Is Academia Creating Fake Racism?

, Malcolm A. Kline, 1 Comment

When you see their efforts to measure racial attitudes on campus, you might wonder.

For example, take the latest attempt to do so at the University of Washington. “For this study, the team, with the help of focus groups of students of color from three universities, devised the Cultural Cognitions and Actions Survey (CCAS) and administered it to a small group of students — 33 black, 118 white — at a large public university in the Midwest,” Kim Eckart explained in a news release from the University of Washington. “The 56-item questionnaire asks the white respondent to imagine him- or herself in five different everyday scenarios involving interactions with black people, such as talking about current events, attending a diversity workshop, or listening to music.”

Only in academia would “attending a diversity workshop” be considered an “everyday scenario.” “In the ‘current events’ scenario — the one that yielded the highest percentage of ‘likely’ responses from whites — respondents were to imagine talking about topics in the news, such as police brutality and unemployment,” Eckart writes. “More than half of white respondents said they would think or say, ‘All lives matter, not just black lives,’ while 30 percent said they might say, ‘I don’t think of black people as black,’ and 26 percent said they were likely to think or say, ‘The police have a tough job. It is not their fault if they occasionally make a mistake.’

“More than half of black respondents identified each of those statements as racist.”

By this standard, Martin Luther King had questionable racial attitudes. One wonders if the members of this focus group would have edited the line, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” out of the “I have a dream” speech.