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A Diversity of Lies

Recently, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," were perusing "Our Favorite Victims," an article in the most recent number of The Common Review by a fellow called Walter Benn Michaels. This piece, which was adapted from Michaels' tome The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned To Love Identity and Ignore Inequality, offers some interesting left-wing criticisms of the current American obsession with "diversity."

Yet even Michaels, a polemical left-leaning critic of the "diversity" movement, doesn't seem able to discuss affirmative action with anything resembling candor. As such, his ruminations unwittingly demonstrate how incapable the Left is at discussing race in America.

Allow us to offer an example from Mr. Michaels' article. Mentioning Philip Roth's book The Plot Against America, Michaels opines:

Roth reminds us...of the "quotas" that kept "Jewish admissions to a minimum in colleges and professional schools," not to mention country clubs. But, of course, you didn't then (and you don't now) need quotas to keep down the numbers of black people in universities. The effects of several centuries of slavery and a half century of apartheid have made artificial limits entirely supererogatory.

Well, gee: We're not a passel of sociobiologists, but forgive us if we find this discussion of black underachievement a bit facile.

Now, we certainly agree that the horrible maltreatment of and discrimination against blacks in the United States of America have had a negative impact on black academic achievement. In fact, we think it's well nigh illogical to assert otherwise.

Yet notice how Michaels blithely claims--without a shred of evidence, of course--that this maltreatment completely explains black underachievement. We don't think you need to be Charles Murray to wonder about other factors.

After all, other ethnic groups in America--most famously Asians and Jews--have been compelled to endure harsh treatment in the US. Not, we dare say, as bad as that experienced by blacks. But pretty shabby treatment nonetheless.

And yet, as everyone well knows, Asians and Jews routinely outperform other students in intellectual matters. If it weren't for anti-Asian discrimination in admissions, for example, the elite campus of the University of California at Berkeley would have far higher Asian enrollments.

None of this means, of course, that we must harp on black pathologies to explain black underachievement. Nor must we stick to IQ tests as gospel. But it does suggest that other factors--cultural, familial--can help explain these issues. The more candidly we discuss them, the more likely we are to improve them.

Still, our friends on the Left--who must blame everything on racism--can't discuss these matters truthfully. When a leftist writing a book called The Trouble with Diversity can't even engage racial issues with candor, you know that his movement lacks the wherewithal to tackle the topic.

(Note: The crack young staff usually "weblog" over at "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," where they are currently thinking of composing a work titled The Trouble with 'The Trouble with Diversity'.)

Comments (10)

The Democrats' need to evok... (Below threshold)

The Democrats' need to evoke racism is a force enslaving the black people.

Yes, several centuries of s... (Below threshold)

Yes, several centuries of slavery under the Spanish boot made artificial limits on Latinos . . .

Er, que passo?

The funny thing about those... (Below threshold)

The funny thing about those who promote "diversity" is their singular refusal to tolerate any forms of "diversity" which fail to conform to their own narrow definitions.

The only acceptable forms of "diversity" to the PC crowd are those which institutionalize victimologies, assigning blame variously to "racist, sexist, or capitalist" society.

Losers prefer an excuse to lose.

I beg to disagree, our trea... (Below threshold)

I beg to disagree, our treatment of coolies was every bit as bad, if not worse, than slavery, yet their grandsons are quite successful. Indee if you look at blacks in the evil (and I mean that seriously) 50's, their acomplishments were amazing. What happened? Those who want to just blame the whites, I think, are unserious.

You want to add ethnic grou... (Below threshold)

You want to add ethnic groups?

How about "Irish need not apply"?

If every ethnic group that was ever suppressed in the past was given a check for their troubles, we would all be swapping checks pretty regularly.

'White' has been a less inc... (Below threshold)

'White' has been a less inclusive term, historically, than you might think.

When a British officer in the 1800's remarked that the Irish made wonderful soldiers "as long as you give them white officers" he was being incredibly bigoted by modern standards - but he was not meaning to be ironic.

How many of AL GORES and BI... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

How many of AL GORES and BILL CLINTONS ancestors owned slaves?

spurwing,It's a le... (Below threshold)


It's a leadpipe cinch that Gore's family were slaeowners, at minimum. (They could have been slavers, which might explain the self-loathing.) Bill Wonder is less likely. Unlike the Gore's, Bill doesn't descend from Southern aristocracy.

Goodness what to make of t... (Below threshold)

Goodness what to make of the story that Barack Obama's ancestors were slaveowners as well?

Dear Hatemongers Quarterly,... (Below threshold)

Dear Hatemongers Quarterly,

I read your comments on Benn-Michaels with considerable interest, and hope you will write The Common Review a letter that incorporates some of these remarks. We would be happy to print it.You can email me at [email protected]

Daniel Born, Editor
The Common Review
The magazine of the Great Books Foundation
35 E. Wacker Dr., Suite 2300
Chicago, IL 60601
(800) 222-5870, ext. 282






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