Aug 29 2008

The Left at Christian Universities, part 5: Silencing Free Expression the Gentle, Positive Way

This is a post in the chain on “The Left at Christian Universities”. The last, on diversity, was The Left at Christian Univs, part 4: Diversity.

It now appears that at least portions of the American academy are waking up to the threat against free speech and academic freedom represented by speech codes and “hate speech” laws, even in other nations.

Beware of Canada, where academic freedom is in jeopardy. That’s the message of a growing number of eminent scholars within the American Political Science Association (APSA) who have signed a petition expressing concern about presenting their work in Toronto, the expected location of the 2009 APSA conference.

And excerpts from the petition:

Continue reading “The Left at Christian Universities, part 5: Silencing Free Expression the Gentle, Positive Way”

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Aug 14 2008

“Diversity Leadership” and the diversity training industry: a project of the Left

Category: diversity,higher education,multi-culturalharmonicminer @ 9:34 am

Diversity Training University International (DTUI) is a company specializing in training diversity officers and workers for organizations. They maintain a blog where they discuss “diversity issues” from the point of view of diversity trainers and managers, and in a recent article discuss the difficulties diversity managers and trainers can have when they meet resistance.

In-house diversity professionals often ask me about how to address resistance to their diversity and inclusion program. These professionals describe managers who give a nod to the diversity program in leadership meetings, while making excuses for not being more actively involved in addressing the issues in their units. Others enthusiastically offer their opinions and suggestions on other topics, but disengage when the diversity goals are covered. A couple of the managers seem to be openly hostile towards the diversity program based on the reasons they give for not supporting it and the aggressive tone of their statements about it. Many managers may not openly show support negative statements about the diversity program, but you can see their faces light up while that “brave” individual speaks her or his mind.

I guess you can count me as one of those speaking his mind.  And yes, I’ve seen eyes lighting up when I speak up for people who are a bit reserved but agree with me.

Here is one of the more revealing paragraphs:

Our view of cultural diversity has been ingrained in us since birth. It
is not easy to unlearn the biases and prejudices we are exposed in a
society that gives us the double message of being tolerant in our
attitude and exclusive in our behaviors. Liberals tend to bend over
backwards for people who are different
and too many people of color
struggle with their own sense of sense of being treated unfairly. The
diversity professional must be clear about any baggage he or she brings
to the work.

I provided the boldface, to illustrate the inadvertent admission of the article. Diversity is a project of liberals, of the Left. No news here…. but the admission is useful for confirming it in the mind of doubters.

Why does this matter?

Because when organizations embrace diversity, they are embracing the Left. It really is that simple. That might be OK for some organizations, but when Christian universities, churches, other para-church organizations, etc., embrace diversity, they will not be able to avoid the intrusion of aspects of the Left which they may (and certainly should) find objectionable, on a host of social issues and political implications.

It is possible, of course, that a strong diversity movement in an institution is not the cause of a Leftward motion, but is rather a symptom of it. The correlation is clear, however. Whether diversity is itself a contributor to Leftward motion, or whether it is merely the “canary in the coal mine”, or both, a strong diversity emphasis in your institution is something to be concerned about, if you hold to traditional perspectives on matters like abortion, gay marriage, national defense, government taxation and redistribution, etc.

If you’re a diversity professional now, I suggest you encourage your children to seek another career. According to the New York Times:

Ethnic and racial minorities will comprise a majority of the nation’s population in a little more than a generation, according to new Census Bureau projections, a transformation that is occurring faster than anticipated just a few years ago.

Got that? Your job is going to be as obsolete as the buggy whip, and quite soon. Better start planning for early retirment, and encourage your kids to major in something else…. say, engineering or business administration or marketing. Or white studies.


