Are Universities Driving Racism?
Look at news reports or read your social media feed, and you’ll be convinced that racism is rampant on college campuses everywhere.
In reality, the number of reported incidents of racism has remained constant since the end of the twentieth century, when the Department of Justice first began collecting data on it. Since that time, college enrollment has increased significantly.
If racism has existed on college campuses for decades, are universities driving it?
American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Michael Rubin suggests that universities have entrenched themselves in “identity politics and race-based theories.”
Rubin has theorized that higher education is purposefully establishing race as the single most critical variable in learning, regardless of the subject. By doing so, he says, universities are driving racism.
He’s not alone in his thinking. Kehinde Andrews, professor of black studies, has also said that universities drive racism, claiming that it is institutional. It’s built into an antiquated curriculum that remains largely isolated from minority issues and interests.
According to Andrews, colleges are not doing enough to challenge racism when it occurs, and minority students are being victimized because of it.
In reality, colleges do more to eliminate racism than promote it.
Colleges purposefully seek diversity in their enrollments.
By bringing together students of different backgrounds, beliefs, and races, a university intentionally creates a milieu that will foster a deeper understanding of people. That’s a critically important skill to have, considering the growth of our global economy. People of diverse backgrounds are expected to work together and to learn from each other.
Many students at their universities will meet peers from diverse ethnic groups for the first time. Campuses recognize that there will be racial dissension. They also realize that racial tensions abate more quickly at schools with ethnically diverse populations.
Students at these schools learn to be more accepting of racial diversity and less tolerant of hate speech.
As a whole, campuses are seeing less prejudice in universities than in the past, but racism still exists. It takes the form of micro-aggressions, which are small behaviors or words that cause suffering, whether intentional or not.
Micro-aggressions are considered hostile, and universities work hard to help students understand how to recognize them and prevent their continuation.
How campuses address racism
Although racism continues to be a problem on university campuses, colleges are doing more than ever before to put a stop to it.
Students and have faculty have access to support groups, and schools teach classes on tolerance and diversity. Most importantly, many campuses help people of all races to participate in critical conversations about race.
Is it perfect? No, but hopefully campuses are driving racism right out of existence.