Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Blatant racism: Despite the 14th Amendment, many universities openly admit to judging people by the color of their skin
The excuse that they need "diversity" is very thin indeed. The most important sort of diversity for a university is surely intellectual diversity -- yet they have virtually none of that. They are Leftist monocultures where all conservative thought is thoroughly kept out. Clearly, they don't in fact care a fig for diversity. They are just carrying on the old Leftist obsession with race
A 19th century political poster
Boston-area universities are closely watching a Supreme Court case that could derail the use of race in admissions, a practice that several universities, including Harvard and MIT, say is fundamental to creating a diverse student body.
If the high court rules that it is unconstitutional for public colleges to consider race as a factor in admissions, it could have the biggest impact on the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the state’s flagship public college, which is trying to create a more diverse campus even as it becomes more selective and uses race as a factor in admissions decisions.
But legal scholars say a broad ruling by the court could also force private colleges to stop using race, even though they are not generally subject to constitutional rulings.
The case was brought by Abigail Fisher, a student who says the University of Texas rejected her because she is white. Oral arguments this month reflected the charged debate over affirmative action, with conservative justices sharply questioning its place in higher education
Harvard, MIT, and Yale are among the private colleges that have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of using race as a factor in admissions.
“It would be wholly antithetical . . . to ignore a facet of an applicant’s identity that may, to that individual, play an essential role in shaping his or her narrative and experience,” says a brief filed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and 12 other elite colleges, including Brown and Dartmouth.
The Fisher case is making headlines at a time when racial tensions have roiled college campuses across the country, and many students say their concerns about diversity and discrimination deserve more attention.
Several Boston-area schools said they use an array of factors to attain a more heterogeneous class.
They recruit from a diverse group of high schools and consider applicants’ socioeconomic background, among other strategies.
“Not necessarily any one criterion is being used to shape or attain any goal,” said Sundar Kumarasamy, vice president for enrollment management at Northeastern University.
Tufts University and Boston University officials said they think race is an important factor but they don’t believe a ruling against its use will undermine their ability to field a diverse student body.
“We believe strongly . . . that the future viability of higher education will hinge on recognizing and dealing with the challenges and opportunities of accessibility, diversity, and inclusion,” said Tufts spokeswoman Kim Thurler.
In its friend-of-the-court brief, Harvard argued that the benefits of a diverse student body are “more important now than ever.”
“Universities play a unique role in helping to bridge the divides that threaten to prevent the nation from achieving its highest democratic ideals,” said the Harvard brief, written by university general counsel Robert W. Iuliano and other attorneys.
UMass Amherst looks for students who come from low-income families, who are the first in their family to attend college, or who are from underrepresented ethnic groups, said Jim Roche, associate provost for enrollment management.
“We also try to determine if the student is likely to contribute to and benefit from the critical thinking and diversity of ideas that are so important to the mission of a public research university,” Roche said.
Segregation in Boston
THE MARGARITA MUÑIZ Academy in Jamaica Plain has only been around four years, but it already looks an awful lot like the future of education in this country. Eleventh-graders listen to lectures about Che Guevara in Spanish. Then they learn about Malcolm X in English. Their math teacher can explain pre-calculus in either tongue. Muñiz, one of only two bilingual high schools in the city, expects every student to master both languages.
“Language is an asset,” said headmaster Dania Vázquez. “Not a deficiency.”
With rising test scores and more than 400 students applying each year for 80 seats, Muñiz is obviously doing something right.
But there’s one uncomfortable statistic about this innovative public school: 90 percent of the students here are Hispanic.
Vázquez says she’d like to see a more diverse student body in the future. “Our students don’t want to segregate themselves,” she said.
But Muñiz is just one of a growing number of schools in Boston with such an ethnically lopsided student body. Four decades after a federal judge desegregated Boston Public Schools, the Donald McKay School in East Boston, for instance, is 90 percent Hispanic. The Curtis Guild in East Boston is 84 percent.
That’s partly a function of demographics. Forty-one percent of all public school students in Boston are Hispanic. The larger a minority group grows, the more difficult integration becomes. In California, where 55 percent of public school students are Hispanic, 8 percent attend majority-white schools. In Boston, 2 percent do.
That has led some to decry the “re-segregation” in America’s schools.
Yet history suggests that Hispanics don’t dream of integration the same way that blacks do. In the 1960s and ’70s, as black families fought to integrate schools, Hispanic activists clamored for the opposite. They wanted their kids clustered in bilingual education programs that could celebrate their heritage, ease them into English, and counter the high drop-out rate.
In 1971, they won a huge victory: Massachusetts became the first state in the country to mandate that students be taught in their native tongue.