Jul 22 2008

Brave New Multi-Cultural Europe

Category: diversity,Europe,multi-culturalharmonicminer @ 10:31 am

Gypsy girls’ corpses on beach in Italy fail to put off sunbathers

Questions about the attitude of Italians to their Roma minority were again being asked yesterday after photographs were published of sunbathers continuing as normal with a day at the beach despite the bodies of two Gypsy girls who had drowned being laid out on the sand nearby.


“But the knot of curious onlookers that formed around the girls’ bodies dissolved as [swiftly] as it had formed,” the newspaper Corriere della Sera reported. “Few left the beach or abandoned their sunbathing. When the police from the mortuary arrived an hour later with coffins, the two girls were carried away on the shoulders [of the officers] between bathers stretched out in the sun.”

La Repubblica also expressed astonishment at the behaviour of those present. “While the lifeless bodies of the girls were still on the sand, there were those who carried on sunbathing or having lunch just a few metres away,” it reported.

Corriere recalled that this was not the first time people had decided a death was no reason to give up their day at the beach. In August 1997, sunbathers carried on as normal after a man drowned near Trieste.

But the fact that the two victims on this occasion were Roma added an extra twist to the affair.

Italy is gripped by anti-Gypsy feeling. Since coming to office in May, Silvio Berlusconi’s rightwing government has appointed three special commissioners to deal with the Roma in each of Italy’s three biggest cities – Naples, Milan and Rome. It has also ordered the fingerprinting of the country’s Gypsy population, including minors, who make up more than half of the estimated 150,000 Roma in Italy.

The European commission has asked the Italian government for more details on the census, and this month the European parliament approved a motion condemning it as an act of discrimination banned by the European convention of human rights. Berlusconi last week told the commission president, José Manuel Barroso, that the information was being collected to ensure Gypsy children went to school.

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Jul 05 2008

Virtual Diversity: The Diversity You Wish You Had

Category: diversity,education,higher education,universityharmonicminer @ 9:00 am

Is this so bad?

A sociologist at Augsburg College, together with an undergraduate, recently studied the viewbooks of hundreds of four-year colleges and universities, selected at random. The research team counted the racially identifiable student photographs and also gathered data on the actual make-up of the student bodies.

The findings: Black students made up an average of 7.9 percent of students at the colleges studied, but 12.4 percent of those in viewbooks. Asian students are also more likely to be found in viewbooks than on campus, making up 3.3 percent of real students on average and 5.1 percent of portrayed students. The researchers acknowledge that appearance does not always tell the story of race and ethnicity, and say that they only counted clearly identifiable photos, and feel less confident about figures for Latino students. But they report relatively few students whose appearance suggested that they might be Latino, which is striking given the growth in the Latino student body. (A total of 371 colleges were studied, and historically black colleges were excluded; the findings were recently presented at the meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society.)

I suppose there are all kinds of reasons for fudging the appearance of diversity, maybe even including trying to attract a more diverse student body.  One assumes that these schools also try to make residence facilities, meal plans and recreation areas look better than the truth….  that is, after all, the American way…  for some of us.  This is not a random failure to be accurate….  none of the minorities were represented as being less than the real figure.

And when some of the students who see these viewbooks come to campus, and fudge the data in their academic work, at least they have a good excuse….  they learned it from the university they attended.

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Jul 01 2008

Blocking the vote on affirmative action: strategy of the Left

Category: affirmative action,diversityharmonicminer @ 11:46 am

The essentially undemocratic intent of affirmative action/diversity supporters is on full display in Nebraska.

“The key to defeating the initiative is to keep it off the ballot in the first place. That’s the only way we’re going to win,” said Donna Stern, Midwest director for the Detroit-based By Any Means Necessary.

Continue reading “Blocking the vote on affirmative action: strategy of the Left”

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Jun 30 2008

New Book Coming out on “Diversity”

Category: college,diversity,education,higher education,universityharmonicminer @ 8:01 am

This looks like it will be a fine complement to Peter Wood’s book, discussed here. As chapters of Purdy’s book are released, I’ll link to them here.

