A look at UNCA’s diversity program

How do you define diversity? Let me restate that question… How do you measure diversity? Some at UNCA are currently feeling troubled over what they see as a lack of diversity at the school. That’s why they’ve created “The New Diversity Task Force”. The student newspaper, The Banner, reports that students and faculty are questioning what can be done about this “growing problem”.

I’ve visited the campus many times myself, even given speeches a few times for one event or another. I always thought that there was a wealth of diversity at the school and on the grounds. The mere fact that I’ve been invited to speak at the university several times validates that point. So how is it that there’s such a problem at UNCA and I somehow missed it. I turned again to The Banner article by Melissa Dean about the proclaimed diversity crisis.

I think I found my answer in a quote by Eric Gardner, a senior philosophy student. He said, “There are students here that identify themselves as queer and we also have many different religious groups, but the most important part of diversity here isn’t in term of these lifestyle choices made by subsections of the upper-middle class white part of the population.”

Now I see … this is a racist issue.

Many in Academic America are riddled with “white guilt.” To deal with this intellectual disorder they resort to measuring diversity not by ideas, not by philosophy or moral values, not by any means other than the one category that we as a society ought to be working very hard to move away from. Academia is only willing to look at the color of a person’s skin when measuring failure, accomplishment or even diversity itself. Dr. King died trying to move us away from this line of thinking. What is being asserted in the Banner article is essentially that all black people think, act and live one way and all white people think, act and live a different way. How sad is that? No matter how different everyone is at UNCA, too many people are white. That’s the complaint in a nutshell.

So what should be done about it? Liam Luttrell, a member of The New Diversity Task Force says that the only way that this can be resolved is for students, especially white students, to rise up and publicly challenge, question and “make noise” against the administration of the tax-payer supported university. Mark Gibney, a political science professor at UNCA goes as far as claiming that the faculty isn’t able to teach effectively because they’re too white. Gibney was quoted as saying, “Classes are hard to teach because you only have a white perspective.” What exactly would that “white perspective” be professor? Is math different for black people? How about Science, do the laws of nature change based on the color of your skin?

UNCA’s students and faculty currently suffering from white guilt could cure their ailment with one simple dose of this: Measure diversity by the broadness of ideas, philosophy and beliefs, not solely by the color of a student or teachers skin. Determine a man’s wealth by the depth of his character and the abilities he has to live for himself in his own way.

The way I see it, these people all bent out of shape at UNCA over the over-whiteness of the campus need to drop out of school, quite their ineffective teaching jobs, close all their bank accounts and give everything they own to the first non-white person they meet. Either that or they can start looking at people as people and not as a check mark on some twisted and demeaning social checklist. Run this commentary in the student newspaper then the Banner publication of UNC-A would have TRUE diversity, not the artificial one made up in the minds of people unaware of their own bigotry.

Matt Mittan (matt570@clearchannel.com) is the host “Take A Stand!”, heard on WWNC in Asheville.