With race relations on American campuses already poisoned by ill-conceived attempts at “diversity” such as the University of California at Berkeley (UCB)’s “Tunnel of Oppression,” an author making the rounds of American colleges and universities threatens to increase the dosage.
Organized by some resident assistants on the UCB campus in the last school year, the “tunnel” featured rooms labeled sexism, racism “classism,” and “religious-ism,” according to Errol Tremolada, writing in the May 2004 California Patriot. These rooms featured signs with factoids such as “Over one million black men are deprived of the right to vote because they are in prison.”
“The reality is that the United States government does not allow any imprisoned felon to vote,” Tremolada points out. While this is an attempt by undergraduates to achieve racial sensitivity, a look at the words of wisdom that student affairs personnel and counseling experts rely on shows that some so-called grown-ups on campus express views that are not that divergent from those of the “Tunnel” organizers.
“Accept the fact that racism is a basic and integral part of U. S. life and permeates all aspects of our culture and institutions,” Dr. Derald Sue writes in Counseling The Culturally Diverse. “Know that as a white person you are socialized into U. S. society and therefore, inherit the biases, stereotypes, and racist attitudes and behaviors of the society.”
“In other words, all White Euro-Americans are racist—whether knowingly or unknowingly.” Published in 2002, Counseling the Culturally Diverse is now in its third edition.
Some students, attempting to live by less faddish guidelines such as the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, found Dr. Sue’s accusations of racism offensive and off-base. “In a written assignment,” one student assigned Counseling The Culturally Diverse remembers, “I stated that I disagree with the text, that I do not consider all white people racists, nor all people of color victims, and that such assumptions are in themselves stereotypes.”
“Though the book is often used in the field of counseling, the information presented can be easily transferred to our profession,” Sarah H. Nichols from Winthrop University writes. Nichols is the Coordinator of Greek Life and Student Publications Advisor at the South Carolina school.
“As Fraternity/Sorority Advisors we all put on the ‘counselor hat’ from time to time when we are dealing with students and this book can be used to strengthen those skills.”
Dr. Sue himself has taught at both Columbia University and California State University. He addressed President Clinton’s race advisory board and makes the rounds on the college lecture circuit.
“The book reads easily and students like it,” a reviewer wrote on Amazon.com of Counseling the Culturally Diverse. “I’ve used it as a text many times.”
Not all Amazon reviewers were so enthusiastic. “It’s sad that in many universities (mine notwithstanding) this poor excuse for a textbook is required reading.”
That reviewer pointed to a particular passage as evidence that Dr. Sue and his co-authors “are not only ignorant on the subject of Counseling, but also economics.”
“By the time baby boomers retire, the majority of people contributing to the social security and pension plans will be racial/ethnic minorities,” Dr. Sue writes. “In other words those planning to retire (primarily white workers) must depend on their coworkers of color.”
“If racial minorities continue to encounter the glass ceiling and to be the most undereducated, underemployed, underpaid, and unemployed, the economic security of white workers looks grim.”
Dr. Sue also sells tapes with titles like “What does it mean to be white?” Subtitled “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being,” this video makes an attempt at “deconstructing white privilege.”
These tapes do not come cheap, offered at $95 per video from Microtraining and Video Development. Dr. Sue’s books also are priced for the privliged elites, at $80 each.
Despite the less-than-proletarian pricing scale, school officials are snapping up copies of the texts.