Phi Beta Cons

As an Armenian-Asian-Native-American, Hispanic-identified…

The most recent Chronicle issue features an excellent piece by Naomi Schiffer Riley on the contortions of accommodating “mixed-race identity” in schools.

The comment period has closed on proposed new guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education on how colleges should ask students about race. No longer, the guidelines say, should applicants simply be given the choice of black, white, Asian, American Indian (or Alaska Native), or native Hawaiian (or other Pacific Islander). Now they should be allowed to check off more than one box, as well as note whether they identify as Hispanic. Eugene L. Anderson, an associate director of the American Council on Education, told Diverse, a higher-education magazine, that he expected colleges would be pleased with the new guidelines: “They make sense; they respect peoples’ individual notion of racial identity, which is important.”

This doesn’t sound unreasonable – a simple designation of racial identity is inapt for our modern, increasingly mixed society. But where will we find the groups for these students?

An article last semester in The Harvard Crimson detailed the complaints of a number of mixed-race students who said they felt uneasy attending the meetings of groups that were meant for only one of their multiple ethnicities. Paloma A. Zepeda, half-Mexican and half-Russian, said that when she came to meetings for the Mexican-American student group Raza, people would say, “Look, white people come to Raza.” Ms. Zepeda protested, “I am a member of the Hispanic community, but I don’t think that’s the sum total of everything.”

Then there was Yalun H. Tu. He told the Crimson reporter he felt uncomfortable at the Chinese-student gatherings: “They would talk about how Chinese mothers are overbearing and strict. But my mother is Caucasian and relaxed, so I couldn’t empathize.” He lamented, “I just didn’t feel that communal bond that I think often binds these groups.”
Some of these “outcasts” have started forming new groups. Harvard now has ReMixed, a new multiracial organization on the campus. The University of California at Berkeley has a Mixed Student Union; then there is Brown University’s Organization of Multiracial and Biracial Students and Bryn Mawr College’s Half and Half. Several campuses have “Hapa” organizations for “half-Asian” students.
But even those mixed-race groups cannot satisfy some students. One told the Crimson that her acquaintances at Harvard’s Hapa group focused too much on East Asian identities, instead of South Asian ones. They went out, she complained, for dim sum, “which I enjoy, but don’t identify with culturally.” But she didn’t feel welcome in the regular South Asian group, either, because in a theatrical performance the group’s leaders cast her in the role of a white person.
The level of specificity that seems to be required for many young men and women to feel comfortable today is bordering on the absurd. Ultimately it’s sad. Advocates of diversity on college campuses insist that they are not just assembling faces of different colors for aesthetic purposes; they are trying to offer students a model of how to live in a multiracial, multiethnic society. But students do not seem to be learning to be more tolerant of people unlike them. They are demanding that they be surrounded and sheltered by people who are exactly like them.

One of the most unpleasant aspects of modern college existence is watch racial segregation amidst activities and clubs increase as students get older. Freshman classes resemble ideals of diversity, but some fair portion of this falls away into racial groupings in successive years. It’s undeniable that students find elements in common with persons of common ethnic or racial heritage, but the process of division is actively encouraged by schools and groups.  The road to colorblindness is paved with innumerable boxes. Remember to check every race; Cambodian-Russian-Salvadoran? They’ll find a group for you.  

Most Popular

Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
White House

Nancy Pelosi’s Case

Further to the post below, a couple of thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s statement yesterday. She said this near the beginning: During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the ... Read More
White House

Nancy Pelosi’s Case

Further to the post below, a couple of thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s statement yesterday. She said this near the beginning: During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the ... Read More