Black Students Issue Demands to VCU

Black VCU students talking to President Michael Rao. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Black VCU students talking to President Michael Rao. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch.

by James A. Bacon

With the occupation of the Virginia Commonwealth University president’s office by an estimated 30 African-American students yesterday, the national politics of racial polarization has come to Richmond. Expressing solidarity with the black students at the University of Missouri, the black VCU students say they feel alienated from campus life and abandoned by the university. Given the black anger sweeping the nation, it was just a matter of time.

Race relations are worse now than any time I can remember since the race riots of the ’60s and ’70s. The militancy of the “Black Lives Matter” movement has given rise to a scary backlash by white hate groups, as highlighted by the South Carolina church bombing and the arrest yesterday of two white Richmond-area men for plotting to shoot up or bomb synagogues or black churches. The inflammatory words and actions of one extreme justifies the inflammatory words and actions of the other. The difference is that white extremist groups remain despised and marginalized in our society, as they should be, while the “Black Lives Matter” movement and its offshoots has demonstrated that it can dethrone university presidents.

Because broad sectors of our society, especially our intellectual elites, confer legitimacy upon black militants like VCU’s student activists — giving sympathetic play to their demands in a way they never would for alienated whites — it is only reasonable to subject the militants’ demands to critical scrutiny.

Based on the Richmond Times-Dispatch article, the VCU students expressed three broad sets of demands: (1) They want to double the percentage of black professors at VCU by 2017, (2) they want more funding for cultural organizations and events on campus, and (3) they want VCU to create a “cultural competency” course, which all students must attend. Let’s deal with those one by one.

More black professors. Fifteen percent of the VCU student body is black, while VCU says that only five percent of the professors are black. Students “say it’s often difficult for them to deal with educators who don’t understand their cultural concerns or the experience driving their thoughts and world view.” VCU, they insist, needs to double the percentage of African-American faculty within two years.

The Chinese, Korean and Middle Eastern students at VCU don’t seem to have a problem with the faculty’s cultural experience different from their own, but that’s a side issue. There is a very practical problem with the students’ demand: There are not enough black professors to go around. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, blacks comprised only six percent of full-time instructional faculty in degree-granting institutions in 2013. Granted, that’s one percentage point more than at VCU, so it’s possible that VCU could hire more black faculty. But raising the percentage to 10% is all but impossible. Making the job even harder for VCU is the fact that the scarcity value of black professors gives them a real premium in the academic marketplace, meaning that more prestigious schools with greater resources are likely to outbid VCU.

Accomplishing the goal within two years is literally impossible, even if VCU could achieve the goal demanded by students of ensuring that at least one of three candidates interviewing for a faculty position is black. While it’s true that 7% of PhDs awarded in the United States these days (based upon 2007 data published by the Survey of Earned Doctorates Fact Sheet) goes to to blacks, the distribution of degrees is highly unbalanced: 38.4% of all black doctoral recipients earned a degree in education (double the average for whites), which suggests that VCU will have no trouble making or exceeding its quota for education school professors. But much smaller percentages earned degrees in engineering and the hard sciences, meaning it will be nearly impossible for VCU to consider black candidates for certain fields.

Bottom line: The under-representation of blacks in VCU’s faculty does not reflect “institutional racism” or “white privilege” but the paucity of African-American PhDs. The paucity of African-American PhDs does not represent discrimination against African-Americans in higher ed, a bastion of liberalism and politically correct thinking, but the lower percentage of African-Americans graduating from high school capable of doing PhD-level work.

More funding for cultural organizations. The activists say there is “no effort being made to foster a community for black students.”

Really? VCU’s website lists 621 student organizations, including these:

African & American Student Empowerment Project
Association of Black Social Workers
Black Art Student Empowerment
Black Awakening Choir
Black Graduate Student Association
Black Ice (hip hop dance group)
Black Student Law Association (BLSA)
Minority Legal Students of BLSA
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Association of Black Accountants
National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice
National Society of Black Engineers

And that doesn’t include the cultural organizations for African students generally, and Ethiopians, Sudanese and Eritrean students specifically.

VCU has no student organizations based on white racial/ethnic identity. I presume that organizations like the Ukelele Club, the Car Club and the Tae Kwon Do Club are open to all, regardless of racial/ethnic affiliation. If there aren’t enough options among the 621 organizations listed to plug into university life, there is nothing to prevent African-American students from starting new organizations, registering with the university, and applying for student government funds like every other organization does. What’s the problem here? Why is it someone else’s responsibility, and not that of the students themselves, to create the kind of community they want?

The protesters say they want more funding for their cultural organizations and events. How would that play out in practice? Do they want exemptions to the rules that apply to other students organizations? On what grounds, other than their perception of victimization, do they warrant special treatment?

Cultural competency course. The VCU black activists say they want the university to create a “cultural competency” course. It doesn’t take much imagination to think that the purpose of such a course will be to indoctrinate students in the ideology of black victimization and white privilege, imposing leftist ideology and enforcing enforce conformity of behavior and thought.  This is the most terrifying of all their demands. I don’t know how much it will accomplish in making African-Americans feel comfortable at VCU, but it will do one thing for sure — it will make whites feel a lot more uncomfortable.

The T-D article said that VCU President Michael Rao spent more than two hours in “an open and frank conversation” about the issues that the black students raised. Showing openness to the concerns of black students was probably a wise idea. But capitulating to their demands would be most unwise.

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126 responses to “Black Students Issue Demands to VCU

  1. “— it will make whites feel a lot more uncomfortable.” That is the whole point of these radicals. Protests of these kind do not build anyone up, but they do tear down. Their point of coherence is envy and hatred of whites. It is its animating principle, one that is shared by, ironically, many white Liberals, who, self-loathing, are able to aspire to individual “excellence” for themselves and their children, while, at the same time, desirous of collective annihilation by “diversity.” Having accepted equality of groups in every aspect, except, perhaps in sports, where inequality is too obvious and gauche to mention, they conclude that inequality of outcome in all other fields of activity can only be explained by an invisible, but malevolent covert oppression, including, “micro-aggressions,” but yet more “damaging”, “institutional racism.” But just how all of this squares with Liberals’ monopoly on the public schools and universities, their suppression of discussion, until Trump, of course, on immigration, their promotion of unending “blood libels” against whites in the media, etc. beats the dickens out of me.

    • You’re scared, and it’s okay to be scared, but you’re letting your fear lead you to think and say irrational things.

      • Dear LifeOnTheFallLine,

        It’s not irrational to notice that Blacks enjoy special privileges as an historically oppressed people while also pointing out that there is a full-throated campaign against so-called “White privilege.” It IS irrational to say that Blacks are oppressed today by Whites, while Whites have on their own disadvantaged themselves by Affirmative Action, don’t you think? It is odd, I think, when Blacks try to blame their own failures in school performance and discipline, on Whites. Do you agree with that? If you disagree, by what “mechanism” are Whites doing these things to Blacks? Do we have special devices whereby we “zap” Blacks into losing their free will so that they will behave badly, or do we go around saying, “Don’t study! if you do, then you’re acting White!” The disparities that exist between Blacks and Whites also exist between Blacks and Hispanics, Blacks and Asians. Are THEY oppressing Black people? By the way, the presence of large numbers of Hispanic immigrants probably harms Black people, in terms of wages and job competition, but that is hardly due to “White Supremacy.” It is called Capitalist greed, and I deplore it.

  2. geeze.. seems like every time I turn around …Liberals are screwing things up…left and right and down right mean to white folk….

  3. LarryG
    Your comment is like a breath of …well,…air. Is there some substantive comment in there somewhere on the merits of what Andrew or Jim said? Is there something you actually take issue with? Perhaps you think the protests are well justified? Just say it, Larry.

  4. oh, after you Crazy – please!

  5. LarryG, I’ll take up your challenge. The Washington Post’s coverage of this mess has been fairly good; here are two rather different takes from that sampling:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/11/12/heres-what-my-yale-students-get-free-expression-and-anti-racism-arent-mutually-exclusive/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-e%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/11/12/a-new-trigger-warning-for-college-campuses/

    I find myself at sea among the views of Professor Grewal. She makes a good case for community-building, but as for free speech, she says, “the right-to-offend crowd show[s] that it can be tone-deaf when it comes to understanding the point that the unquestioned freedom to mock the powerful is qualitatively different than the freedom to, effectively, bully the most vulnerable members of our community.” In other words, it isn’t what you say but who says it to whom that is “qualitatively different” — i.e., that matters.

    And this to me is brought home by Professor Adler, who decries the necessity, let alone desirability, of so-called “trigger warnings” which college teachers these days are urged to announce before they assign or discuss materials or opinions that might offend or distress any students present! Adler proposes a blanket “trigger warning” to the incoming student that says, “Warning: Although this university values and encourages civil expression and respectful personal behavior, you may at any moment, and without further notice, encounter ideas, expressions and images that are mistaken, upsetting, dangerous, prejudiced, insulting or deeply offensive. We call this education.”

    It seems to me that freedom of expression involves the freedom to say things that are unpopular with the majority, to the point of giving offense to some. That is the point of intellectual endeavor. That is the point of politics. Which are key subjects for a University to explore.

    Moreover, to make questions of RACE the subject most proscribed on campus, because it is considered most distressing or offensive to raise and discuss (even inferentially, but especially directly, critically), strikes me as not only contrary to the spirit of our Constitution (both as a prohibited restriction on free speech and as a prohibited kind of discrimination) but also an attitude that prevents the very discourse and debate MOST NECESSARY on every campus and beyond to come to a better place concerning race relations and a race-blind society. If we can’t talk about such things at a University where can we?

  6. I just want to say goodbye. I’ve finally had more than I can stomach here, and this will be the last post on which I comment. What you’ve said, these false equivalencies are disgusting on an extreme level.

    “Race relations are worse now than any time I can remember since the race riots of the ’60s and ’70s.”

    What you mean – and what becomes clear – is that Black people are standing up for themselves now more than anytime since the 60s and 70s. Because if you think about the President of the United States giving a campaign speech just down the road from where the Freedom Summer workers were murdered for asking that Black citizens be treated like human beings or the bombing of the MOVE organization in Philadelphia by the police or four white policemen being acquitted of viciously beating a Black man even though their behavior was caught on tape or the white outrage that continues to this day over the OJ Simpson verdict or John William King dragging a Black man to death so he could “start ‘The Turner Diaries’ early” or the officers who murdered Amadou Diallo being acquitted or the officers who murdered Sean Bell being acquitted or the officers who murdered Cornel Young, Jr. facing no criminal charges or the officer who murdered Aiyana Jones having charges dropped against him or, or, or…and decide that NOW is the lowest point in race relations in this country because Black people are in the streets demanding that their lives be recognized as mattering then the only thing that has changed isn’t white violence, it’s Black protests.

    “The militancy of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has given rise to a scary backlash by white hate groups, as highlighted by the South Carolina church bombing and the arrest yesterday of two white Richmond-area men for plotting to shoot up or bomb synagogues or black churches.”

    Lies. White violence has always been there. From the moment Africans were brought here in chains to work in forced labor to the Klan being birthed as a response to Black rights being expanded during Reconstruction to Jim Crow to lynchings to the Klan reemerging to fight against the growing Civil Rights movement to the assassination of Fred Hampton to disparities in drug sentencing to the 2006 FBI study that was ignored warning about the infiltration of law enforcement by white supremacists.

    Black slaves were being whipped for not picking cotton fast enough and now Black citizens who started standing up and saying “Hey, maybe it’s wrong for a cop to face no consequences for choking a store owner to death” get to shoulder the blame for violent white criminals, so please stop trying to pretend like this violence is either new or in response to “Black militancy.” And if it is a response to anything, it’s in response to white people’s own fear of the loss of their place in the American hierarchy.

    “The inflammatory words and actions of one extreme justifies the inflammatory words and actions of the other.”

    I’m going to assume this is ironic…

    “The difference is that white extremist groups remain despised and marginalized in our society, as they should be, while the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement and its offshoots has demonstrated that it can dethrone university presidents.”

    Oh my God, were being serious. You seriously think that church bombings and guys like Dylann Roof going into a church and shooting nine congregants – after ALMOST STOPPING because of how kind they were but going ahead just because they’re Black – IS EQUIVALENT to Black students who felt like the response of a university president to racist incidents wasn’t sufficient protesting and asking for his ouster. You are saying that a white man losing his job is somehow THE SAME as dead Black people. And never does it occur to you that they had such a strong reaction to those racist incidents is because unchecked it leads to guys like Dylann Roof.

    Disgusting.

    “Because broad sectors of our society, especially our intellectual elites, confer legitimacy upon black militants like VCU’s student activists — giving sympathetic play to their demands in a way they never would for alienated whites —”

    Alienated whites? You mean like the LGBTQ* white community – oh, not them, because when society says “Hey, you can’t discriminate against them in marriage or commerce!” YOU’RE the one who has a problem, not the elites. So you must mean alienated whites like women – wait, not them, because when someone decides to do something about sexual assault on college campuses YOU’RE the one who says the whole issue is so much political fiction. So, I guess that leaves the poor – except the same people sympathetic to the Black militants you’re so afraid of are the same ones who want to expand Medicaid, strengthen welfare, support labor unions, and argue for raising the minimum wage while YOU fight against them.

    So what alienated whites are you talking about that are getting discarded by people who support Black protesters? Who are they?

    Because when I look at the United States, ALL I see are positions of power filled by white people. A Congress that is 83% white. Whites make up 85% of federal judges. In the military, 78% of officers are white while only 70% of active duty personnel are white. In local police forces, 73% of the force are white.

    The racist implication that non-violent Black protest – especially a hunger strike or football players refusing to take the field – is equivalent to white violence is sickening and disturbing. Black citizens are asking that their lives be recognized as mattering and students want the universities their parents support in taxes and tuition be more responsive to their needs and you’re saying that deserves the same response as white people who want to start a race war.

    • LOTFL, sorry to see you go. You contributed valuable perspectives to this blog. Even though I usually disagreed, you challenged me (and other readers) to think about things in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise.

      In this case, I do think you got carried away.

      “The racist implication that non-violent Black protest – especially a hunger strike or football players refusing to take the field – is equivalent to white violence is sickening and disturbing.”

      You may read that equivalency into what I wrote, but that’s you , not me. Of course, a hunger strike is not the moral equivalent to white violence. Sit-ins are not the moral equivalent to bombing black churches. I could get all moralistic and self-righteous that you would suggest such a thing. But I won’t because we have too much of that in our political discourse today, and it doesn’t help.

      • I read that into what you wrote because it’s what you wrote:

        “The difference is that white extremist groups remain despised and marginalized in our society, as they should be, while the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement and its offshoots has demonstrated that it can dethrone university presidents.”

        That’s what those words mean. The difference between X and Y is that X is marginalized and Y isn’t. By structuring the sentence in that way with that juxtaposition you’re putting X and Y on equal footing. That’s not me getting carried away, that’s me reading the actual words you actually wrote.

        And that would be bad enough on its own, but it follows this sentence:

        “The inflammatory words and actions of one extreme justifies the inflammatory words and actions of the other. ”

        So not only are X and Y different only in our response to them as a society, but the behavior of X incites and justifies the behaviors of Y.

        These aren’t morally self-righteous interpretations, they’re the things you wrote.

