Blogs > Cliopatria > The Jury's in at Claremont

Aug 19, 2004 10:29 am


The Jury's in at Claremont



A Los Angeles County jury yesterday convicted Kerri Dunn, a Claremont McKenna College professor, of insurance fraud and filing a police report after an incident in which Dunn vandalized her car with racist slogans and then claimed anti-"diversity" students committed the crime. Before the facts of the incident were clear, the Claremont administration staged massive pro-"diversity" rallies; once Dunn's lying was revealed, the college placed her on paid leave.

At the time, Stanford sociologist Lee Ross said that regardless of who vandalized Dunn's car,"doing this may actually have accomplished some of her goals, if her goal was to make people feel that racism was present and that there was danger of white backlash." He continued,"Sometimes people invent facts because they believe that the conclusion that it would lead people to is true."

This is the educational philosophy of some extreme pro-"diversity" groups nationally, notably the Association of American Colleges and Universities, which argues that working-class and middle-class students need a college education designed to purge them of their ingrained sexist and racist beliefs. It's nice to see this line of thinking didn't carry the day in the jury room.




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Ralph E. Luker - 8/19/2004

Yep, we're in agreement. I was Peter Filene's graduate assistant when he published a major article on "progressivism" which finally pointed out the definitional dilemma.


Robert KC Johnson - 8/19/2004

I agree completely--though the key, of course, comes in how "diversity" is defined. It's a little like "progressivism" in 1970s or 1980s historiography--the phrase was used so much, and meant so many different things to different people, that it became meaningless.


Ralph E. Luker - 8/19/2004

The thrust of criticism here has to be to the fraud that Dunn committed and at the incidental justification for it that Lee Ross apparently offered. Too often, we've allowed certain advocates of diversity to promote illegitimate agendas.
Having said that, we need to be clear about a couple of things: a) diversity in the United States is an empirical reality and the critique of "diversity" can't and shouldn't be intended to change that; b) diversity is difficult, often painful, and proponents of "diversity" too often don't sufficiently acknowledge that reality; and c) diversity does have positive benefits in its challenge to our provincialisms.