When the word “racism” is used, my mind immediately goes back to those assemblies we went to in Middle School, in which guest speakers would teach us all about Slavery, the Civil Rights movement, and Martin Luther King. While it was many years ago, the images of scars covering the backs of slaves and the stories about angry white men throwing acid into the eyes of black protestors during the Civil Rights Movement are still clear. The lesson that I took home is this: It is wrong to discriminate against someone based on his race. Racism is hateful, divisive, evil, and leads to self-loathing at best and violence at worst. More often than not, it is an ever-present oppression of one race against another.
Discrimination today is often more subtle and it comes from the groups that one would least expect. I noticed an example of this earlier this week while with a Latino friend on the University Campus. The students hold elections for student president, senate, representatives, etc. through the Political Science department every year. This year, the three major parties (Grow, Team Unite, and Vision) set up booths all over campus in an effort to present their platforms and win votes.
One girl from the Vision booth handed me her group’s agenda. On the top of the list under “Diversity” it said “We want to develop ways to hire more diverse professors at the University of Utah.” I looked up at the grinning Asian girl and the White guy that handed this thing to me and I asked them “What do you mean by more diverse professors? Do you mean like academically diverse or… politically…?” (I already knew the answer but I wanted to hear it from them).
The white guy hesitated for a moment and stumbled out “Well, you know, more minorities and stuff.” My Latino friend was now nodding like this was a great idea. And why not? There is nothing wrong with having a diverse campus in every sense of the word. The purpose of school is to learn and develop with the brightest minds out there.
How to achieve diversity is the matter of debate. A few more students came by and received their copies of the platform while I stood forming my next question that grabbed everyone’s attention. “How do you plan to get more racially diverse professors?” Judging by their reactions, they had either never thought of this seemingly obvious question or they were shocked that I would ask it.
After a noticeable pause, the girl chimed in: “Well, we would just give them extra help when they apply.” Help is a nice word. I didn’t stop there, though. “What do you mean help? Are you saying that if a racial minority like my friend here and a white guy like me were to apply for the same job at the university, and if I was slightly more qualified than him because I got better grades or whatever, then you would still hire him? Why?” Everyone just stood there in awkward silence. They were silent because the only honest answer to that would have been “because your friend is Latino and you are White.” That is the new racism.
The new racism, like the old, supposes that certain races should have preference over others. Only now they call it “Diversity.” As children of one God, aren’t we all diverse? Whether someone is Scottish, Danish, Latino, Black, Asian, Indian, or any other race should not matter when one applies for a job or tries to seek admittance as a student to any university. Diversity has become a code word for “not white.”
The grand irony of the “Diversity” scheme is that it creates more racism even when it “works.” It hurts the minority groups that it seeks to help. If a student were to know that the “diverse” professors probably didn’t earn their jobs, how could they still be expected to treat them with the same level of respect as the “non-diverse” ones? To be a white professor, one must be incredibly qualified to beat out all of the minorities that have preference. This validates and perpetuates negative stereotypes and racism into the future generations. If an African American woman were to truly earn a spot because she was the most qualified applicant, no one would know or believe it. Her victory is stolen by Affirmative Action.
Affirmative Action has failed to lift any race out of poverty in fifty years. On the other side, the “diversity” proponents don’t see all of the highly qualified Whites and Asians that are being passed up because they aren’t “diverse” enough. Hiring underqualified people because they are wearing the correct color to the interview requires the same wrongheadedness as the men that put the scars on the slaves’ backs. Racism is either evil or it is not. It doesn’t “just depend.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a world where people are judged by their merit—not the color of their skin. He dreamed of a world where the children of whites and blacks and all races could live together in harmony. It is a wonderful dream but we aren’t quite there yet.