        And I’m still trying to suss out exactly who these alienated whites are.

        • There is a violent extreme to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, or haven’t you noticed?

          • LifeOnTheFallLine

            1) Do you have some examples of Black Lives Matter being violent you’d like to share?

            2) The militancy you were talking about here was the horrific act of university students setting up shop in the president’s office. That is what YOU chose to contrast with violent white supremacists.

            3) I’m still waiting to hear who these alienated whites are.

      • There’s also the irony of saying you’re not going to get moralistic and self-righteous…by getting moralistic and self-righteous about being moralistic and self-righteous.

    • Dear LifeOnTheFallLine,

      While you are welcome to visit and comment at what sites you wish to, you can not run from the problems we are facing. Why not discuss them in even terms rather avoiding discussion altogether? The problem is that we have AVOIDED honest discussions with another, or real discussions have not been permitted. We must live in this land together, and the better we understand each other, and make allowances for each other, the better. But we need to talk these things out rather than staying within our “safe zones” on the Net and other places and never trying to reach out. Sincerely, Andrew

      • “While you are welcome to visit and comment at what sites you wish to, you can not run from the problems we are facing.”

        Meaningless cliche.

        “Why not discuss them in even terms rather avoiding discussion altogether?”

        Falsely presumes that in an environment controlled by someone else that equity is universally possible.

        “The problem is that we have AVOIDED honest discussions with another, or real discussions have not been permitted.”

        Meaningless cliche.

        “We must live in this land together, and the better we understand each other, and make allowances for each other, the better.”

        Meaningless cliche, but let’s hold on to the idea of making allowances…

        “But we need to talk these things out rather than staying within our ‘safe zones’ on the Net and other places and never trying to reach out.”

        Safe zones ARE making allowances for each other, the rest of this is pablum.

        • Dear LifeontheFallLine,

          We will “face” each other in the 2016 election for example. If my guy, Donald Trump, becomes President you and your friends and community will be dealing with a very different set of priorities and initiatives. You and I will probably never meet as individuals, but you certainly will, and do, meet people who share my views. Working to see each other as real people is not “pablum” it is what makes the difference between a peaceful, live and let-live society or a stifling, tense, and bitter one, or else a smoking one. It’s all of our choice. I opt for “constructive engagement” with you and people like you, rather than self-righteous withdrawal and dictation. You may not like what I say, but you will hear it, sooner or later, and if not here, then elsewhere. That’s the nature of a free society. But is that what you really want?

          Sincerely,

          Andrew

          • LifeOnTheFallLine

            I see people like you all the time. I’m related to people who think like you. I work with people who think like you. I eat Thanksgiving dinner with them. I give them Christmas gifts. I complete projects with them. I know that if my Black wife was killed by a cop they would be personally sad – most of them – for my loss while not at all outraged by it. I know that some of them think that my choice to marry a Black woman is about racial annihilation.

            There’s a reason why – you’ll notice – that my comments here have never descended to name calling and personal attacks. It’s because I have learned to live with people who are drastically different from me and in many cases diametrically opposed to the things I believe. It’s why you never see me denigrate broad categories of people based on race, religion, gender, or nationality.

            One of us has a problem seeing people with whom they disagree, and I’ll give you a hint: it’s the guy who’s talking about liberals and Black people in broad sweeping terms, not the guy who addressed one person’s post and said he’d had enough of participating at a particular blog.

            You people keep calling me self-righteous, and I don’t understand it…I have a standard, it’s been crossed, how is that self-righteous? And how is anything I’ve done been dictation?

    • I have to go with LOTFL here. There is a big difference between people in authority (e.g. police) shooting first and asking questions later and people without authority (e.g. black university students) protesting a college president’s seeming lack of concern with racial issues. In one case the victim is dead, in another case the “victim” went back to his research position while resigning his position as president. Hard to see the equivalence there.

      If you want to categorize things for comparison then you need to categorize things. I’d see the student protests as equivalent to the claims of white privilege. I thunk they’re both over-reactions but they are also basically both harmless. Any trip through Appalachia will demonstrate a lot of white people who don’t seem to be enjoying any privilege. A visit to Northern Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson High School (a magnet school for science and technology) will demonstrate that the Asian-Americans in NoVa apparently didn’t get the e-mail explaining that privilege of attending the best public high school in the United States is reserved only for whites. Meanwhile, a university with 15% African American students but only 5% African-American professors probably deserves some scrutiny.

      Non-lethal violence might be the next category. Here, African-Americans seem to have a point. The odds of getting cuffed around or handcuffed by the police go up quickly if you are black vs white.

      Lethal violence against blacks by whites also seems to be on the rise – especially incidents where the murders are unconnected to related criminal behavior. The fact that African-Americans can’t worship safely in their church should be a source of shame and concern for all Americans. I see no systematic equivalence of this kind of lethal violence against whites.

      • So, I’m going to post some links and some personal stories and try to get you to reconsider whether white privilege is an overreaction. First, you actually touch on a bit of white privilege when you say this:

        “The odds of getting cuffed around or handcuffed by the police go up quickly if you are black vs white.”

        White privilege isn’t the idea that life is a cakewalk for every white person everywhere, just that A) for comparative situations it’s usually easier to be white, B) whiteness is the societal default in this country and C) there is more than one type of privilege, so a poor white person may have certain advantages over poor people of color, but they’re going to be significantly disadvantaged compared to rich white person (and in many – not all – situations a wealthy person of color).

        For one example, it’s the difference between Eric Garner breaking up a fight and ending up dead on the sidewalk, killed by a police officer and Dylann Roof murdering nine people and the police buying him Burger King.

        It’s the difference between Tamir Rice being killed in two seconds by a police officer for holding a pellet gun in an open carry state (and a very similar situation for John Crawford), meanwhile a white killers takes three lives in an open carry state because police dispatch told a caller who saw him stalking around with a rifle that there was nothing police could do because Colorado is an open carry state.

        It’s the time I went clubbing with my Black friends who were denied entrance to the same bar I was granted access to because their pants were “too baggy,” even though we were wearing equally loose jeans. Or the fact that with a grandfather from Britain and a grandmother from Canada, no one ever asks where I’m from and means anything outside the United States, meanwhile my Chinese friend whose family has been here since the turn of the 20th century gets asked where in Asia he’s from.

        It’s there when I go shopping with my wife, and when we walk out together, me holding bags and her holding a single picture frame, she’s pulled aside by security and asked to show her receipt and when I stop to pull our receipt out from one of the shopping bags get told, “Oh, no, not you sir, you’re good.”

        It’s the fact that Jesse Jackson gets described as a “race pimp” and “grievance hustler” while the work he’s done in Appalachia goes wholly ignored. It’s white poverty being a matter of hard times and Black poverty being seen as the result of a deficient culture and Asian poverty being ignored even though for the Asian population at large it’s comparable to the overall US poverty rate and for specific groups such as Hmong and Cambodians it’s much higher. It’s Black-sounding names getting fewer call backs for job interviews and white felons getting job call backs at rates comparable to Black non-felons.

        It’s nearly every show set in New York – one of the most multicultural cities in the world – featuring an all-white cast and almost all-white background characters and extras. It’s the world collectively mourning for Paris while Beirut and Kenya go ignored.

        It’s the sort of thing that’s everywhere and nowhere all at once, but it is real, and for people who don’t have it and must live under the burden of not having it, the pressure can be immense.

        Citations and more information to follow.

        • Hmmm I’ve seen racism from about every group at one point in time. Racial, gender, religious, physical charicteristics, money, you name it. Someone is looking to crap on someone else to make them feel better or more superior. People want to be “in” not on the “outs”.

        • I believe there is plenty of anti-black sentiment in America. I just don’t see white privilege. What’s the difference? Asians, I guess – for one thing. Why do Asians seem to thrive in a society of white privilege? Why aren’t white police often seen harassing and occasionally shooting Asian-Americans if the root cause is white privilege? The root cause is lingering prejudice against Americans of African ancestry. It seems to me that understanding the root cause of a problem is the first step in solving the problem.

          I’d also add that whites hold no monopoly on idiotic behavior:

          http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/16/black-lives-matter-protesters-berate-white-student/

          • LifeOnTheFallLine

            Privilege isn’t about “holding a monopoly” on idiotic behavior. Stop with the false equivalence.

            If you’d read what I wrote and follow the links you’d see that “Asians” aren’t thriving in America. Some are doing very well and some are doing very, very poorly. And just because it’s not as highly publicized doesn’t mean police brutality doesn’t get visited on Asian Americans, Fong Lee for example. And it also doesn’t mean Asian victims of white violence get treated justly in the legals system, see Vincent Chin for another example.

            And just because some Asians do well doesn’t mean other ethnic/racial groups aren’t suffering – Latinx, Indigenous peoples, Arabs/Persians, etc. The issue is literally not Black and white.

      • A small essay that popularized the term back in 1988:

        http://ted.coe.wayne.edu/ele3600/mcintosh.html

      • A useful critique and update of that essay by another writer:

        http://occupywallstreet.net/story/explaining-white-privilege-broke-white-person

      • Employers and Black sounding names:

        http://www.nber.org/digest/sep03/w9873.html

      • Economic and health disparities in Asian American and Pacific Islander populations

        https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/aapi/data/critical-issues

      • I’m an engineer, and I like to think of it like a cantilever moment problem from statics, where the moment is equal to the force applied multiplied by a radius.

        So, if you have all of the following privileges:
        -White
        -Male
        -Able-bodied
        -Straight
        -Wealthy
        -Socially connected
        -Natural born citizen
        -Aged 18-54

        When a force comes along – you lose your job, you get sick, a family member dies, you’re stopped by the police, you get over your head in your college major, your car breaks down, whatever – your radius is 0, so all you have to do is respond to that force.

        But if you lack one of those, your radius increases, and now you have to deal with the original force and the resulting moment.

        I’ll give you another personal example. I have a friend who is – on every level – a beautiful person. She’s attractive, outgoing and as friendly a human being you’d want to meet. She’s also Black and has suffered from sickle cell her whole life. Whenever she has a sickle cell crisis she ends up in significant pain and frequently needs to be hospitalized. And nearly every time she’s hospitalized they run her through the gauntlet to prove that she has sickle cell because they think she’s engaged in drug seeking behavior and has several times been outright told it’s because she’s Black and they’re worried she’s trying to score morphine for a heroin addiction.

        Meanwhile, I’ve sprained each of my ankles once, and both times I was offered prescriptions for nothing less powerful than codeine without a second glance. (Not coincidentally, now that heroin use has begun to have a white face, policies towards drug addiction are beginning to be questioned, as exemplified by Chris Christie’s debate performance earlier this month and Indiana reversing their policy on needle exchanges)

        • I am not sure your radius would be any different if you were Korean-American or Indian-American (i.e. from India). I also note that you list 8 factors of privilege. That sounds about right to me. There is certainly privilege in America. You just don’t automatically get it by being white nor are you automatically denied that privilege by being non-white.

          I can also say that most white collar employers today put white, male Americans first on the chopping block when layoffs are at hand. Foreign workers in countries like France are protected by the high costs of severance in those countries. Minority and women workers are protected by HR procedures that require additional review and approval for lay offs. If a manager wants the path of least resistance for lay offs, he or she will select white male Americans and be done with it. Again, this is in the white collar world where employees tend to be quite well educated.

          • LifeOnTheFallLine

            Do you have any studies to support your layoff assertion? Because the only study I could find on the subject – that I’ll link to later – by MM Elvira found that non-whites were statistically significantly more likely to be laid off than whites.

            Also, you say that 8 axes of privilege is right, but that white privilege isn’t real or automatic – those two ideas don’t make sense together. Privilege on any of those metrics is automatic, but it doesn’t mean the privileges you don’t have don’t work against you.

            And if you think life in America isn’t easier for white people than people from India or Korea (all other things being equal for the rest of the privileges) then you don’t know many Koreans or Indians.

          • I know a good many Indians and they are all doing well. Better than the other cultures because they push for STEM education as far as they can go, get a job, get married (forever to one spouse), have 1 or 2 kids only, and invest in their kids education. They network together, you don’t see them complain, they work hard. They buy from each other, support each other. They invest pretty well, don’t eat out all the time, value family, look for deals.

      • I’m going to give one more personal example from when I was in college, which I think we both know is stressful enough on its own.

        My sophomore year I was rooming with a Black guy, only child, with parents who weren’t wealthy but worked multiple job each to get into a certain economic class. He also had a couple extended family members who did alright for themselves. My family isn’t poor by any stretch, but with three kids there wasn’t a whole lot of slack either. I had to work every year I was in college – flipping burgers, delivering pizzas, doing landscaping, etc. – and he didn’t because his parents were fully supporting him. On top of that, he had an uncle who would just buy him a new computer if he needed it and slid him $200 once a month. Meanwhile, I was scraping together computer parts and running bootleg operating systems (the statute of limitation on which has since run out, thankfully).

        In that situation – the stress of having to deal with college – we had the same external force, but my radius was longer because I didn’t have the same level of economic privilege he did, and so I had an extra moment reaction to deal with he didn’t.

        • My Dad was going through a challenging economic patch when I was in high school and college. I waited tables, moved furniture, mowed lawns and tutored other kids in college. One of my fraternity brothers was an African American man who worked through the school year as well. He and I always talked about how we were getting more out of UVA because we had to work during the school year. I became a technologist and he became a teacher. One day at a UVA football game my friend was about 45 years old and enjoying the game with some of our fraternity brothers. The police stopped him as he left and took a flask he was carrying. They threatened to write him some sort of ticket for possessing alcohol. The other people at the game with him all were white and (as far as I know) all had flasks. One of the guys was a local lawyer who calmly explained to the police how bad this was going to look after he called the newspaper. The police evidently saw the wisdom of this and decided that confiscating the flask was enough punishment. The men walked down the street out of sight of the police and started passing the remaining flasks back and forth.

          What really happened? I believe that the police were paying special attention to the black man in the crowd because he was black. They saw him drink from his flask and decided to do something about it. They were not paying attention to the white guys who were with the black man. The police didn’t see their flasks.

          White privilege or anti-African American bias?

          • LifeOnTheFallLine

            If there’s a bias against one group but not against your group doesn’t that mean belonging to your group confers some privilege?

  7. I would urge you NOT to leave precisely because there is more than ever a REAL need to counter the views being promoted here of late which to this point, I have attributed to willful cultural and historical ignorance rather than going over the line to overt racism.

    It’s almost like some folks clearly think that whatever black folks are upset about (yes they ARE…. THAT clueless) – it’s an “affront” to white folks…sensibilities who of the current generation had nothing whatsoever to do with the great unpleasantness, doubt the current abuses and could react “badly”…. as generations before have done before…if black folks don’t shape up.

    in other words – they deny the realities and attribute them to trouble-makers…

    • So, Larry, now that you’ve denounced historical and cultural ignorance of those with different viewpoints, what do you think about the black VCU students’ demands… which was the point of this blog post?

    • I appreciate that, and I appreciate that you’re one of the few people here who – when we have disagreed – has refrained from ad hominem and gross stereotyping.

