More “Diversity,” Double Standards, Doublespeak

According to a new Associated Press article,

Spelman College President Beverly Tatum has championed racially diverse relationships for most of her life: as a child growing up in New England, as a young professor teaching about the psychology of racism, and as an author writing about cross-racial interaction.

Predictably, Tatum criticizes the recent Supreme Court decision barring the racial assignment of students in Seattle and Louisville.

Tatum said the Supreme Court decision does not bode well for people who would encourage a diverse environment for themselves and their children.

She pointed to housing patterns that continue to create fairly homogeneous communities across the country — meaning that even cities that are diverse overall are separated on a block-by-block level.

Because many school districts are decided by where people live, segregated neighborhoods will usually translate into segregated classrooms, she said.

“When people leave work or turn off the television, they find themselves in a non-diverse environment,” Tatum said. “In their day-to-day interactions, children have fewer opportunities to interact across racial lines. The choices are getting narrower and narrower.”

The cycle of segregation can be broken at the college level, but with affirmative action programs threatened at institutions of higher education, that opportunity may also be shrinking, Tatum said.

There is nothing surprising or in the least bit novel about Tatum’s views. Indeed, they are par for the course for preference-pushing diversiphiles. What is glaringly odd, however, as I pointed out (here) several years ago with regard to Ms. Tatum, is that this plaintive lament over the decline of “diversity” comes from the president of one of the least “diverse” colleges in the country. Since she hasn’t changed her tune, I see no reason to change the response I wrote then.

Discussing an article she had published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, I wrote:

she asks, but in my opinion fails by a long shot to answer, a good question:

Given that point of view, I am often asked why I would choose to lead an institution as “homogeneous” as Spelman College. Of course, the question is based on a flawed assumption. Although 97 percent of our students are racially categorized as “black,” the student body is, in fact, quite diverse. Spelman students come from all regions of the United States and many foreign countries, from white suburban and rural communities as well as urban black ones. All parts of the African diaspora are represented, and the variety of experience and perspectives among the women who attend the college creates many opportunities for important dialogue. There is a developmental moment in the lives of young people of color when “within group” dialogue can be as important, or perhaps even sometimes more important, than “between group” dialogue. And even in the context of a historically black college, it is possible to create opportunities for both.

This doesn’t work. First, Spelman is a woman’s college, which means that right off the bat it excludes half the human race. And then, apparently by preference and design, 97% of its students are black, or rather “are racially categorized as ‘black.’” But no matter. Whites, according to Michigan and the Supremes, are deprived of educationally crucial diversity if they are not exposed to a critical mass of minorities, but blacks, being diverse among themselves, suffer nothing in a student body that contains only 3% of non-minorities.

Tatum mentions that Spelman is quite selective in its admissions, attracting “4,000 talented young women competing for 525 spaces in our first-year class.” Although she favors “diversity” and “inclusiveness,” her article does not mention whether bonus points or other preferences (say, for overcoming the burdensome effects of being raised in religiously or racially isolated environments) are offered to white applicants.

Several years after first encountering President Tatum’s argument, I’m still not sure whether her view that blacks can be “diverse” but whites can’t is more inane or offensive. Perhaps I’ll just settle for hypocritical doublespeak.

Say What? (17)

  1. Hube August 5, 2007 at 5:19 pm | | Reply

    You’re “not sure” John because the very nature of Tatum’s (and others like her) philosophy is irrational and duplicitous. It is quite easy to shred their “arguments”; however, it sure is fun!

  2. Dom August 6, 2007 at 10:39 am | | Reply

    Go with “inane”. It is supposed to be offensive, so if you find it such, you are just playing their game.

  3. James E. August 6, 2007 at 1:24 pm | | Reply

    Without delving too far into the merits of the article, I must say I was put off somewhat by the premise. Is it really necessary to implement race-based classifications to help that subset of people “who would encourage a diverse environment for themselves and their children” but who nonetheless choose to live in “fairly homogeneous communities”? Is there really such a group? If so, they don’t seem to be voting with their feet, so to speak…and they certainly don’t mind letting their kids apply to Spelman College!

    If housing is really the problem, then why aren’t these ivory-tower academics advocating assigning housing “block-by-block” based on race? Then the school diversity problem would dissolve, as kids would simply go to their neighborhood schools.

    As offensive (and unconstitutional) as it is, such a program would offer real advantages over race-based admissions preferences, insofar as it might avoid a lot of the negative stereotypes that result from the use of race in education, as well as encourage “between group” and “in group” interactions in a more casual (and 24-7) setting.

