Monday, June 24, 2002

The UC experiment Send this entry to: Spurl Ma.gnolia Digg Newsvine Reddit

The UC experiment The UC system in California has been "race blind" officially since 1997 (let's ignore ways they try to get around it). So now this article in Salon (premium) examines the "fall-out." The facts? "Underrepresented minorities" have been shuffled from the prestigious Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses to Davis, Riverside and San Diego. Though they still haven't reached the proportion that they were in 1997-they are slowly inching back up due to proactive measures. What I want to know: what are the graduation rates of blacks and Latinos now? Thomas Sowell speculated that transferring black students to less competitive schools rather than admitting them to elite schools because of racial considerations would be beneficial to their overall education since they could complete a rigorous engineering degree without falling off the end of the curve. Now here's a choice quote:
But others at Berkeley say that even if students can survive without attending Berkeley, the declining diversity is damaging the campus itself: "It's ridiculous for U.C. to say we have met our diversity requirement system-wide, so we don't have to worry about Berkeley and UCLA," said ethnic studies professor Ling-chi Wang. "We do have to worry about it, because the quality of education is going to go down. Academic excellence is linked to diversity. I have visibly seen [the number of] minority students declining in front of me each year. It's very, very disheartening."
1) From the numbers in the Salon article-it seems that the rise in Asian-American representation balanced the increase of white students-white students were 33% of Berkeley's student body while Asians -Americans went up to 45% from 40%. At UCLA, white students dropped from 31% to 30% and Asians were at 42% as opposed to 40% 5 years ago. The "white hegemonic element" seems pretty much the same-and UCLA remains the "University of Caucasians Lost among Asians." 2) Interviewing an ethnic studies professor about the state of diversity is like asking a Republican operative to comment on the possibility that taxes might just be a bit too high. 3) Since when did diversity = excellence? I thought it was scholarship = excellence. Am I old fashioned or too linear in my sell-out brown-twinkie Western thinking? San Jose State has a hell of a lot diversity. Now, I'm not besmirching everyone who goes to that school-just trying to show how stupid this diversity = excellence rhetoric is. The fact is, Mr. (Dr.?) Wang's job depends on diversity. So why doesn't he just say that. "My job depends on diversity-please keep diversity around so I may feed my family!" That's honorable at least. He shouldn't just pretend like he thinks that the students that are sitting ethnic studies when they should be in a history or science class are getting anything aside from half-baked opinions he heard on the local "progressive bookstore." Another choice quote from Mr./Dr. Wang:
To Wang, the university should reflect the society around it: "In an ideal world, I would love to see a proportional representation in our student body. I'm hoping that as we turn into a more diverse population, the university will reflect the diversity that is so richly represented in California, but I'm kind of discouraged."
Ah...proportional representation. At least he comes out and says it. The article mentions that underrepresented minorities are even more underrepresented in the UC system than 1997 because of the burgeoning Hispanic population. Proportionalists will become progressively more terrified as the years pass by. I don't know how they'll endure the fact that Asian-Americans will probably keep hogging all the funds that go into public higher education. Here's a line near the end of the article about skewing the quota selection process toward income rather than race:
California's complicated racial landscape means there is no proxy for race in this state -- many policies designed to assist low-income students, for example, would assist many Asian-Americans, who are not underrepresented. But there are other advantages in new policies that look more comprehensively at applicants.
The horrors! Poor Asian-Americans getting an education while middle-class blacks and Latinos can't get into college because of poor test scores! What sort of injustice can occur in a world such as this. OK, sarcasm off. I'm so tired of reading crap like this. So I'm going to end this posting a pretty vulgar note. I try to stay civil-but I'll be honest-this sort of race quota consciousness makes me want to vomit. A big fuck you to all the patronizing liberals who send their kids to private schools and live in cul de sacs while lecturing on the world on how live a good progressive life, and a big fuck you to all the activist parasites of color who can't be honest about their self-interested posturing. As my friends have told me many times, get a real job!

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