Those new bilingual classes were just gearing up when Judge Arthur Garrity ordered Boston to desegregate schools in 1974. At first, his ruling was a setback for Hispanics, who were reassigned away from bilingual classrooms to random schools that weren’t equipped to teach them.
But Hispanic parents petitioned for relief from the court, and Garrity agreed with them. For years, his oversight of the school system gave Hispanic activists the upper hand in negotiations over hiring more Spanish-speaking teachers. Thanks to Garrity — and the fear of another big lawsuit — the Boston School Committee grudgingly agreed to things they would never have entertained before.
But bilingual programs were costly, especially as more students arrived, speaking Mandarin, Cape Verdean Creole, and Khmer.
“It’s about money,” said Alan Rom, the lawyer who negotiated on behalf of Hispanic parents.
But critics also fretted that bilingual education was “un-American.”
In 2002, a referendum requiring that public school students be taught in English won in a landslide. Although the law made an exception for two-way bilingual schools like Muñiz, other kinds of programs must get waivers from the state.
That’s a shame. As the percentage of Hispanics grows from 17 percent to 30 percent nationwide in 2050, the demand for bilingual education is going to grow. We’re also going to have to rethink our ideas about segregation and civil rights: How will we protect the civil rights of minorities when everybody is a minority? What will “integration” mean when there is no more mainstream?
UK: Mary Beard raps zealots in Oxford Rhodes row
CLASSICIST and TV historian Mary Beard has railed against zealots at Oxford University who want to tear down two memorials to Cecil Rhodes but ‘go on using his cash’.
The Cambridge professor said students cannot ‘have their cake and eat it’ by ‘whitewashing’ him from history while still benefiting from his legacy.
Last week Oriel College agreed to remove a plaque featuring the 19th-century politician and ‘consult’ on the removal of his statue after students claimed it was racist.
They said that making ethnic minority students walk past it amounted to ‘violence’ as he was a colonialist in what is now South Africa.
However, Rhodes left vast sums of money to the university, with numerous foreign students benefiting from prestigious Rhodes scholarships.
Writing in her blog for the Times Literary Supplement, Professor Beard said: ‘I really don’t think you can have your cake and eat it – you can’t whitewash Rhodes out of history, but go on using his cash.
‘And his cash has done a huge amount of good in bringing foreign students to this country.
‘Wouldn’t it be better to celebrate what we have managed to achieve with Rhodes’s money, whatever his views.
‘If he was bad, then we have certainly turned his cash to the better and maybe, to give him for a moment the benefit of the doubt, if he had been born a hundred years later even he would have thought differently.’
The classics professor, who has been announced as a host of a new series of the BBC’s Civilisation documentary, said students were failing to see Rhodes in his historical context – and pointed out that Victorian ‘worthies’ in other statues probably ‘held views as bad or worse’.
She said: ‘A great statue cull, based on twenty first-century values, would leave few in place.‘Much more important is to look history in the eye and reflect on our awkward relationship to it, and what we are actually beneficiaries of, not simply to photoshop the nasty bits out.’
She said she had some sympathy with the idea that ethnic minority students might dislike the image of Rhodes, but said ‘we get nowhere if we try to conceal the past was aggressively not like us’. The academic added: ‘The battle isn’t won by taking the statue away and pretending those people didn’t exist.
‘It’s won by empowering those students to look up at Rhodes and friends with a cheery and self-confident sense of unbatterability – much as I find myself looking up at the statues of all those hundreds of men in history who would vehemently have objected to women having the vote, let alone the kind of job I have.
‘It’s not the job of the present to tick the past off, but to get off its backside and do better!’
The student campaign, called Rhodes Must Fall Oxford, says Rhodes paved the path to apartheid by introducing discriminatory land ownership and voting rules. He was one of the era’s most famous imperialists, with Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe and Zambia – named after him.
Yesterday South African student Ntokozo Qwabe – one of the chief anti-Rhodes campaigners – was accused of ‘hypocrisy’ after it emerged that he had a Rhodes scholarship himself, money critics said he should now give back. But he insisted: ‘There is no hypocrisy in taking back money that was looted from your people.’
He added: ‘We are finally raffling [sic] the fragile feathers of colonial glorification and apologism - which prop up British/European/Western neocolonialism and imperialism all over the world! Oh what a time to be alive.’
Yesterday, author Bidisha SK Mamata, who has presented BBC radio programmes, piled in to support the campaign and called for the Rhodes scholarship to be renamed.