    One final point–given the proliferation of the internet, broadband, chatting and sites like myspace, facebook and even club penguin, it is absolutely farcical to suggest that students today do not have far greater opportunities to interact with others from different backgrounds than their counterparts in the past. On the internet, for better or worse, people are judged (generally) based on the quality of the ideas they express, not on their gender, sexual orientation, or the color of their skin. And the internet (again, generally) gives contributors a pretty wide berth in terms of the nature of the ideas that can be expressed, and the method of expression. Some, like me, see this as a sort of promised land for our country, while others seem to insist that attributes like skin color, etc. constitute an integral part of both the idea expressed and the mode of expression.

    Reasonable minds can debate whether or not such is the case; however, there’s no doubt that such a position is inconsistent with the formerly self-evident truths upon which our nation was founded.

  4. Freeman August 7, 2007 at 9:05 am | | Reply

    James E – What are the self evident truths that the US was founded? – In 1789 – the US a slave society did not define Women as = to Men & Did not define Black Afrikans as = to White Europeans- Based on that some would say that the US was founded upon White European-American Male supremacy!

  5. Shouting Thomas August 7, 2007 at 1:02 pm | | Reply

    You’ve turned everything upside down, Freeman, and in doing so turned everything into a lie.

    Every society in 1789 practiced slavery and defined women as inferior to women. The U.S. was the leader in the world in abolishing slavery and in offering equal status to women. Many societies controlled by blacks continue to practice slavery and the subjugation of women to this day.

    So, really, what in the hell are you talking about? The U.S. was founded by the most far sighted, enlightened individuals in the world… White European-American males.

    God bless them! Alone among all other people, those White European-American males created a constitutional and judicial structure that laid the foundation for the end of slavery and the emancipation of women.

    Apparently, however, you, Freeman, have not learned the lesson taught by our founders. You want to restore racial discrimination in an attempt to punish white men. You do not understand, or else you are an enemy of, the Anglo-American system of law that liberated the world. The Freemans of this world will lead us back to the dark ages of slavery and racial revenge. You are completely ignorant, Freeman, of the legal and judicial principles that are the foundation of American freedom.

  6. Shouting Thomas August 7, 2007 at 1:15 pm | | Reply

    I have to say, Freeman, that you are not a free man. I can understand why you are enraged by your enslavement. You have, however, mis-identified the cause of your enslavement.

    White men are not the cause. Your bitter racist hatred of white men, and you desire for vengeance… this is what has enslaved your mind. So long as you remain obsessed with your racist hatred of white men, you will remain enslaved.

  7. dom August 7, 2007 at 7:39 pm | | Reply

    “Every society in 1789 practiced slavery and defined women as inferior to [men]. The U.S. was the leader in the world in abolishing slavery and in offering equal status to women.”

    Slavery, and denying women equal rights, were common to all societies, and much of the world still suffers from both. But I really wouldn’t say the US led the world in correcting either. But yes, the Declaration is an incredible document, unlike anything written before or since, and no one can reach the heights reached by Thomas Jefferson. Was it uniquely white, or European, or Male. That’s an interesting question.

  8. FreeMan August 7, 2007 at 7:46 pm | | Reply

    Haiti 1n 1804 was the 1st Nation to Free Itself from Colonialism & Black Afrikan Slavery – in the Western Hemisphere – I say it again to an openminded person What are the self evident truths that the US was founded? It surely wasn’t all people are created =

  9. Shouting Thomas August 8, 2007 at 7:59 am | | Reply


    Haiti is your model of what a society should be?

    Let’s hear the rest. Just how loony a Marxist are you? You haven’t yet sung folk songs for Fidel and praised the Cuban health care system.

    “I say it again to an openminded person…” Well, FreeMan, open minded-ness is not a state you have experienced.

    Just how deep are you in the commie propaganda? Mumia? Angela Davis? The whole kettle of murderous lunatics? Spill the beans, FreeMan. You’ve been holding out on us.

    What about the Jews? Both you and Cobra have been silent on this one, but I suspect you also subscribe to all the anti-semitic conspiracy theories. After all, Jews are successful. What other proof do you need?

  10. Dom August 8, 2007 at 9:46 am | | Reply

    Well, obviously Haiti was not the first nation to free itself of colonialism. But yes, one of the self-evident truths in the US Declaration was indeed that all men are created equal. That was the foundation of this country. That sentence alone led to several states banning slavery (and freeing slaves) the day after it was signed. It is no exaggeration to say that nothing in world history can compare to Jefferson or to his Declaration.