      That said, there’s a limit to what I’m going to willingly subject myself to with no benefit in return while someone else gains. My responses and the responses to it increase comment count and page views. That’s to the benefit of someone, and it sure isn’t me, and I’m no longer willing to help out – for free – someone who blames Black people for the violence visited against them by white terrorists. I’m not interested in it. I’ll get my smart growth fix by lurking at Greater Greater Washington. I’ll get my conservative fix from my family. I’ll get my education fix from the stack of books on the subject.

  8. I think if one read this – they can gage for themselves whether things have changed here at Bacon’s Rebellion:

    ” Bacon’s Rebellion is Virginia’s leading politically non-aligned portal for news, opinions and analysis about state, regional and local public policy.”

    ” Bacon’s Rebellion covers a wide range of public policy issues in Virginia with a special emphasis on the state budget, taxes, infrastructure, land use, transportation, energy, the environment and community health. Our mission is to provide Virginia citizens with the ideas and news they need to build more prosperous, livable and sustainable communities.”

    I think Jim may want to consider whether the blog at this point really continues to emulate it’s original mission statement.

    and if it does not – so be it.. It’s Jim’s Blog and he can do with it as he pleases – I do not and would never begrudge that.

    but I do think his content has moved further and further afield from his original Mission Statement with more and more social conservative perspectives, more overt anti-govt opinion and clearly not a middle position on race – any more.

    One SHOULD realize when they find more and more other views from their own to the LEFT and fewer and fewer to their right – and spend much of their time speaking of liberals and leftists..etc…

    that things HAVE changed.

    Perhaps Jim himself does not realize that his own views have been shifting… and perhaps there ought to be a re-write of BR’s purpose and mission to better reflect what topics will be chosen.

    • Yes, I got an email from the Jefferson Policy Journal of the Thomas Jefferson Institute, subtitled, Formerly Bacon’s Rebellion.

      Bacon’s Rebellion was cool because it was at least 20% unpredictable. But we all have to make a living, and I believe one owes one’s boss loyalty.

      I, too, am consulting. When I am not representing a client and am just saying what I think, it can be….unpredictable.

      The Thomas Jefferson Institute has been reliably pro-nuclear and pro-free market (whatever that means) and I have actually questioned their published mission-and-goals.

      But it is what it is. George Mason is the largest beneficiary of the Koch Brothers.

      So long, Jim, and thanks for all the fish.

  9. re: ” what do you think about the black VCU students’ demands… which was the point of this blog post?”

    What do I think?

    First I think horrible thoughts about the WAY you have characterized the issue and posed the questions.

    next – if I look back at the last half dozen blogs you have posted that involve race – I smell something bad… that reminds me of the past civil rights problems we have had.

    Finally – when a black person tells me something and the same thought is repeated across the black community – I DO NOT dismiss it as a problem with them.

    I actually do not do that with ANY race or gender or any demographic group’s words… if that group is saying it – it’s a problem …

    on this specific issue – they’re college kids… do you actually remember the sixties?

    do you remember the anti-war, peace symbol, environmental, women and black rights movements?

    do you think they all got fixed and went away?

    😉

  10. Both Liberal and many Black people nowadays cannot accept any criticism or even take responsibility for their actions, but are addicted to scapegoating Whites. When we have been treated to “Conversations About Race” they almost always follow the “phony formula” of “Blacks good, Whites bad.” LifeontheFallLine is taking his marbles home because he does not want to discuss the cause and effect of living individuals and their own moral free agency, but would rather blame “Simon Lagree” for the ills of the living. Freedom requires the ability for introspection, not just EXTROspection, so to speak. To not see that for several decades now, we have not been allowed to have a real DIAlogue but only a monologue is a shocking experience. We have a hierarchical system of discourse whereby elite Whites, i.e. Liberals, announce on behalf of all Whites their historic and perpetual guilt, after which non-Whites, but especially Blacks, then endlessly talk, emote, really, endlessly about how these beaten down Whites are so terrible to them, even now, the silenced majority. Who has power? Yes, elite Whites, and in the realm of speech, Non-Whites. People are now unable to distinguish reality chronologically. White Supremacy in 1920 “isn’t past” for such people, even as Liberal Multicultural Supremacy in 2015 “isn’t real” for them in spite of it being, as Orwell put, “right in front of their noses.” Open your eyes. It is 2015, not 1920! What you emote about is fantasy. What is real, you do not even see! “He who has eyes to see, let him see!” No wonder you don’t understand “the phenomena” of Donald Trump. If anyone else had behaved as crudely and uncouthly as he did against Dr Carson the other day in Iowa, they would be finished. But because he is the only one with courage to say what he says, people stick by him, holding their noses, because they have no one else who be as brave and has the resources to challenge the Liberal Establishment and its myths. Trump’s imperviousness to his own imperfections is due to the fact that people hate the Liberal Establishment far more than his sometimes repulsive antics and demeanor. Whose fault is that? The Trump supporters, or the Liberal Establishment that has sown such hatred, and that is now reaping it again. This should surprise no one.

    • First:

      “Both Liberal and many Black people nowadays cannot accept any criticism or even take responsibility for their actions…”

      And then:

      “Trump’s imperviousness to his own imperfections is due to the fact that people hate the Liberal Establishment far more than his sometimes repulsive antics and demeanor. Whose fault is that? The Trump supporters, or the Liberal Establishment…”

      But it’s white liberals and Black people who can’t face criticism or take responsibility. Good job.

  11. it’s comical listening to this stuff sometimes.

    “liberals” and “blacks” have held their views now – for a long time – since the 1960’s… not much has changed… with their perspectives they’re advocating for the same things they always have….. basically that blacks get a fair shake whether it comes to education, jobs, and the criminal justice system.

    “can’t take criticism” ? or else what? they’re gonna talk bad about you?

    what a HOOT!

    we’re talking about violent white backlash here in reaction to the “complaining”.. good lord…

    yessiree -” it’s YOUR fault if we come and beat you up.. just remember that…. ” shut up or we’re going mess you up?

    and YES -.. they’re “tired’ of hearing the elite whites and ever-complaining blacks – and they’re not going to take it no mo….

    whack! whack!

    • Dear LarrytheG,

      “Getting a fair shake” means being given the tools whereby the workman can do his job. Schools are built and furnished with a staff and textbooks. But the student must then work with these things to improve themselves. In many, especially urban, schools, discipline has collapsed and the attitude toward learning is one of hostility. Whites cannot be blamed for these things, nor Blacks who do well. The Liberal policy of claiming that White teachers and administrators are scheming to keep Black children from succeeding is paranoid and defamatory. Yet, every Black failure is explained in the mass media and the universities as the result of White malevolence. This is false and needs refuting. Barack Obama has been elected twice to the Presidency of the United States and somehow we are led to believe that the Klan is raging across the land. There White anger out there, for sure, but it is justifiable in the sense that it comes from having seen over many, many years an inability to speak honestly without retaliation, or vote with any effect. Sincerely, Andrew

      • re: Fair Shake:

        More Than 40% of Low-Income Schools Don’t Get a Fair Share of State and Local Funds, Department of Education Research Finds

        http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/more-40-low-income-schools-dont-get-fair-share-state-and-local-funds-department-education-research-finds

        ” Racial gap in U.S. arrest rates: ‘Staggering disparity’

        When it comes to racially lopsided arrests, the most remarkable thing about Ferguson, Mo., might be just how ordinary it is.

        Police in Ferguson — which erupted into days of racially charged unrest after a white officer killed an unarmed black teen — arrest black people at a rate nearly three times higher than people of other races.

        At least 1,581 other police departments across the USA arrest black people at rates even more skewed than in Ferguson, a USA TODAY analysis of arrest records shows. That includes departments in cities as large and diverse as Chicago and San Francisco and in the suburbs that encircle St. Louis, New York and Detroit.”

        ” In 2010, all black men were six times as likely as all white men to be incarcerated in federal, state and local jails, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center study. We also found that black-white gaps in median household income and wealth had widened in recent decades, while gaps in high school completion and life expectancy had narrowed. In last year’s survey, fewer than half of all Americans (45%) said the country has made substantial progress toward racial equality, and 49% said “a lot more” remains to be done.”

        Andrew – your problem is you deny reality…

        • Dear LarrytheG,

          I am not, admittedly, the most qualified person to answer your points with counter data, but from a brief perusal of school funding by states, it appears that the Northeastern states spend almost twice what many Southern states spend per pupil. Approximately half of America’s Blacks live in the South, and much of their schools’ funding come from the local tax base, many of which are poor. We see this in Virginia, too. But it is also true that Utah spends even less than many Southern states, which I did not know. My educated guess is that Utah public school students outperform those in the South on average and may even rival those of some Northern states. It is a guess. West Virginia, with a very small Black population also does not spend much on its students. So, the teachers and administrators do their best with the resources available to them. But just as, to use a saying, “a great author requires a great audience,” so, too, do good teacher and administrators require able and willing and students, and sadly, many blacks do not even try to learn their school lessons, from what I hear friends who have taught in Black city schools say. Also, Black performance, on average, is far below that of Asians, and even somewhat below that of Hispanics. There is no conspiracy here.

          As far as arrest rates go, that is because Blacks are far more violent, statistically speaking, than Whites, Asians, or Hispanics. If a “group commits crimes” at a higher rate “than other groups,” obviously only individuals commit crimes, then the arrest rates will be greater, too. Same with school discipline rates. Again, there is no conspiracy. Perpetrators, no matter their race, need to repent of their sins, not the non-perpetrators or the victims. If Blacks want the close gap between themselves and Whites, and the other groups, in crime rates and arrest, it is in THEIR OWN power not to do the things that will get them arrested. No one is forcing them to do these things. It is voluntary. So, the question is not why more Blacks are arrested at a higher rate than Whites and others, but why are Blacks choosing to commit crimes at a significantly higher rate than other groups. A fair question. I blame the nihilistic culture that many of them are in bondage to, and the collapse of the Black family. I do NOT see a genetic cause to this problem of misbehavior, although there might be a genetic basis to the lower academic achievement, but I not sure of that.

          (This was my school funding source: http://www.governing.com/gov-data/education-data/state-education-spending-per-pupil-data.html)

          Sincerely,

          Andrew

      • re: ” The Liberal policy of claiming that White teachers and administrators are scheming to keep Black children from succeeding is paranoid and defamatory.”

        Andrew – do you call data – “liberal”?

        “More Than 40% of Low-Income Schools Don’t Get a Fair Share of State and Local Funds, Department of Education Research Finds”

        do you think this is a “liberal scheme”?

        what you seem to be saying is that blacks are not trying as hard as whites do in schools?

        do you REALLY think that?

        do you REALLY think blacks are inferior to whites when it comes to getting educated?


        A new report from the U.S. Department of Education documents that schools serving low-income students are being shortchanged because school districts across the country are inequitably distributing their state and local funds.

        The analysis of new data on 2008-09 school-level expenditures shows that many high-poverty schools receive less than their fair share of state and local funding, leaving students in high-poverty schools with fewer resources than schools attended by their wealthier peers.

        The data reveal that more than 40 percent of schools that receive federal Title I money to serve disadvantaged students spent less state and local money on teachers and other personnel than schools that don’t receive Title I money at the same grade level in the same district.”

  12. This really is puzzling, and shameful.

    The protests at VCU are part of a larger national wave of such, at the University of Missouri and Yale University among others, and there are larger issues of higher education at stake, including especially the trend towards students demanding that free speech be throttled, discussion of controversial topics banned, persons disinvited because of their unpopularity, rather than give offense to persons on campus who merely might be sensitive to those topics. What’s more, the remedies demanded by these protesters at VCU would be highly disruptive to that University in the heart of Richmond. Of course we should discuss the VCU protests here. And of course there will be strong disagreements, given the topics.

    Yet here we are throttling our own discussion of the matter because someone might be offended. Indeed, someone has taken offense! Jim is trying to sustain a conversation we need to have, on a topic we can’t discuss without strong feelings, but let’s not run away from that challenge. What’s wrong here, can’t we think for ourselves and say what we think without some thin skinned shouting us down for trying to express that opinion, whether politically docile or incorrect? Must we take lessons in “micro-aggression” sensitivity before logging in? Jim, must you precede your postings with a list of relevant “trigger warnings”? It’s not as if serious conversation about race relations in Richmond isn’t relevant or needed. OK, now let’s talk about it, not take our marbles home and sulk.

    Here’s an article everyone on this blog should read, that is directly relevant to the VCU protests. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/

    • Acbar – can you tell me what your link has to do with the black/white issue?

      how about this:

      ” The gap between rich and poor schools grew 44 percent over a decade

      The growing gap between rich and poor is affecting many aspects of life in the United States, from health to work to home life. Now the one place that’s supposed to give Americans an equal chance at life — the schoolhouse — is becoming increasingly unequal as well. I’ve already documented the startling increase since 2000 in the number of extremely poor schools, where three-fourths of the students or more are poor enough to qualify for free or discounted meals (see here), and I’ve noted the general increase in poverty in all schools here.
      But now there’s new evidence that poor schools are getting increasingly short-changed by the states and localities that fund them. The richest 25 percent of school districts receive 15.6 percent more funds from state and local governments per student than the poorest 25 percent of school districts, the federal Department of Education pointed out last month (March, 2015). That’s a national funding gap of $1,500 per student, on average, according to the most recent data, from 2011-12. The gap has grown 44 percent since 2001-02, when a student in a rich district had only a 10.8 percent resource advantage over a student in a poor district.”

      http://hechingerreport.org/the-gap-between-rich-and-poor-schools-grew-44-percent-over-a-decade/

    • “OK, now let’s talk about it, not take our marbles home and sulk.”

      You have something to say to me to you can hit that little Reply link next to my name. Moving on…

      “including especially the trend towards students demanding that free speech be throttled”

      There’s a difference between throttling free speech and asking people to be respectful towards one another. I haven’t seen an example of a “throttling of free speech” that wasn’t either instantly dissembled when the surface was scratched or promoted anecdotally as a sort of “PC gone mad!” urban legend by someone who doesn’t have any actual evidence to make their point.

      “discussion of controversial topics banned”

      Ibid.

      “persons disinvited because of their unpopularity”

      So students who pay taxes and tuition should have that money go to support people they don’t want around? That makes sense to you? “Man, this waiter is a real jerk, but I don’t want to disinvite him from this table because that might be throttling free speech.”

      “rather than give offense to persons on campus who merely might be sensitive to those topics.”

      If people are having their invitations rescinded it’s because students have decided that the speaker is offensive, full stop. It’s funny that you people all seem to think that free speech means “People can come around and say things people don’t want to hear but people can’t speak up against their presence and petition them not to come.” Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences and it doesn’t mean freedom from other people not wanting you around.

      “Yet here we are throttling our own discussion of the matter because someone might be offended.”

      Who has held back on expressing anything on this comment thread? Have you? No one asked you to.

      “Indeed, someone has taken offense!”

      Indeed! So I guess by your standards it’s okay for someone to say something offensive, but not someone else to say that offensive thing is offensive. Indeed! That is an interesting definition of free speech.

      “Jim is trying to sustain a conversation we need to have, on a topic we can’t discuss without strong feelings, but let’s not run away from that challenge.”

      No one is running away from it – look, I’m right here and other places in the thread that offended me engaging in the discussion – I’m just saying after this thread is done I’m no longer participating on this particular blog.

      And Jim isn’t trying to sustain a conversation, he’s saying that Black students demanding better treatment is the same thing as white terrorists blowing up Black churches. That’s not a conversation, that’s a categorical assertion that is so preposterous and so ahistorical that it should be offensive to anyone with even a passing understanding of American history and race relations.

