Reading Racial Tea Leaves at University of Maryland

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

In this era of racial unrest, academic efforts to achieve understanding are welcome. Unfortunately, opportunities to misinterpret abound in academe.

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“Younger generations have made great strides,” Liam Farrell of the University of Maryland writes in the alumni magazine, Terp. “A cross-country study of 3,000 people 14 to 24 years old by MTV and David Binder Research in 2014 found that more than 90 percent believe everyone should be treated the same regardless of race.”

“But that belief is a veneer on more unsettling results: 48 percent of white respondents also believe discrimination against white people is as big a problem as discrimination against racial minorities. And 65 percent of people of color said whites have more opportunities than they do.” That discrimination can cut both ways should not surprise. The belief that there are no equal opportunities is unsettling, particularly since there is a government agency that has ostensibly been devoted to same for nearly a half a century.

In an article that follows Farrell’s lead-in, a student makes a perilous attempt at mindreading. “As centers of learning and knowledge, college campuses are prime settings to combat Islamophobia and mitigate ethnic, racial and religious conflict,” Sana Farooqui of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) writes in the Terp’s special issue on race. “Colleges should foster dialogue about these social issues, educating students and providing platforms for solutions.”

“A good example was the spring screening of “American Sniper” at UMD, hosted by the College Republicans and College Democrats. They assembled a panel with speakers from different academic fields, points of views and personal backgrounds, tackling the social is­sues of the film head-on. But many audience members—especially white males—left right after the movie ended, before the panel discussion began. This is counterproductive; it’s imperative for the most privileged members of a society to be present in such dialogue for any real change to occur.”

How did she determine privilege? Did she have access to their parents’s tax returns?