Heather Mac Donald — the New York Times bestselling author, Manhattan Institute fellow, and City Journal contributing editor — joined SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday to discuss American academia and society at large’s “diversity delusion.”
The concept lends its name to Mac Donald’s new book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.
“From the moment a student steps on campus, he’s being bombarded with seminars in white privilege, toxic masculinity. Students are taught these absurd ideas that the enlightenment is somehow a source of oppression for minorities,” she told Breitbart News Deputy Political Editor Amanda House.
House started the interview by listing current events showcasing the overriding focus on “racism” and “sexism” as a driving force in American society.
“It’s completely delusional, Amanda. And you can add to that the idea that one of Judge Kavanaugh’s former clerks was flashing a white supremacist hand signal during last week’s confirmation hearings,” Mac Donald explained, laying out her thesis. “This is all a product of academic identity politics. From the moment a student steps on a college campus today, he is inundated with the idea that America is profoundly racist and sexist.”
“It’s that lunatic idea that is fueling the campus free speech crisis, and it’s now jumped the boundaries and is pervading American society in general, leading to racial tensions, gender tensions, and a massive assault on meritocracy,” Mac Donald said of the idea that women and minority students are victims of “lethal bigotry.”
Mac Donald mocked the arguments on which conservatives have relied against identity politics and the imposition of racial preferences — that they are unfair, or unconstitutional, and should be rejected on principle. “Conservatives have been making that argument for decades without a whole lot of success,” she told House.
In these arguments’ stead, Mac Donald suggests one from her research. “It’s that they seriously harm their supposed beneficiaries,” she explains.
Explaining a hypothetical in which she, as a woman, had been admitted to MIT with a much lower SAT math score than her male peers, Mac Donald posited, “I’d be surrounded by people who were way ahead of me academically, I would fall behind, the classroom teaching would be pitched to the level that I was not ready to keep up with.”
“I would probably drop out of my intended major. Let’s say I wanted to major in engineering. I’d conclude that I can’t hack this, probably transfer to women’s studies,” Mac Donald continued:
The same thing happens when you admit blacks and Hispanics with vastly different — and lower — academic qualifications. And there’s not a single selective school in this country that is not using vast racial preferences to admit blacks and Hispanics. … This is what’s driving this insane idea of schools being lethally racist. In experiencing their academic difficulties, they can either admit to themselves that they were admitted with a preference … or they can say, “I’m in a racist environment. That’s why I feel uncomfortable and I’m not keeping up.” Not suprisingly, I don’t blame them, most people choose the second … they’ve been encouraged to think that by the massive diversity bureaucracy.
The diversity delusion only begets what Mac Donald calls a “vicious cycle”:
The response from the colleges, then, is to say, “Oh well, we need more of a critical mass of minority students so they won’t feel so isolated,” and they go even further down in the admissions pool and admit students with an even greater gap in academic qualifications. And it ends up being a vicious cycle that hurts the alleged beneficiaries. The people that it helps is this growing phalanx of diversity bureaucrats who are determined to spread the poison of identity politics throughout colleges and into the society at large.
House asked about the flip-side of this cycle, the explicitly anti-white views increasingly articulated openly on campus and in the media. As an example, House cited the controversy over the New York Times hiring for its editorial board tech writer Sarah Jeong, who has a years-long record of anti-white and anti-male statements.
“Amanda, you’re ahead of the game if you even suggest that’s a common view on college campuses. It absolutely is,” Mac Donald replied. “Sarah Jeong was treated as some sort of aberration and as something surprising that the New York Times would hire her. In fact, she’s a perfectly banal product of the American academy. … You’d be not paying attention if you graduated from university today without thinking that whites are the source of all the world’s problems.”
The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture, is available now in hardcover and major e-book and audiobook formats.
Breitbart News Sunday is broadcast live on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 from 7:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern.