Suppose you are a black student at the University of Princeton - one who, unlike Michelle Obama, got in on merit rather than "affirmative action". You would be angry, would you not, at those affirmative action policies that admit black mediocrities, and exclude more gifted white or Asian sparring partners, against whom your achievement could justly be measured? And would you not be furious at the rise and rise of "University Professor" Cornel West?
I hadn't heard of Cornel West until I watched, with horror, this YouTube clip, in which he talks - and I use the word loosely - about some mindless hip hop project. The sycophancy of the introduction - Heaven, and Harvard, cannot hold Him - the fulsome praise West and his host give each other just for being "brothers", the mangled English, the shrieks, the noise, my dear, and the people - are beyond parody.
Brother - sorry, Professor - West can barely string a sentence together. He is a caricature of a black man. You half expect him to break out into "Old Man River"; this would be an improvement, musically speaking, on the hip hop project. Were I a black student at Princeton - a proper student, not an affirmative action beneficiary - I would be acutely embarrassed. I would also be angry at the patronising message West's appointment sends, namely: he's good enough for a black professor, and you can't expect a black professor to be as good as a white professor, any more than you can expect a dog to walk proficiently on its hind legs.
West has been indulged, as you would indulge a child or a pet, not an equal, of whom you expect better. This is racism red in tooth and claw, the black heart of racism, as Will Cummins might say, not its black face.
The phrase "soft racism of low expectations" is well worn, but none the worse for wear. Is Princeton racist? What do you think?
Praise 'im! Praise 'im! Praise 'im! God Almighty! Praise 'im!
31 Oct 2009 Clark
The case that you have noticed is typical of US universities. For example, Skip Gates at Harvard is from the same cloth.
This state of affairs has developed steadily over the past several generations, and any return to more exacting standards will require many years and is far from assured or even likely. There may be some movement in that direction as the unlimited financial support of recent years is drained away by drastically shrinking endowment funds and State tax bases.
On the other hand, intellectual achievement has not disappeared as a consequence. For example, the chairman of the Princeton Math Department will be taking up the Royal Society 2010 Anniversary Research Professorship at Oxford.
31 Oct 2009 Paul Blaskowicz
Yes: The noise! And the people! The whole spectacle is so gut-wrenchingly vomit making. But they obviously don't think so. They're proud of it. Truely intellectual black academics and students must be embarrassed beyond endurance by this disgustingly shmaltzy show of mediocracy glorified. C. West is a shameless fraud. A soul-mate for the dangerously-almost-Professor of Poetry at Oxford, Benjamin Zephaniah
Actually, Tavis Smiley, that introduced West has a prominent show on the radio and PBS.
The video is not unusual for the African American establishment. Its typical.
The likes of Shelby Steele, John McWhorter, Thomas Sowell, and Bill Cosby are despised as Uncle Toms, House Niggers, and the like by the majority of African Americans, including in academia.
Welcome to Western Civilization post New Left 60s.
21 Dec 2009 Kit
The first question I ask is: How would a black student at Princeton University know whether or not he or she was admitted because of affirmative action? An obvious answer to this would be the academic mediocrities that would no doubt appear within the course of that given Princeton school year. However, students like this would not be able to meet the demands of Princeton's rigorous curriculum. Falling short, most of these students would not choose to continue at Princeton. Of those students that remain, it is most possible that some of them were assisted by affirmative action; however, these students have proven themselves worthy of their “more gifted” white and Asian peers and shown that their "academic mediocrities" do not deeply affect their ability to perform well in one of the world's most prestigious institutions. In this way, there are no possible means of which can tell which black students were assisted by affirmative action and which were not.
Also, affirmative action, when implemented correctly, does not serve to fill the racial quotas of schools and other institutions, but rather serves to give an upper hand to the qualified minorities that have applied. As stated above, there is no use in giving an unqualified student a slot in a university where she or she would not be able to meet standards and expectations. While there may be students assisted by affirmative action who are not be as qualified as their other peers, they are not under qualified to the extent that can be called "mediocre." I'd also like to point out that the number of black students admitted to Princeton every year is very little. Meaning the number of black students who are assisted by affirmative action in their admission to Princeton are less than those who are admitted because of their lineage and other "unfair" policies that allow under qualified students to gain an upper hand over those students who were "more gifted."
Unlike the policies stated above, affirmative action is a means to an end: One of racial equality in America.