      “What’s wrong here, can’t we think for ourselves and say what we think without some thin skinned shouting us down for trying to express that opinion, whether politically docile or incorrect?”

      So, you and Jim can say what you think, but I’m wrong for saying what I think about what you said. That’s a position you think is strong and logical?

      “Must we take lessons in ‘micro-aggression’ sensitivity before logging in?”

      Where in my criticism did micro-aggression come in to play? Nowhere? You’re just randomly saying words you associate with your perception of politically correct culture even if they have no bearing on the current discussion? That’s an interesting approach to attempting to have a coherent conversation.

      “Jim, must you precede your postings with a list of relevant ‘trigger warnings’?”

      Ibid.

      “It’s not as if serious conversation about race relations in Richmond isn’t relevant or needed.”

      That’s not what this blog post even began to touch on, but nice concern trolling.

      “Here’s an article everyone on this blog should read, that is directly relevant to the VCU protests.”

      The Black students at VCU asked for three things:

      1) More Black professors and Black candidates
      2) More funding for cultural organizations and cultural on-campus events
      3) The creation of a cultural competency course for all students

      Each of those three things actually expands the conversation and diversity of experiences on campus, not narrows it. The article you referenced has absolutely no bearing on what happened at VCU other than you have some problem with Black students asking for changes and you think it’s some type of coddling to listen to them.

  13. re: ” Yet here we are throttling our own discussion of the matter because someone might be offended. Indeed, someone has taken offense! Jim is trying to sustain a conversation we need to have, on a topic we can’t discuss without strong feelings, but let’s not run away from that challenge. What’s wrong here, can’t we think for ourselves and say what we think without some thin skinned shouting us down for trying to express that opinion, whether politically docile or incorrect?”

    I’m not throttling here – I AM pointing out that Jim has spent more and more time basically railing against black culture…and denying the historical evidence of their treatment – in recent blog posts…

    He clearly does not understand – nor does he want to understand what is behind the resurgence of black unhappiness with their treatment.

    he clearly does not understand what CAUSED the Black lives Matter Movement… and it sounds like neither do you.

    Jim is FREE to post his thoughts -others are free to comment on them.

    what is the problem?

    I think his posts are over the top in ignorance and insensitivity and increasingly so in recent months –

    that’s an opinion .

    it’s not intended to shut down discussion. It IS intended to air my thoughts on the issue.

    basically Jim is blaming blacks here… and “liberals” … which is totally bogus and in denial of what is behind the really widespread and deep discontent… of blacks today,

    Jim, like other whites believe that we “fixed” that problem and now are shocked to hear that we really have not… he KNOWs we’ve fixed it and now believes that “elites” and troublemakers are causing problems – not perceived injustice.

    just totally in denial and blaming blacks and “elite” liberals is such blather!!!!! it would be comical if it did not have such serious consequences…

    I said before and I’ll say it again – when blacks as a race say they have a problem – I believe them – even if I don’t totally understand it. It’s my duty to not be willfully ignorant … especially if I’m going to form opinion about who should deserve violence against themselves.

    I highly recommend it.

    • Dear LarryTheG,

      I basically view much, but by no means all, of the Black community as deep out of touch with reality. There appears to me, a White man, a deeply uncritical strain in Black political discourse. They tend to be very social and conformist to their fellows. In some ways they resemble the White “Solid South” of Jim Crow days, where any and all criticism is viewed with dispprobation, bordering on treason, witness the shameful treatment of Black Conservatives Justice Clarence Thomas and now Professor Carol Swain at Vanderbilt. For a community to have the extraordinary rates of dysfunction that Blacks have, including STDs, abortion, etc, it would be hard to call that community, “well grounded” or sound. Because something is repeated endlessly does not make it true. I do tend to respect the views of individual Blacks in sizing people up. There can be a “down-to-earthness” and good humor among them and a decent empathy that I sense. But politically, I find them to easily led into mischief of whom they are the most enduring victims, namely Liberal scapegoating of Whites for the ills of Blacks, which means that instead of taking the log out that they placed in their own eye, they blame us for putting it there. But where is the Democratic hay in that?

  14. re: ” I basically view much, but by no means all, of the Black community as deep out of touch with reality”

    in other words you do not believe the black community, and think they have been led astray -as a race – by liberals -correct?

    is that what Jim believes also?

  15. Dear LarrytheG,

    Like Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Allan West, Alan Keyes, Ben Carson, and other Conservative Blacks and Whites, I believe that, yes, the predominance of the Black American community has been led astray by White Liberals and Black Demogogues to laying the blame for much of what ails them on a mythical, now, pervasive White racism. But even in the heyday of White Supremacy, Blacks were not afflicted by the extreme level of social dysfunction prevalent in our “enlightened” times. What we want, all of us, is healing within the Black community so that they will have no need to blame anyone, because they will be made whole. There are elements to Black suffering, shared among Whites, like the offshoring of jobs and immigrant competition, where I think they are victims. But, yes, you are correct in my case in thinking that in many ways, they are both their worst enemies who then are urged to blame ordinary Whites for their afflictions. I will let Jim answer for himself.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

    • Andrew – why do you think black kids do poorly in K-12?

      why do you think they end up in prison more?

      • Dear LarrytheG,

        With some it is their deeds, which like Cain’s sacrifice, is not pleasing, so, they obstruct those who do want to learn, out of anger and envy. Others come from broken, dysfunctional homes, and are discouraged. But it is not the result of White teachers and administrators, or “The Man”, generally, zapping them into failing. It is a sad situation, but one not amenable by demogoguery. They must try harder.

        Sincerely,

        Andrew

        • I don’t think I’ve ever heard white teachers blamed. can you supply an example?

          do you think kids from broken homes do poor in school in equal numbers white and black or do you think blacks do more poorly ?

          so what causes blacks to do more poorly in school than whites?

          and what causes more of them to go to jail than whites?

          do you accept these two as factual?

          • Andrew Roesell

            Dear LarrytheG,

            In Multicultural education, White teachers are viewed as facilitators of the failure of Black children. Here is a Google search for you to check out: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=white%20teachers%20failure
            Back in the later 1990s I attended two conferences of NAME, The National Association for Multicultural Education, and this was one of their villains, “The Nice White Lady Teacher,” who fails her “minority” charges. Blacks fail to learn at higher rates than Whites, and Asians, and Hispanics, hence their being marked poorly in School. Question to you: Why do Asians and Hispanics, as groups, do better than Blacks, as a group in school and in crime? Your White/Black dichotomy, is so, well, Twentieth Century. I think we, Whites, need to upgrade our laser zappers so as to more effectively disable the Asians and Hispanics, don’t you think? Blacks “go to jail” more than Whites and Asians and Hispanics, in terms of rates, because they commit much more crime, in terms of group rates. Why are you asking me this question? You should be asking Black criminals that question, right? My ray-gun zapper needs upgrading, and this conversation has decided me on doing it sooner rather than later. So, them’s my view of the facts, ray gun or no ray gun.

            Sincerely,

            Andrew

  16. Dear LarryG: you say, “when blacks as a race say they have a problem – I believe them – even if I don’t totally understand it.” This discussion is on three levels: the question of how blacks are in fact treated, and the question of how young black students act in regard to discussions that make them uncomfortable, and the (very separate, to me) question of how we treat freedom of speech on campus today in the face of critisicm from those who feel, or may feel, offended by what is said in the classroom. The VCU episode raises all three, but particularly issue 2, and therefore for me, issue 3.

    You also ask, “can you tell me what your link has to do with the black/white issue?” I cannot help but note, my undergraduate college is caught up in this same controversy, which is, in short, the question of how uncomfortable many black students feel on white-dominated university campuses today. The three schools cited for recent incidents involving blacks feeling dissed are U. Missouri, Yale U., and V.C.U., and therefore I have followed developments at all three with more than passing interest. And there has been a lot of media coverage of all of this, but none addressing prime causes so directly and succinctly as The Atlantic Magazine article I referenced.

    I will attempt to show the relevance of the Atlantic article to the specifics at Yale, if not Mizzou or VCU, if anyone is interested, although I believe the controversy there is generally and directly applicable to the controversy across the Country, including its Richmond manifestation. But first, I have to ask that you read the article.

    As for Jim’s provocative comments initiating this discussion, my broader point is, it doesn’t matter what he says to tee up a subject so long as we all throw our views out there and debate the issue, perhaps including debating what he says to start the discussion and perhaps wandering off on long digressions (gee, that’s never happened here?). But the implicit premise for all of us mere readers is that followers of this blog must commit to the debate for its own sake, along with cordial treatment of one another along the way, which in my mind precludes leaving the discussion in a huff, especially when riding out on a cloud of holier-than-thou exit comments. That is, not incidentally, exactly what the black students at VCU have done.

    • re: ” The Atlantic Magazine article I referenced.”

      ” The Coddling of the American Mind”

      okay – I’m trying to understand what that has to do with black issues… is there something unique and specific to blacks as the blog title : Black Students Issue Demands to VCU and Jim’s commentary alludes to.

      did I get off track?

    • “along with cordial treatment of one another along the way, which in my mind precludes leaving the discussion in a huff”

      Since I have been commenting on this blog I have been repeatedly called names by more than one member of the community. Cordial treatment has long been absent, but if you think my deciding to no longer participate on a blog because the proprietor has crossed what is a personal threshold for me is the end of civility then you have seriously odd standards.

      Also, I didn’t leave the discussion! I’m still here! I’m actually still waiting on answers to some questions I raised as a part of this discussion, as a matter of fact!

      “especially when riding out on a cloud of holier-than-thou exit comments.”

      In what way were my comments holier-than-thou? I analyzed what was written, found it lacking, found it offensive to me and said I was done here. None of that was a moral judgment on Jim.

      “That is, not incidentally, exactly what the black students at VCU have done.”

      Actually, the VCU students didn’t leave anything. They took their comments and their concerns right into the president’s office. Did you even read the article or are you responding to your assumptions of what happened?

  17. Andrew, thank you for raising the issue of racial healing. It is a concomitant to my comment, and we cannot lose sight of the necessity for it; I hope and pray for it; but current campus racial politics are complicated.

    The racial tension on colleges today is real and has justification. The VCU protests raise, on the surface, those racial slights; but beneath that surface, the larger question that fascinates me is the hypersensitivity of college students today to “offensive speech” generally, and their widespread belief that offensive speech (short of libel and slander) is NOT protected by the free speech doctrine of not only our Constitution but also the commitment of most colleges to intellectual freedom including its full expression on campus. In fact, students petition to have “insensitive” faculty removed because of that fact, and it is happening. We have a situation where some faculty are scared to death that they will accidentally give offense to students in the classroom, by failing to curtail classroom discussion sufficiently or failing to post sufficient anxiety “trigger warnings” ahead of potentially painful reading assignments, and themselves trigger endless investigations pursuant to federal regulations as well as internal college faculty rules of conduct.

    This, to me, has freedom of speech implications, as well as raising fundamental questions about what our collegiate educational goals are. This is what the Atlantic article I mentioned discusses. I read that concern in Jim’s posting on the VCU fracas; so forgive me for raising it again, explicitly, but freedom-of-speech on campus matters to me. I hope it does to you and Larry also.

    • Dear Acbar,

      I think my concern when I hear the words, “racial healing” is the same as when I hear the statement, “we need to have a conversation about race.” In the cases that I see when these expressions are used it really means, “Alright, Whites get on your knees and admit your guilt, and start weeping.” So, rightly understood, racial healing means that BOTH sides acknowledge painful truths. Yes, I acknowledge that some slave masters were horrible, and that period of Jim Crow’s establishment 1890-1920, roughly, saw some horrific injustices inflicted by White racists against Blacks, and that even after that period Black education was often severely neglected, intentionally so. However, Black leaders of the past 40-50 years have often been “pious rogues” who have been careful to stir up animosity while excusing Black dysfunction. Many young Whites only know the Presidency of Barack Obama, or at least it is their strongest memory, and this President has governed and spoken as a BLACK President, who will sidle into any racial issue that comes along, and always, it seems, on the Black side, and quickly without pretending to even understand the particular issues involved! The net result is that the most negative aspects of the Black story in America is shoved down their throats, their own people, i.e. Whites demeaned and demonized, and the power structure moves at lightning speed to cater to every whim and demand of the Black leadership. So, to the extent that White young people may harbor animosity more than say, my generation, GenX, then it might be good to find out why that is so. I did some White activism on D.C. area campuses in the early 1990s, and apathy was common to the Buchananite type issues we dealt with. Today, the atmosphere is uglier in spite of the “Second Coming of the Liberal Messiah” in 2008 and the Third in 2012. Seven years of “Dreams and Prophecies Fulfilled” have not brought The Peaceable Kingdom, but its opposite. I view much of our problems from a cultural power vaccuum resulting from White weakness, which in politics is an invitation for bullying and predation. True racial reconciliation requires a realization of shared goals like real economic recovery, but also a respect for differences. That includes Liberals and Blacks treating Conservative or maybe “traditional” is an even better word, Whites, and even(!) White Southerners with respect, and not demonization or contempt. As I said in an earlier post, to LifeOnTheFallLine, we have to live in this country together, and it is far better that we overcome our prejudices, get to know each other, find agreement where we can, and agree to disagree where we cannot. We MUST do this. If we cannot, then the results might be catastrophic, and America becomes an utterly ruined land, where even “the winner” is a loser.

      Sincerely,

      Andrew

      • re: ” However, Black leaders of the past 40-50 years have often been “pious rogues” who have been careful to stir up animosity while excusing Black dysfunction.”

        so Black dysfunction – as a race – is the reason why blacks perform as a group lower than whites and go to prison in higher numbers than whites?

        correct?

        • Dear LarrytheG,

          Blacks performing poorly and committing crimes IS dysfunction, as it is when Whites, Asians, and Hispanics do likewise. The question to Blacks, and other poor performers and law breakers is: “Why do YOU do these self-defeating things,” not “Andrew, why do you think they are doing it?” Ask them. That’s their decisions. Does that make sense that you should ask the actor, not the member of the audience what the actor was thinking when he uttered his lines on the stage? I have given you my guesses as to why, but they are the ones who decided to “pack heat” and rob a convenience store, rape, steal a car, etc. These are decisions people make. I am not a sociologist. “Go directly to the horse’s mouth,” is an old saying.

          Sincerely,

          Andrew

  18. re: ” but freedom-of-speech on campus matters to me. I hope it does to you and Larry also.”

    I think the freedom of speech thing is a little stupid myself – typical of the types of things that coddled college types self-indulge in.

    but I also think the complaints from the blacks are more than that – especially when you consider it’s links to the “Black lives matter” movement.

    I think it’s a mistake to not recognize what is behind the black actions.. and Jim clearly references the black perspective in this blog post.

    stay on topic?

    • Dear LarrytheG,

      One can “recognize” the Black perspective, that of the majority but not all Blacks, while still considering it delusional. I would argue that Blacks, in order to be healed need to hear the Conservative perspective because I firmly believe that they are being kept from hearing the truth of their plight by the Liberal educational monopoly. They are indoctrinated. They are fearful. And they are angry. And it does not have to be that way, except that certain political parties (cough, cough) benefit from having a strong base to build on for electoral victory.

      Sincerely,

      Andrew

      • Andrew – you’re saying as an entire race – they are not hearing the truth – and they are being misled/indoctrinated by the liberal education monopoly?

        you’re basically saying as a race – they are not intelligent enough to see what the truth is? that they can be fooled by dishonest whites?

        right?

        • Dear LarrytheG,

          No, I am NOT saying “a race — they are not intelligent enough to see what the truth is?”

          This is what I said: “One can ‘recognize’ the Black perspective, that of the majority but not all Blacks, while still considering it delusional.”

          Sadly, the “Solid Blacks” (i.e. “Solid South”) is a real phenomenon. It is a set of attitudes and assumptions constantly reinforced in politics, many Black churches, entertainment, education, that White Americans are the cause of their current dysfunction. I.E. That they are moral slaves of White people, 150 years after the abolition of domestic slavery and its claim over their labor, that they are powerless. It is akin to believing in VooDoo, that people can kill you by sticking pins in effigies that are made of someone. Surely you don’t believe in VooDoo, Larry?

          Sincerely,

          Andrew

  19. I see succeeding generations of blacks ending up with high numbers of economically disadvantaged that do very poorly in schools.

    Their parents are usually poorly educated – and often Dad is gone – and in prison and they live in poverty circumstances in neighborhoods where the schools – themselves have poor academic numbers.

    Andrew seems to be saying that it’s the blacks fault that this is happening and that they are being misled by liberal whites that the problem is not with themselves but with others.

    not trying to put words in Andrews mouth but AM trying to elicit from him specificity on the definition of the circumstances and problem.

    so if my words are not right – then substitute the words that Andrew thinks ARE right…

    thanks

    • Dear LarrytheG,

      Look at your sentence constructions. Passive voice. My Liberal professor at Ole Miss in 95-97, used to write “avoid the passive voice.”

      You write “Blacks ENDING UP WITH high numbers of economically disadvantaged THAT DO VERY POORLY in schools.” What does that “ending up with…that do very poorly” in mean? Did they study? Did they turn in their homework? Did they have a Mother and Father that helped them with their homework? Did they stay after school and get help from the teacher or wander over to McDonald’s and “hang” with his friends? Do they even know who their Father is? Some don’t! “Their parents are USUALLY POORLY EDUCATED…” Is learning even valued? Is being learned thought by these people to be “acting White”? When you say “often Dad is gone” does that mean that space aliens are involved in this conspiracy, and thus, can be proven White, as well, and are abducting Black men in order to study them, or does it mean that Black men with low character are deserting their girlfriends and wives in order to “hook up” with “fresher bait”, forgetting that this jilted woman has his child or children? Where’s the White angle on that one? If he is “in prison” as you suggest, how did he get there? Did the omnipresent Ku Klux Klan grab him off the streets and put him in there, or, did he figure he would rob someone, but got caught, was convicted, and now is imprisoned? Where is the moral dimension in your account, that of individual choice? Avoid the passive voice!

      Sincerely,

      Andrew

      • Andrew – what do you think the reason is why black kids as a race perform poorly in school?

        what do you think the reason is why greater numbers of blacks as a race go to prison?

        simple questions. can you answer them simply with your honest view?

        bonus question – what would you recommend they do – as a race – to fix this?

        • Dear Larry,

          I suggest you ask a sociologist the reasons, or some Black kids yourself. Do you know any? I think I have already given my views in other comments and replies.

          As far as “go” to prison, like “going to the grocery store,” I suppose, I have answered that already, too: They commit crimes at a higher rate. Ask a sociologist or a criminal, WHY, and race might not matter much.

          To fix this, for the bonus question! Repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, be Baptized, and live each day in the remembrance of the Final Judgment, and become part of an Orthodox Parish, starting at the lowliest place but diligently working higher. Undoubtedly there are other things, too. You asked!

          Sincerely,

          Andrew

          • I’m asking for YOUR VIEWS – not others.

            what do YOU THINK are the reasons why larger numbers of black kids – as a race – do more poorly in school?

            got a direct and honest answer?

  20. The article and the comments were thought provoking. I will say I’m sorry to see people go because listening to all points and then forming a viewpoint is what people should be doing.

  21. As to the student’s demands…

    “VCU, they insist, needs to double the percentage of African-American faculty within two years.”

    So, faculty is the key word here…there are instructional positions that are not full professors. They said they want to double the amount of Black faculty and increase the number of Black tenured professors proportionately.

    “The Chinese, Korean and Middle Eastern students at VCU don’t seem to have a problem with the faculty’s cultural experience different from their own…”

    I don’t hear a lot of deaf people agitating for more braille either, what’s your point?

    “According to the National Center for Education Statistics, blacks comprised only six percent of full-time instructional faculty in degree-granting institutions in 2013. Granted, that’s one percentage point more than at VCU, so it’s possible that VCU could hire more black faculty. But raising the percentage to 10% is all but impossible.”

    Virginia State University has no problem securing 73% Black faculty and Howard is 78%, so…?

    “While it’s true that 7% of PhDs awarded in the United States these days (based upon 2007 data published by the Survey of Earned Doctorates Fact Sheet) goes to to blacks, the distribution of degrees is highly unbalanced: 38.4% of all black doctoral recipients earned a degree in education (double the average for whites), which suggests that VCU will have no trouble making or exceeding its quota for education school professors. But much smaller percentages earned degrees in engineering and the hard sciences, meaning it will be nearly impossible for VCU to consider black candidates for certain fields.”

    Not every professor position requires a doctorate, some only ask for a masters and Black students are awarded 12% of all masters, which should make it easier.

    “Bottom line: The under-representation of blacks in VCU’s faculty does not reflect ‘institutional racism’ or ‘white privilege’…”

    Yes it does, just not necessarily at VCU.

    “The paucity of African-American PhDs does not represent discrimination against African-Americans in higher ed, a bastion of liberalism and politically correct thinking, but the lower percentage of African-Americans graduating from high school capable of doing PhD-level work.”

    And how did that happen? How many generations of Black Americans have been able to go to the same schools as whites? How many schools with primarily Black students are funded to the same levels as their white counterparts? How many have the same proportion of experienced teachers and administrators? How does that happen?

    “More funding for cultural organizations. The activists say there is ‘no effort being made to foster a community for black students’…”

    Did they say that? Is that a direct quote from them? Or is that the journalist’s interpretation of what they were saying? Because I watched the video of them speaking and didn’t hear that.

    “Really? VCU’s website lists 621 student organizations, including these…”

    If you listen to the video you hear them specifically talk about the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which has a link in its banner specifically for LGBT (http://www.omsa.vcu.edu/) concerns, but not one for people of color broadly or Black people specifically.

    “VCU has no student organizations based on white racial/ethnic identity. I presume that organizations like the Ukelele Club, the Car Club and the Tae Kwon Do Club are open to all, regardless of racial/ethnic affiliation.”

    The Black Awakenings Choir is open to all, regardless of racial/ethnic affiliation, too.

    “If there aren’t enough options among the 621 organizations listed to plug into university life, there is nothing to prevent African-American students from starting new organizations, registering with the university, and applying for student government funds like every other organization does.”

    And then you have to hope that the SGA values your organization enough to adequately fund it. Luckily, a legislative body would never value some types of organizations over others, right?

    “What’s the problem here? Why is it someone else’s responsibility, and not that of the students themselves, to create the kind of community they want?”

    How are the students going to the president themselves not taking the responsibility and doing the work to create the kind of community they want?

    “On what grounds, other than their perception of victimization, do they warrant special treatment?”

    Perception of victimization…smart enough to get into college, too stupid to know they’re not actually victims. Brilliant.

    “The VCU black activists say they want the university to create a ‘cultural competency’ course.”

    Actually, they want cultural competency training and they want it to be part of the UNIV 101 course…

    “It doesn’t take much imagination to think that the purpose of such a course will be to indoctrinate students in the ideology of black victimization and white privilege…”

    My God, students might learn that white people have varying degrees of privilege in this country compared to other races? And they might be told that America has systemically mistreated Black people since they were brought here as slaves 300 years ago? Why, there’s no where else they could see such miserable propaganda except maybe with their own two eyes and in a history book.

    “imposing leftist ideology and enforcing conformity of behavior and thought…”

    When leftists aren’t busy destroying this country with their wishy washy multiculturalism that’ll let just anybody with any old beliefs come here or practicing their bleeding heart moral relativism they’re tossing gauntlets on their limp wrists so they can stand in iron-fisted judgment of behavior and thought.

    “This is the most terrifying of all their demands.”

    Yes, the idea that they might want to watch “Eyes on the Prize” or teach about the history and shape of police brutality in this country is an eldritch horror of Lovecraftian proportion.

    ‘The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age…and it all began when VCU started teaching students that it wasn’t cool to don blackface for Halloween.’

    • LOTFL, Thanks for addressing the substantive parts of my post. Back to each point:

      (1) Recruitment of more black faculty. If I were a black student concerned about the under-representation of blacks in the faculty, I would focus on the institution of tenure. How many VCU faculty hold tenure? What is the turn-over in tenured faculty? Is there a mandatory retirement age for faculty? Have old white-guy professors clogged the system by the inability to fire/furlough the bad ones or their unwilllingness to retire? In other words, has tenure institutionalized “white privilege,” making it difficult for younger and more diverse faculty members to enter the system and move up the ranks?

      Tenure wasn’t instituted to create white privilege, but one could argue that has been the result. Why isn’t anyone focusing on the 800-pound gorilla in the room?

      (2) Cultural affairs Does the VCU student government publish how much money it dispenses to different student organizations? Do we even know how much black cultural groups are receiving compared to other groups? Certainly, these groups should be treated fairly. If someone could demonstrate that they are receiving a less-than-fair-share, then I would say, by all means, they have a legitimate grievance, which should be remedied. But I’m not hearing that. I’m hearing that the black students just want more. You’re closer to the situation, perhaps you could shed light.

      (3) Cultural competency. However “cultural competency” training is integrated into the curriculum, I fear it will become a tool for indoctrinating students into politically correct thinking. Nothing you have said reassures me that the outcome will be otherwise.

      • I don’t think it is up to the blacks to figure out how institutional racism happened or how to fix it.

        that’s up to the folks who run the institution – and to respond back with their options on how to address it.

        you act like this is a unique issue for each University – as if it’s up to the entire race of blacks to figure out how institutional racism occurred across the board in most all Universities.

        it’s their thing to fix?

        ya’ll have this problem – you’re not dealing with the real issue – generational institutional racism…

        you’re basically telling them to come up with a fix – which they would present to the same folks who have instituted and presided over widespread, multi-schools discrimination to start with….

        and your fix: ” talk about tenure”.

        good grief!

        • Larry, yes, if someone accuses universities of institutional racism, I think he or she has an obligation to back up the accusations with facts and analysis. What we now have in our society is a presumption of racism in which the burden has shifted to those being accused that racism isn’t a factor.

          • Jim – the facts are already there….

            it’s not a presumption when the data actually show the disparity –

            you’re asking them to find out WHY and HOW it is being practiced… as a requirement for it to be rectified?

            that’s bizarre – imagine the court cases that decided discrimination – if they had to figure out how it was actually being done and actually specify how to fix it?

            you’ve got something that has been going on – for generations – across most all of higher education – and you want the blacks to do a study to figure out how each college actually practiced it?

            so you blame the blacks if they don’t?

            good lord!

          • “It’s not a presumption when the data actually show the disparity.”

            So, in Larry World, a statistical disparity is evidence of discrimination and racism. Thus, the National Basketball Association discriminates against white ball players and is, by extension, racist.

      • Why would you include non-substantive parts to your post?

        Anyway…

        The students do address tenure, when they request a proportional increase in tenured Black staff to go with the overall increase in Black faculty. And please – after you wrote an entire paragraph about how asking for the desired increase was impossible and being dismissive of white privilege – don’t try to pretend that you actually care about addressing the racial disparity at play here, especially in light of your comments to LarrytheG about statistics and basketball. You don’t really think the disparity has any institutional/malicious foundation, this is just a backdoor excuse to roll back tenure protections, which is something conservatives have wanted for years.

        The Black students aren’t simply saying they “just want more.” They’re saying their organizations are not fully funded, and I am no closer to the situation than you are and certainly not closer than they are. If they’re saying the Office of Multicultural Affairs isn’t receiving appropriate funding to carry out its mission, that cultural events aren’t being funded at levels of other events and that Black organizations have been short shifted in the SGA funding rounds, I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. But then again, I don’t think Black people are greedy liars who “just want more.”

        I haven’t been a VCU student in over a decade, but when I was there the percent of Black students was 18% and then percent of Black professors was 7%. It seems like these students’ concerns about the insecure place Black people hold in the VCU experience is justified, at least by those standards.

        Lest you get away with thinking this is just the result of what’s happening at University of Missouri, this conversation started at least as early as February of this year (http://www.commonwealthtimes.org/2015/02/02/vcu-racially-diverse-students-white-washed-faculty/).

        I can’t do anything about your irrational fear of indoctrination. You seem to think whatever shape the cultural competency module takes will be so powerful as to turn students into liberal drones with just a week or two of instruction.

        I’d hazard a guess you don’t know what cultural competence is, but it really just means people should be aware of how they respond to people who are different from themselves, be knowledgeable about things in society that reinforce prejudice and stereotype and have the skills necessary to engage with people from a different background from your own. To me, that is just the basics of being a decent person and while it may be challenging to hear for the first time that it’s hurtful to use retarded as an insult or wear blackface for Halloween, these aren’t unreasonable ideas – they’re what decent people are doing already. To you, for whatever reasons, it’s a scary bit of indoctrination that will make white students uncomfortable somehow, and we can’t have that.

        • If a “cultural competence” course tells people not to use mean and derogatory words, and to be sensitive to other people with different socio-economic, religious and cultural backgrounds — and if the admonitions are directed at everyone, not just a select demographic of students presumed guilty on the basis of their “privilege” — it sounds pretty harmless. But I’m highly skeptical that that’s all there is to it. I’m happy to be proven wrong.

    • Dear LifeontheFallLine,

      “The Black students aren’t simply saying they ‘just want more.’ They’re saying their organizations are not fully funded…” So, where are there even any explicitly White “affinity groups”? There aren’t any, because Liberals and Blacks alike always “freak out” whenever a few brave Whites try to form them, and then they get “pounced on” by frenzied campus and other media. In fact, as someone who tried to organize such a group in the early 1990s, you are “The Enemy” to the administration and the hive of non-White, but especially, Black groups.

      The efforts to destroy tenure will, and is, proletarianizing many college professors and instructors, especially in the humanities, who often are loaded up with large student debt and only middling salaries. But once these non-Whites have pushed out the White incumbents, they will recreate the same protections for themselves, and understandably so. The only learning many of these people are interested in is how to foment Marxist revolution. Having had their legal debilities removed 50 years ago, and privileges added, they are still envious and angry, and ungrateful. They, like their White Liberal ideological brethren are “Upsidedown People,” every conception of justice and injustice is inverted. Those who work hard and accomplish are evil. Those who are lazy or do not show ability, are, ipso facto, virtuous. Marxism will fail now, and always, because is based on a false understanding of human nature.

