Advice to the College-Bound from the Old, White Professor
In a few weeks, some of you will be going off to college. But before you commit yourself to the decision and the ensuing financial burden, there are a few things you should know.
Nearly all college experiences begin with a series of orientation sessions. Most start with the assumption that you are the cursed offspring of a flawed society. You come to college not to be educated but to be reeducated. You have imbibed of racism, sexism, and homophobia. And for some outrageous amount of tuition that will send many of you into perpetual debt, the modern-day Gletkins of academia will purge you of these impure thoughts.
The brainwashing will begin in orientation but will not end there. If you live in a dormitory, there will be required sensitivity sessions run by minions from the office of residence life. These generally are graduate students who are shouldering the intellectual rigors of a degree in education administration.
The aim of these sessions, which are reminiscent of those imposed on Soviet factory workers to remove their “mechanistic thinking,” is to reeducate you to rid yourself of the values your parents taught you.
Many of you, irrespective of discipline, will be compelled to complete a multicultural requirement. These courses are compulsory because otherwise no rational person would sit through them.
Your multicultural requirement might be taken in African-American studies where, being a white person, you will learn that only whites, by definition, can be racists and all whites are racists.
The evils of slavery will be pounded into you, even though your ancestors probably not only didn’t own slaves, but they also came to these shores long after slavery was abolished. Nonetheless, your skin color makes you guilty.
But invoke a stereotype about black people based on their high crime and recidivism rate, and you will be admonished that to brush all black people with a single brush -- especially without context -- is racist. To characterize all white people as racists, however, is not a stereotype but an intellectual incision.
You will learn that there is such a thing as “true truth.” This is the shared reality of an “oppressed” group whose common belief makes something true. Or in the profound words of Alexandria Octavio-Cortez, you can have moral truth without factual truth -- whatever that means.
In these classes, you will never say that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was the product of Africans who shifted the trans-Saharan slave trade westward. You will never point out that two African potentates, King Tegesibu of Dahomey and King Alvare of the Congo, were among the wealthiest men in the known world, having gotten rich by selling slaves.
It is not that the administration doesn’t know what goes on in these classes, but to intercede would result in charges of racism and violation of so-called academic freedom. If you complain, your grade will crash to the floor.
In gender studies, remember there are more than two genders. Never, ever say you can’t change your DNA. Women are equal to men in every way, and biology is not destiny. All apparent biological differences are really a function of culture. After all, we live in a world where trans-women should be able to get abortions.
All genders and races should be in all the professions in proportion to their distribution in the population is the current dogma. Any departure from that is a function of cultural oppression. The fact that Asians disproportionately dominate math and science classes is a function of some cultural flaw. Only on the athletic field does pure competition exist.
If you regurgitate this view of the world, apologize for being white, and check your white male privilege, you will do fine.
Do these classes change attitudes? Yes, but not as the intellectual Gletkins think. As one of my students told me:
I grew up in a rural community. There were no black people. They were not important to me. Then, as a resident advisor, I was told to go to a sensitivity session as part of my training. There I was told that my parents chose to live in such a community because they wanted to get away from black people. I said my ancestors came to the Ohio Valley after the Revolution, and my family has lived in the same community since the late 18th century. In response, I was told I was a racist. I wasn’t before, but I sure to hell am now.
Is a college education worth being coerced to listen to the assorted political opinions of people who probably couldn’t function in the world outside of academia unless they were a Democratic presidential candidate with a trust fund?
If you want to go to professional school or are enrolled in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics major, yes. If you have a talent in any field that sets you apart, yes.
But for the rest of the student body, what is an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts, for example, worth?
I do get it -- you can’t get a job in retail or, as one of my students told me, unloading boxes at the local soap factory without at least a two-year college degree.
You can get the same politically correct, meaningless education at your local community college for less than a third the money and without the student loan debt. Unless, you have secured entrance to an elite school, the first two years of undergraduate requirements are indistinguishable from the courses in a good suburban high school.
If you are an average student, uninterested in participating in a learning environment that will harass you because of your race and was built on the model of the 19th-century German university, consider trade schools. A certified mechanic is far more in demand than a liberal arts graduate.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center.