The New Segregation: Who Betrayed Martin Luther King?

Less than forty years ago, American society began a laborious and painful project to eliminate all vestiges of racial segregation from public life. On May 17, 1954, flanked by eight colleagues at a press conference, Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren read from the momentous Brown v. Board of Education decision: “Does segregation . . . on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other tangible factors be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal education? We believe that it does.” Programs to enforce public school desegregation were soon followed by ambitious efforts to integrate public transportation, hotels and restaurants, residential areas, in some cases even private clubs. By the mid-1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s victory was virtually complete: it was socially disreputable and politically suicidal for public figures to advocate racial segregation, and despite pockets of bellicose resistance, the nation seemed united in its commitment to full integration of racial minorities into all facets of life.

Yet America enters the last decade of the twentieth century with a strong and persistent residue of de facto segregation. Indeed even without the support of law, social pressures appear actively to promote racial and ethnic isolation in many areas, threatening to reverse the trend of the past several decades, to thwart the national aspiration for integration, and to revive such concepts as “separate but equal,” which had justified legal segregation since the late nineteenth century. Paradoxically, nowhere is the new segregation more evident than in that seemingly most progressive of institutions, the American university.

Universities were once thought a microcosm of society. But they are more than a reflection or mirror: they are a leading indicator. The campus environment is one where students live, eat, and study together, with the result that racial and cultural differences come together in the closest possible way. Of all American institutions, perhaps only the military brings people of such different backgrounds into more intimate contact. Moreover, university leaders are embarked on a conscious project to shape students into future leaders of an increasingly multicultural community. Consequently, the American campus becomes a very useful test case for institutional and social policies that draw racial groups together—or pry them apart; that promote integration—or separatism; that foster ethnic collegiality and harmony—or isolation and bitterness.

Separate and Unequal

Anyone who is part of the American university culture, as well as informed outside observers, cannot fail to notice the proliferation of separatist minority organizations on virtually every college campus. Universities that only a few years ago recognized an Afro-American Society and possibly an International Students Organization now sponsor a bewildering array of ethnic organizations. Just how far group specialization extends is evident from a partial catalogue of minority organizations at Cornell University: Black Women’s Support Network; Ethos Minority Yearbook; Black Biomedical and Technical Association; Gays, Bisexuals, and Lesbians of Color; La Asociacion Latina; La Organizacion de Latinas Universitarias; Le Club Haitien; Mexican-American Student Association; Minority Business Student Organization; Minority Industrial and Labor Relations Student Organization; Minority Undergraduate Law Society; National Society of Black Engineers; Society of Minority Hoteliers; Students of African Descent United; Uhuru Kuumba; Washanga Simba; not to mention nine black and Hispanic fraternities and sororities.

The University of California at Berkeley offers a no less impressive roster, including African Descendants Valuing and Nurturing Community Empowerment; African Students Association; Association for Raza Talent; Association of Black Students in Sociology; Association of Graduate Muslim Students; Black Freshmen Alliance; Black Women Support Group; Chicano Architecture Student Association; Chicanos in Health Education; La Raza Law Students Association; Law Students of African Descent; Minority Pre-Law Coalition; Multicultural Lesbian Bisexual Gay Alliance; Multicultural Multiracial Women’s Coalition; Scientists of Color; Third World Voice; and United People of Color. As with Cornell, Berkeley reflects the different causes and interests of various groups that consider themselves oppressed minorities.

On many campuses, separatism is not confined to membership in ethnically oriented extracurricular groups but extends to most aspects of campus life. Students at several universities have remarked on the widespread phenomenon of “black tables” at the university dining hall, where groups of African-American students insist on eating meals by themselves and regard white students who join them with undisguised antagonism. Surveying the Berkeley campus, the New York Times reported what any observant visitor notices: “Blacks and whites root for the same team but sit in different sections . . . floors in the undergraduate library are in practice segregated by race . . . rarely does a single white or two comfortably join a dining room table occupied mostly by blacks.”

Two recent graduates of Columbia have written that the university “is deeply divided along racial lines. Blacks gather in one area of the classroom, whites in another. Blacks and whites keep to different social circles. They don’t participate in the same campus organizations, join the same fraternities, or hang out in the same bars. With infrequent exceptions, they are not friends. On this liberal, Ivy League campus where we expected to find racial harmony and friendship, there is rampant and growing mutual racism.” These patterns are all too familiar at American universities across the country.