      Sincerely,

      Andrew

  22. Jesus – do you mean they want more black faculty and less white liberal professors?

    good GAWD!

    here they are – advocating for LESS elite white leftist professors – and they’re still getting the “business” from the haters!!

    they just can’t catch a break!

    • So, asking logical questions about the VCU students ‘ demands now makes me a “hater”?

      • well.. you sure ain’t no lover… that’s for sure…

        • Dear LarrtheG,

          So maybe we should start rescinding Nobel prizes awarded to Jews after a certain point, since they are disproportionately awarded such prizes, which your logic dictates would be due to a “Jewish Privilege.” Come on, Larry. Groups are not equal in attainments, which at least suggests the possibility of inequality of ability. But Liberals cannot admit this possibility. They categorically reject it. I, for one, prefer to believe that the work Jewish Nobel Laureates is the product of brilliant intellects and hard work, not a “Great Hebrew Conspiracy.” Envy and Equalitarianism go hand and hand, and leveling downward is their inevitable corolary.

          Sincerely,

          Andrew

  23. After seeing and reading all the comments, can you all stop having a go at each other to answer some questions I have about the individual sides’ positions?

  24. Re “it all began when VCU started teaching students that it wasn’t cool to don blackface for Halloween.”

    There is the problem in a nutshell. This discussion ‘all began’ innocently enough. I agree with LarryG about the underlying fact, “I see succeeding generations of blacks ending up with high numbers of economically disadvantaged that do very poorly in schools.” That fact is a tragedy. Of course we as a society need to deal with any self-perpetuating causes of poverty and ignorance in our midst. But how? Where race is concerned we say things that are polarizing, perhaps innocently enough at first, but quickly reaching the point where we say in the same breath, “we have to live in this country together,” and, “when I hear the words, “racial healing” . . . [it] really means, “Alright, Whites get on your knees and admit your guilt, and start weeping.””

    Now mind you, I agree with Andrew, there is truth in both those sentiments of his. The problem I have with what happened at VCU is, it seems to come from a sense of entitlement and exemption from the normal rules that apply to everyone else, delivered in a way calculated to antagonize the very folks in the GA (and elsewhere in political leadership) most inclined and most able to do something about the underlying economic and academic performance issues. I suspect Jim feels the same way, given, e.g., his reaction to the students’ demand for a “cultural competency” course. In fact I suspect mine and his was also the reaction of a solid majority of those who read the newspaper reports about the students’ demand. After all, it’s the majority that elects people. Shouldn’t we try to discuss and understand what the majority believes, and why, even if we disagree, and why? In a democracy people ignore the views of the majority at their peril. And I do not believe we advance that discussion by dismissing the entire majority in Virginia as “racist” without attempting the more difficult, subtle, parsing of attitudes demanded by the passage of 50 years since the Civil Rights Act.

    Where does that sense of entitlement, that sense of exemption from the rules, come from? My point, in bringing up that article “The Coddling…,” was to share what seemed to me to be a perceptive piece exploring that question. Not incidentally, the authors do not see the problem of student demands such as this one in racial so much as in psychological terms, manifest in increasing student sensitivity since the 1980s to a great many subjects besides race that cause “offense” including (indeed initially focused primarily on) the categorical slighting of women, and spreading to the demeaning of gay relationships, of religious beliefs, and also of course, race. At least anecdotally the problem of “giving offense” has become so widespread and pervasive that it affects what professors feel free to assign for and discuss in the classroom. And it affects discussion of a topic like what to wear at Halloween, which began innocently enough with a concern for community, but became, at least at Yale, a lengthy, strident (and often ad hominem) discussion of the limits of freedom of speech.

    I did not raise this possible explanation of the way in which the VCU student “demands” were put forward in order to demand that anyone agree with me. I did not demean anyone’s concern about the educational and economic underpinnings of racial disparities in this country. I did not call anyone names. Yet several of the comments here have, it seems obvious, resulted from people on this blog taking offense at perceived racial insensitivity. This kind of prejudgment, of the speaker not of what is spoken, is precisely the point of the “The Coddling…” article, that our increasingly hypersensitivity to “taking offense” — at hidden meanings that may or may not have any objective basis but in any case weren’t intended the way they were taken — is itself shutting down our ability to talk to one another! How can anyone talk to these students about race when anything said to them (except a groveling acknowledgement of abject guilt for events before our time) is greeted with derision and denunciation? Likewise, how can I talk about race to you, here, now? How can you and I discuss things we disagree on, here, unless first we define BOTH sides of our disagreement, and second, try to listen to and learn from each other?

    Andrew threw out a statement that many people who do not consider themselves racially biased can relate to and that could have supported a lot of discussion, not all of it passive agreement: “they are being kept from hearing the truth of their plight by the Liberal educational monopoly. They are indoctrinated. They are fearful. And they are angry.” Yet no one has taken up his challenge. I threw out the “Coddling” article yet no one has said anything about it beyond questioning its relevance. OK, I can accept that a blog discussion like this one evolves in mysterious ways. But instead, we hear said, of Jim’s writeup of the VCU fracas, “if I look back at the last half dozen blogs you have posted that involve race – I smell something bad… that reminds me of the past civil rights problems we have had.” That was not a comment likely to evoke frank discussion about race generally, or the VCU sit-in specifically, but it WAS a harsh characterization of the moderator’s attempt to put this topic up for discussion, and it was guaranteed to shut down that discussion. It was judgmental, and its effect was censorship. Or take another comment: “it’s comical listening to this stuff sometimes.” Comical to whom? Comical in what respect? Like LOTFL I feel like observing, of this whole discussion: “There’s … the irony of saying you’re not going to get moralistic and self-righteous…by getting moralistic and self-righteous about being moralistic and self-righteous.”

  25. I don’t think whites should “get on their knees”. It’s not about guilt.

    it’s about the fact that we do have a problem and we do have a responsibility to deal with it – not wash our hands and walk away.

    in the end – even if we were justified in doing that – it all comes back on us anyhow.

    it is downright dumb for us to preside over generational cycles of people who will end up eating enormous amounts of tax dollars that we provide.

    does anyone bother to think why Mom and Dad have crappy educations and their Mom and Dad ALSO had crappy educations – and son and daughter are currently ending up with crappy educations?

    and Andrew says they have to “try harder” and Jim says they act up and screw around with gangsta rap and whatever.

    the irony here is that Jim rails about entitlements.. and blathers on and on about recidivism…and how to address it – all the while yammering about education and economic development…

    a thinking conservative would be saying: ” HEY – this is stupid -we’re are paying money out the wazoo for food stamps, medical care, TANF, free and reduced… and prison… and it’s killing us financially…”

    and the solution is – “reform higher ed” and demand ROI for transportation projects…

    • Dear LarrytheG,

      The problem that you and I have in discussing “this problem”, and by extension all Liberals and Conservatives, is that we do not even agree on what “THE Problem” even is. For me, it is NOT a problem per se that people go to jail after they commit crimes, or rather it is not “society” or White people being “The Problem” because a much higher proportion of Black people are committing crimes. It is “A Problem” for the people who are committing the crimes, and their victims, many of whom are Black. But it is not the “malfunctioning” of the White man and woman “in the street” that is causing Black people’s behavior to not “measure up.” Nor is it the fault of the many law-abiding, diligent Black people. They are doing right, and they get no verbal “brick-bats” from me. However, there is a “political-economic” problem created by a mostly White elite for the importation of immigrant, and especially Hispanic immigrant labor, to compete against poorer Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics already here. Similarly, there is a “political economic” problem with this same elite that chose to gut American industry and send it overseas, i.e. “outsourcing”, or let predatory foreign companies destroy their American competition. If only more Black groups would get galvanized by these “policy atrocities” committed by the likes of Bill Clinton and the Republican Congresses that gave him the necessary votes for these bad deals, which Trump rightly criticizes. Also, the seedy, nay, repulsive “entertainment” that has flooded our nation since the 1960s has worsened the bad situation that then Harvard Professor, later New York Democratic Senator, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, drew attention to, the collapse of the Black family, followed by the severe erosion of White and Hispanic families, which are not AS bad, but they are about as bad as Blacks’ were when Moynihan issued his report, which was subjected to withering attack by Black and White Liberal groups. What all groups in America need, and especially Blacks, is for a deep repentance from the sins to which they are in bondage. This “moral slavery” is the true cause of Black failure. But this doesn’t let our political and economic elites off the hook, but it is indispensable to righting Blacks’ lives, for their own sake, and everyone else’s. But Marxist social policy will just worsen their plight, and no wise help it. Marxism can only kill, it cannot create. “The problem” of Black failure will end when Blacks are able to gather the moral courage to keep forging ahead, perhaps with some government help here and there, but mainly on their own strength and determination. White people can encourage them, like a midwife, but Blacks have got to “push the baby out” themselves. But Black misbehavior will end only when Blacks decide themselves to end it.

      Sincerely,

      Andrew

  26. ” “if I look back at the last half dozen blogs you have posted that involve race – I smell something bad… that reminds me of the past civil rights problems we have had.” That was not a comment likely to evoke frank discussion about race generally, or the VCU sit-in specifically, but it WAS a harsh characterization of the moderator’s attempt to put this topic up for discussion, and it was guaranteed to shut down that discussion. It was judgmental, and its effect was censorship.”

    I’ll accept the criticism but my intent is not to shut down conversation but to point out that I HAVE HEARD this kind of talk BEFORE and it did not end well then either and when I hear this kind of talk directed at blacks – one might ask what the purpose of it is ? Is it to try to understand the black perspective or is it a rejection of it ?

    If you REALLY want to hear me – I think that kind of talk is edging a bit close to racism.. when you’re using it in a context that appears to apply to most all blacks.. Don’t believe me – listen to Life on the Fall Line… do you think he/she is trying to shut down conversation especially after he/she says they’ve had enough and are leaving?

    My premise here is pretty simple. You have an entire race of people who are making complaints – like we’ve heard in the 1960’s – and what is the response here? rejection? discussions of “coddling”?

    I don’t think what the blacks are saying is in the same ballpark as white activism… blacks are clearly addressing something that is generational against their race – in their perceptions – especially when it’s occurring at the same time we see “Black Lives Matter” exploding across the country… in non-college blacks also.

    so, my apologies. I seem to have to make them on a regular basis – these days – and that’s fine.. I’ll be the first to admit I’m no Mother Teresa or Ghandi.

    😉

    don’t let my direct acerbic style “shut down” your response – please.

    • Dear LarrytheG,

      To “privilege” a group perspective because it is widely shared is not sensible. A view can be widely shared, and be wrong. Do you accept Muslim Arabs’ view of Israelis and Jews generally, because it is “widely shared”? Or, for that matter, do you accept views of traditional White Southerners because their views are, “widely shared”? Somehow, in both instances, I kind of doubt it. So, what is the “special quality” that allows you to “accept on faith” the account of many Blacks, that they are oppressed by Whites today, with a twice-elected Black President, two recent Black Secretaries of State (under a Republican!), the White Evangelicals’ cravings for a Black to nominate for President! (I.E. Allan Keyes, Herman Cain, and Dr Ben Carson). How did those things happen? There are many good reasons to think that the predominant Black view of themselves and others is delusional, i.e. unrealistic and self-serving, excuse-making, of blaming others for their own mistakes. A little practical skepticism can be a handy thing to have around.

      Sincerely,
      Andrew

      • “widely shared” – AND the victims of DOCUMENTED systemic generational racism.

        There are ALWAYS exceptional folks who overcome their circumstances. There are many, many more who do not if they do not have a shot at a decent education and cannot compete equitably for a job.

        how many Southern Whites do you know who were lynched and their families and churches terrorized by the KKK?

        Andrew – are you aware of what happened in Va during Massive Resistance?

        what happened to those kids who were denied an education?

        Do you know what Brown v Board of Education was about?

        Have you actually read this:

        More Than 40% of Low-Income Schools Don’t Get a Fair Share of State and Local Funds, Department of Education Research Finds

        • Dear Larry,

          Yes, I am familiar some with “Massive Resistance” in Virginia. It is also irrelevant to Blacks today, whether when they succeed as some do, or when they fail, as others do. Your problem is that you think that the learning process, Kindergarten through 12th grade is a magical thing that “groups” do or don’t do based on “History,” the fact that Whites in Prince Edward County voted to shut their Schools down rather than integrate them. How is it that the same dysfunction exists in California, in Connecticut and Massachusetts for crying out loud? There is no connection between these historical events. Black people are FREE. Get used to it. The attempts to create “cultural sensitivity” is really an attempt to instill PRE-judice, to encourage kids to say, hmm, I am not going to say good morning because this White boy’s forebears may have owned my forebears, or at least called them the N-word. This is the opposite of judging someone “by the content their character.” I am all for learning History and differences between groups, but I try to judge individuals upon their character. Cultural Marxism creates categories of “race enemies” as proxies for “class enemies,” with Whites being the hated bourgeoisie “destined for overthrow”, and Blacks and other “preferred minorities” being the Proletariat who will do them in and usher in the “Raceless society.” More likely it will end in catastrophe.

          Sincerely,

          Andrew

          Larry, here is a “serious joke” for you and our “mates” here on BR: “How many Whites does it take for a Black person to change a light bulb? NONE.” Apply that to other endeavors.

    • LarryG, I don’t write as fast as some others here so take this as my response to your “direct acerbic style.”

      “Black Lives Matter” makes a point that needs to be made. My “cultural competence” is not lacking to understand that, and I imagine most students at VCU would say the same.

      But black student demands for racial faculty hiring quotas and special funding of racially-explicit student organizations are another matter. Students have been demanding things since the 60s; but the nature of those demands has evolved into demands arising in this instance from a special interest group based explicitly on race, demanding benefits solely for that interest group, in ways exclusive of (and insulting to) the rest of the student body. We have been through generational cycles in that evolution and it’s no longer benign. Like affirmative action, such treatment can easily outlive the “remedial” stage of correcting for past abuses and become a mere privilege for the favored class, as I think it has here; and a privilege based explicitly on race is what I thought we were trying to get away from! Like affirmative action, such explicit racial favoritism has come to bother, even offend me, and I do not consider myself a racist for saying so.

      Apart from how we respond to demands based explicitly on racial guilt and racial remediation, there is the matter of how much any of us should be acquiescing in demands to MANDATE changes in racial attitudes. Social integration is a slow process but nothing gets in the way of real change more certainly than requiring an insincere veneer of ‘equality.’ A preference towards anyone under the law is still a preference; I don’t like it when any interest group gets a promotional preference over others on a non-merit basis, and I think it does great harm to the cause of real racial neutrality and blindness to recognize ANY racial preference whatever today. If we are to fix the economic inequalities underlying the educational differences we’ve mentioned here, let’s address them directly — e.g. through direct aid to families — not by mandating unequal treatment through educational preferences intended to “offset” the presumed economic disadvantage (I say presumed because, at least around DC, there’s a pretty substantial black middle class that appears to suffer no such economic disadvantage). I happen to agree strongly with you that it’s stupid to ignore the long term financial as well as societal cost of poverty; but let’s not adopt a cure worse than the disease.

      Undoubtedly you and I are older and more jaded now about the ’causes’ of our impetuous youth, be they environmental, political, social, religious or whatever. “Demanding” is not that extraordinary an activity for a bunch of intelligent, idealistic, naive, organized college students and I can still relate to the idea of their getting the attention of a bunch of bureaucrats as well as the press by invading an office or two — even if that sort of thing is way behind me. It’s the unapologetic demand for multiple racial preferences that bothers me here. That, and the assumption that Jim is a racist for daring to discuss the VCU fracas in unflattering terms.

