D'Souza Slams P.C. 'Posturing'
Calls Affirmative Action Source of Campus Racial Tensions
A former editor of the Dartmouth Review said Tuesday night he believes that the "public posturing" of "politically correct" advocates of affirmative action is a source of racial tension on American college campuses.
Dinesh D'Souza, who is currently the editor of Crisis magazine, said such public posturing was responsible for outbreaks of violence and, more importantly, a widespread heightening of race-consciousness on campus. Approximately 100 people attended the speech, which was sponsored by the conservative publication Peninsula.
"Students come to college thinking of themselves as Americans and...leave thinking of themselves as Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and whites," D'Souza said.
He said that the most liberal colleges suffer the worst racial problems, owing to the discrepancy between "politically correct posturing" and real differences between racial groups.
"In fact, the campuses that have been experiencing the most problems have names like Berkeley, Standford, Oberlin, University of Michigan, Amherst, Dartmouth and so on," he said. "It is almost safe to say that the more the campus appears to be publicly dedicated to fighting racism, the greater the volume of racial incidents and racial tension on those campuses."
D'Souza said he believes affirmative action adds to racial tension because it uses different standards in evaluating different racial groups. Thus, he said, "there is no direct competition between an Hispanic applicant and a white applicant."
What results from this "multiple track racial admissions system," D'Souza said, is a college class composed of students with unequal levels of academic preparation.
"Many people have the illusion that affirmative action increases the number of minority students in higher education. This is a fallacy," D'Souza said. "What affirmative action does is determine where minority students will be placed in higher education."
D'Souza pointed out that students who are "tipped in" because of race are more likely to drop out than students who do not receive such preferential admissions treatment.
Because of their academic problems, D'Souza suggested, these students may conclude that the curriculum itself is biased to their disadvantage, and may join in demands for abolishing accepted canons of academia in favor of a more culturally-diverse curriculum.
D'Souza also identified the broader movement of "political correctness" as playing a part in obscuring the problems of race at colleges.
According to D'Souza, the new wave of political correctness promotes conformity in the name of diversity. "PC" stands for "every kind of diversity except intellectual diversity," he said.
D'Souza criticized the "PC" trend in American higher education, describing universities across the nation as competing in a kind of "cultural Olympics" with more and more ethnic groups demanding representation in the traditional curriculum.
"This reduces thought to narrow categories of race and gender," he said. "This is antithetical to a liberal education."
D'Souza is the author of the recently-published Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus.