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Dinesh D'Souza, ILLIBERAL EDUCATION: THE POLITICS OF RACE AND SEX ON CAMPUS (The Free Press, 1991).

From Subject
john karl wilson <jkw3@amber.uchicago.edu> REVIEW: Dinesh D'Souza
"Lyle, Chester G." <cglyle@ilstu.edu> review: Dinesh D'Souza
"BarryM.Dank " <DSURF@beach1.csulb.edu> RE: review: Dinesh D'Souza
PALLYM@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU commentary:d'souza
john karl wilson <jkw3@amber.uchicago.edu> Re: COMMENTARY on D'Souza
"Lyle, Chester G." <cglyle@ilstu.edu> Re: Commentary: D'Souza
liz mcculloch <LIZ@nervm.nerdc.ufl.edu> Re: Commentary: D'Souza
"laura field" <llfield@gopher> Review: ILLIBERAL EDUCATION (Field)
"Andrea Kim Addy" <akaddy@ilstu.edu> review: ILLIBERAL EDUCATION(addy)
"laura field" <llfield@gopher> Review: ILLIBERAL EDUCATION (Field)
Wen-chieh Yang wqy5784@acfcluster.nyu.edu REVIEW:Dinesh D'Souza (Yang)
Janelle Gordon Review: ILLIBERAL EDUCATION (Janelle Gordon]
Tom Crews <tscrews@acadcomp.cmp.ilstu.edu> Review: D'Souza, END OF RACISM (Crews)

Date: Thu, 3 Feb 1994 16:10:46 -0600 
From: john karl wilson <jkw3@amber.uchicago.edu> 
Subject: REVIEW: Dinesh D'Souza 

REVIEW OF DINESH D'SOUZA'S ILLIBERAL EDUCATION
By John K. Wilson University of Chicago 2/3/94

It would take an entire book to correct Dinesh D'Souza's errors, exaggerations, false generalizations, and contradictions*****. I will focus on one representative chapter, "Travels with Rigoberta: Multiculturalism at Stanford." The story of Stanford's debate received the widest attention (and the most distorted explanation) in ILLIBERAL EDUCATION. D'Souza's description of the events at Stanford is now widely acknowledged by both his critics and his allies as false, but that did not reduce its impact on readers who accepted his report as the truth.    

{****list editor's note: The author of this review did indeed write an entire book addressing these errors: see: Wilson, John Karl. THE MYTH OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS -g.k.}

The inaccuracies in D'Souza's account are numerous. First, he says that "the new CIV sequence would substitute a multiple-track system" for what existed, when in fact the Western Culture class already used at least six different tracks.(61) The primary objection of D'Souza and other conservatives to the course was not what actually ended up being taught, but the symbolic meaning of the issue and even the change in title to Cultures, Ideas, and Values. To D'Souza, "Values suggested a certain relativism, in which various systems of thought would be considered on a roughly equal plane."(67) Here D'Souza's fears are made clear. Any consideration of different systems of thinking is immediately transformed into relativism; thus consideration of other views is a direct threat to one's own.  

But perhaps the greatest distortion of the CIV debate came when D'Souza wrote, "To get an idea of how Stanford manages the new mixture, consider the university's outline for the CIV track on 'Europe and the Americas.'" D'Souza then proceeds to represent the entire CIV class by this single track, even though only 50 of 1,500 first-year students were enrolled in it. D'Souza further claims that "Stanford provides ideological coherence to the multicultural curriculum by urging that texts be uniformly subjected to a 'race and gender' analysis, viewed from the perspective of oppressed women and persons of color."(70) In reality, Stanford urges nothing of the sort. The CIV outline requires that at least one book focus on one of these issues, which is a far cry from being "uniformly subjected" to anything.  

Finally, D'Souza reduces his reductive reasoning to a single book, claiming that "the text which best reveals the premises underlying the new Stanford curriculum is I, Rigoberta Menchu."(71) Not only does D'Souza make a single book in a single track become the representative of the entire CIV curriculum (ignoring its mainly traditional reading list), but D'Souza even fails to describe that book accurately. Even if all of D'Souza's attacks on Menchu's book were true--and amazingly, none of them are--his assertions would be largely irrelevant, because I, RIGOBERTA MENCHU is only one book in one section of the Cultures, Ideas, and Values sequence, which also includes seven other sections mainly composed of the usual Great Books.

D'Souza's inaccuracies about Menchu's book permeate every paragraph of his description. He says, "Rigoberta's political consciousness includes the adoption of such politically correct causes as feminism, homosexual rights, socialism, and Marxism. By the middle of the book she is discoursing on 'bourgeois youths' and 'Molotov cocktails,' not the usual terminology of Indian peasants." D'Souza is simply deceiving his readers. Menchu does not mention homosexual rights. She does not "discourse" or use leftist jargon. Menchu even defends her Christian views to a Marxist friend: "the whole truth is not found in the Bible, but neither is the whole truth in Marxism."(246) Menchu is anything but "politically correct." On the very first page of the book, she says: "our customs say that a child begins life on the first day of his mother's pregnancy."(1)

Rather than discuss Menchu's ideas, D'Souza simply dismisses her as "a mouthpiece for a sophisticated neo-Marxist critique of Western society"(72) and a "quadruple victim." D'Souza seems to think Menchu is not a real human being, but rather a creation of some conspiracy of Marxists in which her translator is involved. D'Souza adds that Menchu "does not represent the actual peasants of Latin America." She is really "a projection of Marxist and feminist views onto South American Indian culture." But the only "Marxist" jargon in Menchu's book occurs in phrases like, "we behave just like bourgeois families in that, as soon as the baby is born, we're thinking of his education, of his well-being."(15)

Throughout his description, D'Souza doubts the accuracy and sincerity of Menchu's story. D'Souza says "her parents are killed for unspecified reasons in a bloody massacre, reportedly carried out by the Guatemalan army." The reasons are, in fact, clearly specified: Menchu's father was thrown in jail for more than a year because he opposed the landowners who tried to take their land.(103) He was then kidnapped and tortured, and spent 11 months in the hospital, and then later killed during an occupation of the Spanish embassy.(113) Menchu's 16-year-old younger brother was kidnapped and tortured for sixteen days. She says, "They cut off his fingernails, they cut off his fingers, they cut off his skin, they burned parts of his skin. Many of the wounds, the first ones, swelled and were infected. He stayed alive. They shaved his head, left just the skin, and also they cut the skin off his head and pulled it down on either side and cut off the fleshy part of his face."(174) Her mother was kidnapped and raped and then slowly tortured to death.(198) Menchu's family was trying to organize the peasants to resist the unfair tactics of the landowners, who "reportedly" use the Guatemalan army to intimidate the peasants. Perhaps what she supposed was the murderous Guatemalan army was actually just a group of good-natured Contras who got lost. Or perhaps Menchu, like Anita Hill, is a deluded psychotic who made up the whole story because she wants to feel oppressed.

A double standard appears in D'Souza's treatment of "values." On the one hand, he criticizes Stanford's Cultures, Ideas, and Values sequence because he feels that its "[v]alues [suggest] a certain relativism, in which various systems of thought [are] considered on a roughly equal plane." On the other hand, D'Souza attacks minority students because "like Rigoberta Menchu, they tend to see their lives collectively as a historical melodrama involving the forces of good and evil, in which they are cast as secular saints and martyrs."(242) Once again, Menchu is left in the lurch: If she says all values are equal, she is an evil relativist, but if she says that some things are right and wrong, she is being "melodramatic."

D'Souza fails to see that a description of another culture can be both representative and critical. Much of Menchu's book is devoted to explaining the life of Guatemalan Indians and how this way of life is being destroyed. (D'Souza, of course, calls this "mundane." A Great Book would never stoop to describe how people actually live.) Menchu does not make moral judgments; she explains her culture without condemning or defending it. Not surprisingly, she reserves her condemnation for the people who are killing her family and friends. Contrary to D'Souza's portrayal of her as a wacko- left-wing-feminist-Marxist, Menchu wants to preserve her people and their traditional culture.

The distortions of Dinesh D'Souza have, after the fact, been acknowledged. In his reply to the letters attacking his article, C. Vann Woodward repented his earlier views (he revises his essay in Patricia Aufderheide's anthology, BEYOND PC), declaring that D'Souza's "account of the nature of changes in the Stanford curriculum...turns out to be seriously inaccurate." Woodward notes that " [w]hatever the shortcomings of this book as literature, there proves to be nothing in it to justify D'Souza saying that she turned against European culture, renounced marriage and motherhood, and became a feminist and a Marxist." However, Woodward goes on to say, "The unasked question is how to justify the attention demanded for this interview taped in Paris in one week and adapted by the writer to read like an autobiography. Ms. Menchu was then twenty-three, an illiterate peasant woman from Guatemala. Her story is indeed a moving one of brutal oppression and horrors. But I am left with some unresolved doubts about the place given it in the new multicultural canon."(76)

Woodward does not tell us what these doubts are, and the impression he leaves of his biases is rather disturbing. Apparently, illiterate peasants from the Third World cannot be the source of good literature, particularly when their stories are merely "moving" accounts of "oppression and horrors." Does he yawn at the theme of oppression, believing it to be too trite and dull for his literary standards? These questions go unaddressed. Meanwhile, Woodward, like D'Souza, fails to state any legitimate objection to the book. Unfortunately, all the distortions of D'Souza's account distract us from an important question: Is I, Rigoberta Menchu a good book? Menchu's book is extremely readable and powerful, a quality lacking in most "left-wing" books. Stanford anthropologist Renato Rosaldo said books like Menchu's have led to "the most exciting teaching I've done in 19 years."

Perhaps the greatest irony is that Woodward's original fawning review, with no mention of his later retraction, appears at the top of the back cover of the paperback edition of Illiberal Education: "The most extensive critical study yet made of an academic convulsion... Agree with it or not, [this book] deserves serious attention." It's sad to see that a book filled with half-truths and lies is a best-seller which demands "serious attention," while a powerful book about human suffering is tossed away because of undefined "shortcomings."   Back to top...


Date: Fri, 4 Feb 1994 12:09:21 -0600 
From: "Lyle, Chester G." <cglyle@ilstu.edu> 
Subject: review: Dinesh D'Souza 

Review of Dinesh D'Souza, ILLIBERAL EDUCATION: THE POLITICS OF RACE AND SEX ON CAMPUS (The Free Press, 1991)

Reviewed by: Chet Lyle Illinois State University 2/3/94

Political correctness is sweeping college campuses in the United States, with some horrifying results. Dinesh D'Souza's ILLIBERAL EDUCATION gives powerful evidence for the claim that the current trend on campus towards multiculturalism and political correctness is ill-conceived and sometimes self-defeating. D'Souza's anecdotal style grows tiresome, but the scenes he describes are occasionally frightening. D'Souza sees this trend taking hold in all aspects of university life, but focuses primarily on the admissions office, the classroom, and student life on campus.

Perhaps the strongest arguments made in ILLIBERAL EDUCATION concern the injustice that results from proportional representation admissions systems. These, D'Souza maintains, are unfair to all involved. Highly qualified Asian-American students are rejected admission to Berkeley because they are already overrepresented there, but black and Hispanic students are admitted with SAT scores that are much lower than those required for white students. Black and Hispanic students admitted to Berkeley (and most such universities) through racial quota programs are not academically qualified to be there, and are more likely to drop out or do poorly in their studies than are students who are admitted through purely academic qualifications. This is unfair to affirmative action students, he maintains, because they probably would have a better college experience at a less selective school such as UC-Davis or UC-Irvine. Even for the academically qualified, the first months of the college experience are filled with doubts, frustrations, and anxieties that are difficult to overcome. When students have additional doubts concerning whether or not they academically deserve to be there in the first place, there is even greater difficulty overcoming these fears.

The diversity that affirmative action programs are intended to achieve is undermined, when minority students are given such a feeling of isolation and despair. They are forced into segregation from the rest of the university community. They are most comfortable in the company of other minorities who are dealing with the same difficulties that they are experiencing. There is a great deal of irony here. In the name of diversity, we are faced with minority communities that tend to separate themselves from the rest of the student body.

As D'Souza points out, the concept of group justice is dangerous. It requires that individuality be sacrificed. There is little personal accountability attributed to the beneficiaries of proportional representation programs, as well as little reward given to those who earn their way into the university by way of their grades in high school rather than by way of their skin color. The injustices that are committed against whites and Asian-Americans are all too obvious. The sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons, as hard- working white and Asian-American students are denied the opportunity to attend the college of their choice.

One topic that is noticeably lacking in ILLIBERAL EDUCATION is the breakdown of primary and secondary education in the inner-cities. Perhaps this is forgivable, as D'Souza's focus is on higher education, but if we are to examine affirmative action programs at the university level, we must also examine what made these programs necessary in the first place. D'Souza cites several statistics concerning the SAT scores of black students compared with those of whites and Asian- Americans, but he fails to explain the reasons behind the large differences among them. If a serious attempt is made to reform the education system in the inner-cities, then perhaps affirmative action would not be necessary at all. Not only would this alternative to affirmative action allow more minorities to attend the university based on merit, but it would ensure that virtually all academically qualified students could get into the colleges of their choice. This is certainly a viable alternative that D'Souza has missed.

D'Souza's arguments against changes in the traditional canon are somewhat weaker, but they are nonetheless convincing. He observes that courses that focus on multiculturalism are typically merely a facade for the indoctrination into other politically correct ideologies, such as the acceptance of feminism, homosexuality, etc. He agrees that race and gender issues should be discussed in the classroom, but claims that the "Great Books of the Western World" will suffice for such discussions. He denies that there is any reality in the concept of a "European male perspective." Nobody, he says, has of yet been able to specifically identify what that perspective is.

The diversity that non-Western courses attempt to promote is itself a Western ideal. D'Souza points out the fact that many non- Western cultures, such as Muslim and Eastern Asian cultures, have long standing traditions of male superiority and ethno-centrism. Others regard homosexuality as evil. These points raise serious questions about whether courses in multiculturalism will produce students who are more accepting of diversity, unless they are accompanied by an indoctrination into political correctness.

The changes that Stanford has implemented are the focus of D'Souza's investigation of "politically correct curricula." In 1989, Stanford made an attempt at a new set of required courses, entitled "Cultures, Ideas, and Values." D'Souza presents the CIV curriculum as a radical change in the traditional canon, but the reading list still includes many of the classics that D'Souza holds so dearly. His own recommendations as to how racial and gender issues should be taught using these books are not as different from the undertaking at Stanford as he would like us to believe. He recommends that students should learn "the basic issues of equality and human difference, through a carefully chosen set of classic texts that deal powerfully with those issues," but he admits that non-Western readings would be appropriate "when they address questions relevant to the subject matter" (254). A quick glance at page 70 will show the similarities between these two proposals. Stanford's outline for the CIV program includes Aristotle, Shakespeare, Columbus, Melville, and Freud, as well as (under the category of "Culture") a film on religion and healing from the U.S.

To what extent can a few courses in Buddhist philosophy or East Indian literature give a college student a new perspective and understanding of the world? By the time they graduate, many students will have only vague recollections of the required courses that were outside of their major. How close will any course that attempts such a grand undertaking as the presentation of a view of the world from a particular perspective come to achieving its goals? At the same time, the objections to such minimal requirements such as those in Stanford's CIV curriculum seem grossly overstated. The danger does not lie in what books a student is required to read or what courses a student must take. Rather, the focus should be on the way that these courses are taught. Some students, for example, may be required to read MEIN KAMPF for a political science, history, or psychology course. Unless this required text is accompanied by instruction that the National Socialist ideology is the only correct view, there is no danger of a new Hitler Youth. The frightening aspect of the current situation is that many required non-Western and women's studies courses are indeed taught in an ideological manner. If students don't agree with the particular view of the text being studied (or of the professor), they are told, it is only because they have been distorted by their Western perspective. If diversity is the true goal of such courses, then perhaps even the most Euro-centric males should have their say in the classroom. Only the free discussion of ideas can lead to a true confrontation of racist and sexist views. An indoctrination into multiculturalism cannot.

It is difficult to assess D'Souza's descriptions of various incidents that have occurred on campus. He presents some of the racist and sexist remarks that have been uttered on campus in such a way that he almost expects the reader to think that they are funny, rather than disgusting. Nevertheless, his arguments for free speech on campus are convincing, if ill-intended.

Some universities are giving minorities the impression that they need to be protected. By limiting speech, these universities, in effect, are saying to minorities, "We know how sensitive you are, and we know that any racial epithet is going to make your college life too tough to handle. But don't worry. We're here to protect you." In doing so they encourage dependency of minorities on the system, instead of teaching them that racist and sexist remarks are things that they will probably encounter for the rest of their lives, especially when they leave the university. Limiting racist and sexist speech will do nothing to solve the problem of hate crimes on campus, nor will it diminish the internal feelings of hatred and bigotry that its potential offenders harbor. Although racist students may obey all speech codes while they are on campus, they may eventually leave the university with stronger racist feelings because none of their views have ever been challenged. There are those who will always hate anybody who is different than they. Silencing their opinions does nothing to stop their beliefs. The best way to fight racist and sexist speech is to get it out into public debate so that all may see how ugly it is. As the old saying goes: "Turn on the light, and the roaches will scatter."

Despite some minor shortcomings, ILLIBERAL EDUCATION provides an in-depth look into current trends that may have far-reaching effects. Today's movements on campus find their roots in the campus uprisings of the 1960's and 1970's. Who is to say where tomorrow will take the university? Perhaps today's trend will be tomorrow's legacy. If we are concerned about where the university is going, then ILLIBERAL EDUCATION gives us a probing analysis of what could possibly be the future of higher education. Back to top...


Date: Tue, 8 Feb 1994 00:28:06 -0600 
From: "BarryM.Dank " <DSURF@beach1.csulb.edu> 
Subject: RE: review: Dinesh D'Souza 

   

Barry M. Dank Dept. of Sociology California State U. Long Beach, Calif. dsurf@beach1.csulb.edu voice mail: 310-985-4236

D'Souza commits a number of sins, many of them sins of omission, but so do those who have a multicultural(mc) perspective as well as your reviewers.

In terms of race, both D'Souza and his critics take a conservative position. Both sides adhere to the traditional American racial classificatory scheme, what I call the rel, racial exclusionary law. That is they see America composed of distinct, if you will, pure racial categories. Our racial classification system is seen as being a given, not subject to change; a system into which all individuals can be easily placed.