New Book on Diversity to be serialized on line

Today, Larry Purdy—one of the three lawyers from the Minneapolis law firm Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand who represented Jennifer Gratz and Barbara Grutter in the U.S. Supreme Court cases Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger—presents a picture of the upside down house in which we live. His book, Getting Under the Skin of “Diversity”, shows how racial preferences have engendered an upside down view of race, racism, affirmative action, diversity, and justice.

The National Association of Scholars is privileged to present, beginning today, an advanced look at Purdy’s book. A printed version of Getting Under the Skin of “Diversity” will be available later this year. In the days and weeks to come, however, we will serialize this important book on our website. Each chapter will go up in PDF form until the whole book is present. We do this with the author’s permission. Mr. Purdy retains the copyright to Getting Under the Skin of “Diversity” and all legal claims to his intellectual property.

In the preface, Purdy names the three purposes of his book: First, he sets out to refute another book, The Shape of the River (1998) by William Bowen and Derek Bok, former presidents of Princeton and Harvard. Bowen and Bok’s book strenuously argued that racial preferences in elite colleges work as advertised: the minority students who receive the preferences thrive; the colleges benefit; and society is better off. In her majority opinion, Justice O’Connor relied heavily on the arguments put forth by Bowen and Bok in The Shape of the River, and yet, until now, no one has systematically examined their arguments and so-called “evidence.”

Second, Purdy critiques Justice O’Connor’s opinion in Grutter. Purdy is certainly not the first to do this. Grutter is notorious for its loose reasoning and selective use of evidence, but there is probably no one better equipped than Purdy to demonstrate the waywardness of O’Connor’s judgment in this case.

Purdy’s third object in this book is to discuss the continued use of racial preferences in higher education and the injustices those preferences propagate. Ultimately, Purdy writes, both the “beneficiaries” and the “victims” are harmed—by condescension and by discrimination.

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Jun 24 2008

The Left at Christian Univs, part 4: Diversity

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 3:20 pm

This is a post in the chain on “The Left at Christian Universities”. The last, recommending a very important book, was The Left at Christian Univs, part 3: Diversity.

Following the useful practice of Peter Woods in his book Diversity: Invention of a Concept, I will use the italicized form of the word diversity to represent the common use of the term as political enterprise, and the unitalicized form to denote the conventional meaning of the word “diversity”.


There are two possible strategies with disclaimers. You can put them at the beginning, or you can put them at the end.

I am doing both. I may also put a few in the middle.


I am not a racist. Not even close, not in my dreams, not in any way at all.

I am not a bigot. I have warm fuzzy feelings for all kinds of people, from all kinds of backgrounds.

I am not fearful of change. Anyone who knows me would laugh out loud at the idea.

I am an (undead) white male. If you think that means you don’t need to pay any attention to my perspective, you may be a racist.

I regularly donate blood to the High Desert Blood Bank in San Bernardino County, California. I am AB negative (the rarest blood type, about 6 of every 1000 people), and I am CMV negative (some virus I never got, but which most people do), so my blood is good for people with compromised immune systems: the very old, and the very young, as in preemies. For reasons I don’t understand, AB negative blood plasma is the “universal donor” in plasma (not whole blood), and so, since my plasma is so rare and valuable, I give blood plasma about every month. They tell me that my plasma is probably in the bodies of bunches and bunches of pre-maturely born babies in the San Bernardino area, many of them of African-American descent. I consider it something of a sacred duty to do this.

OK? This is almost embarrassing, but the point needs to be made. The reason it needs to be made is because the Left routinely paints anyone who disagrees with the entire diversity enterprise as a hater and a racist. I am neither.

This is really embarrassing.

First concepts

These thoughts form the backbone of the discussion in following posts. In later posts, I’ll discuss the implications for Christian colleges/universities. I’ll try to support them with a reasonable degree of evidence, some unavoidably anecdotal, because there are certain questions that social scientists simply do not ask, and the political/social commitments of diversity mavens are among them, even though they are blindingly obvious.

