That's the title of a very interesting article at Minding The Campus, in response to the sacking of commentator Naomi Schaefer Riley last month (which we covered in these pages at the time). Here's an excerpt.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, large populations of poor immigrants arrived in the U.S.--Irish, Italians, and Jews from Russia and Poland. Their extreme poverty placed them at the bottom of the social ladder, and they were often treated with contempt. Yet just a few generations later they were assimilated, and their rapid upward social mobility had produced mayors, senators, judges, and even Presidents from among their ranks. None of this could have happened without first-rate public education.
To be sure, they worked hard to get ahead, but they were not obstructed by something that afflicts the have-nots of today: as they walked through the school gates they were not met by people intent on luring them into Irish or Italian Studies programs whose purpose was to keep them in a state of permanent resentment over past wrongs at the hands of either Europeans or establishment America. Instead, they could give their full attention to learning. They took courses that informed them about their new land's folkways and history, which gave them both the ability and the confidence needed to grasp the opportunities it offered them.
When we compare this story with what is happening to minority students today, we see a tragedy. Just as Pinocchio went off to school with high hopes, only to be waylaid by J. Worthington Foulfellow, minority students are met on the way to campus by hard-left radicals who claim to have the interests of the newcomers at heart but in reality prey on them to advance their own selfish interests. Of course, what black students need is the same solid traditional education that had raised Irish, Italians, and Jews to full equality. But that would not serve the campus radicals' purpose. Disaffected radicals wanted to swell the ranks of the disaffected, not the ranks of the cheerfully upward mobile. Genuine progress for minority students would mean their joining and thus strengthening the mainstream of American society--the mainstream that campus radicals loathe.
There's more at the link.
I can't find anything in the author's views with which I disagree - but then, I didn't find anything wrong with Ms. Riley's views, either. It's refreshing to see them being voiced so openly, despite all the politically correct can do to ignore or undermine such perspectives. Question is, will they succeed in reopening the debate and bringing about meaningful improvements, or will the present ghastly mess that is ethnic and gender studies on so many campuses carry on regardless?