It is no exaggeration to say that many colleges are divided into sharply distinct ethnic subcultures—a black culture, a Hispanic culture, an Asian culture, and a (residual) white culture. Minority students often express contempt for what they describe as “white cultural norms,” and they insist on adhering to manners and morals that they promote as authentically black, Hispanic, or Third World. Black students, for example, frequently identify with the protest culture of rap music and Malcolm X rhetoric. As one Howard University activist said, “Malcolm has replaced Martin as our leader.” Responding to the new trend, a black student at Central Michigan University complained, in an article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “If I listen to a rock concert, people will say I am listening to white music. They will say I’m trying to act white. Certain activities are labeled ‘white’ and ‘black.’ If you don’t just participate in black activities, you are shunned.”

Faced with increasing separatism, university leaders find themselves in a quandary. James Duderstadt, president of the University of Michigan, said, “We really did not expect this—it has come as a surprise.” Frank Rhodes, president of Cornell, has written, “We face an unresolved conflict between the natural impulse toward proud separate racial and ethnic identity on the one hand, and the genuine desire, on the other, for meaningful integration that transcends differences of background.”

University presidents and deans know that demands for minority segregation are problematic, given the public commitment of universities to integration and the close involvement of students from different backgrounds. Nevertheless, nervous about saying no to groups of passionate and often agitated minority students, university administrators typically accede to these demands and both recognize and subsidize racial separatism.

Not only does such support involve facilities as well as financial support for ethnic organizations, but in many cases universities now also provide separate residential quarters. At Oberlin College, for example, the administration has set up special-interest dormitories, such as the African Heritage House, the Third World House, and the Asia House. Stanford has “ethnic theme houses,” such as the predominantly black Ujaama, and the university’s president, Donald Kennedy, says that one of his educational objectives is “to support and strengthen ethnic theme houses.” Ohio State University also permits minority facilities, and Rebecca Parker, its director of residence, says that such separatism “needs to be seen as a celebration of our differences.”

At the University of Pennsylvania the administration has, through the Afro-American Society, financed a yearbook titled Positively Black, even though only 6 percent of Penn students are black and no other group gets to publish its own yearbook. Some schools, such as Dartmouth and the University of Illinois, have allowed separate minority graduation ceremonies on the grounds that blacks, Hispanics, and foreign students may not be able to “identify” with the official program. Central Michigan University is considering requests from black students who want the right to insist upon black roommates. And California State University at Sacramento is working out the details of a new plan to establish a separate “college within a college” for black students who do not want to be part of what they consider the mainstream white culture of the campus.

Integration vs. Pluralism

To justify these new developments, university leaders have developed a model of pluralism that they say replaces the antiquated concept of integration. While integration relied upon the concept of racial groups dissolving their distinctive cultural habits into a common American culture, pluralism affirms and accentuates ethnic differences. Malcolm Willis, vice-provost at Duke University, maintains that the paradigm of the “melting pot” has been replaced by that of the “salad bowl.” In this view, far from asking racial and ethnic groups to jettison their particularities, universities help to preserve the varied cultural ingredients that produce a rich and savory “multiculturalism” or “diversity.”

The only problem with this vision is that the campuses most dedicated to advancing pluralism of this sort are precisely the ones undergoing the greatest volume of racial tension and racial incidents. The national media has noted the rapid resurgence of bigotry on American campuses. The problem has been ascribed, by Reginald Wilson of the American Council on Education and the Washington Post editorial page, among others, to Reagan-era insensitivity and a failure to tutor young people in the lessons of the civil rights movement, thus allowing an upsurge of adolescent prejudice to express itself unembarrassed and unchecked.

But these explanations ignore the fact that the vast majority of racial incidents have been recorded at northern campuses with a progressive reputation. The South, ancestral home of socially sanctioned bigotry and segregation, seems to have accommodated minority students on its campuses relatively well. Administrators concede that ethnic hostility seems most acute at such places as Berkeley, Michigan, Oberlin, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, whose chancellor, Joseph Duffey, reacted to a racial brawl with the perplexed comment, “People here pride themselves on being liberals. They think things like this only happen in Forsyth, Georgia.” An examination of a hundred racial incidents tabulated by the National Institute Against Prejudice and Violence indicates that the state with the most problems is Massachusetts, which is not exactly Reagan country.