1) Diversity is an outgrowth of the political perspectives of the secular Left, and depends for its existence on moral equivalence arguments about the relative status and value of various cultures and sub-cultures.

2) Diversity
is virtually always a supporter of the political and social Left. Diversity speakers and presenters are virtually always from the Left. The curious profession of diversity trainer means learning to sell the Left.

3) Diversity is the term that was used to disguise the essentially quota-based strategies of affirmative action, when quotas were found by the courts to be suspect.

4) Diversity is used to sneak in almost uniformly leftist perspectives in a wide variety of areas, not merely the inclusion of persons of minority races in public life and institutions. It is a complete pretense to present diversity as an enterprise that is politically or socially neutral.

5) Diversity is not about helping minorities improve their numerical representation in public life and institutions. It is about helping only certain minorities, which are perceived as not being able to raise themselves out of their current circumstances without preferences, quotas, set-asides, and special considerations of all kinds. As such, it is a racist enterprise on its face, even though its self-talk is that it is anti-racist.

The subtext of diversity is simple: if you are one of the favored minorities, you aren’t able to make it on your own, and need diversity to help you get where you want to go. If you are not one of the favored minorities, you should be ashamed of your racist heritage, and if you resist diversity in any way, it is further proof of your racism.

I’ll try to get around to commenting on each of the points above in subsequent posts.

UPDATE:  Part 5 in this series is here.

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Jun 15 2008

Diversity Scolds In Church Leadership

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 9:11 pm

In Christianity Today’s leadership discussion, Merk DeVimaz quotes approvingly an African-American pastor who says:

“…if you hire or otherwise empower African Americans only to lead your church in worship, you may inadvertently suggest to people, ‘We accept them as entertainers.’ If you hire or otherwise empower African Americans only to work with your children, you may inadvertently suggest, ‘We accept them to nanny our kids.’ And if you hire or otherwise employ African Americans only as janitors, you are quite clearly stating, ‘We expect them to clean up after us.’ It is only when you allow us to share your pulpit, to serve with you on the elder board or alongside you in apportioning the money, that we will be truly one with you in church.”

On the surface, this sounds right. There is, after all, no reason some African-Americans should not be in leadership roles. A little consideration reveals some serious problems, however.

This kind of comment is exactly what churches just beginning to integrate do NOT need to hear, because it paralyzes their ability to naturally and gracefully include African-Americans into their church life in ways appropriate for specific individuals, as the process goes forward.

It engages in a “straw man” argument, by inappropriate use of the word “only”. Most churches won’t “only” do anything in particular regarding African-Americans. To the extent they have African-Americans (I assume this comment was aimed at mixed churches), they may be found in a variety of roles, befitting the individuals in question, not their racial identity. And sadly, this kind of comment, taken too seriously by well meaning, mostly white churches, could cost some deserving, hard working African-American a needed job cleaning the church. I’m sure that unemployed person will be happy that the church only wants to use white people in that capacity, so as not to demean African-Americans.

It implies that leading worship is entertainment. If people think the presence of an African-American suggests that, “We accept them as entertainers,” then you have a much bigger problem than lack of diversity. Your church doesn’t understand the essential nature of worship, and desperately needs to grow in that area before you have any hope of addressing the issue of diversity in worship leading. Your response should not be a feeling of guilt that a talented African-American is leading worship, it should be a feeling of guilt that you have so poorly instructed your congregation about worship.

The comment implies that, in comparison to pastors or deacons, there is some essentially lesser worth for people who lead worship, care for and educate children, or care for the facility. This is specifically non-scriptural, and speaks to a real lack of humility on the part of “leadership”. If that is the perception of the church as a whole, perhaps there is a lack of proper teaching about the body of Christ. This sounds like a product of “leaders” who have bought into the notion of pastors and deacons as little bosses, instead of servants. To be blunt, that doesn’t sound like Christ talking, it sounds like modern corporate leadership theory.