      Take this example: Jim said, ‘Race relations are worse now than any time I can remember since the race riots of the ’60s and ’70s.’ and this was twisted into, “What you mean – and what becomes clear – is that Black people are standing up for themselves now more than anytime since the 60s and 70s.” Conflating the racial disfunctions of Ferguson MO and Baltimore MD with the treatment of blacks on the VCU campus plainly was not Jim’s hidden meaning and it’s a personal slam on him to imply so. This is, however, an excellent example of what that Atlantic article was talking about, our penchant for finding “microaggression” or stronger offense in the slightest criticism when race is the subtext of discussion.

      Moreover, you say, “I HAVE HEARD this kind of talk BEFORE and it did not end well then either and when I hear this kind of talk directed at blacks – one might ask what the purpose of it is ? Is it to try to understand the black perspective or is it a rejection of it ?” You offer a Hobson’s Choice. This blog, this discussion, is not directed at blacks, but at concerned citizens like you and me and all the other readers trying to make sense of what we read in the news about black students’ demands from the administrators of VCU. We should strive to “understand the black perspective,” yes, but you say that like it’s code language, like what you really mean is “endorse the black perspective.” We do not have to agree with these student demands in order to prove to anyone that we “understand” the people that made them.

      • Here are Jim’s words:

        “Given the black anger sweeping the nation, it was just a matter of time.”

        “The militancy of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement…”

        I’m not the one making overtures to Ferguson and Baltimore.

        There are people twisting words around here. I’m not one of them. I say what I mean and I say it plainly. I’m not vague. I don’t speak in cliche. And I respond to people directly and directly to what they said.

  27. re: ” the categorical slighting of women, and spreading to the demeaning of gay relationships, of religious beliefs, and also of course, race.”

    I see race as different because of the fact that people were slaves and the journey from slave to truly free man – has not been an easy nor a complete one. Lives are still being ruined.

    I believe that generational economically disadvantaged cycle is a modern-day vestige still rooted in the fact that an entire race of people were denied the ability to be educated but more important – to be able pass that opportunity down to their own succeeding generations.

    we’re paying a hefty price for it.

  28. Reading through all these responses, here are a couple of questions to come to mind for both sides:

    1) If we start legislating for one groups’ stats, don’t we have to do the same for all groups? Where do we take those stats – do they come from the country makeup, state makeup, who gets in the school (or actually who can afford it)?

    2) I didn’t have, and know of others, who didn’t have role models in their colleges or the like profession in terms of their same characteristics. They chose their models, as I did, based on their qualities of honesty, patience, holding to higher morals in the midst of a storm, logic, fairness, etc. If we didn’t have one of our “ilk” in a position, then we aspired to be and/or became that leader. I didn’t see that mentioned here so far. Discussion?

    3) Should the #’s be true of what Mr. Bacon says, then is VCU expected to hire from Howard University (or maybe another HBCU) to get that equal amount of people? What if those people want a HBCU experience, want to perpetuate that, and don’t want to leave/move their family, etc. to teach at VCU? If you only have the excess at HBCU’s, what then?

    4) How will money solve the problem of the social activities that the students say they are disenfranchised from? How are you going to justify, say 3 societies, 1 with 50 whites, 1 with 50 AA’s, 1 with 1/2 white and 1/2 AA’s, giving more the 2nd one? What if whites want to join that group? Are you going to say no to that or are you going to be willing to lose $$$ when maybe that 2nd group becomes more like the 3rd group.

    5) People are blind, many times, to their own shortcomings. Why is it a problem to ask others specifics and facts of ‘here are where we see a problem and how we think it could be fixed’? One of the maxims of business is not to be a problem but part of the solution. If the ‘power’ that is, you have a problem with, do you trust them to come up with a solution that works for you, if you don’t think we know anything about culture, background, etc. If you are suggesting that people need a culture sensitivity course, aren’t you saying we dont’ understand the situation? If so, why would we be able to come up with a solution that would be appropriate, in terms of what the students are asking?

    6) Many of us live in multicultural areas. There is more intermarriage and dating than ever before. That being so, how is adding to a ‘Univ 101’ course doing any good? I guess I’d want to see specifics on what is meant, wanted, by the students. Are they going to include all minority/specific groups? That means Asians, LGBT, Hispanics, poor, Buddhists, etc.? I’d want something that addresses all those. I took a course in college specifically because it talked about the culture/mores of a bunch of other groups other than my own.

    7) At one time, the Chinese, Japanese, Korean societies were de facto type slaves among their own wars. The Germans treated the Poles badly in WWII, as less than human. Christians were slaves at one time. If you go to Middle Eastern countries, there are many who state they are treated much like slaves, with freedoms taken away, and how they treated. What made those people successful?

    8) Not all cultures share an emphasis on education (especially STEM). Those who do, appear to be the most successful. If you look at STEM groups, you will see majorities of non Americans. Their cultures put STEM education emphasis as #1. More so than Americans. Where is the emphasis on STEM education and how is there not outreach? What are you going to do for the colleges who have made more inroads in AA education than HBCU’s? I can think of at least one situation where the AA graduation rate was targeted with support efforts at a non HBCU and they have a higher AA graduation rate in a shorter time than the HBCU. So what are you going to do for those colleges? Are they not successful?

    • Dear VN, good questions; and I submit another: If you are a black student attend college with a broad-based student population, like that of VCU, yet spend all your time in the company of other blacks, solely listening and talking to other blacks, participating only in extracurricular activities directed at black students, taking only those courses taught by black professors, and majoring in “black studies,” you may as well be attending an HBCU. And if so, it’s fair to ask, how is that advancing the cause of racial equality and colorblindness in this country?

      • Colorblindness isn’t a beneficial end and people shouldn’t be tasked with advancing it. The goal is to see each other as people in full context of historical and cultural background, acknowledging that their experiences may be different from ours and why. Once we get there, we may find that we arrive at a colorblind society thereafter, but it takes the hard work of analyzing and dismantling our racial inequalities first. That’s not achieved by telling Black students at a PWI – who will at a bare minimum live on a dormitory floor with white students – they need to just go be around white people.

        It’s curious that in the face of Black students saying they can and have gone their entire academic careers without being in the presence of a Black professor or being in groups with other Black students you’re worried about Black students being cloistered in African American Studies departments (especially hilarious given you mention VCU, which has two white professors in its AfAm Studies department).

        It’s the burden of Black students to expose themselves to groups of white students and professors, but it’s fine to let a status quo continue in which white students are regularly not in the presence of anything other than white faculty. We can’t ask white students to go to cultural competency courses, but Black students need to advance the cause of racial equality by wandering into a population that has historically been hostile to them.

        • I am distressed by this comment. No minority, especially a small one, can avoid the fact that integration into the larger society around them means contact with, even immersion in, the majority, who will not have equal exposure numerically or culturally to the minority. Yet, I am no advocate for the dissipation of black culture in the United States, which has given us so much of distinction.

          My comment about black students’ self-isolation is in the context of current news about Islamic jihadists and other radicals whose suburb of Brussels is only blocks from the tourist zone and the center of EU government, yet they live in another world, isolated by, among other things, lack of knowledge of the languages of Belgium and high unemployment. Is the correct approach to dealing with the jihadists to engage the Belgian people in cultural competency courses? Or, to address their isolation through language courses and job recruitment? Obviously black students at VCU don’t have a language problem, but some of them do make a point of isolating themselves culturally, defiantly, way beyond merely choosing to associate with like-minded friends.

          It seems to me inevitable that a small minority must accommodate the majority more than the other way around; but that minority also can deal with preservation of its cultural heritage along the way, as so many that have contributed to the American melting pot (and been absorbed by it) have done. And, of course, the larger culture will be influenced by what it absorbs. I just don’t see how a separate black culture can or will become an exception to the melting pot, or how efforts to prevent that cultural merger through self imposed isolation and demands for special treatment will do anything but create animosity, where curiosity and admiration ought to be the result.

    • 1) Can you elaborate what this question is supposed to mean in the current conversation?

      2) This is so vague as to be meaningless. What characteristics of yours did your professors not share? Race? Gender? Sexual orientation? Furthermore, these students ARE being leaders by standing up and demanding changes. That is what leaders do.

      3) VCU is supposed to make an effort to address the gap between the percent of Black students and the number of Black faculty. If Black professors would rather take their talents to Howard, Hampton, VSU, Spelman, Morehouse, etc. then that’s fine, but the students are asking that the university at least make a transparent effort to hire Black professors by making one out of every three professors interviewed be Black. If professors turn down VCU’s offers then that’s fine, but given the economic climate over the past few years, I find it hard to believe that VCU is interviewing or recruiting Black faculty and being turned down at a level to drive the percentage down to 4.7%.

      4) Because it takes money for your organization to host events, travel to conferences, etc…how do you not understand that? Also, no one is saying “We want more money than white organizations.” I don’t know where you people are pulling that from…they’re asking for full funding of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and full funding for their organizations, full funding meaning the same funding levels other organizations are getting.

      And I shouldn’t have to explain this to people who have been through college…you cannot ban people from campus organizations based on race, religion, gender, etc. If white students want to join National Society of Black Engineers they are more than welcomed to do so. I was recruited to join the Society of Women Engineers during engineering school despite being decidedly male.

      6) This has been explained. You don’t seem to have a problem with the idea based on your own paragraph here, you just have a problem with Black students asking for it. Also, interracial relationships and marriage don’t mean there is any greater racial understanding or justice at all. Slave owners had babies via slave rape all the time and it wasn’t them who fought to end the institution of slavery.

      7) Wars end…slavery in the United States wasn’t a matter of war, it was a matter of national policy enforced by the law for centuries. And it wasn’t people being treated much like slaves, it was full slavery. And there were some Christians who were slaves, but it wasn’t all of them and Roman slavery was very different from the capitalism slavery practiced in America. Also, just because slavery ended didn’t mean the oppression was over…it’s still being carried out to this day as any comparison between racial usage of drugs and who is in prison for drug offenses will display, just for starters. There’s also the fact that white felons get called back for job interviews at rates comparable or better than that of Black non-felons (https://csgjusticecenter.org/reentry/posts/researchers-examine-effects-of-a-criminal-record-on-prospects-for-employment/).

      8) All cultures share an emphasis on education. No one wants their children to be uneducated. I challenge you to bring me one college with a STEM major where foreign students make up the majority of the students. There are STEM outreach programs – although I find the current fetish for STEM as the be all, end all of educational attainment useless – but those things cost money, and since our current politics is defined almost entirely by figuring out how little money we can spend before producing a non-functional society their depth and breadth isn’t what it could be. And why does anything need to be done for those colleges? If anything, other colleges should learn from them. The rest of your paragraph is so vague to be meaningless. And none of this has anything to do with the demands of the VCU students.

  29. re: ”

    1) If we start legislating for one groups’ stats, don’t we have to do the same for all groups? Where do we take those stats – do they come from the country makeup, state makeup, who gets in the school (or actually who can afford it)?”

    you’d IDEALLY – GENERALLY want representation of the groups in proportion to their percentage in society – rather than a history of disparities much higher for one group than others.

    2) I didn’t have, and know of others, who didn’t have role models in their colleges or the like profession in terms of their same characteristics. They chose their models, as I did, based on their qualities of honesty, patience, holding to higher morals in the midst of a storm, logic, fairness, etc. If we didn’t have one of our “ilk” in a position, then we aspired to be and/or became that leader. I didn’t see that mentioned here so far. Discussion? ”

    was your dad and grandad role models?

    “3) Should the #’s be true of what Mr. Bacon says, then is VCU expected to hire from Howard University (or maybe another HBCU) to get that equal amount of people? What if those people want a HBCU experience, want to perpetuate that, and don’t want to leave/move their family, etc. to teach at VCU? If you only have the excess at HBCU’s, what then?”

    HBCU were supposed to be some compensation for the simple fact that there was no where near proportional representation at other schools. Sort of like setting up minority voting districts as a remedy for disparities in representation in the legislature.

    “4) How will money solve the problem of the social activities that the students say they are disenfranchised from? How are you going to justify, say 3 societies, 1 with 50 whites, 1 with 50 AA’s, 1 with 1/2 white and 1/2 AA’s, giving more the 2nd one? What if whites want to join that group? Are you going to say no to that or are you going to be willing to lose $$$ when maybe that 2nd group becomes more like the 3rd group.”

    who said it was about money?

    “5) People are blind, many times, to their own shortcomings. Why is it a problem to ask others specifics and facts of ‘here are where we see a problem and how we think it could be fixed’? One of the maxims of business is not to be a problem but part of the solution. If the ‘power’ that is, you have a problem with, do you trust them to come up with a solution that works for you, if you don’t think we know anything about culture, background, etc. If you are suggesting that people need a culture sensitivity course, aren’t you saying we dont’ understand the situation? If so, why would we be able to come up with a solution that would be appropriate, in terms of what the students are asking?”

    ask for – already well documented facts? is that what you really meant? you have the data already – what next? That the folks who are being discriminated against have to figure out the reasons why there are disparities because they can be addressed? really? That’s not the way it works institutionally, nor in the courts. the disparities show that processes result in disparities. it’s up to the folks who design and maintain the processes to fix them not those who are impacted.

    “6) Many of us live in multicultural areas. There is more intermarriage and dating than ever before. That being so, how is adding to a ‘Univ 101’ course doing any good? I guess I’d want to see specifics on what is meant, wanted, by the students. Are they going to include all minority/specific groups? That means Asians, LGBT, Hispanics, poor, Buddhists, etc.? I’d want something that addresses all those. I took a course in college specifically because it talked about the culture/mores of a bunch of other groups other than my own.”

    you’ll find that in many major corporations – a pre-requisite is to get schooled in cultural diversity… it’s considered an important skill and especially so in educational institutions – even K-12. Whites are a minority in Fairfax county schools…

    “7) At one time, the Chinese, Japanese, Korean societies were de facto type slaves among their own wars. The Germans treated the Poles badly in WWII, as less than human. Christians were slaves at one time. If you go to Middle Eastern countries, there are many who state they are treated much like slaves, with freedoms taken away, and how they treated. What made those people successful?”

    a good question but black slavery was for generations… and denial of education – systemic. Massive Resistance in Va was all about blacks not the Irish or Chinese.

    “8) Not all cultures share an emphasis on education (especially STEM). Those who do, appear to be the most successful. If you look at STEM groups, you will see majorities of non Americans. Their cultures put STEM education emphasis as #1. More so than Americans. Where is the emphasis on STEM education and how is there not outreach? What are you going to do for the colleges who have made more inroads in AA education than HBCU’s? I can think of at least one situation where the AA graduation rate was targeted with support efforts at a non HBCU and they have a higher AA graduation rate in a shorter time than the HBCU. So what are you going to do for those colleges? Are they not successful?”

    you can’t do STEM when you graduate high school without being able to read and write… more than half of black economically disadvantaged kids do not pass core academic subjects in K-5.

    you can come up with as many “points” as you wish – that still does not deal with the issue of you paying for entitlements and incarceration of large numbers of people who are crippled educationally from the get go.

    what do you want to do about these costs?