Troy Duster,  a sociologist at Berkeley, in a recent study found a correlation between group separatism and racial hostility among students. Duster reported that students of different backgrounds come to college thinking of themselves as “individuals” or “Americans” but soon begin to think of themselves as “African American, Asian American or whatever.” Duster discovered that “ethnic enclaves” encouraged by universities produce balkanization among racial groups, with the result that “each group accuses other groups of being closed and not receptive” and “each complains about being stereotyped.” In short, pluralism seems to produce neither a salad nor a pleasing ethnic smorgasbord but rather various racial platoons, each armed with distinctive cultural identities, viewing other groups across horizons of suspicion and truculence.

Perhaps the most disturbing development in this separatist conflict is the recent establishment of white student unions on such campuses as Temple University and Florida State. Having financed a battery of minority groups, including black student unions, university officials had no option but to recognize their white counterparts as official student organizations. Along the same lines, as a cultural alternative to Black History Month in 1989, white students at the University of Michigan put up posters announcing “White Pride Week,” which was said to be a celebration of “yachts, sailboats, navy blazers, cool white presidents, all the kids we know are our own, polo stuff, L.L. Bean, Land’s End, and plantations.” Fred Sheehen of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education expects this so- called white backlash to continue. When universities promote minority dormitories and groups, Sheehen predicts, soon fraternities may ask for segregated facilities on the grounds that “white males need a support group too.” One college dean glumly speculated that, even as they mobilize against investments in South Africa, American universities are consolidating their own form of apartheid.

More Equal than Others

What is going on? How has the American university changed from an advocate of integration and racial harmony into an apparent sponsor of division and conflict? Why has the passion for eliminating racial classification, primary in the civil rights movement, given way to an equally strong drive to heighten and affirm racial distinction? The answer begins with admissions policies at American universities, which determine the composition of each freshman class.

The overwhelming majority of colleges are under constant pressure from state legislatures, civil rights groups, and faculty and student activists to increase minority representation. Administrators sometimes welcome this challenge, because many espouse a political philosophy in which racial groups on campus roughly approximate their proportion in the general population. “Proportional representation” is the new admissions buzzword. It is official policy at such universities as Berkeley, where the university admits that only 50 percent of students each year are admitted according to the traditional criterion of academic merit. Many university leaders argue that since a college education provides many financial and social benefits in later life, equitable racial allocation of freshmen seats is the only just distribution of rewards in a democratic society.

The reason admissions policy must move beyond merit criteria, it is argued, is that, for various reasons, racial groups perform very differently on such academic indices as standardized test scores and grade point averages. Thus, the goal of proportional representation requires that colleges play down or ignore grades and test results and accept students from certain minority groups who are less well prepared than other students, who are consequently refused admission. In practice, this means that black, Hispanic, and American Indian students, who are considered members of under-represented groups, are given preference over better-qualified white and Asian students, who are considered over-represented. Regardless of its rhetorical aspirations, this is the contemporary reality of “affirmative action.”

Unfortunately, the number of students from affirmative action minority groups who meet the demanding admissions standards of selective colleges is extremely small. In 1988, although nearly 100,000 black students took the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), only 116 scored above 699 (out of 800) on the verbal section; only 342 scored that high on the math section. Fewer than 3,000 blacks scored above 599 on either part of the test. The average white-black differential in aggregate score was enormous: 198 points. The Asian-black differential was equally large: 192 points. Universities that seek 8 to 10 percent enrollments of black students are frequently forced to make substantial accommodations in academic criteria in order to meet their affirmative action targets.

Ernest Koenigsberg, a Berkeley business professor who has served on admissions committees, explained the way this works at his university. Imagine a student with a grade point average of 3.5 (out of 4.0) and an SAT score of 1,200 (out of 1,600). If such a student were black, Koenigsberg reports that his or her chances for admission are virtually 100 percent. If such a student were white or Asian, however, Koenigsberg calculates that the probability of admission would be less than 5 percent.