There is no a priori reason to believe that any given pastoral position can automatically be filled by some available African-American candidate, even if the church “wants” one. Churches vary enormously in their needs, in the kind of preparation pastors are expected to have, and in the demographics that have been historically likely to get that preparation. A church that would like to find such a candidate simply may not be able to do so in available time with available resources. That church is not to be condemned for it, but applauded for even looking. And African-Americans in that church who hoped for an African-American pastor need to be reminded, hopefully in word by one of their own number, and in deed by everyone else, that they are one with the body regardless of who is pastor this year.

In a denomination that is energetically reaching out to African-Americans, it may take an entire generation for a sufficient number of African-Americans to undergo the education and developmental process required to develop a selection of possible pastors.

Similarly, in many (most?) churches, deacons or board members are elected, normally from among well-known and respected members who have considerable history with that local body. Assuming good intent on the part of an historically white church with a recent influx of African-Americans, should they rush to elect one of them to the board, when a white person of such recent acquaintance with the church would not be so chosen? It takes time to build the relationships of trust that are necessary for a deacon.

So: if a church has had a reasonable proportion of African-Americans for years who have been faithful and consistent (as deacons are normally expected to be) and for some reason none of them are ever elected to the board, that might indicate a problem for a board of deacons to consider, and perhaps for a pastor to address. But the kind of comment quoted here is guaranteed to intimidate churches that are just beginning that journey.

Lurking behind this comment is the old affirmative action quota system, where numbers of minorities in particular positions are counted, and if they don’t fit some preconceived (but sometimes unannounced) standard, the entire enterprise is declared deficient.

A church with African-Americans leading worship, taking care of and educating kids, and keeping up the place, had better be about the business of making sure everyone is up to snuff on understanding the nature of the body of Christ. Such a church should not feel inadequate if no African-Americans happen to be deacons or pastors, though if there is any reasonable proportion of African-Americans in the church, it’s reasonable to expect it to be just a matter of time… though it may be quite some time, depending on the situation. And that simply has to be OK with all concerned.

hat tip: Enharmonic

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Jun 15 2008

Mark Steyn on Multiculturalism

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 5:29 pm

I’m posting this for two reasons: to practice embedding a youtube video into a post, and because Mark Steyn is brilliant here, as usual.

Mark Steyn on Multiculturalism

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Jun 10 2008

The Left at Christian Univs, part 3: Diversity

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:48 pm
If you care to understand the development of diversity as an ideological, political enterprise in higher education, you need to read this book.

Diversity: The Invention of a Concept, by Peter W. Wood, was published in 2003, in the same time frame as the Supreme Court’s ruling in Gratz v. Bollinger, preceding by just a bit the ruling that outlawed University of Michigan’s undergraduate racial quotas for failing to meet the test of being “narrowly tailored.”

It is essential reading for anyone, right or left, who wants to understand the development of the diversity initiatives that are so popular in colleges and universities, as well as certain non-profits, government agencies and even some businesses, especially large corporations. It is very scholarly, dense with references (they don’t get in the way of the narrative, but they provide sources for further study, or confirmation for doubters), historically grounded, yet highly readable and accessible to general readers. The author is a professor of anthropology, and former Associate Provost of Boston University. He’s seen academia from the classroom and the administration building.

Better reviews than I would be likely to write can be found here and here.

Why it matters

As I discussed in The Left at Christian Universities, part 2, a trend for Christian universities and colleges seems to be to move left by adopting essentially secular enterprises. Diversity, as understood for the last 30 years or so, is one of these, regardless of how we adorn it. In an upcoming post, I’ll very briefly review some that history. However, for the full story, from 19th century antecedents to 1970s court cases to 1990s academic dogma, this book is a goldmine.

UPDATE: Part 4 in this series here.

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