This column by ACRU Policy Board Member and Professor of Economics Dr. Walter E. Williams was published April 3, 2013 on Townhall.com.
Professor Craig Frisby is on the faculty of University of Missouri’s Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology. His most recent book is Meeting the Psychoeducational Needs of Minority Students. It’s a 662-page textbook covering a range of topics from multiculturalism and home and family influences to student testing and school discipline. There’s no way full justice can be given to this excellent work in the space of this column, so I’ll highlight a few valuable insights he makes that would help educators do a better job with minority students.
Quack multiculturalism is the name Frisby gives to the vision of multiculturalism that promotes the falsehoods and distortions that dominate today’s college agenda, sold under various names such as “valuing diversity,” “being sensitive to cultural differences” and “cultural competence.” He identifies different brands of multiculturalism such as boutique, Kumbayah, light-and-fluffy, and bean-counting multiculturalism. Insider language used to promote multiculturalism includes terms such as “practice tolerance,” “celebrate diversity,” “equity with excellence” and “differences are not deficits.” Escalating costs and budget crunches don’t stop colleges from hiring vice presidents, deans and directors of diversity.
Multiculturalism teaches that one set of cultural values is equal to another. That means if black students talk, dress and comport themselves in a certain way, to criticize them is merely cultural imperialism. Frisby cites college textbooks that teach: “Racism is what people do, regardless of what they think or feel” and “Institutional racism is characterized by practices or policies that systematically limit opportunities for people who historically have been characterized as psychologically, intellectually, or physically deficient” and “One can view the clock as a tool of racism that the monochromic dominant society uses to regulate subordinate groups.”
All of this boils down to teaching undergraduate and graduate students and professionals in the fields of psychology and education to be non-critical and feel sympathy for blacks and other minorities. I might add that such sympathy doesn’t extend to Japanese, Chinese and Jews, who are even more of a minority.
Frisby gives many examples of multicultural lunacy. One particularly egregious one was the 12th annual White Privilege Conference (WPC) held in 2011 in Minneapolis, Minn., and sponsored by the University of Colorado’s Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity. The WPC is “built on the premise that the U.S. was started by white people, for white people.” Among the 150 workshops offered during the conference were “Making Your School or Classroom a Force for Eliminating Racism,” “Helping Non-White Students Survive Academia — The Pinnacle of White Dominance” and “Uprooting Christian Hegemony.” This vision of the mission of education might help to explain why students, particularly minority students, emerge from high school and college with little reading, writing and thinking ability.
Frisby turns his attention to school discipline and criminal behavior. He discusses the atmosphere at one New York school, which is by no means unique among schools. Teachers experience being pushed, shoved and spit upon by students. A male teacher transferred to another school after a student threatened to rape his wife. In this kind of atmosphere, should anyone be surprised that only 3 percent of the students were at grade level in English and only 9 percent in math?
The fundamental problem crippling low-income minority students is school behavioral disorder. Its visible manifestations are graffiti, broken and vandalized furniture, fights, sexual activity, drug use in the bathrooms and rowdy behavior. Frisby says we should tell students exactly how to behave and tolerate no disorder. That’s not rocket science, except for today’s liberal establishment who run our schools and colleges.
You say, “Williams, what Frisby says simply reflects the insensitivity of privileged white people.” But what if I told you that Professor Craig Frisby is a black professor at the University of Missouri who has a record of fine scholarship? My read of his book is that it supplies more evidence that the actions of soft-minded, guilty white liberals have done far more harm to black people than racists of the past could have ever done.