Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Diversity as FARCE

The Lexington Herald-Leader has lately been on one of its favorite harangues – having to do with racism, of course – and has chosen the University of Kentucky as the target. It seems that enrolment among black freshmen has dropped precipitously in percentage of those qualifying for entrance from the numbers of last year, ergo, the university is at fault. One L-H columnist stated flatly that UK has scared these qualified freshmen (should one say freshpeople, the better not to commit political-correctness hara-kiri?) into simply not showing up. This is pretty strong stuff – scared away! She didn’t suggest how this fright has been engendered, perhaps being too scared of UK’s potential underhanded attempts on her PC to take the chance.

The African-American faculty, or some of it – maybe all of it – jumped into the fun, complaining that President Todd simply does not consult with them on a regular basis…well, actually on any basis at all, and even wrote him a letter about it, carefully seeing that a copy of same got to the oracular L-H, which, apparently forthwith and with great haste and concern for the public good published it and even (gasp) editorialized upon the subject. Well, after all, shouldn’t the UK prexy consult with all the groups on campus regularly on the basis of at least the predominance of ethnicity within their ranks? How about the professors who are Hungarian-Americans or Spanish-Americans or Native-Americans or, as famous golfer Tiger Woods would have it, “Cablinasian” — a term of his that combines his Caucasian, African, Native American and Asian heritage. Of course, he would agree to Cablinasian-American in order to achieve the highest degree of political correctness possible.

At last notice, Todd hasn’t met with the A-As, even though upon receipt of their circulating letter (such a personal thing) he promised to meet within the week, which was now some weeks or so ago. One of the A-As was relegated from a higher position to a professorship not long after Todd assumed the presidency of the institution, so that might have had something to do with the situation, though the good folks expressed concern about the students the columnist insisted were scared away. She also indicated that black students were not scared away from the University of Louisville, which welcomed them with open arms. Still, she didn’t draw any distinction between welcoming arms and unwelcoming arms, the better to get a handle on the problem, especially pertinent now with scary Halloween approaching.

It’s all about the magic bullet that’s supposed to make any institution of higher learning, ipso facto, EXCELLENT, simply that of DIVERSITY. Yes, the difference between success and failure anent learning itself, not to mention prestige, has to do with getting as many folks claiming some ethnic uniqueness as possible in the academic environs. Since brains and not just warm bodies, never mind their origin/lineage, have always constituted the most sought after trait in both student and teacher as vital to institutional excellence, the whole ball game has now changed. It’s not a matter of intelligence any longer, but one of ethnicity – not the content of the mind, but the color of the skin.

This is what Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” With respect to their intelligence, he could have substituted “mind” for “character” (and probably would have), but that’s not the way of those who have supposedly followed in his shoes but have walked in the shoes of those with “plantation minds,” like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who scream for entitlements, regardless of whether they are earned or not. They unrelentingly howl for equal treatment, but actually mean “gimme, gimme, gimme.” In academia, this spells doom for the institution, the teacher, and the student. Intellect drives education, not diversity or anything else.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, October 07, 2005

Yellow Journalism

Former gubernatorial aspirant Larry Forgy, himself the victim of alleged vote-crimes for which former Governor Patton pardoned four indictment-plagued colleagues who might well have implicated him in plea-bargain activity, called attention to some interesting facts in a column published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Oct. 5. He noted that, according to the Kentucky Political Report, the Louisville Courier-Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader published more than 450 personnel stories in the past four months related to the current “merit mess” plaguing the Fletcher administration, as compared to 193 stories during the 27 months when former governor Patton was embroiled in the “Tina Connor affair,” Connor being his mistress as well as a “patronage person” and recipient of alleged favored treatment. Connor operated a nursing home and her then-husband a contracting business. This is called yellow journalism and is defined thusly: “featuring sensational or scandalous items or ordinary news sensationally distorted.”

The two morning newspapers are monopolies in the state’s largest cities. Neither is locally owned, but owned by huge chains given over to highly partisan liberal causes. Both, however, have represented liberal interests for years, their most recent competitors being the now defunct afternoon papers, the Louisville Times and Lexington Leader, respectively. In short, there are no high-profile print news-organs in the state to present the “other side” of matters, such as the so-called “hiring scandals.” Some balance is perhaps achieved by at least a couple of talk-radio shows (in Lexington, at least), but these reach only a handful of people compared to the readership of the papers, though the number of subscribers to newspapers nationwide is steadily declining.

The editorialists and columnists in the Lexington paper, besides lambasting the Fletcher administration on a virtual daily basis, also constantly stir the “racism pot” to keep it to at least a slow boil all the time and at a steaming boil at intervals. Since the 60s at least, when everything from affirmative action to unchallenged voting rights were written into law, African Americans have had opportunities far exceeding those (quotas, for instance) of others to forge ahead, but the paper constantly rants about the inequities they suffer, rarely mentioning that blacks have managed to shoot themselves in the feet consistently despite everything the legislatures, Congress, and courts have done to guarantee them their rights, not to mention (and damnably so) welfare payments of every stripe. Political correctness – not truth – dictates the paper’s position…yellow journalism.

The problem in the black community is illegitimacy, though the papers may paint it as one of poverty – a good example of yellow journalism. According to the summer 2005 edition of City Journal, a respected urban-policy magazine, it was noted that in 1965 the illegitimacy rate among blacks stood at between 25% and 28%, but that by 1980 it had more than doubled to 56% (66% in New York City). For whites in 1980, it stood at 9%. Presently, the rate for black illegitimacy is some 70%, but for whites has zoomed to 28.5% (2002), an increase from 1970 (5.5%) of an astonishing 418%, meaning that welfare rolls among whites are exploding, as they have among blacks for years, since it has been well proven that families without documented fathers are likely to be poor and therefore on the public dole. To get it right, the paper should not say that poverty causes illegitimacy, but that it’s the damnable illegitimacy that causes poverty. Yellow journalism. Surely no reasonable person believes that poverty has driven white women to shack-up. Just the opposite is true. Shacking-up has driven poverty-levels upward. The old stud in both races is off the hook, not responsible for his bastard offspring…unless, of course, the woman can afford to get a lawyer and go down the DNA trail. Attorney General Greg Stumbo knows something about this, his palimony problems a matter of public record.

Another good example of yellow journalism has been seen in the tortured reporting or opining regarding the problems connected to the ways various individuals, governments, and agencies have responded to the chaos caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In the first place, the media on all levels should have noted that no governmental entity could be expected to handle what happened in New Orleans, though FEMA has been excoriated to a degree unimaginable among reasonable people. FEMA routinely handles hurricane problems, though in every event it is always blamed (and expects to be) for being too slow, etc. Nothing new there! New Orleans was an altogether different matter, since no large city has ever been literally flooded in this country. Media folks, however and especially in Lexington, have jumped on FEMA, it would seem, for allowing the hurricane, in the first place, and have even used it as a comparison to a terrorist attack…something that can be handled to at least an extent by appropriate agencies.

The yellowest of the journalism has occurred, however, in not placing blame where it belongs, with respect to the Louisiana situation. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor Blanco stand as the main reasons for the turmoil through do-nothingness and politics, respectively. Seldom have two U.S. officials been responsible for so much suffering; yet, the media, local and national, have castigated the U.S. Government unmercifully, knowing full well just who was primarily responsible for the New Orleans debacle…yellow journalism. As the facts trickle out – and many already have – the media types will discover a public that will roundly castigate them for not only not being truthful, but for purposely being untruthful, the better to persecute the hated president.

Yellow journalism is nothing new. It’s here to stay More’s the pity!

And so it goes.

Jim Clark