While affirmative action compromises at other universities may be less dramatic, nevertheless the overall effect of aggressive preferential treatment programs is to assemble freshmen classes with racial groups of measurably unequal preparation. Moreover, from the perspective of academic qualifications, such programs misplace minority students throughout higher education: applicants who are academically prepared for Towson State are admitted to the University of Illinois; those qualified for Illinois are admitted to Williams; those who meet William’s requirements are admitted to Yale. Even academically strong minority students find themselves in a difficult position. Thus, although black freshmen at Massachusetts Institute of Technology are typically in the top 10 percent of students taking standardized tests, they are also on average in the bottom 10 percent of the exceptional students MIT admits each year.

One reason these facts are not well known is that universities do everything they can to camouflage them— partly because their affirmative action policies are most defensible when stated at a high level of generality, partly because of a legitimate desire to protect the self-pride of minority students. Nevertheless, while it is possible to make admissions decisions in secret, it is impossible to conceal the consequences of affirmative action, because they will be walking around campus for the next several years.

Imagine the plight of minority students accepted be-cause of preferential treatment at places like Berkeley, Michigan, or Harvard. Professors at such selective schools assume from the outset a certain level of what E.D. Hirsch terms “cultural literacy”: they expect that students know who wrote Paradise Lost, that they have heard of Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto, that they can solve equations, and that they know something about the cell and the amoeba. Freshmen are expected to be able to read Hamlet, perform laboratory experiments, and write analytical papers on short notice. As many teachers and university officials admit, many minority students from disadvantaged backgrounds have enormous difficulty simply keeping up during the first semester. In Blacks in College, Jacqueline Fleming of Barnard documents that blacks on predominantly white campuses undergo “feelings of competitive rejection” that lead to lethargy, depression, and fear of failure.

Affirmative action students are usually astonished at their academic hardships because for the year before college they have enjoyed the avid courtship of admissions officers who have assured them that they belong at the university, that standards have not been lowered to let them in—indeed that they have a distinct perspective that the university could not hope to gain from other students. The high expectations of these minority students are typically eroded by the end of the first semester, when the natural difficulties of adjustment to college life are compounded by academic pressures more severe than those faced by other undergraduates.

It is at this point, when minority freshmen find themselves in this predicament, that they begin to look for comfort and security among their peers in a similar situation. Many sign up for their campus Afro-American Society or Hispanic Student Association or ethnic theme house, where they attempt to share their hopes and frustrations in a receptive atmosphere. Now they begin to seek guidance from older classmates who have journeyed these unfamiliar and somewhat frightening paths.

The Grievance Industry

While these separatist institutions provide a social enclave for affirmative action students and offer genuine camaraderie and support, they have no remedy for the students’ academic problems. Virtually none provides programs in remedial reading, basic mathematics, or other skills related to course work. What they come up with instead is an attractive explanation: minority students suffer not because they are inadequately prepared for the work, but because of the pervasive bigotry that makes it impossible for them to advance. Although such racism may not be obvious at first, minority freshmen are informed that it operates in elusive forms, such as baleful looks, subtle insinuations, uncorrected mental stereotypes, and what educators Jeff Howard and Ray Hammond in a 1985 article in The New Republic termed “rumors of inferiority.” Moreover, the university itself is said to have gone from “overt racism” to “institutional racism,” evident in the disproportionately small number of minorities represented in the faculty and among the deans.

Once racism is held accountable for minority unrest on campus, it is now up to students to find, expose, and extirpate it. Here the university often steps in with offers of assistance. Eager to prevent minority frustration and anger from directing itself at the president’s or dean’s office, the administration hotly denies the reality of preferential treatment and affirms minority students in their conviction that the real enemy is latent bigotry that everywhere conspires to thwart campus diversity. As the Harvard political scientist Harvey Mansfield bluntly puts it, “White students must admit their guilt so that minority students do not have to admit their incapacity.”

The anti-racist campaign on campus takes various forms. In its mildest form, it involves a drumbeat of intemperate rhetoric. Frequently it includes the university sponsorship of so-called sensitivity seminars, sometimes mandatory, where non-minority students are urged to acknowledge publicly their deep-rooted pathologies of bigotry. Nor are such pressures confined to whites; activists even brand black students who resist their political diversity agenda as “Incognegroes” or “Oreos”—they are presumed to be black on the outside but white on the inside.

Some campuses have set up a “racism hotline” to report instances of ethnic insensitivity; other, such as Harvard, have full-time staff to prosecute such complaints by minorities against other students and faculty. Several schools, among them Stanford, Emory, and the universities of Michigan and Wisconsin, have adopted censorship regulations that in most cases outlaw “stigmatizing” and “stereotypical” remarks directed against minority students, a prohibition that extends in one case to “conspicuous exclusion from conversation” and “derisive laughter.” Southern Methodist University recently punished one student for calling Martin Luther King, Jr., a communist and singing “We Shall Overcome” in a “sarcastic manner”; another student was convicted of using a “derogatory tone” in calling his roommate a “Mexican.”

While many universities sternly scrutinize the motives, behavior, and speech of alleged campus bigots, these suspicions do not usually extend to the minority activists themselves. A group of professors called Concerned Faculty at Michigan supplied the rationale for this double standard:

Behavior which constitutes racist oppression when engaged in by whites does not have this character when undertaken by people of color. For example, a white person may not proclaim a lounge or campus organization only for whites. Yet there is an important place on this campus for Black Student Lounges, the Black Student Union, etc. Such associations do not oppress whites, because people of color are not in a position to deprive whites of the powers, opportunities and recognition they need to advance their interests.

In the same vein, Gayatri Spivak, Andrew Mellon Professor of English and Cultural Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, argues that while it is essential to teach white students sensitivity to cultural diversity, such qualities as tolerance cannot reasonably be expected of minorities. “Tolerance is a loaded virtue,” said Spivak, “because you have to have a base of power to practice it. You cannot ask a certain people to ‘tolerate’ a culture that has historically ignored them at the same time that their children are being indoctrinated into it.”

However comprehensive the effort of universities to ameliorate minority concerns, it seldom succeeds. Eventually minority discontent, which was spawned in large part because of academic difficulties, returns to the classroom. Minority students are now informed that even as they agitate against widespread campus racism, the worst form of bigotry stands right in front of them. In particular, as heard during Stanford University’s much-publicized “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western culture’s got to go” debate, most of the curriculum consists of works by whites, collectively echoing a Eurocentric perspective. No wonder, then, that students from different backgrounds have difficulty absorbing culturally alien texts. This realization leads quickly to demands for a multicultural curriculum, including the establishment or expansion of such distinctive programs as Afro-American Studies, which are said to offer an authentic black perspective. Such perspectives can become somewhat rarified, as in Harvard law professor Derrick Bell’s refusal to teach for a year in order to pressure the university into granting tenure to a black female, whose unique perspective Bell said neither white women nor black men could hope to provide.

The extension of minority separatism to the classroom, specifically in such special programs as Afro-American studies and more broadly through the invocation of distinct minority perspectives, creates in effect a color-coded system of scholarship, in which traditional fields of inquiry are put down to the white way of thinking, which of course needs to be balanced by equally important and valid minority viewpoints. Far from resisting the establishment of separatist departments such as Afro-American Studies, college officials usually welcome it because it provides an easy way to fulfill faculty affirmative action targets, thus keeping less-than-qualified minority teachers away from the mainstream curriculum. Moreover, such departments often become curricular equivalents for the social function served by minority organizations—they provide students with a refuge from the pressures of integrated campus life.

The New Racism on Campus

Issues of race place most white students in a very uncomfortable position. Surveys have shown that today’s generation of young people has remarkably tolerant views, including widespread acceptance of interracial dating. Even though many whites may not have lived or studied with blacks, Hispanics, or other minorities in the past, they seem generally committed to equal rights and open to building friendships and associations with people whom they know have been wronged through history.

Since they applied to college, many white and Asian American students know that other groups have enjoyed preferential treatment in admission. Even students who support affirmative action in principle have qualms when they see that it is now harder for them to gain acceptance to universities for which they have prepared. Even if they get in, many have friends in high school whom they believe were denied admission to make room for minority students with weaker qualifications. For Asian students—many from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as the Cambodian boat people—it is impossible to justify such discrimination on the grounds of past crimes or present privilege. The cruel irony for this minority group is that quotas once intended as instruments of inclusion seem to have become instruments of exclusion.

Students are reminded of these concerns about equity when they see the obvious differences in preparation among various groups in class. Black and Hispanic difficulties become a confirmation of the suspicion that universities basically operate on a racial multiple-track admission process. Yet it is obvious that this cannot be stated in public, partly because universities continue to deny that they lower requirements for select groups and partly because minorities would take serious offense at such “insensitivity.” Consequently, most students discuss affirmative action only in private. But since students live and study in close quarters, it is impossible to conceal common sentiments for long, and soon minority students suspect that people are talking about them behind closed doors and about the issue most sensitive to them—namely, whether they belong at the university or not. This strengthens minority sentiments about the existence of subtle and elusive prejudices against them.