  30. re: ” “Black Lives Matter” makes a point that needs to be made. My “cultural competence” is not lacking to understand that, and I imagine most students at VCU would say the same.

    hard to keep up here… so if I miss something – yell back…

    “But black student demands for racial faculty hiring quotas and special funding of racially-explicit student organizations are another matter.”

    maybe

    ” Students have been demanding things since the 60s; but the nature of those demands has evolved into demands arising in this instance from a special interest group based explicitly on race, demanding benefits solely for that interest group, in ways exclusive of (and insulting to) the rest of the student body.”

    probably

    “We have been through generational cycles in that evolution and it’s no longer benign. Like affirmative action, such treatment can easily outlive the “remedial” stage of correcting for past abuses and become a mere privilege for the favored class, as I think it has here; and a privilege based explicitly on race is what I thought we were trying to get away from! Like affirmative action, such explicit racial favoritism has come to bother, even offend me, and I do not consider myself a racist for saying so.”

    the germane question is – are blacks represented proportionally in the hiring – and if not – is that okay?

    “Apart from how we respond to demands based explicitly on racial guilt and racial remediation, there is the matter of how much any of us should be acquiescing in demands to MANDATE changes in racial attitudes. Social integration is a slow process but nothing gets in the way of real change more certainly than requiring an insincere veneer of ‘equality.’ ”

    how long should they wait?

    “A preference towards anyone under the law is still a preference; I don’t like it when any interest group gets a promotional preference over others on a non-merit basis, and I think it does great harm to the cause of real racial neutrality and blindness to recognize ANY racial preference whatever today.”

    well I have to agree and the reality is there is a considerable backlash but it is ALSO true that the damage from “preferences” long ago is still with us – also.

    “If we are to fix the economic inequalities underlying the educational differences we’ve mentioned here, let’s address them directly — e.g. through direct aid to families — not by mandating unequal treatment through educational preferences intended to “offset” the presumed economic disadvantage (I say presumed because, at least around DC, there’s a pretty substantial black middle class that appears to suffer no such economic disadvantage). I happen to agree strongly with you that it’s stupid to ignore the long term financial as well as societal cost of poverty; but let’s not adopt a cure worse than the disease.”

    you have to ask yourself Acbar – in DC – if the govt did not hire blacks in the numbers they have – what would have been the outcome?

    yes.. we have a vibrant “middle class” of blacks in Washington -and I’m betting there is resentment.

    “Undoubtedly you and I are older and more jaded now about the ’causes’ of our impetuous youth, be they environmental, political, social, religious or whatever. “Demanding” is not that extraordinary an activity for a bunch of intelligent, idealistic, naive, organized college students and I can still relate to the idea of their getting the attention of a bunch of bureaucrats as well as the press by invading an office or two — even if that sort of thing is way behind me. It’s the unapologetic demand for multiple racial preferences that bothers me here. That, and the assumption that Jim is a racist for daring to discuss the VCU fracas in unflattering terms.”

    look at some of Jim’s other posts on the subject – I see a pattern. sorry Jim.

    “Take this example: Jim said, ‘Race relations are worse now than any time I can remember since the race riots of the ’60s and ’70s.’ and this was twisted into, “What you mean – and what becomes clear – is that Black people are standing up for themselves now more than anytime since the 60s and 70s.”

    not sure I said that… was it LOTFL?

    “Conflating the racial disfunctions of Ferguson MO and Baltimore MD with the treatment of blacks on the VCU campus plainly was not Jim’s hidden meaning and it’s a personal slam on him to imply so. This is, however, an excellent example of what that Atlantic article was talking about, our penchant for finding “microaggression” or stronger offense in the slightest criticism when race is the subtext of discussion.”

    not quite sure of your specific angst here….

    I think the events of the last year or two reveal that racial “healing” is not quite as far along as some hoped – but jesus – you’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to have seen these issues – they’re crystal clear – to those who have been paying attention.

    we live largely in segregated neighborhoods with blacks often attending really bad schools with really bad academic outcomes – more than half of blacks do not graduate with a minimal basic education – and this has direct consequences to jobs of which there is a 50% unemployment rate for black youths. these are realities..

    “Moreover, you say, “I HAVE HEARD this kind of talk BEFORE and it did not end well then either and when I hear this kind of talk directed at blacks – one might ask what the purpose of it is ? Is it to try to understand the black perspective or is it a rejection of it ?” You offer a Hobson’s Choice.”

    no – I do not make that offer. I’m asking what the intent of that kind of talk is – and is it really intended to build racial healing?

    “This blog, this discussion, is not directed at blacks, but at concerned citizens like you and me and all the other readers trying to make sense of what we read in the news about black students’ demands from the administrators of VCU. We should strive to “understand the black perspective,” yes, but you say that like it’s code language, like what you really mean is “endorse the black perspective.” We do not have to agree with these student demands in order to prove to anyone that we “understand” the people that made them.”

    We have public policy issues and discussions then we do things like this – and I say – not so well – of late of the last dozen or so – many about how poorly blacks perform in Virginia education – and why.

    lots of words on this – and I have not changed my mind , sorry

  31. is this a statement aimed at “healing”?

    ” The militancy of the “Black Lives Matter” movement has given rise to a scary backlash by white hate groups, as highlighted by the South Carolina church bombing and the arrest yesterday of two white Richmond-area men for plotting to shoot up or bomb synagogues or black churches. The inflammatory words and actions of one extreme justifies the inflammatory words and actions of the other. The difference is that white extremist groups remain despised and marginalized in our society, as they should be, while the “Black Lives Matter” movement and its offshoots has demonstrated that it can dethrone university presidents.”

    white extremist groups remain despised ?

    yes – when they kill innocent people in a church – there does tend to be a feeling that those who would do such a thing – and those who would not condemn it but continue instead to justify it in response to “militant demands” – are – despicable .

    I read Jim’s post over and over – and the problem is – he makes a decent prima facie case on the merits but then he throws in things like the above – and he has done and continues to do this in his posts that deal with race.

    LOTFL – has objected to the same thing .

    what purpose does it serve to say that? It certainly does not attempt to calm the waters – it further inflames and when one cannot differentiate between students occupying offices and people killing innocents in churches – and/or essentially appears to equivalence them as tit for tat…

    yes.. there are folks like myself who do not see that as really buttressing his other points but instead undermines them..

    clearly in this country – there are significant numbers of folks who say that THEY had NOTHING to do with what was done to blacks in the past and that the past is over and it’s time to “heal” and move on.

    The problem is that the harm that resulted from the past – was and is – generational… there are still vestiges of it and you see it not only in the percentages of black employment in institutions, but continuing cycles of illiteracy and poverty, people arrested and imprisoned in much higher numbers, unemployment , etc.

    people reject affirmative action as a remedy.

    for myself – I’d want one thing – much better schools for low-income residential areas – that do bring those kids up to grade level and do graduate them into real jobs – a means to make a living.. not be draw into illegal activities – and to be able to truly help their kids become better students.

    you cannot do that when Dad is functionally illiterate, sells illegal stuff to make a living and ends up in prison – multiple times.

    ALL of us – should want to fix this – forget the preferences and affirmative action – just let’s get those kids educated and into a job.

    I call that “healing”.

    • Dear Larry,

      There is no “get them educated.” Education, content, can be presented to students. Questions be offered to the class, but if the desire to learn is lacking, than there will be no learning, only failure and demoralization. Just like your use of the passive voice in writing so do you conceive of education as a passive thing by the student. Rather, education is an active engagement. The teacher can present the material, but if the student has no interest or is lazy, then they will fail. In our Upside Down education system it is the teacher that is perceived to have failed, due to the assumption that education is poured into the brain of the children. And since “History” is said to be so all-controlling, like in Astrology, the fallacious, but logical, conclusion ought to be, for Liberals, to abolish education for Blacks since, “what’s the point,” the past has already “ruined” them. Free will is rejected in a favor of determinism. This is “sociological Calvinism”: White Racism, before 1965, in this scheme, arbitrarily decided on a “double predestination,” some whom “it” would arbitrarily damn due to skin color, and some whom “it” would arbitrarily save, for the same. Those who are “reprobate” cannot change it, nor can “the Elect.” We have gone from freedom of the will to slavery to the cosmos, and only revolution can save us, or at least make a new “elect.” We have here, as Alasdair MacIntyre called one of his books, _Whose Justice? Which Rationality?_ Forget race, we can’t even agree on what is just and unjust, what is sanity and what is insanity! You might as well believe in astrology, that the stars effect our futures, depending what constallation we were born under. I guess that makes “diversity consultants” the equivalent of astrologers.

      Sincerely,

      Andrew

    • “ALL of us – should want to fix this – forget the preferences and affirmative action – just let’s get those kids educated and into a job. I call that “healing”.”

      Now THAT I agree with. I don’t share AR’s pessimism about educating the disinterested student. It may be more difficult, but we have to try.

      • Acbar – there ARE schools that DO have success at that job but the thing is you cannot teach those kids with regular teaching techniques.

      • re: ” It may be more difficult, but we have to try.”

        it’s not that we fail at this 100%. we do not. There are schools in Va that are successful and doing this.

        and there are schools in Va that while not as successful at it as the exceptional schools – they are far more successful than other schools that ARE almost total failures.

        but there are no shortage of folks who don’t want to do anything. they just want to walk away.

        as bad as that might be from a moral point of view – it’s much worse from a fiscal point of view.

        anyone who claims to be a fiscal conservative – cannot in good conscience write this cost off..and accept even more in the future- in my view.

        • “There are schools in Va that are successful and doing this.” Let me ask you: given, it’s a special challenge to educate a child from a poor, broken family with little or no parental encouragement or support. Given, we need to deal with root causes in the home environment too. But how does a school that is successful deal with the home environment side of things? Obviously the school has limited resources and cannot go into the home itself and remedy conditions there, but what does/can the school do?

          I realize you just answered a similar question from AR and I will read that now; don’t repeat yourself. Anyway, will move over to JB’s latest posting on this subject.

    • My question would be what are people willing to do to trade home life for having accountability for classes, etc. Watch Good Times – there is a family who would have gone through with that and done well.

      How many just want money for their cause (or some other form of power) but no accountability for it? The hallmarks of leaders is that they take responsibility for the outcomes. I’m not seeing here what accountability and responsibility and outcomes are being given in return for money, position, etc.

  32. Dear Andrew – you are wrong. Kids ARE educated ALL THE TIME if they are educated with the techniques that we KNOW – DO WORK.

    you can find schools that do this – very successfully with no trouble.

    you can also find schools that do not.

    you can put the “passive voice” dialogue where the light don’t shine

    that and the rest is senseless blather of the most useless kind.

    you know that at some point – you – and I were snot-nosed brats that someone was trying to teach.. and we’re lucky – that they did not have the attitude you have now.

    sincerely…..

    • Dear LarrytheG,

      And I am GLAD that they are educated. My own comments accept and praise that that is the case. What I do not like is the excuse-making for all the ones that fail, “by reason of socio-babble,” which I consider the slavery, segregation, and other “reasons” to be. Just like I praise diligent Blacks. They are proof that there is no “White conspiracy” to keep them down. “Roesell’s bottom line”: Black success is good, and their failure is bad. There are students who have very tough home lives, or non-existent ones, and where “interventions” can help, fine. But let us not scapegoat Whites for these things; that is all I am saying. The #Blacklivesmatter agitation and most Liberal theories do just that.

      Sincerely,

      Andrew

  33. Dear Andrew –

    what do you think of this:

    ” Secretary Duncan, Urban League President Morial to Spotlight States Where Education Funding Shortchanges Low-Income, Minority Students”
    March 13, 2015

    ” To… highlight a need to close a loophole in the federal law to ensure that districts start with a level playing field so that federal dollars go to their intended purpose of providing additional support for the students who need it most. Failing to close the loophole allows inequity in state and local school funding, resulting in wealthier schools receiving more local money than their less affluent counterparts.

    The call will spotlight 23 states where Education Department data show that 6.6 million students from low-income families are being shortchanged when it comes to state and local education funding. In those states, districts serving the highest percentage of students from low-income families are spending fewer state and local dollars per pupil than districts that have fewer students in poverty.

    The states include: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming.

    The states that are the most inequitable when it comes to district level expenditures based on student poverty levels are:

    Illinois, Missouri, and Virginia, where the highest poverty districts spend 17 percent less than the lowest poverty districts.

    Table A1. Current expenditures minus federal revenue other than Impact Aid per pupil in membership, by poverty quartile and state: 2011-12

    State 2011-12

    Virginia – Total funding per student average = $9604
    Local Funding per student in medium poverty schools = $8972
    Local Funding per student in high poverty schools = $8725

    http://nces.ed.gov/edfin/xls/A-1_FY2012.xls

    what this study shows is that districts that are supposed to use Federal Title 1 money to SUPPLEMENT existing local funding – are, instead,
    using Title 1 money to SUPPLANT local funding –

    essentially stealing the money the Feds are providing that is intended to provide the extra resources needed by economically disadvantaged children.

    do you think that is making excuses and psycho-babble?

  34. Dear LarrytheG,

    Money is one component. I doubt it will make a difference, as elsewhere it has not. University of Delaware scholar Raymond Wolters has written tomes on this subject from a Conservative perspective, in case you are interested: http://www.history.udel.edu/raymondwolters/fac-bio/raymond-wolters/

    But Jim is getting us fired up for another chat it looks like with his latest posting!

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

  35. money makes a difference if it is spent for the right things.

    you know the really odd thing here is that Conservatives seem to favor tax-funded vouchers…

    they want tax money spent on non-public school – they say that’s how to “help” the “poor” kids, right?

  36. Let me ask this: if people were willing to give money but the person had to be on birth control if female, would you agree to it? One of the biggest problems is single family parenting, in terms of impediment to finishing schooling, and its effect on generations of family. If that was stopped, and say they’d agree to not have kids while getting schooling if at least 50% of it was paid for, would that be agreeable? Depending on the major, they would get more money. Art isn’t going to do a lot for you but a STEM major would (or say accounting depending on what level you get).

    What if they agreed to work with people on the home environment?

  37. One item came across today: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/democrats-seek-to-repair-campaign-rift-with-black-caucus-215705.

    Here’s the problem: both can be right, but which would one favor as the *main* issue or is it equally of both?

    When it comes to politics, money trumps everything (especially when you are talking fundraising). If the color is green, it beats black, white, brown, red, or any other color. That’s not saying there can’t be prejudice and its not 2nd on the list.

    One other item: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/16/business/blacks-are-challenged-to-buy-from-black-owned-businesses-to-close-gap.html?_r=0.

    “Blacks spend less money in black-owned businesses than other racial and ethnic groups spend in businesses owned by members of their groups, including Hispanics and Asians. A report by Nielsen and Essence estimates that black buying power will reach $1.3 trillion in the next few years, yet only a tiny fraction of that money is spent at black-owned businesses. Unless black people devote more attention to building wealth within the black community, Ms. Anderson and others contend, they will always be behind.”

    Reminds me of The Jeffersons, its an old TV show, comment by George, I should be hiring black managers for my black businesses (or something like that).

    I know the place I work for does more than its requirement to support smaller business, minority, etc. Are those businesses publicized so that, if one can’t find an AA business, they could at least patronize those who do go above and beyond to support?

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