Posts Tagged ‘diversity’

Badger Herald gives up on diversity of topics

November 30, 2009

Apparently the Badger Herald will be dedicating the rest of the semester (practically) to confronting the question of “diversity.” The response in both campus papers to a couple of provocative columns has been so strong that Jason Smathers has decided to put everything else on the backburner. It sent the following email to a certain number of people (I have no idea how many) this morning:

Dear Jack Craver,

To stimulate conversation about race, ethnicity and minority issues on campus, The Badger Herald is asking members of the University of Wisconsin campus community to submit letters and guest columns attempting to answer the question, “What does ‘diversity’ at UW actually mean, and how should we address it?”

We encourage students from all walks of life to sound off on a range of issues relating to the racial and ethnic makeup of campus and what UW and its related bodies are doing to make this a more accepting, equitable and comfortable place for all students.

Jason Smathers loves this stuff. Gerald Cox knows what I’m talking about. Themes, special editions, boycotts. Gimmicks would be the less flattering term. They’re not all bad, and the thinking behind them are usually very idealistic, but the response is usually negative.

“Compositional Diversity” advocates: less McCain, more Obama

November 24, 2009

It’s beginning to look like the Herald and Cardinal ed-boards aren’t the only ones who can manufacture a crisis within the ranks of the informed campus community. Apparently, a group of staff writers can do it too, albeit in the form of a “diversity war,” not a boycott.

My concern when I started seeing facebook events with hundreds of members popping up titled APPARENTLY there are just too darn many “minorities” on the campus, and 90 comments under pieces by Jim Allard (seriously, who still pays attention to him?) was that the responses of advocates of affirmative action policies  were going to  ignore  serious arguments  in favor of name calling and emotionalism. Turns out, I was wrong.

But, now advocates need a more honed and specific message.

The issue of “diversity” is too large and complex to be dealt with in 800 word op-ed pieces. Supporters of affirmative action have been challenged to show why race should matter in admissions,  so they should stick to that. The case is there. The playing field is still far from equal on account of race, color-blindness is still a prescriptive and not a descriptive term, and the argument championed by the visionary Clarence Thomas that race-based affirmative action policies only hurt the legitimacy of accomplished people of color still sucks.

Both the Herald and Cardinal have now promised the platform, it is time to start making the case effectively.