UNH Wants to Assure You That Race Still Matters at UNH

Although I've retired from the University Near Here, I prowl their website now and again. Unfortunately (for our purposes) UNH has gotten much more careful about avoiding hard-left lunacy on its public site. Nobody wants a repeat of last year's widely mocked "Bias-Free Language Guide".

But one thing about Social Justice Warriors is their fervent belief that attention must be paid. To their issues, of course. But also, to them. Because what good is it to own a superior moral sense and a host of tendentious opinions, if you can't make them widely known? Beyond the small group of students you've managed to wangle into your classroom each semester, that is?

So last week, UNH published "Talking About The Hard Issues" on the web. Subtitle: "Courses on race, class and culture have students digging deep". (Which reminds me of a joke, the punchline being "there must be a pony in here somewhere!")

If the warning bells aren't going off for you yet, Sentence One, Paragraph One might do the trick:

This isn’t about the shooting of black men by police officers, or about Dallas and Baton Rouge. […]

Note the faulty parallelism. It serves as a little signal flag indicating where the Modern University Brain allows itself to go, and what it avoids.

"Dallas", of course, refers to the July 7 murder of five police officers, with nine other cops and two civilians wounded. "Baton Rouge" is the July 17 murder of three police officers, with three others wounded.

A fair opening sentence, then, might have been:

This isn’t about the shooting of black men by police officers, or about the shooting of police officers by black men. […]

… but I'm pretty sure the Modern University Brain doesn't even consider typing that.

In any case, the article claims not to be about that. (Why bring it up then?) Instead the article's purpose is to describe three courses offered at UNH:

  • "Race Matters" (offered through the Women's Studies department of the College of Liberal Arts). It's instructed by Jennifer Jaime Nolan, who's also the University's "Associate Vice President for Community, Equity and Diversity". Sample word salad from the course description:

    Specific attention focuses on how diverse women have made history in their own lives and in the lives of others by resisting the interlocking systems of oppression.

    Ayn Rand? Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Phyllis Schlafly? I'm betting that they would make things a little too diverse for Professor Nolan.

  • "Implications of Race, Culture and Oppression for Social Work Practice" (offered through the Social Work department of the College of Health and Human Services). Taught by Professor Vernon Carter, it is "designed to increase awareness related to the insidious nature of oppression."

    It's insidious, I tells ya! Much like Senator Joe McCarthy worked to reveal the insidious Commies back in the fifties, Professor Carter works to wake up his students to his reality, which is Perpetual and Permanent (albeit Unconscious) Racism:

    Carter adds, “My goal is to get them to see who they are, how they are. I want them to look at themselves and acknowledge the differences. Racism in particular is rooted in our national way of being. Members of the dominant race are advantaged whether they want to be or not. Others are disadvantaged. Racism and all of the other isms are systemic. We are socialized from birth to believe we are superior and the other is inferior. Often we are unconscious of our unearned privileges related to race, gender, sexual orientation … but they’re there.”

    Wait a minute. Didn't our rooted-in-racism nation elect, and re-elect, an African-American President? Relatively recently? I think I saw something about that on the news.

  • "Race, Class, Gender and Families" (offered through the Human Development and Family Studies department of the College of Health and Human Services). Tyler Jamison is the instructor. She says (oh joy): "police violence will be part of the conversation this semester in conjuncture with a component she teaches on incarceration."

    “Students tend to be really surprised by the disproportionate number of black men who are incarcerated compared to white and Latino men,” Jamison says. An infographic she uses in class reveals that one in 106 white males over age 18 are incarcerated, compared to one in 36 Latinos and one in 15 black men “The effect of that on a family is profound. If your provider is in jail, what happens to your family? There is a disproportional effect on families of color, families with low income.”

    What do you want to bet that Professor Jamison provides no equivalent infographic showing crime rates classified by the race/ethnicity of the offender? Is the incarceration rate out of whack with the underlying crime rate?

    Or does Professor Jamison simply cherry-pick the factoids she needs to "prove" the underlying story of Oppression?

Thomas Sowell recently observed the perverse incentives facing politicians:

Black votes matter to many politicians — more so than black lives. That is why such politicians must try to keep black voters fearful, angry, and resentful. Racial harmony would be a political disaster for such politicians.

Racial polarization makes both the black population and the white population worse off, but it makes politicians who depend on black votes better off.

A similar dynamic works at UNH: a sizeable chunk of the professoriate and their administrative allies depend on advancing what's been called a culture of victimhood. As long as they can keep everyone thinking on the oppressor-oppressed axis, they'll be seen as important and relevant. Inconvenient facts won't matter much.

After all, as Governor William J. Lepetomane once observed:

Last Modified 2016-07-28 9:36 AM EDT