American Elephants


Affirmative Action Was Meant Well, But They Didn’t Think It Through. by The Elephant's Child


In searching for answers to the racial angst of black students on their campuses, some universities are turning to — segregation. The University of Connecticut is constructing a living space (dorm) meant specifically for African American males. SCHOLA2RS, an awkward acronym for “SCholastic House of Leaders who are African American Researchers and Scholars”.

Dr. Eric Hines, an assistant professor of educational psychology will serve as faculty advisor to the around 40 students involved with the house.

Dr. Hines claims that SCHOLA2RS House is “a space for African American men to one, come together and validate their experiences that they may have on campus.” Hines further elaborates that the new dorm would also serve as “a space where they can have conversation and also talk with individuals who come from the same background who share the same experience.”

It seems a little awkward for even a psychology professor to suggest that because students are black they “come from the same background and share the same experience.”

There is a program for Women in Math, Science and Engineering, and it is a good way for students with similar interests to be grouped with those who share the same interests.

Commenters asked where the living space was for Caucasian students? SCHOLA2RS is apparently the only dorm segregated by race and gender. It is meant well and while the graduation rate for all students in 2012 was 82.5 percent, for African American males that year it was 54 percent. The school is trying to help, but stuck with numbers of black students who must be admitted to have the right (quota — bad word) diversity. Is segregating on the basis of race and gender more meaningful than say segregating on the basis of interest: Jocks vs. hopeful computer science geeks, or biology students with PE majors?

Most of the racial incidents in other colleges that provoked major protests turned out to be hoaxes, made-up, or just plain false. It is true that at many schools, black students often self-segregate for lunch tables or other occasions. Some have been protests about a statue of a Founder who owned slaves, or a building named for a benefactor who was known to have owned slaves a couple of hundred years ago. That’s when you know the protest is a phony one.

Stirring up feelings of discrimination for political purposes seems like a particularly dirty trick on everybody. But the Left isn’t playing tricks, and it’s not a game. They are at war and the goal is to’ fundamentally transform’ the United States of America to something better where they are more completely in charge. The Republicans assume that Democrats just have different policy preferences, and they are being difficult.

ADDENDUM: The original story about the  University of Connecticut was misleading. The “segregation” of African American males by race and gender is not a separate dorm, but merely a section on one floor of a large dorm. The intent is to help students share their efforts to succeed and to feel more comfortable with others who share their problems. I think my post was misleading, and I apologize.

I believe human beings are tribal by nature. The Middle East is aflame because of the extreme tribal nature of the area. Europe is tribal as nations share a language, traditions and a history, and do not assimilate newcomers easily. Some of the ‘refugees’ coming to Europe find assimilation far more difficult than they expected — nothing is what they expected, they don’t like the accommodations, they don’t like the food, and some just want to go back home.

In America we create our own tribes. I am in touch with some of the kids I grew up with. I’m in touch with a large number of my college friends, I have a collection of former neighbors few of whom know each other. People join clubs, civic organizations, churches. Black students are observed to seek out other black students, and within the voluntary grouping of black students they will find their own tribes of jocks and science majors or kids from their own hometown. It is a worthwhile experiment and hopefully will succeed.



Mindlessness! And They Vote Too! by The Elephant's Child

The intellectual climate of the nation today came from the public schools, where almost every one of us was schooled in the work of the mind.  We are a people who imagine that we are weighing important issues when we exchange generalizations and well-known opinions.  We decide how to vote or what to buy according to whim or fancied self-interest, either of which is easily engendered in us by the manipulation of language, which we have neither the will nor the ability to analyze.  We believe that we can reach conclusions without having the faintest idea of the difference between inferences and statements of fact, often without any suspicion that there are such things and that they are different.  We are easily persuaded and repersuaded by what seems authoritative, without any notion of those attributes and abilities that characterize authority.  We do not notice elementary fallacies in logic, it doesn’t even occur to us to look for them: few of us are even aware that such things exist. We make no regular distinction between those kinds of things that can be known and objectively verified and those that can only be believed or not.  Nor are we likely to examine, when we believe or not, the induced predispositions that may make us do the one or the other.  We are easy prey.
Richard Mitchell: The Graves of Academe

Also, affirmative action had a disastrous effect.  We created two universities during affirmative action.  We had a super-elite university of people who were admitted on the most competitive criteria in the history of the university, but then we had this other university of people who could not have been admitted on those criteria, and who had to have special courses and special departments set up for them.
Now affirmative action meant two completely different things.  When it first started out the definition was that we were going to take affirmative actions to see that people who would never have tried to get into the university before would be encouraged and trained so that they could get admission.  I was all for that —that we were going to get people into the competition.  What happened though, and this was the catastrophic effect, is that race and ethnicity became criteria, not for encouraging people to enter the competition, but for judging the competition.
John R. Searle, Professor of Philosophy, Berkeley

We are telling students what to think, not teaching them how to think.  Without teaching them how to draw meaning, significance and wisdom from those facts, we are teaching mindlessness. Teaching kids how to think means teaching them how to weigh and consider ideas, see implications, follow an argument to a logical conclusion, integrate knowledge, and apply creative and critical thinking to solve problems and make decisions.
Vincent Ryan Ruggerio: Warning: Nonsense is Destroying America



Understanding affirmative action… by The Elephant's Child

The idea of “affirmative action” is widely misunderstood.  Philosophy Professor John R. Searle of the University of California at Berkeley explained it very well in an article in Reason Magazine in February of 2000.

[A]ffirmative action had a disastrous effect.  We created two universities during affirmative action.  We had a super-elite university of people who were admitted on the most competitive criteria in the history of the university, but then we had this other university of people who could not have been admitted on those criteria, and who had to have special courses and special departments set up for them.

Now affirmative action meant two completely different things.  When it first started out the definition was that we were going to take affirmative actions to see that people who would never have tried to get into the university before would be encouraged and trained so that they could get admission.  I was all for that — that we were going to get people into the competition.  What happened though, and this was the catastrophic effect, is that race and ethnicity became criteria, not for encouraging people to enter the competition, but for judging the competition.




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