In this system, both for D'souza and the multiculturalists, they see an American society, albeit a mc society for the MCers, without multicultural Americans. MC Americans simply do not exist. I would argue that it is politically incorrect to have a MC identity, and D'Souza suffers from American cultural blindness in terms of not seeing this as a form of political correctness.

I am on a campus that is extraordinarily diverse, extraordinarily multicultural. There are numerous students, I'm sure in the thousands, who come from interracial backgrounds;nmany students who are dating/ mating interracially. But in terms of the social/educational/legal categories which are part of the campus lexicon, these students do not exist. They have no home. Academic disciplines are discrete and "pure", diversity courses generally do not deal with multiracial persons and relationships. Student groups are generally very separatist. If you are multi or biracial, one must choose.

The one-drop rule, part Black you are Black, is accepted by the Afrocentrists as well as the critics of political correctness. The "reality" that if you are the offspring of a white and black parent then you are in an interracial relationship with your white parent is accepted. Persons, particularly if you are Black, who are dating/marrying interracially are seen as selling out. Changing your group/racial identity to a multiracial one is seen as politically incorrect. Individuals are told they cannot deny their past at the same time they are pressured to deny their multiracial roots.

The MCists continually reaffirm the traditional and bizarre system that has its roots in American slavery; slave owners invoked the one drop rule so that their offspring from their female slaves could not invoke their white lineage in order to emancipate themselves from slavery. This ultimately led to the bizarre sexual-racial system we have in the U.S. with its fear, as they used to say in the South, of mongrelization. Bell certainly avoids dealing with this whole dynamic. The only book to my knowledge on your reading list that directly deals with the sexual component is by Cornel West, RACE MATTERS, but there are some excellent books on this subject, some quite new, that are generally omitted in academic courses such as your own. Don't misunderstand me; I think your course is a great course- the whole review and on-line aspect is wonderful, but the course does suffer from a form of cultural amnesia, that is widespread in academia. Here is a short list of books worth reading in this area

F. James Davis, WHO IS BLACK? ONE NATION'S DEFINTION, Penn State U. Press, 1991 (excellent overview, historical perspective)

Kathy Russell, et. al, THE COLOR COMPLEX, 1992, HBJ

Yehudi Webster, THE RACIALIZATION OF AMERICA, St. Martin, 1992, (difficult reading, he needs a better editor, but worth the struggle)

Maria P.P. Root,ed, RACIALLY MIXED PEOPLE IN AMERICA, Sage, 1992, (absolutely required reading for anyone interested in race in America)

Mark and Gail Mathabane, LOVE IN BLACK AND WHITE, Harper, 1992(paper) (One of my verry favorite books; Mark is the author of KAFFIR BOY, a classic book about growing up Black in South Africa under apartheid, and he brings extraodinary insight to the American race system.}

Any book or article by Itabari Njeri.

Thanks for your attention.

Barry     Back to top...


Date: Tue, 8 Feb 1994 02:40:43 -0600 
From: PALLYM@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU 
Subject: commentary:d'souza 

Illiberal Education by Dinesh D'Souza Reviewed by John K. Wilson and Chet Lyle A comment by Marcia Pally -- New York University

Dinesh D'Souza is absolutely right. Without the nefarious effects of affirmative action, there would be no unusual people on campus (for none would get there on her own) or unusual books (for none would get there on its own) and no white man's guilt (for none would get there on its own). White men would not be pestered to practice what their great books preach: that a marketplace of ideas is the best chance at truth and just government. They would not be badgered by such esoterica as the notion that studying the globe's cultures is not an endorsement of them or of censorship. Most importantly, they would not be harangued to handle more than they're up to. The average (East) Indian child knows her village language and culture, those of her market town and provincial capital, the official ones of her country and, if possessed of schooling or a tv, the Western world as well. But white American men cannot be so burdened. They should attempt but one cultural canon, and with this counsel D'Souza has made a key contribution to science: the Man is dumber than anyone else. I have but one question: if D'Souza has read so little, why are we reading his book? Back to top...


Date: Wed, 9 Feb 1994 10:07:31 -0600 
From: john karl wilson <jkw3@amber.uchicago.edu> 
Subject: Re: COMMENTARY on D'Souza 

Commentary on D'Souza and Berkeley John K. Wilson University of Chicago  

One of the issues about D'Souza's book brought up by Lyle and Huck is his discussion about affirmative action at Berkeley. D'Souza's very deceptive about the situation there. For one thing, the discrimination against Asian-Americans which occurred at Berkeley and other leading universities during the mid-1980s was not a product of affirmative action; it was caused by the white backlash against affirmative action. As Asian-Americans began to beat out whites for purely merit-based positions, and the numbers of blacks and Hispanics increased, whites turned to discrimination to increase their numbers.

Also, Berkeley is an extremely unrepresentative university. Huck wonders how so many could flunk out when there is grade inflation. The truth is that at most leading universities, the graduation rate is 90-95% for whites, about 80-85% for blacks. (Another fact: although the five-year graduation rate for blacks at Berkeley is only 37%, the six-year rate is over 50%. See the American Prospect, Winter 1993)

The whole mismatch theory, as developed by Thomas Sowell, is deeply flawed because it assumes that blacks would graduate at higher rates in less prestigious universities (which, however, have much lower grad rates).

Finally, the question of standards is a red herring. Preferences in admissions don't have anything to do with grading, etc. And at Berkeley during the 1980s, when D'Souza complains about affirmative action destroying the university's standards, the average SAT score increased 50 points.

I have a small plug here: I'm the editor of Democratic Culture, the newsletter of Teachers for a Democratic Culture, a group led by Gerald Graff which tries to dispel some of the illusions about "PC" created by people like D'Souza. If you're interested in getting a free copy of our latest newsletter please send me an email message with your mailing address to: jkw3@amber.uchicago.edu   Back to top...


Date: Wed, 23 Feb 1994 10:11:34 -0600 
From: "Lyle, Chester G." <cglyle@ilstu.edu> 
Subject: Re: Commentary: D'Souza 

Comments on Marcia Pally's commentary on D'Souza:

Perhaps it is true that without affirmative action there would be "no white man's guilt," but the question of whether or not there should be remains unanswered. As D'Souza points out, the concept of group justice diminishes personal responsibility, as well as the potential for accomplishment. While particular white men may certainly be punished for certain actions (although not for beliefs), the general idea of "white man's guilt" is not something that should be advocated. It is ironic that D'Souza, a non-white himself, is accused of perpetuating the "white man's perspective."

As to the question of why we are reading D'Souza's book, I think D'Souza himself may even say that we should be reading the classics instead. I think that the best answer is Pally's own assessment of what the "great books"of "white men" preach: "[A] marketplace of ideas is the best chance at truth..."     Back to top...


Date: Thu, 24 Feb 1994 23:57:39 -0600 
From: liz mcculloch <LIZ@nervm.nerdc.ufl.edu> 
Subject: Re: Commentary: D'Souza 

Guilt is not a terribly productive feeling; we tend to wallow and let it paralyze us. But it seems to require very firmly attached blinders to ignore the many ways in which we (whites) benefit from our whiteness and the disadvantaging of various minorities, even if we wish they weren't disadvantaged, and that we could get rid of any privilege we haven't earned. If we acknowledge all our invisible privileges we will then probably feel it necessary to support policies that give equal advantages to other groups. A wonderful article on this is in the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism - Martha Mahoney replying to Catherine McKinnon's "What Is a White Woman Anyway" Mahoney's article is actually focussed on something else but does a great job on our invisible privilege, drawing on another writer (I don't have the article here at home; will share citation with whoever wants it.) Elizabeth McCulloch Liz@nervm.nerdc.ufl.edu PS. I dropped in on this bulletin board about a week ago, not clear what's going on - ie is this a course? open to all? do you really want 10000 kibitzers? Back to top...


Date: Mon, 6 Mar 1995 08:19:02 -0600 
From: "laura field" <llfield@gopher> 
Subject: Review: ILLIBERAL EDUCATION (Field) 

Review of Dinesh D'Souza Reviewed by Laura Field, llfield@ilstu.edu Illinois State University 3/5/95 The process within the educational system which creates unequal opportunity along the lines of race, socioeconomic status, and gender are deep-rooted and not easily changed. Largely for this reason, there have been efforts since the 1960s to compensate for these processes. In ILLIBERAL EDUCATION, author Dinesh D'Souza presents an analysis of how higher education in America is handling the issues of educational opportunity and equality. But his work does not simply reiterate the traditional arguments surrounding affirmative action. Instead, he explores how educational equality has severely altered the attitudinal and ideological environment on American campuses today.

D'Souza boldy asserts that multicultural activism has divided many students, faculty, and administrators. It is stated that in this era of "political correctness" that classroom lectures, the use of language, and even the style and demeanor of professors and administrators reflects how free speech is routinely being repressed. Describing universities such as Berkeley, Stanford, and Duke as advocates for preferential treatment and sensitivity education, their commitment to multiculturalism and diversity is described as undermining higher education. It is also expressed that the enforcement of politically correct attitudes is a form of censorship that has created a new epidemic of bigotry among young people (xix). In his analysis, D'Souza argues that affirmative action has not been the solution for those students who are inadequately prepared for the challenges of the college curriculum. Affirmative action was originally designed to involve capable but disadvantaged minority students by giving them a break on formal admission requirements. But in this era of political correctness, American universities are described as less concerned with academic capabilities and more concerned with achieving diversity, proportional representation, and multicultural progress. The argument is that the admission of any student into college who is not prepared can only harm the self-perception of that individual. In summarizing this point he states that American universities are too willing to sacrifice the future happiness of many young minority students in order to achieve diversity standards.

D'Souza also describes how multiculturalism and diversity has directed many universities towards reorganizing and even reestablishing new curriculums. Claiming to reverse the high dropout and failure rates, young faculty members at Stanford have established an alliance with campus minority and feminist groups to push for a new cirriculum: one which represents a diversity of ethnic cultures and values. Those advocating this change want to see less of a "white perspective" and more of a curriculum consisting of black, Latino, or Third World ideology. The goal is to help improve the scholastic performance of any minority student who may be academically struggling. It is asserted that activists in support of this new curriculum are not calling for simply a more diverse reading list, but for departments to espouse a curriculum that will mainly reflect a black, a female, or a Third World perspective. If implemented, it is argued that many of the traditional writers and theorists would be abandoned not because their work is outdated, racist, or sexist, but because the authors are "white males" who have written from a "white male perspective". This curriculum change will not revise or improve "equal oppurtunity" for students (which is defined as an outcome where all groups perform equally well), nor will this eliminate group differences. It is argued that this change will only increase the divisions and bitterness between various students and facility members. D'Souza makes this point because some of the subjects lack minority or female writers and theorists. Therefore, the process of learning could be severely jeopardized.

It is also asserted that multiculturalism and diversity had embedded separatism among university students. This phenomena has mainly occured due to the increasing amount of racial and ethnic groups or associations offered on campus. This goes against the original intent of affirmative action. Affirmative action was an attempt to integrate diverse groups in hopes of enhancing tolerance and understanding. College campuses are one of the few communities within American society where integration is highly capable of succeeding. Yet, universities are allowing and even subsidizing minority institutions, which has the capability of actually increasing the amount of seperatism on campuses.

The author also claims that university leaders have justified separatism by describing it to be a model of "pluralism", which he insists is not the same thing as integration. Integration implies the merging of various ethnic groups into a common whole, which does not contribute to diversity. By contrast, pluralism implies the enhancement of distinct ethnic subcultures (i.e. African American, Hispanic, etc.). The arguement is that group seperatism is just another way for subtle racism to exist on college campuses. He further adds that there is no legitimate reason for racism to even be a problem at universities. This statement is supported by the assertation that most white students initially arriving on campus are very tolerant but have uninformed views about racism. Their views may be the result of having limited interaction with other minority students before they enter into college. Nevertheless, most white students are described as being committed to equal rights regardless of race or background. D'Souza further argues this point by stating that political correctness has molded negative attitudes about mutliculturalism and diversity among many white students. He claims that the increasing amount of seperatism and suppression of independent thought is responsible for this growing amount of negativity. Futhermore, students are beginning to recognize how the activist agenda is leading universities to promote unfairness and double standards. But rather than speak their minds, white students refrain from publicly voicing their opinions for fear of being criticized as "insensitive" or "racist" (p237). This phenomena is described as having created a "new separatism" and a lack of friendship and trust between black and white students.

D'Souza promotes the idea that under the current system, universities are failing to promote educational equality. It is proposed that to eliminate educational inequality, affirmative action policies must be altered. He firmly argues that universities should retain preferential treatment in admissions for those that have been historically placed at a disadvantage. However, it is suggested that preferential treatment should concentrate on socioeconomic disadvantages rather then race. Reform is needed because equality among the races cannot be achieved if minorities continue to be directly linked to affirmative action.

The author also proposes that universities should not support or sanction groups that practice minority self-segregation. Groups such as the "Black Student Association" or the "Latino Political Club" only assist in promoting separateness on campuses. He also states that universities should only support groups that are founded around intellectual or cultural interests. Universities should not support groups based upon race, gender, or sexual preference. He supports this point by stating that "this is congruent with the purpose of a liberal education, to foster and exchange the development of ideas" (253). 'Souza further proposes that the college curricula could easily include and even require courses that offer the basic issues of equality and human differences. He agrees that non-western classics belong in the curriculum when it is relevant to the subject matter. Yet, he disagrees when they are presented in a way which distorts and serves only political ends. It is stressed that "if western classics are abandoned, there is a risk of losing a thorough familiarity with the founding principles of one's own culture" (256). He supports a plan of study which would provide an opportunity to concentrate on cultural differences, without jeopardizing the merits of traditional curriculum. D'Souza's work has been criticized by many who believe his viewpoints are racist and sexist. But if one objectively assesses his writing, it seems difficult to reach that conclusion. He does not attempt to take sides or to place blame on any one particular group. He even admits that for educational equality to ever be achieved, we need special consideration for those that have historically suffered. He does argue, however, that the rules under the current system are not working. And since they are not working, activists have begun to push even harder for radical changes: which has led to the censorship of attitudes, extreme multicultural activism, and a new epidemic of bigotry among some students across the United States. Many of the cases that D'Souza presents to support his arguments are undoubtedly extreme examples. Yet, even with these exaggerated illustrations, it remains difficult to refute the fact that affirmative action has faced a great deal of difficulty and opposition. Futhermore, simply because he has chosen to discuss some of these existing problems does not provide evidence that his viewpoints are racist or sexist. What it does provide, however, is support for his argument that we can no longer openly analyze or discuss the issues surrounding discrimination, without the threat of creating a hostile enivronment. D'Souza is accurate when he profoundly states that "the purpose of a liberal education is to foster the development and exchange of ideas"(253). Obviously the only way we can hope to ever resolve the problem of discrimination, is if we can promote an environment where conflicting opinions are welcomed and openly discussed. Separatism and silence can only impair our ability to improve prejudicial attitudes and actions. Unfortunately, it seems that contemporary universities are avoiding the reponsibility of promoting an environment where students or faculty feel comfortable engaging in issues of principle. Back to top...


Date: Mon, 6 Mar 1995 08:27:11 -0600 
From: "Andrea Kim Addy" <akaddy@ilstu.edu> 
Subject: review: ILLIBERAL EDUCATION(addy) 

D'Souza, Dinesh: Illiberal Education. (Vintage Books, 1991)  

Today it is almost impossible to avoid hearing or seeing the words affirmative action. Everyone's talking about this concept and Dinesh D'Souza is no acception. As a matter of fact, affirmative action is the main theme throughout his book, Illiberal Education. The ideas presented in this book tie directly into affirmative action. D'Souza brings to light some serious issues in our universities, but he explains them in a very problematic manner, which is not only hard to swallow, but almost impossible to believe.

One of the issues that D'Souza discusses is the admissions policy that many universities follow. This admissions policy involves a double standard for "minority" students and white and Asians students. D'Souza gives several examples of this policy. One example he gave was at Ivy League colleges. These schools are the most competitive schools in the nation and their average freshman incoming grades were close to 4.0 and their SATs were between 1250 and 1300. Many of these schools admit black, Hispanic and American Indian students with grade averages of 2.5 and SATs of 700 to 800(D'Souza, pp. 3). Some schools even go beyond the preferential reatment of admissions for black students, Pennsylvania State University even offered financial incentives to blacks for maintaining minimum grades. D'Souza went into more detail and dedicated an entire chapter to to the admissions policy at University of California at Berkeley. This chapter explained how affirmative action programs, such as the preferential treatment program, were supposed to be inclusive of all students and it seemed the program was more exclusive. D'Souza places a lot of blame of preferential programs on the university officals. He says that they feel guilty about the underrepresentation of "minorities", especially blacks, so they try to compensate by setting aside for a certain amount of "minorities". D'Souza also mentions the pressure that is placed on university officials by politicans and student activist groups. So in order to try to keep everyone happy, they lower their admission requirements. The reason for the double standards and the preferential treatment program, according to the universities, is to increase diversity on the college campuses. Berkeley wanted more diverse viewpoints in the classroom, so they would bring in more "minorities". The problem with this concept is that D'Souza presents this idea in a stereotypical way. He uses Jesse Choper, dean of Boalt Hall, the Berkeley law school, as a source to give an example. Choper said that it is possible for black lawyers to be able to relate to black clients in a way that whites cannot. And if this is true, there is something to wanting to turn out a certain number of black lawyers(D'Souza, pp. 53). Choper even takes it a step further and gives an example of a black student who grew up in tenements having a different understanding of the landlord-tenement law. Choper says that maybe such a student would be more likely to opt for a career defending the interests of the poor(D'Souza, pp. 53). This example is stereotypical because Choper is basically saying that a black person is more likely to be poor. D'Souza even goes as far as to say that not only do blacks tend to come from poorer families, blacks want to escape the hardships of their earlier lives. Instead of getting a job as a public defender or legal services, blacks go where the money is. D'Souza feels that this undermines the reasons for affirmative action as a creator of lawyers with black perspectives, committed to serving the black community(D'Souza, pp. 54). He is saying that instead of helping poor families , we're turning our backs on them and contributing to their poor economic status. It appeared to me that D'Souza is saying that many of the black lawyers that exist are due to affirmative action.

Multiculturalism is another issue D'Souza talks about. On this issue, it seems D'Souza has basically the same argument he had against the admissions policy. He feels that multiculturalism is only hurting and destroying our universities, not helping them. He states that if we change the curriculum to allow for some "minority" perspectives, then the "minority" students would do better and the other students would suffer. D'Souza uses Stanford University as his example. Stanford wanted to change the core curriculum, which involved mostly the European, male, heterosexual perspective and transform the curriculum to a new sequence of books called the "Cultures, Ideas,and Values" (CIV). This approach would include the viewpoints of Western ideas, but also of African, Japanese, Indian and Middle Eastern(D'Souza, pp. 61). On March 31, 1988, the Stanford Faculty Senate voted to change the Western culture course to a new three-course sequence called "Cultures, Ideas, and Values". D'Souza again brings up the fact that the university administrators are letting the pressure of politics effect their decisions.

D'Souza also talks about two major problems with non-Western curriculum. The first major problem is non-Western curriculum is getting pushed because of the pressure to declare "minority" groups perspectives as alternatives to Western ideas. He states the idea of a non-Western curriculum came in the aftermath of the civil rights, homosexual and feminists rights movements and therefore this is only an afterthought to those movements. The second problem of non-Western curriculum is there aren't a significant amount of non-Western figures to discuss. As far as the first problem is concerned, I don't think just because the movement for non-Western core came after the movements of the 1960s and 1970s, this demand shouldn't be taken seriously. I look at the CIV as a continuation of the stereotype, not as a last minute thought. D'Souza's second problem does bring up a point. There is a lack of non-Western people to talk about, but that doesn't mean that the CIV program shouldn't exist at all. What it does mean is that possibly the proper research hasn't been done to locate non-Western ideas and maybe the department should do more research to find other perspectives. His problem with multiculturalism stems from diversity which comes from affirmative action.

D'Souza's running theme through the entire book was affirmative action and how it's destroying our universities. I agree with D'Souza, but for different reasons. D'Souza's problem with affirmative action is based stereotypes and generalizations. He stereotypes "minorities" as first being blacks and Hispanics and secondly, as being poor and uneducated. He supports his arguements with stories from people and their common opinions. In these stories, a broad generalization about "minorities" are sometimes made and he also uses extremes. It's either radical or passive, he never presents the middle ground. My problem with affirmative action in the universities is it seems to be a compensation. In a way, I see this problem in direct correlation to William Ryan's idea of blaming the victim. I say this because the universities are is essence, blaming "minority" students for being less fortunate, so the universities respond with Ryan's idea of "unintended distortion of reality". This is the idea that people may think and believe that they are helping, but they're really not. The university officials feel that since "minorities" are deprived of the proper education, they will compensate those students when they get to college by "helping" them get into a university. This is not the way to solve the problem of unequal education. By the time students, who are unprepared, get to the college level, affirmative action won't help. The problem needs to be dealt with when the student is in grammar school. Proper education needs to begin with kids when they are first starting school and not waiting until they get to higher levels.

Another problem I have with D'Souza's book is the "minority". He starts by labeling "minorities" as blacks, Hispanics, feminists, homosexuals and American Indians, but by the end of the book, D'Souza seemed to be referring to blacks and Hispanics. The term "minority" is problematic to begin with because it's misleading. This happens because when "minority" is used, it's not always made clear what is meant by its usage. Minority could be used in terms of numerical value, or it could mean race, religion, or culture. It could also mean gender or power economically, socially, or politically. As alternatives to this word, I think oppressed group could be used because it is a little bit more specific or even just explaining who you're referring to would be a little better than "minority" group.

D'Souza's problem with the admissions policy, multiculturalism and affirmative action rules of universities does make an overall good point, but his arguements are weak. In his last chapter, he suggests a few proposals. These proposals are weak and don't offer any new ideas. These suggestions are the same ideas with different names and still having the same problems. After reading this book, I couldn't help but to wonder how D'Souza made it as far as he did. How does he know he wasn't a beneficiary of the very program he criticized and for the same stereotypical reasons he has labeled others. Back to top...


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 1995 17:31:59 -0600 
From: "laura field" <llfield@gopher> 
Subject: Review: ILLIBERAL EDUCATION (Field) 

Review of Dinesh D'Souza Reviewed by Laura Field, llfield@ilstu.edu Illinois State University 3/5/95

The process within the educational system which creates unequal opportunity along the lines of race, socioeconomic status, and gender are deep-rooted and not easily changed. Largely for this reason, there have been efforts since the 1960s to compensate for these processes. In ILLIBERAL EDUCATION, author Dinesh D'Souza presents an analysis of how higher education in America is handling the issues of educational opportunity and equality. But his work does not simply reiterate the traditional arguments surrounding affirmative action. Instead, he explores how educational equality has severely altered the attitudinal and ideological environment on American campuses today.

D'Souza boldy asserts that multicultural activism has divided many students, faculty, and administrators. It is stated that in this era of "political correctness" that classroom lectures, the use of language, and even the style and demeanor of professors and administrators reflects how free speech is routinely being repressed. Describing universities such as Berkeley, Stanford, and Duke as advocates for preferential treatment and sensitivity education, their commitment to multiculturalism and diversity is described as undermining higher education. It is also expressed that the enforcement of politically correct attitudes is a form of censorship that has created a new epidemic of bigotry among young people (xix). In his analysis, D'Souza argues that affirmative action has not been the solution for those students who are inadequately prepared for the challenges of the college curriculum. Affirmative action was originally designed to involve capable but disadvantaged minority students by giving them a break on formal admission requirements. But in this era of political correctness, American universities are described as less concerned with academic capabilities and more concerned with achieving diversity, proportional representation, and multicultuppiness of many young minority students in order to achieve diversity standards.

D'Souza also describes how multiculturalism and diversity has directed many universities towards reorganizing and even reestablishing new curriculums. Claiming to reverse the high dropout and failure rates, young faculty members at Stanford have established an alliance with campus minority and feminist groups to push for a new cirriculum: one which represents a diversity of ethnic cultures and values. Those advocating this change want to see less of a "white perspective" and more of a curriculum consisting of black, Latino, or Third World ideology. The goal is to help improve the scholastic performance of any minority student who may be academically struggling. It is asserted that activists in support of this new curriculum are not calling for simply a more diverse reading list, but for departments to espouse a curriculum that will mainly reflect a black, a female, or a Third World perspective. If implemented, it is argued that many of the traditional writers and theorists would be abandoned not because their work is outdated, racist, or sexist, but because the authors are "white males" who have written from a "white male perspective". This curriculum change will not revise or improve "equal oppurtunity" for students (which is defined as an outcome where all groups perform equally well), nor will this eliminate group differences. It is argued that this change will only increase the divisions and bitterness between various students and facility members. D'Souza makes this point because some of the subjects lack minority or female writers and theorists. Therefore, the process of learning could be severely jeopardized.

It is also asserted that multiculturalism and diversity had embedded separatism among university students. This phenomena has mainly occured due to the increasing amount of racial and ethnic groups or associations offered on campus. This goes against the original intent of affirmative action. Affirmative action was an attempt to integrate diverse groups in hopes of enhancing tolerance and understanding. College campuses are one of the few communities within American society where integration is highly capable of succeeding. Yet, universities are allowing and even subsidizing minority institutions, which has the capability of actually increasing the amount of seperatism on campuses.

The author also claims that university leaders have justified separatism by describing it to be a model of "pluralism", which he insists is not the same thing as integration. Integration implies the merging of various ethnic groups into a common whole, which does not contribute to diversity. By contrast, pluralism implies the enhancement of distinct ethnic subcultures (i.e. African American, Hispanic, etc.). The arguement is that group seperatism is just another way for subtle racism to exist on college campuses. He further adds that there is no legitimate reason for racism to even be a problem at universities. This statement is supported by the assertation that most white students initially arriving on campus are very tolerant but have uninformed views about racism. Their views may be the result of having limited interaction with other minority students before they enter into college. Nevertheless, most white students are described as being committed to equal rights regardless of race or background.

D'Souza further argues this point by stating that political correctness has molded negative attitudes about mutliculturalism and diversity among many white students. He claims that the increasing amount of seperatism and suppression of independent thought is responsible for this growing amount f negativity. Futhermore, students are beginning to recognize how the activist agenda is leading universities to promote unfairness and double standards. But rather than speak their minds, white students refrain from publicly voicing their opinions for fear of being criticized as "insensitive" or "racist" (p237). This phenomena is described as having created a "new separatism" and a lack of friendship and trust between black and white students.

D'Souza promotes the idea that under the current system, universities are failing to promote educational equality. It is proposed that to eliminate educational inequality, affirmative action policies must be altered. He firmly argues that universities should retain preferential treatment in admissions for those that have been historically placed at a disadvantage. However, it is suggested that preferential treatment should concentrate on socioeconomic disadvantages rather then race. Reform is needed because equality among the races cannot be achieved if minorities continue to be directly linked to affirmative action.

The author also proposes that universities should not support or sanction groups that practice minority self-segregation. Groups such as the "Black Student Association" or the "Latino Political Club" only assist in promoting separateness on campuses. He also states that universities should only support groups that are founded around intellectual or cultural interests. Universities should not support groups based upon race, gender, or sexual preference. He supports this point by stating that "this is congruent with the purpose of a liberal education, to foster and exchange the development of ideas" (253).

D'Souza further proposes that the college curricula could easily include and even require courses that offer the basic issues of equality and human differences. He agrees that non-western classics belong in the curriculum when it is relevant to the subject matter. Yet, he disagrees when they are presented in a way which distorts and serves only political ends.  It is stressed that "if western classics are abandoned, there is a risk of losing a thorough familiarity with the founding principles of one's own culture" (256). He supports a plan of study which would provide an opportunity to concentrate on cultural differences, without jeopardizing the merits of traditional curriculum.

D'Souza's work has been criticized by many who believe his viewpoints are racist and sexist. But if one objectively assesses his writing, it seems difficult to reach that conclusion. He does not attempt to take sides or to place blame on any one particular group. He even admits that for educational equality to ever be achieved, we need special consideration for those that have historically suffered. He does argue, however, that the rules under the current system are not working. And since they are not working, activists have begun to push even harder for radical changes: which has led to the censorship of attitudes, extreme multicultural activism, and a new epidemic of bigotry among some students across the United States.

Many of the cases that D'Souza presents to support his arguments are undoubtedly extreme examples. Yet, even with these exaggerated illustrations, it remains difficult to refute the fact that affirmative action has faced a great deal of difficulty and opposition. Futhermore, simply because he has chosen to discuss some of these existing problems does not provide evidence that his viewpoints are racist or sexist. What it does provide, however, is support for his argument that we can no longer openly analyze or discuss the issues surrounding discrimination, without the threat of creating a hostile enivronment. D'Souza is accurate when he profoundly states that "the purpose of a liberal education is to foster the development and exchange of ideas"(253). Obviously the only way we can hope to ever resolve the problem of discrimination, is if we can promote an environment where conflicting opinions are welcomed and openly discussed. Separatism and silence can only impair our ability to improve prejudicial attitudes and actions. Unfortunately, it seems that contemporary universities are avoiding the reponsibility of promoting an environment where students or faculty feel comfortable engaging in issues of principle. Back to top...


Date: Mon, 17 Apr 1995 13:35:32 -0500 
From: wqy5784@acfcluster.nyu.edu
Subject: REVIEW:Dinesh D'Souza (Yang) 

Dinesh D'Souza, ILLIBERAL EDUCATION: THE POLITICS OF RACE AND SEX ON CAMPUS (The Free Press, 1991).

Reviewed by : Wen-chieh Yang wqy5784@acfcluster.nyu.edu 4/17/95 Under the principle and spirit of liberal education, illiberal treatment in practicing the disjointed policies of race and gender among American universities is a salient message conveyed by Dinesh D'Souza. The present eight-chapter volume documents incidents dealing with racial, sexual, and multicultural curriculum events at six universities - Berkeley, Stanford, Howard, Michigan, Duke, and Harvard. Critically questioning and examining these cases direct attention to examining the revolution in educational policies and re-evaluating the political impact on higher education. The three main issues are: 1) admissions considerations and an applicant's qualifications, 2) the appropriate curriculum for students of all cultural backgrounds, and 3) the essential factors for multicultural transformation on campus. In the final chapter, the author analyzes the controversies and presents his proposals for justice in multiracial and multicultural education.

In Berkeley's General Catalog, it states that "the university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or age in any of its policies." This is a contradictory and ironic statement under the guise of affirmative action. In reality, we can not deny that preferential treatment is in favor of Afro-Americans and Hispanics rather than other racial or ethnic groups. The policy, on one hand, increases the enrollment of minority populations to satisfy the goal of diversity on campus. On the other, it also provides that an applicant's academic qualifications will not be seriously concerned as long as he/she has the right racial identity. Unfortunately, however, the model of Berkeley's admissions policy becomes a powerful excuse for applying affirmative action around American universities to interpret the notion of equal opportunity. Clearly, the political biases of race are endorsed by higher education. The equality permits double standards for academic performances. The preferential admission policy creates an appearance of equality, but it does not solve the problem. By contrast, it ignites more controversies, conflicts, and separatism on campuses. Because the increasing diversity has various cultures, concepts, and perspectives, thus distinct needs and rights should be given to support the liberty and diversity.

For multiculturalism at Stanford, non-Western curriculum should gain greater importance as opposed to the predominate White-male culture. At Duke and other universities, criteria for faculty hiring and scholarship rewards should be equally distributed to minority and female groups in order to change the structure and content of the traditional authoritarian. Teachers at Harvard and elsewhere should be sensitive and aware of the use of language in lectures to prevent possible offenses to any race and gender. In Howard's incidents, justices and sympathy should be given to protesters who have the right and responsibility to search for their roots and heritage. Racial hostility should be eliminated. Racial equality should be guaranteed.

Although the censorship at Michigan creates plausible harmony, the exterior peace will easily be broken without the trust and understanding among aces. Today, liberty, equality and democracy are tested and challenged profoundly constant racial and sexual injustices. Solutions seem to calm down the turbulence on campuses, nevertheless, they actually pinpoint the istinction and imbalance of race and gender.

D'Souza's alternatives suggest valuable ideas to neutralize those overheated agendas in multiracial and multicultural confrontations. "Nonracial affirmative action" aims at preferential admissions for socioeconomically disadvantaged applicants. Instead of making decisions solely on the basis of race, it provides an equal opportunity for all potential students who are selected to exhibit their academic and extracurricular excellence. Coincidentally, racial disproportion is not excluded, but viewed with a positive meaning when minority applicants can prove their suffering from the socioeconomic disadvantages, such as slavery, segregation, and discrimination. For the liberal multicultural curricular, the author advocates a gradual, sequential study in Western and non-Western philosophy and literacy for freshmen to browse and understand basic issues of equality and human differences. The point is clear here that curriculum design is no longer depended on which culture, race or gender should be emphasized. Whereas, the culture, race or gender has devoted great knowledge and information for discussing a specific topic and for studying a subject matter in the classroom.

Finally, D'Souza's basic concern for multicultural transformation on campus is students integration for the purpose of sharing identically intellectual and cultural interest. Grouping students association by skin color or gender not only produces racial or sexual separatism but also heightens sentiments of cultural egalitarianism. Universities should encourage students to be exposed to diverse cultures, so as to foster and exchange ideas for the sake of liberal and multicultural objectives.

As an earnest scholar, D'Souza puts a decent care in investigating the on- going racial and sexual problems in American universities. Although the motivation of writing this book lies in arousing the awareness of the illiberal education for minority students, his contribution goes beyond the intention by offering comprehensive proposals for the existing problems. Higher education takes the responsibility for the liberal and impartial revolution of the society. It is very important that universities ensure the fundamental principles of freedom and equality for everyone who participates in the academic environment. Even though the author's propositions may not effectively influence any current policy, we hope that the prospect of racial equality, social justice, and minority advancement will occur on campuses.   Back to top...


Date: Fri, 5 May 1995 14:15:00 -0500 
From: Janelle Gordon jlgord@ilstu.edu
Subject: Review: ILLIBERAL EDUCATION (Janelle Gordon] 

ILLIBERAL EDUCATION Reviewed by: Janelle Gordon jlgord@ilstu.edu Illinois State University March 5, 1995

When people refer to the term "civil rights" they often mean the guarantees of equal treatment for blacks and other oppressed groups. Although such legal guarantees have greatly expanded since 1950, the problem is still a long way from arriving at a solution. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a great accomplishment. Yet, after it was passed it became apparent that certain accepted policies and procedures were barriers gainst full equality in employment. In reaction to this, President Johnson issued an executive orderreqiring federal contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicant's are employed ... without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." Later, the Equal Employment Act recognized educational opportunities to be as significant as those of employment. Therefore we have the term affirmative action which is a series of procedures, policies,and programs which are designed to overcome the present effects discrimination on members of 'minority groups." Minority classifications in the United States are: race, sex, age, religion. and national origin.

The country is in serious debate over this issue, and there are many who vehemently oppose affirmative action. One such person is Dinesh D'Souza a native Indian who came to the United States in 1978 to study at Dartmouth college in 1979. After graduating from Dartmouth, he spent two years at Princeton University as the editor of an alumni magazine. Since then he has researched and studied the revolution of minority victims at various campuses. His research is all accumulated in one book, ILLIBERAL EDUCATION where D'Souza strongly argues in oppositin to affirmative action. D'Souza's main theory is that affirmative action policies in college admissions as well as the higher education establishment's pursuit of a cirriculum that reflects some concept of multiculturalism, merely promotes ignorance and racism. D'Souza bases his research on the extensive detail of six major universities. `The Victim's Revolution on Campus,' the `Admissions Policy at Berkeley,'and the final chapter titled `Illiberal Education' are three of the chapters I feel compelled to discuss. D'Souza begins his dissertation spouting forth several myths. He titles this chapter `The Victim's Revolution on Campus.' According to D'Souza this "academic revolution" is the 'preferential treatment' that blacks and other oppressed groups receive in all facets of hifger education. He takes great pains to list all sorts of data on the percentage of black students admitted to universities (he especially focuses on the most competitive Ivy League schools) with significantly lower GPA's and SAT scores than whites and Asians.

Regarding the classroom D'Souza states that professors are discouraged from presenting factual materials that might provoke or irritate minority students. He uses the example of a law profesor at University of Virginia conducting his `sprightly' class on property law. As students responded he shot back rebuttals and jibes egging them on to more thoughtful answers. D'Souza states that it is professor Bergin's style to use colloqial jargon, so when a black student stumbled over a question, Bergin said "Can you dig it man?' Some students laughed and the class went on. The next day Bergin Came in and read an anonymous note calling him a "racist" and a "white supremist" on the account of the remark he had made. Bergin then gave the class a recital of his racial resume: he did pro bono work for the civil rights movement, was active in recruiting minorities to the university etc. Becoming so emotionally distraught professor Bergin left class. What D'Souza fails to point out is that the statement made by professor Bergin could and would easily be perceived as discriminatory because a statement like that is usually meant to be racist whether unconsciously or subconsciously.

D'Souza goes on to say that because of the "new revolution" on the American campus white students graduate from college with the idea that "I am a WASP who attended Choate school, Yale College, Yale law school, Princeton Graduate school..My lifelong hbit of looking, listening, feeling,and thinking as honestly as possible has led me to see that white, male-dominated, Western, European culture is the most destructive phenomenon in the known history of the planet... It is deeply hateful of life and committed to death; therefore, it is moving rapidly toward the destruction of itself and most other life forms on earth. And truly it deserves to die. . . We have to face our own individual and collective responsibility for what is happening- our greed, brutality, indifference, militarism, racism, sexism, blindness... Meanwhile, everything we have put into motion continues to endanger us more every day." D'Souza says that these sentiments are the sources of minority studies courses. Now honestly how many white students graduate from college thinking th is? None that I know of. These sentiments are obviously D'Sousa's own translation of what one will get out of a minority studies course (assuming that every individual learns the same thing from every minority-related course). The phrases of diversity, tolerance, multiculturalism, and pluralism are perennially on the lips of universty administrators, but only because these are the principles and slogans of the victim's revolution. D'Souza gives the impression that the oppressed groups in America are like children and that the slightest provocation will throw them into a tantrum raising all sorts of hell. So the best way to appease a child if you don't want to deal with him/her is to give them what they want so that they will just shutup. He is basically stating that the American people, especially university faculty are walking on eggshells in order not to `offend.' This is completely not true. The administration at universities are voicing their opinion as freely as they they once did. The only difference is that now one has to actually think before they speak.

D'Souza then talks about the much debated issue of the admissions policy at Berkeley. For D'Souza Berkely has lowered the importance of merit criteria in admissions in belief that such criteria reflected and reproduced the effects of discrimination. The merit criteria was in sharp conflict with that of proportional representation. There was an overwhemingly overrepresentation of Asian Americans and an underepresentation of Blacks and Latinos. The goal was to have Blacks and Latinos equal to their share of the population. The problem, Asians argue is that the new admissions policy is rigged against them. In this system it is the whites and the Asians who are the victims.

D'Souza further points out that it is these oppressed groups who are getting in to Berkeley wiht their lower admission standards are repeatedly the ones dropping out and/or at the bottom of the graduating list. So the root of the problem says D'Souza is the `the manifest differences of academic preparation among students from different ethnic groups.' Yet one needs to fully question what makes these oppressed groups drop out. D'Souza doesn't think to argue that maybe if at the elementary and high school level our history would focus even a little bit on the ethnic part of America. Maybe by studying great Black, Latino, Native American, and female achievers; `minorities' would grow up doing better in school knowing that they can achieve like so...and... so. If only to have some historical figure that they can relate to and be proud of. Especially the oppressed who don't have any family structure to teach them of their own ethnic achievers.

Another cause that D'Souza fails to point out is that possibly the teachers and faculty attitudes towards these oppressed groups are a significant factor in their performance at college. For example take the recent Rutgers incident a prime example of what can happen when faculty, (the president of the university in this case) has biased attitudes about oppressed groups. Whether they be conscious or not, eventually they surfaceand if not publicly these opppressed groups can always see it. Throughout this chapter D'Souza throws out a lot of quotations and doesn't bother to negate them, so one knows where his views lie.

For example, Chia-Wei Woo, former president of San Franacisco State University says that Asians "succeed in part because they don't waste time complaining about discrimination but rather work hard in case outside forces are holding them back `There is no time to lament,' [poor Asian Americans] work a lot harder to raise their scores.'" So the reason blacks are in the dismal state they are still in is their own fault. D'Souza agress with Woo that if Asians can do it so can the other oppressed groups. And again what D'Souza misses is the fact that Asians came to America of their own free will. Blacks on the other hand were forced here.

Also Asians are eager to assimilate to white culture, whereas other ethnic cultures refuse to do so. All of these issues are a factor in the academic disparities between Asians ans oppressed groups. D'Souza also goes into the idea of white hostility to preferential treatment as the major force behind the numerous racial incidents that have `scarred' the American campus. For D'Souza, if you abolish affirmative action then you abolish white racist problems on campus. Of course D'Souza doesn't stop there, he goes on to make what is probably the most ignorant and unfounded theory in this book. In discussing minority separatism Mr. D'Souza states that `minorities' separate themselves such as with black\latino fraternities and sororities, cultural centers, student unions, and merely eating at the same table, because they know that they are academically inferior to white and Asian students. So instead of interacting with white and Asian students where these disparities would be exposed, many oppressed groups avoid the situation altogether. Instead they are disillusioned separatists persuading themselves that their difficulties on campus are due to rampant bigotry. Why can't it be that the oppressed have these `separate' groups in order to celebrate and preserve their culture (which is usually welcome for all races to enjoy) at a predominantly white campus? Affirmative action or some sort of cultural awarenes is still necessary in education. Jesse Choper, dean of Boalt Hall, the Berkeley law school, correctly assesses the importance of such programs stating that "diversity means that students have different points of view, and that's what the Socratic method seeks, not just cold, logical lecture... a good legal education is where students get exposed to different approaches." To briefly expound upon chapter three,` Travels with Rigoberta,' which deals with the multiculturalism at Stanford, or the lack thereof. The oppressed are protesting against the Western exclusiveness in the classroom. The oppressed students mereley want to implement a new core cirriculum that represents a diversity of ethnic cultures and values as well as the Western culture. What is so interesting is the way D'Souza sets the scene. At the beginnig of the chapter there are chanting students wearing " blue jeans, reeboks, basedall caps, Timex and Rolex watches etc." Instead of "tribal garb, Middle Eastern veils, or Japanese samurai swords. . ."In other words, D'Souza is implying that all of these `minorities in protest at Stanford are hypocrites, or are protesting nothing because they aren't in the clothes of their culture and are not poor. This is an absurd idea, because one's outward appearance has nothing to do with this argument. Applying principles of diversity to cirriculum at universities is a natural step in this day. Society and especially students need to know that the "great books" of American society include womenand people of color.

Finally D'Souza's last chapter of 'Illiberal Education.' For D'Souza illiberal education is an education in close-mindedness and intolerance. It is "sham communities that university leaders have created where honest discussion is frequently drowned out by a combination of sloganeering accusation, and intimidation.D'Souza just sums up all his main themes in this last chapter. He advocates a restriction in diversity, that universities should focus on diversity of mind. But in actuality shouldn't we focus on all types of diversity so that students are more well-rounded individuals. D'Souza lists several of the negative effects of illiberal ducation such as the white racism, and the victim status. He says thaat the victims (the oppressed) become the victimizers and that all `minorities' "jump on the bandwagon."

After his summary D'Souza offers three` Modest Proposals.' `Modest" indeed. Mr. D'Souza falls way short on his misguided propsals for the problem of illiberal education and only succeeds in wasting paper. His first is for non-racial affirmative action, thus preferential treatment based on the socioeconomic disadvantaged. This would obviously lead to the same group of oppressed individuals as before. Secondly, he feels that universities should discourage the practice of minority self-segregation on campus by refusing to recognize any group separated based on their skin color. Instead there should be groups based on intellectual and cultural interests. This again doesn't sound too different from what already exists,and he doesn't give enough detail on it. Thirdly, he proposes `equality and the classics'which is universities devising a required corse for entering freshman which exposes them to the basic issues of equality and human difference through a carefully set of texts that deal with those ssues. This sounds exactly like what Stanford did and its nothing new. In act all of his propsals are no new revelation nor are they fully explained. None of them solve the question of how institutionalized racism is combatted if not through affirmative action. I appreciate his views as unfounded as they are. Throughout the book I kept wondering how he knew so much about what the opressed were feeling. Especially those ideas he said that they only shared amongst themselves.

Furthermore, D'Souza has missed the middle ground on the American coleege campuses. He deals with one extreme or another,strictly polarities. This book is merely another excuse for the Euro-white American to no longer feel responsible for the plight of the oppresed in America. It states that blacks and other oppressed groups are not so deprived and that the government as well as other institutions has overcompensated women and people of color for their hundreds of years of oppression. ILLIBERAL EDUCATION is a deeply pessimistic critique, not only of higher education, but also of contemporary America.  

Reviewed by: Janelle Gordon Illinois State University     Back to top...


Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 11:17:16 -0600 
From: Tom Crews <tscrews@acadcomp.cmp.ilstu.edu> 
Subject: Review: D'Souza, END OF RACISM (Crews) 

Review of Dinesh D'Souza, THE END OF RACISM by Tom Crews (tscrews@ilstu.edu)

The annual income of African Americans who are employed in fulltime jobs amounts to 60 percent of that of whites. The black unemployment rate is nearly double that of the whole nation. One half of all black children live in poverty. The proportion of black male high school graduates who go on o college is lower today than in 1975. More young black males are in prison than in college. Homicide is the the leading cause of death for black ales between the ages of fifteen and thirty-four. Nearly 50 percent of all African American families are headed by single women. More than 65 percent of black children born each year are illegitimate. Dinesh D'Souza insists these terrible problems exist not because of racism but because of a dysfunctional black culture. He maintains that to end racism and for blacks to elevate their position in society they must reject the policies of acial preferences, quit blaming black failure on racism, and work on cultural restoration.

