At American Power, Douglas hails the death of crap masked as education
In the 1960s, California college campuses were hotbeds of civil rights and free speech activity, where student protests resulted in the nation’s first ethnic studies programs at San Francisco State and UC Berkeley, among others.
Ethnic studies became a sought-after major and a safe setting in which to examine the influence of the state’s diverse population of Latinos, African-Americans, whites and Asians, among others.
In recent years, however, some of those programs have been cut back, particularly in the California State University system. Today, students — and faculty — are once again protesting: this time to save ethnic studies majors.
At such campuses as San Jose, Stanislaus, Bakersfield, Long Beach and elsewhere, professors aren’t being replaced, classes are being reduced and majors could be eliminated or subsumed into other liberal arts programs. The moves have reignited old debates — and wounds —- about Cal State’s commitment to social and cultural diversity.
Educators and others say that as campuses look to trim costs, ethnic studies programs are bearing the brunt and could be seen as irrelevant.
Administrators counter that many programs are not attracting enough students to fill classes.
The programs also face stiff competition as students of all ethnicities focus more on obtaining degrees with immediate job prospects.
“A discipline like ethnic studies lays itself wide open to the critiques of what the hell do you do with this, can you run a corporation or fly a plane with this?,” said Ron Scapp, president of the National Assn. for Ethnic Studies, which is conducting a national survey on the status of such programs.
But Scapp and others said that debates over immigration, the election of the country’s first black president and the aftermath of the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin by a white man show the nation is still grappling with issues of race and cultural diversity. Ethnic studies programs, he said, offer a forum to tackle these topics.
The initial intent of the programs was to increase the numbers of students and professors of color and expand historical perspectives, including those of Native Americans, women, gays and lesbians.
But it was also divisive, with some critics arguing that the disciplines lacked academic rigor. In 2010, Arizona banned school districts from offering ethnic studies programs determined to be radical or fostering racial resentment.
A recent move to reduce the status of the Africana Studies Department at Cal State Long Beach led the state Assembly to adopt a resolution urging that it and other such programs be maintained. Cal State Chancellor Timothy White put the changes on hold until the campus finds a permanent replacement for former President F. King Alexander…
Oh the humanities!
I remember a girl I went to college with, she was a pretty hard-core Liberal, and we clashed several times in debate, and speech classes. These clashes usually ended with me shutting her down by offering up facts and logic, poor kid, she never had a chance, but I recall her not to gloat, but to share a story of her first glimpse of radical Leftism. She was quite proud to announce that she would be attending a Black Studies course. She had heard great things about the professor, and social justice, blah, blah, blah. Well off to her Black Studies, which I mockingly called Black Embitteredness Studies, she went, and, to her credit she learned something very useful in that class.
Her first class was to be her last before she dropped the course. She shared with our debate class that she, a White girl, was worried she might get killed in that class. She talked of the ugly racist rhetoric, the angry professor, and the rest of the eye-opening content of the class. You see she wanted to believe America had racial issues that should be solved, she had a good heart she cared, and she really saw skin color as I do, that is to say unimportant. The angry propaganda in that class frightened her. Instead of caring people, she saw a bunch of angry, bitter people obsessed over skin color. Gee, that sounds like the leadership of the NAACP doesn’t it? I do not know if her experience with that class started her on the road to Conservatism, but it at least opened her eyes to the inherent anger in much of Leftist doctrine.