Why These High School Girls Don’t Want a Transgender Student in Their Locker Room
Speaking out, they knew, could make them the public face of a very private issue. It could lead their classmates to call them “bigots,” “insensitive,” and “homophobes.”
But after seeing their high school back down to threats that the U.S. Department of Education would strip away federal funding, and watching school officials overrule their parents, a group of six high school girls in Cook County, Ill., decided to speak out.
On Dec. 7, before a crowded school board meeting packed with news media, they would tell the world why they don’t want a high school student who was born male, but identifies as a female, to use the girls’ locker room.
They would tell the world why allowing a transgender student to see them in a state of undress would be an invasion of their personal privacy.
They would explain why, at 15 and 16 years old, changing alongside biological women is already hard enough.
“It is unfair to infringe upon the rights of others to accommodate one person,” the six girls, in a joint statement, told an audience of at least 500.
“Although we will never fully understand your personal struggle,” they said, addressing the transgender student, “please understand that we, too, all are experiencing personal struggles that need to be respected.”
Palatine, a well-off suburb of Chicago, is the first district in the country to be found in violation of civil rights laws on transgender issues.
By forcing the transgender student—known in the media as “Student A”—to use a separate locker room, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights ruled that Township High School District 211 had discriminated against the student “on the basis of sex.”
The finding came as the result of a lengthy investigation, triggered by a lawsuit filed by Student A’s parents.
To resolve the findings—and to avoid the Department of Education’s threats of losing federal funding—the school board changed its policies to allow Student A into the girls’ locker rooms, so long as the student changed behind newly installed “privacy curtains.”
Those curtains, the six girls said, shield Student A from personal insecurities, but they leave the rest of them uncomfortably exposed.
According to the Department of Education’s investigation, Student A began transitioning to a female in middle school.
The student was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and currently receives an “ongoing course” of hormone therapy.
But some girls at the high school say Student A has not fully transitioned, which makes some of them uncomfortable sharing a locker room.
“What bothers me is the fact that this student is still anatomically a male,” a 16-year-old sophomore told The Daily Signal on the condition of anonymity. “If the student had already undergone surgical procedures, this would be another story entirely, but as it stands I just don’t feel comfortable with it.”
A 15-year-old told The Daily Signal “it just doesn’t feel right.”
“I know Student A poses no harm to me, but it just doesn’t feel right knowing someone with male anatomy is in the bathroom with me,” she said, adding:
I have nothing against Student A and would be her friend if I knew her better, but when it comes down to it, I don’t feel right changing in the same room as a transgender student. The locker room is already filled with so much judgment, and I barely feel OK changing in front of my naturally born girl peers.
A third student, a 16-year-old sophomore, expressed frustration.
“[W]e are supposed to accept this and feel like nothing really is happening, but the fact of the matter is that this did get pretty big and now we have someone with male genitals in our girls’ locker room when we are changing,” she said.
The Daily Signal spoke with five girls who attend the same high school as Student A, four of whom oppose the student’s use of their locker room and one who supports it.
The Daily Signal also spoke with parents and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Student A in the lawsuit.
What became clear is that neither side is pleased with the final agreement the district reached with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, suggesting that public schools are not sure how best to deal with the difficult issues surrounding transgender students’ use of gender-specific facilities.
Privacy in the Locker Rooms
The Department of Education’s investigation into alleged discrimination found that “the district honored Student A’s request to be treated as a female in all respects except her request to be provided access to the girls’ locker rooms.”
This included granting the transgender student “unlimited” access to the girls’ bathrooms and allowing the student to play on the girls’ sports teams.
In lieu of granting access to the girls’ locker rooms, the school at one point installed a bank of lockers in a private bathroom and encouraged the student to invite friends who were comfortable changing there to move their lockers. This was meant to avert Student A from being forced to change alone.
Student A wasn’t happy with the setup and sought equal access to the locker area because “she wanted to be a girl like every other girl,” the Department of Education’s report said.
But on this front, the school administration wouldn’t budge.
The school originally held its ground based “not only on Student A’s rights and needs, but on the privacy concerns of all students,” the Department of Education noted in its report.
That all changed Nov. 2, when the school received the report saying if it did not change its policies to allow Student A into the girls’ locker rooms, the government could suspend or terminate the school’s federal education funding for violating Title IX regulations.151216_trans_quote3
Title IX is the federal law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program. Experts disagree whether the law applies to transgenders’ use of separate facilities, although courts in Pennsylvania and Virginia ruled it does not.
Both those cases are being appealed.
To avoid charges of discrimination, District 211 reached an agreement with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. In it, the school promised to provide Student A access to the girls’ locker room throughout the duration of the student’s time there.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, District 211 receives more than $5 million in federal funding each year.
