Thursday, October 06, 2005


Robert J. Birgeneau has recently become the Chancellor at UC Berkeley. He is launching a crusade to correct the under-representation of certain groups of students at the school. Read about it here.

Among the groups under-represented by percentages of population are: Blacks, Hispanics, Native American and whites.

The groups over-represented are: Asian-American and women.

So what is his plan?

Does he want to reduce the number of Asian and female students to increase the number of blacks, Hispanics, Native American and whites?

Ha, ha, ha!

No. He is just another emotional liberal who hasn’t really thought through what he is saying. Because what he is saying is, “We have too many women and Asians here.”

He saw the gross under-representation of blacks in particular and struck out at “The Man,” here represented by women and Asians, unbeknownst to him.

Wouldn’t it be great if an educator looked at a problem such at that and asked himself, “Why are these people over-represented? What are they doing right that these other people are doing wrong?”

Why do they never do that?

And why can’t they see that being so racial conscience makes them a racist?

“But,” they will argue, “we only want to ‘do good.’”

Right. Protect me from these people who only want to ‘do good.’

I’ve come up against racial prejudice a lot in my adult life from all sides. Some against me personally, even though I couldn’t be more white. My father was from Birmingham , England, and my mother from Texas, USA.

But I brought this kid home from Viet Nam.

What happened? How did I wind up with him?

In Asia, they have this thing about extended families. It is common for kids to be raised by near relatives. That’s great when you are the recipient. (Right now we have three kids with us and more come and go.) But my Vietnamese girl friend, my son’s mother, wanted to shunt my son off to her relatives.

No way.

The choice for me wasn’t even close. The kid or the lady?

So the lady was gone and the kid stayed.

It took me three and a half years of battling the State Dept. to get him out of that country but that’s another story. A big story, actually, because that had never been done before and the law was changed afterward.

We arrived in the US on my son’s 4th birthday. That was 1970. Single fathers were common, but very few with custody of the kid.

I think it raised hackles on some women.

“Where’s the mother?” they’d ask, sometimes accusingly.

A single mother was almost never asked, “Where’s the father,” and certainly never accusingly.

Sometimes, if they pissed me off, I would answer, “I killed her.”

For some reason, they never thought that was funny.

Our first confrontation with do-gooder racists happened on my son’s first day of kindergarten. It was with his teacher.

She was thrilled with the “diversity” she found in her class. So she went around the room and pointed out the ethnic differences. When she got around to my son, she informed the class that he was Chinese.

Well that was more than a surprise to my son. It was a shock! He had no idea he was Chinese.

I guess that was my fault. I had forgotten to explain to him that he had certain Asian features that might be mistaken for Chinese.

Anyway, he had no idea that he would be singled out as being so different from his classmates. His greatest wish was to be accepted by everyone as an equal.

He burst into tears.

That was not a small thing. Up to that time I had only seen him cry once.

He never cried when I took him to the doctor and he was given shots.

He never cried when I had to leave him to go to other Vietnamese provinces on assignment.

He didn’t cry when he fell against a curb and knocked out his two front teeth.

The only time I heard him cry was when a kid in the next apartment, with kinda’ thin walls in between, started crying rather loudly.

My kid started a sympathy cry.

That was it. The only time I had heard him cry.

But there, in his first day in kindergarten, a teacher who meant well, whose only motive was to “do good,” had made him cry.

A few years later I visited his classroom on Parents Day. On a large map strings were stretched out from our location to the place of each child’s heritage.

My kid’s string went to Viet Nam.

Where was I in that equation? Why shouldn’t my half of the heritage be represented? Why should it be a given that a kid who is half Asian is Asian?

Even far more profound in our culture, why is it a given that a kid who is half black, is black? Or even a quarter black person is considered black?

I can’t answer that but I know one thing for sure:

It is the people who continually point out the racial differences who do the most to promulgate racial differences.

I know they mean well but they seem to be incapable of seeing reality.


Blogger Das said...

Walter this was a beautiful post; you are so right - the idiocy of these university administrators is beyond belief - as you asked so plainly: why don't they emulate women and Asians - they must be doing something right - right?

The soft bottom under the concept of diversity is this: it is meaningless. A large goal of education is to make us all middle class (work, save, defer pleasure, set goals, sacrifice etc); the middle class is recognizable all over the world - recognizable for these SAME traits.

Yet liberal educators give such portent to superficial racial characteristics like skin tone, hair, facial shape - as though these characteristics had anything to do with education or learning environments! Yes kids need to be taught not to hate each other based on their genetic character - but emulating race - accidents of birth - as though they possessed inherent educational properties is absurd.

Thanks for sharing also about you and your son - those are sane and decent questions for an insane educational establishment.

October 6, 2005 at 3:17 PM  

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