Saturday, June 16, 2007

My "progressive" alma mater is guilty of segregation

Before I get into this, let me say...I love UCLA. I love the education it provided me, I love the life experiences I had there, and of course I love those 11 National Championship banners hanging at Pauley Pavillion.

But one thing that bothered me was the constant indoctrination into ethnic, gender and sexual "sensitivity" that reigned (and continues to reign) on that campus.

During my orientation weekend, one of the first things I was told was that 10% of the student population was gay. From then on, I looked around each class I took and tried to figure out which 10% were gay...for example if my class had 30 students, three of the students HAD to be gay because that was what I was told.

The morning of my very first class at UCLA (business calculus) the teacher was late. His last name was "Chang". The kid sitting next to me mused (very innocently) "I think I saw him in the halls, is he Oriental?"

To which an angry co-ed behind us responded, "Don't say that! The proper term is Asian. What you said is offensive!"

Welcome to UCLA.

During my time there, a fraternity lost its charter because of a Cinco-de-Mayo party. Not an out-of-control party where anyone was physically assaulted or underage students were found consuming alcohol (although I'm sure some were...c'mon, it was a frat party).

No, the fraternity was shut down for two years because of a tequila worm on a party advertisement that was an "insensitive" depiction of Hispanics. Of course the dozen or so Hispanics who were IN the fraternity didn't seem to mind, but a bunch of Mechistas marched and then threatened to march again. That was all it took to shut the frat down for two years.

My alma mater prides itself on its diversity and its sensitivity to every special group that might be on campus. But this has gotten ridiculous:

Commencement weekend is hard to plan at the University of California, Los Angeles. The university now has so many separate identity-group graduations that scheduling them not to conflict with one another is a challenge. The women’s studies graduation and the Chicana/Chicano studies graduation are both set for 10 AM Saturday. The broader Hispanic graduation, “Raza,” is in near-conflict with the black graduation, which starts just an hour later.

Planning was easier before a new crop of ethnic groups pushed for inclusion. Students of Asian heritage were once content with the Asian–Pacific Islanders ceremony. But now there are separate Filipino and Vietnamese commencements, and some talk of a Cambodian one in the future. Years ago, UCLA sponsored an Iranian graduation, but the school’s commencement office couldn’t tell me if the event was still around. The entire Middle East may yet be a fertile source for UCLA commencements.

All these commencements are sponsored by UCLA and paid for by California tax dollars. A waste of money? You bet, but you'd better not try to deny any of these groups their own special ceremony...the ACLU will come calling.

Of course the ACLU would also come calling if white/male/protestant/straight students wanted their own commencement.

The funny thing is, the graduates who belong to these groups don't even show up for these ceremonies:

Not all ethnic and racial graduations are well attended. The 2003 figures at UCLA showed that while 300 of 855 Hispanic students attended, only 170 out of 1,874 Asian-Americans did.

But it's all part of the indoctrination UCLA students receive. See...we can't just proudly identify ourselves as Bruins:

Some students are presumably eligible for four or five graduations. A gay student with a Native American father and a Filipino mother could attend the Asian, Filipino, and American Indian ceremonies, plus the mainstream graduation and the Lavender Graduation for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students.

Graduates usually wear identity-group markers—a Filipino stole or a Vietnamese sash, for instance, or a rainbow tassel at the Lavender event. Promoters of ethnic and racial graduations often talk about the strong sense of community that they favor. But it is a sense of community based on blood, a dubious and historically dangerous organizing principle.

And just as it did when I started at UCLA in '89, the indoctrination begins that very first orientation weekend:

But the core reason for separatist graduations is the obvious one: on campus, assimilation is a hostile force, the domestic version of American imperialism. On many campuses, identity-group training begins with separate freshman orientation programs for nonwhites, who arrive earlier and are encouraged to bond before the first Caucasian freshmen arrive. Some schools have separate orientations for gays as well. Administrations tend to foster separatism by arguing that bias is everywhere, justifying double standards that favor identity groups.

Would I send my kid to UCLA now? bet your ass I would. But I'd make sure that kid was insulated against the new separatism and prepared to defend against its idiocy.

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