keep discussion list Fiskings on the list, and as it's finals week next week I'm not likely to get to it. But one thing for now, if you will...

Racism is ubiquitous in American society at large as well as here at SCSU. I know of no one who can reasonably claim to be outside of, unaffected by, or a non-participant in racism. ... There are no innocent bystanders when it comes to racism in the United States.
If you're not part of their solution, you're part of the problem. Thomas Sowell's Visions of the Anointed could not be more clearly demonstrated.
... there is no interest whatever in finding out empirically whether things have been made better or worse for minorities as a result of this program. And in fact, if you bring up evidence, they'll say, Ah, but things would have been even worse had we not done this.
So when President Saigo states the long list of things we have done to create diversity education (and all the new things agreed by the anti-Semitism settlement) none of this will cut it with Condon.
One understanding, for example, now taken as demonstrated in critical race theory is that white claims of "color-blindness" are a) false and b) demonstrations of one of the mechanisms of white privilege. People of color, the scholarship suggests, cannot afford to "not see" color; their very lives depend on knowing where they are and who they're with.
We must continue to teach about racial differences, she says, because they cannot afford to see the world as color-blind. Why? Because whites cannot get beyond their guilt no matter how many hours of diversity training they receive. Whites will always be a threat and must continue to be treated that way.

At least Solzhenitsyn got to leave the gulag eventually.