    It is a testament to Jefferson that he could rise above his times. The original declaration, and much of his Notes on Virginia, and many other writings, also address the issue of slavery. That other nations, including Haiti, lacked such a document does not grant them some sort of attribute of “non-hypocrisy” as you seem to think. It is the US, not Haiti, that other nations and other races wish to join, mostly because of the far-sighted ideals set out by Jefferson.

  11. FreeMan August 8, 2007 at 2:54 pm | | Reply

    Jefferson raped his Black Afrikan young lady slave & refused to allow her personal liberty – Jefferson referred to 1st Nation People as “merciless Indian savages” in the Declaration of Independence- “All people created =” not for Women or slaves or People of Color – ” All people have inherent rights by their Creator” – not for Women or slaves or People of Color” Hypocritical

    Haiti was the 1st Nation to free itself from Colonialism & BLACK AFRIKAN SLAVERY in the Western Hemisphere!

    Shouting Thomas – The Ku Klux Klan doesn’t like Jews – The Ku Klux Klan doesn’t like Affirmative Action

    Jews are Black Afrikans – Why would I not like my own people?

    All people created = is not a self evident truth that the US was founded on according to Women & People of Color

  12. b August 8, 2007 at 3:20 pm | | Reply


    I suuport the general trajetory of your intial statement. Though all of the documents that are said to be the foundation of this country are fairly egalitarian for certain beings, history instructs us that there were those who where left out of the deal. Of course I’m speaking of blacks and women. A great humor for me would be to reestablish the constitution to its original intent. That three-fifths clause is something that blacks need to be reminded of.

    This whole discussion about affirmative action rather bores me. What does it matter if our communities are given or not given preferences. It would seem that these so called preferences simply creates mindless drones who ascend to the level of middle-classness. HOW EXCITING!! I say let them have it, we would do better with organic intellectuals who know the history of this country and the position for which they were meant to hold.

    Lets eliminate preferences and deal with the real issues that affect our communities. Poeverty being one. Let them hold on to the fading light of their republic, no need for us to sink with the ship.

  13. Shouting Thomas August 8, 2007 at 10:46 pm | | Reply

    “Shouting Thomas – The Ku Klux Klan doesn’t like Jews – The Ku Klux Klan doesn’t like Affirmative Action

    Jews are Black Afrikans – Why would I not like my own people?

    All people created = is not a self evident truth that the US was founded on according to Women & People of Color”

    I’ve got to give you some credit, Freeman. You are so wacky and so over the top racist that you make our hyperventilating Cobra seem sane and judicious. I would at one time have said that this was impossible.

    My God, there are some completely insane people out there. Are you sure you’re not an imposter pulling our leg, FreeMan? You sound like a spokesman for the Symbionese Liberation Army.

  14. Dom August 8, 2007 at 11:50 pm | | Reply

    “Jefferson raped his Black Afrikan [sic] young lady”

    The myth is that Jefferson was the father of Thomas Woodson. A genetic test performed in 1998 on Jefferson’s uncle, not Thomas himself, proved without a doubt, that Jefferson, or any Jefferson male, was NOT the father. That is worth repeating because the myth is so persistent: A genetic test proved without a doubt that Thomas Jefferson, or any Jefferson, was not the father of Thomas Woodson.

    A second tradition, never accepted as thoroughly as the first (which we now know was wrong anyway) is that Jefferson was the father of Easton Hemmings. Here, the test showed that some Jefferson, not necessarily Thomas, was indeed the father. Any one of 25 different Jeffersons could have been the father. History points a likely finger to his cousin.

    The phrase “merciless Indian savages” is probably a correct description of some native Americans at the time, who, after all, practiced slavery long before Columbus ever landed here (as did all people of color). I don’t see why it should be insulting. The exact phrase is “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages …” This is a reference to the King of England.

  15. FreeMan August 9, 2007 at 8:00 am | | Reply

    “Merciless Indian savages” is a racist term – it states that 1st Nation People are not civilized – Jefferson is hypocrite – Slaver that declared freedom for all people except his Black Afrikan Slaves – All people created = not apply to Women & People of Color in the US

  16. Darren August 11, 2007 at 5:52 pm | | Reply

    Since “savage” is a term relative to the society of the person using the term, is it really racist? Can only someone of another race be savage?

    By the standards of Jefferson’s society, were the natives (I note you use the preferred Canadian term 1st Nation) *not* savages?

  17. Cobra August 14, 2007 at 8:36 am | | Reply

    Would the Pilgrims have survived their first winter without the Native American?

    I don’t think so, but that upsets the “my race is better than anybody elses” chat that has developed on this thread.


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