In this interview, a student at the University of California at San Diego tells my former law school classmate Edgar Anderson about a freshman course called Dimensions of Culture. Not only is it a required course at UCSD, but it consumes 16 units of the freshman year (roughly 40 percent depending on the student’s course load).
The course is divided into three segments: Diversity, Justice, and Imagination. As to the last last segment, the student said: “I had no idea what was going on in that class. And even the TA said she had no idea what it was about.”
There was no such problem with the other two segments. “Diversity” had to do with “if you’re a white male you’re bad.” It sounds like a course Reverend Wright could have taught. The themes were “how Asians have been oppressed in history and how Latinos continue to be oppressed and how blacks continue to be oppressed.” The response to the fact that Asians have been hugely successful in this society was “it’s a stereotype because whites have labeled Asians as smart in order to put down black people.” (You can see the problem for a course like this, especially at a school with a large Asian population — to include Asians among the oppressed, the instructors end up denying to some extent their successes).
During the Justice segment, the teaching assistant explained that there “should be affirmative action in terms of who becomes a Fortune 500 CEO and that they should require that a certain percent of all CEOs in Fortune 500 companies be women.” It was unclear, however, whether this requirement should extend to investment bankers because, as the TA put it, “I hate investment bankers anyway, I hate them, I hate their whole attitude.”
Do college administrators realize how counterproductive this sort of indoctrination (as opposed to the more subtle kind that’s integrated into genuine courses taught by otherwise intelligent faculty) is? The instructors on the ground at UCSD do. According to the student:
Everyone hated the class, and they know it, and even at the end of the year they gave out these pins that said, “I survived DOC.” And the lecturers [asked] “Aren’t you so glad it’s done?”
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