The federal agency and Illinois school district reached the deal “based on Student A’s representation that she will change in private changing stations in the girls’ locker room,” the report said. Since Student A’s use of the privacy curtains is non-binding, legal experts say it is not clear what would happen if the student decided to change out in the open.
But even if Student A does abide by the arrangement, those who oppose the student’s use of the girls’ locker rooms say they’re still uncomfortable with the settlement.
“When she’s walking in and out of the privacy curtain, what happens when you’re in a state of undress?” a sophomore on the lacrosse team asked rhetorically, adding:
Then she is fully exposed to everything in the locker room. That was my main concern with the privacy curtain. It’s not like there’s a curtain around her face, it’s not like she’s not looking at everything around her.
To accommodate girls who “wish to be assured of privacy while changing,” the district agreed to install additional private changing stations inside the locker rooms.
Those critical of the compromise say the school is giving Student A “special treatment.”
“I will always be respectful to Student A and will treat her like I would anyone else I know,” the 15-year-old sophomore told The Daily Signal. “We all have to deal with inconveniences that we have to deal with, and I don’t feel as though someone should gain special treatment over me and all other naturally born girls.”
“I can’t say that I understand [Student A’s feelings], but there are so many other people that you have to consider despite yourself,” another student added.
When the school board voted 5-2 in favor of the agreement, members made clear that the deal applies only to Student A and is not a district-wide policy.
To accommodate Student A during off-campus sporting events, the Department of Education will require District 211 to provide access to girls’ locker rooms “in a manner consistent” with the home high school.
If locker rooms don’t already have them, this could mean installing privacy curtains inside all those locker rooms.
Lauren Gregory, a 17-year-old attending the same high school as Student A, sees the situation differently. Gregory, who had no qualms going public with her name, said she believes those against Student A’s use of the girls’ locker rooms are more concerned with the “principle of being transgender rather than the locker room thing.”
“I know a lot of people are talking about privacy, and there’s been a lot of talk about anatomy … [but] the things that we value most in life are not physical,” Gregory said, adding:
Everyone tells your kids when you’re growing up, don’t worry how you look, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. I think I really carry that with me still, and I think that if someone feels a certain way and they feel like they’re in the wrong body, then I don’t have a problem with it. I think they have the right to become whoever they should be.
Gregory agreed that girls already feel uncomfortable changing in the locker rooms—some even change in bathroom stalls to prevent other girls from seeing their bodies, she said.
But Gregory believes that transgender students face similar insecurities and therefore are “not going to flaunt it or use it for bad things.”
“I know that these people who want to change their gender, they truly do not like the way that they are—the way that they were born—they don’t like the anatomy that they have, and they’re not going to flaunt it or use it for bad things,” she said. “They don’t even want it. They want to change it.”
In an interview with The Daily Signal, Ed Yohnka, director of communications and public policy for the organization, said the girls who spoke out deserve “a lot of credit” for attempting to be “sensitive and yet show their concerns the best way they could.”
However, Yohnka said, “The concern that is being raised on the part of these students is not the concern that actually arises in the use of the locker rooms.” He suggested that girls don’t fully disrobe for physical education and sporting events.
“This is not an instance in which she intends to be immodest or provocative in any way, shape, or form,” Yohnka said of Student A. “If one actually reads the findings from the [Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights], what they reveal is that, despite the reputed claims of the administration, students don’t fully disrobe in the locker rooms that she’s seeking access to.”
Multiple girls who spoke with The Daily Signal disputed that, saying they undress in the locker room for various sporting events, including lacrosse. They added that most sports teams share the same locker room.
“It’s a misguidance people have about high school girls not changing their entire clothes,” the lacrosse player said.
Students say showering hasn’t been an issue in this case because of the way the PE and sports programs work, although the school has a swim requirement that could affect future cases.
The ACLU’s Yohnka said the concern about Student A’s anatomy is simply “hysteria” created by the school administration.
“This administration has gone on television and talked about our client’s anatomy,” Yohnka, criticizing the school’s decision to go public with the negotiations, told The Daily Signal. “If they had done this to any other student in this district, the parents would be there lynching the board.”
Reached by The Daily Signal, a spokesman for District 211 officials said they would let previous statements and actions speak for themselves.
In October, when Superintendent Daniel Cates went public with the complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Right, he put out a statement defending the administration’s original position of limiting Student A’s access to the girls’ locker room.
In a message published in a newsletter, Cates wrote: “District 211 has supported—and continues to support—transgender students and their families while always balancing the rights and concerns of all students we serve.”
Posted by jonjayray at 1:35 AM