White students tend to have a mixed response to minority separatism. For bigots among them, such self-segregation comes as a tremendous relief, partly because it removes blacks and Hispanics from the mainstream of campus life and partly because it reinforces racist attitudes. Bigoted students confirm their prejudices in two ways: first, by congratulating themselves on the validation of their suspicion that minorities cannot succeed on their own and require special group concessions; and second, by assuring themselves that it is perfectly acceptable for them to prefer to associate only with whites, since minorities clearly exercise a preference for their own. Mark Wright, founder of a white student union at the University of Florida, told his local newspaper, “When whites decide to stand up for issues that are important to them, we are labeled racist. When blacks do so, they are labeled civil rights activists.”

While few students wish to join all-white institutions, many observe that university policy toward racial groups employs a double standard that apparently replicates the racial preferences of admission policy. Many students agree with Washington Post columnist William Raspberry, who has written that “you cannot claim both full equality and special dispensation.” Minority separatist institutions are most irritating, not so much because they are separate, but because in many cases they become institutional launching pads for systematic attacks directed against whites. Many separatist groups are quick to make accusations of bigotry, to the point where any disagreement with the agenda of the Afro-American Society is automatically evidence of racism. Here the doctrine of pluralism has become a framework for racial browbeating and intimidation.

When they discover resentment among students over preferential treatment and minority separatism, activists and university administrators typically conclude that they have discovered the latent bigotry for which they have been searching. This resurgence of racism, they claim, illustrates that “more needs to be done” in the form of redoubled minority recruitment, the establishment of ethnic studies requirements, recognition for a black sorority, a new Third World center perhaps, and the inevitable establishment of a task force to make additional proposals. In short, university policies of preferentialism and double standards create racial division and tension on campus, and when this happens administrators call for an intensification and multiplication of such policies.

It is this balkanized environment that gives rise to racial jokes and racial incidents. These episodes are not spontaneous eruptions of old-style racism; they represent the uncorking of a tightly sealed bottle. When legitimate questions about equality and fairness are repressed by an atmosphere of accusation, intimidation, and censorship, they tend to ferment under the surface and finally erupt in perverse, rebellious, and outrageous expression. A close examination of the contemporary culture of racial humor on campus, as well as documented racial incidents, points to a large number that are directly related to the two-tier system of justice for racial groups that extends from admissions policy, to life on campus, to the classroom. Needless to say, as universities redouble their current agenda for multiculturalism, pluralism, and diversity, these problems will continue to worsen, and universities will experience more numerous, and more vicious, racial incidents.

Higher Education and Single Standards

Thoughtful advocates of civil rights increasingly recognize the danger to minority aspirations and racial harmony posed by the new segregation on campus. Eleanor Holmes Norton, former head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President Carter and now a professor at Georgetown Law School, argues that “separatism is exactly what we fought against—it is antithetical to what the civil rights movement was all about. It sets groups apart, and it prevents blacks from partaking of the larger culture.” Writing in the Wall Street Journal, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., observed that, in the classroom, “the melting pot has yielded to the Tower of Babel” and, with contemporary trends, “we invite the fragmentation of our culture into a quarrelsome spatter of enclaves, ghettos, and tribes.” Yale law professor Stephen Carter, in an article in Reconstruction, a new journal of African-American scholarship, warns that under a regime of racial double standards, even qualified minorities find their achievements called into question: they become victims of what Carter calls the “best black syndrome.”

Recent data indicate that black enrollment at main-stream universities is relatively stagnant or dropping, while enrollment at historically black colleges is rising fast. The New York Times concluded after an investigation that such factors as racial tension and minority frustration are responsible for many students avoiding places like Michigan in favor of places like Howard. The shift back to predominantly black schools, which were termed relics of segregation after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, represents a dramatic reversal of the trend over the past quarter of a century. Somehow, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is being undone by university activists and leaders who claim to be advancing the civil rights cause. But alas, the only consequence of their policies seems to be the encouragement of bigotry and racial division, which does not bode well for America’s future as a multicultural community.

  • Dinesh D'Souza

    Dinesh D'Souza is an American conservative political commentator, author, and former college president.

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