The unquestioned assumption of contemporary liberalism is that racism is responsible for black failure. D'Souza asserts racism undeniably exists, but it no longer has the power to deny blacks or any other group from achieving their economic, political, and social aspirations. The economic prosperity of the black upper and middle class, the civil rights laws, and the number of elected leaders confirm that America is quite different than what it was a generation ago. In the 1930's and 1940's more than half of all whites said that blacks were less intelligent than whites. Now more than 75 percent of whites assert that both blacks and whites are equal in intellectual capacity. An overwhelming majority opposed intermarriage between blacks and whites, today 40 percent of Americans have no problem with it. A majority said that if a white man and a black man wre equally qualified, the white should be given preference. Today virtually 100 percent of whites say that blacks and whites should have an equal chance to compete for jobs. This is not to deny the existence of racial prejudice but merely proof that racism is no longer the roadblock it once was.

D'Souza states that the perception gap between black and whites on the issue of race is politically dangerous because it balkanizes the society into hostile camps that cannot effectively communicate with each other. D'Souza argues that whites view racial discrimination today as a rational response to black group traits, while blacks view it as an immoral assessment of individuals who do not conform to group patterns of behavior. Both are right. A cab driver who refuses to pick up young black males is practicing rational discrimination according to D'Souza. The cabdriver, who has the riskiest job in America, is simply trying to protect himself from what he considers to be a dangerous situation. "That racism stuff is all bullshit," one African cabdriver told D'Souza. "I'm not going to pass up a fare, which is money in my pocket. But I don't want to get robbed. You know what the black crime rate is in New York? Do you want me to risk a gun to my head, man? What's wrong with you?" Crime statistics of young black males is staggering. Should a young black male who is not a criminal feel discriminated against and be offended? Yes! Should the cabdriver be shamed of himself for stereotyping young black males in New York City and efusing to give this young man a lift? No! D'Souza contends that this type of discrimination is understandable (rational) and will fade away when the group no longer has this trait. A good percentage of stereotypes are based on true general traits of a group - some bad, some good, some just different. Assuming an Italian likes lasagna is a rational assumption based on the fact that a high percentage of Italians do eat lasagna. Since overt racism is no longer typical and equality of the laws did not produce equality of outcomes "Institutional racism" has been invented to explain the fact that blacks have not reached equality. "Institutional racism" refers to merit standards of hiring and promotion that fail to produce proportional outcomes for minorities. If there is not proportional representation in the work place then it must be the result of institutional racism. Cultural relativism asserts that assuming all groups are equal, a non-racist work force will automatically result in each group fanning out into the work force in a manner roughly approximating its ratio in the relevant population. Thus, we have laws and policies that combat institutional racism by imposing race-based hiring and promotion on merican industry. D'Souza claims this new discrimination is like the old in that t employs racial classification to prefer less qualified members of some groups over more qualified members of other groups. What differentiates he new discrimination is that it targets whites, specifically white males, and sometimes Asians.

Martin Luther King's vision of a society in which we are judged as individuals on our merits is repudiated strongest among African American scholars. Color blindness as a goal has been rejected by putting racial classification and racial preferences back into law. For many black scholars Booker TO. Washington is an embarrassment. Affirmative Action originally was about publicity of positions and recruitment of qualified applicants so that the best person could be selected. Minority totals didn't go up very much. The policy went from outreach to preference. Starting in the late 60's private and public institutions started adjusting scores and lowering standards to give racial preferences to minorities, particularly blacks, to raise their representation. This process was basically done in secret without public debate or consensus. Racial preferences are now widespread in private and governmental job hiring because of government pressure and courts. Thousands of companies are pressured into racial concessions each year as a result of class-action lawsuits or intervention by government anti discrimination agencies. These suits can be so costly and so negative for business that the companies simply cave in to paying outrageous sums of money. Northwest Airlines agreed to a settlement that cost as much as $40 million to end a discrimination suit that was based not on proof of intentional bias but on statistical imbalances in the airline's work force. Northwest consented to accelerated hiring and promotion of black workers, special scholarships for black mechanics and pilot trainees, as well as back pay and possible promotions for existing minority employees. The FBI recently agreed to establish race-based guidelines not just for hiring but also for merit awards, discipline, and coveted assignments. For years the FBI has been rigging the results of its hiring tests, adding bonus points to the scores of minority applicants. These programs are absurd in that nobody has presented any evidence that the FBI discriminates on the basis of race.

The Federal Government each year awards hundreds of millions of dollars in set-aside programs that are awarded on a quota basis to minority organizations and businesses. State and local governments do the same. The private-sector has followed suit such as AT&TO spending over $500 million on purchases from more than two thousand minority businesses.

The examples are endless. D'Souza contends proportional representation conflicts with the classic liberal principle of individual merit. Merit poses an obstacle because, like the old racism, it too produces inequality. Consequently, many activists blame qualifications and standards of achievement for generating unequal outcomes between racial groups. Some seek to preserve merit, but within racial groups. D'Souza cites the Horowitz study that concluded that "few if any societies" have ever approximated a proportional distribution of jobs and social rewards between groups. A study by Winer similarly says... "All multiethnic societies exhibit a tendency for groups to engage in different occupations, have different levels and often different types of education, receive different incomes, and occupy a different place in the social hierarchy."

This November 5th in California voters will endorse or reject the California Civil rights Initiative, which calls for banning race and gender preferences and set-asides in state hiring and state college admissions. Polls indicate that this will pass by a large margin. This is very interesting considering that California, the "majority minority" state, has the most aggressive preference policies. Polls show that Californians think that nondiscrimination must protect everyone. Americans value merit and open competition not quotas and racial preferences.

African Americans earning less than whites is used to presume discrimination exists. D'Souza considers this conclusion totally wrong. He and others state that there are numerous variables that are relevant to consider such as gender, age, geography, family structure, and most important credentials, experience, and levels of skills. Economist, June O'Neil, head of the General Accounting Office concludes that the racial gap in earnings disappears (99.1%) when all variables are considered. D'Souza claims two critical questions cannot be answered by asserting racism. "If white racism controls the destiny of blacks today, how has one segment of the black community prospered so much over the past generation, while the condition of the black underclass has deteriorated?" And..."How does racism prevent the children of middle-class blacks from performing as well as whites and Asians on test of mathematical and logical reasoning?"

Black pathologies such as illegitimacy, dependency, and crime are far more serious today than in the past, when racism was stronger and more widespread. D'Souza maintains that if racism were to disappear overnight, the worst problems facing black America would persist. He adds that racism is hardly the most serious challenge facing African Americans and contends that their main challenge is a civilizational breakdown that stretches across class lines but is especially concentrated in the black underclass. D'Souza believes nothing strengthens racism in this country more than the behavior of the African American underclass, which flagrantly violates and scandalizes basic codes of responsibility, decency, and civility.

Cultural relativism prevents blacks from confronting the real problems; high rates of crime, normalization of illegitimacy, the predominance of single-parent families, high levels of addiction to alcohol and drugs, reliance on government provision, hostility to academic achievement and a scarcity of independent enterprises. Black leaders simply refuse to criticize African American pathologies or to seek internal reform because to do so would be to reject relativism. Relativism makes it impossible for them to support policies that uphold any standard of responsibility, and compels them to blame every problem faced by blacks on white racism or its institutional legacy. Those who are seriously confronting black cultural deficiencies and offering constructive proposals for dealing with them receive nothing but relentless abuse and virtual excommunication.

D'Souza asks "What is responsible for differences in academic achievement, economic performance, family structure, and crime rates between blacks and other groups?" Basically nobody wants to accept genetic differences and relativists make it impossible to blame culture because that would be "blaming the victim".

D'Souza.... "Liberals project to offer an elaborate and shifting rationale for black incapacity. If African Americans do not do well on tests, that is because the tests are biased, and because white society has deprived them of necessary skills. If they have illegitimate children, this is because society refuses to provide black males with steady jobs. If they are convicted of a disproportionate number of violent crimes, this is because the police, judges, and juries are racist. Those who have committed crimes have been pressured to do so by undeserved economic hardship. Riots are automatically attributed to legitimate outbursts of black rage. In short, the liberal position on black failure can be reduced to a singular implausible slogan: Just say racism."

Christopher Jencks specifies three principles that constitute the basic minimum of an American civilizational code: working men should be expected to keep steady jobs; women should not bear illegitimate children they cannot support; and everyone should refrain from violence. D'Souza states that it is time to recognize that poverty and pathology today do not merely arise from the absence of opportunity but also from the inability or efusal to take advantage of opportunity.

D'Souza believes broken families must be rebuilt, educational and job skills developed, black entrepreneurship fostered, and the epidemic violence in the inner cities curbed. The responsibility in this cultural restoration, he believes, lies with the black community itself. -- Tom Crews TSCREWS@ACADCOMP.CMP.ILSTU.EDU   Back to top...