Phi Beta Cons

Mau-Mauing at UCSD

The University of California at San Diego race protests continue. Weeks of shameless histrionics to extract university resources along racial lines have not ended, and tensions seem to be escalating.
The affair began with a February 15 off-campus costume party called the Compton Cookout, an event meant to mock Black History Month. The invitation made mention of malt liquor and ghetto dress. It is still unknown who attended the party, and some doubt it even occurred. Exploiting the event, the Black Student Union issued an expansive set of race-based demands.
Clips on You Tube show the protests, the mau-mauing (as author Tom Wolfe once labeled it).
Chancellor Marye Anne Fox has repeatedly apologized and begged for mercy. She has expressed “solidarity” with the protesting students. BSU leaders have not been satisfied with her contrition and demand more.
“They handed us over a bulls**t-a** document,” BSU leader Fnann Keflezighi said after the meeting to the UCSD Guardian, the student newspaper. “Basically, it said everything that we already knew, no concrete things on how they’re going to implement anything. They’re dumber than we thought they were — dumber than I thought they were.”
Ms. Keflezighi, however inelegant her words, may be right. The administration has played into the hands of student race hustlers, and any legitimate outcries about the Compton Cookout have been lost in the psychodrama. Responding to student outcries, the administration has put up its own website.
Chancellor Fox sounds very distressed. But she gives no impression of understanding the situation or being in control. “Racism is not going to happen in our community,” she declared on the website before the statement was ridiculed and replaced. “This implies that racism is an act rather than an attitude, and that human nature can be changed by fiat,” one knowledgeable UC observer had responded. Another had asked: “Do campus authorities even know what’s going on here?”
A suspicious noose and Ku Klux Klan hood made out of a pillowcase have appeared from nowhere, fueling black students’ outrage. But after three weeks, the outrage looks calculated and cynical. If the undergraduate injustice collectors get their way, and if they are representative of America’s future black leadership, be prepared for more campus race tension in the future.

– Gilbert T. Sewall is director of the American Textbook Council and president of the Center for Education Studies.

Gilbert T. Sewall is currently a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Since 1989, he has been director of the American Textbook Council in New York City. Sewall is a former history ...


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