Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Clarity of Clarence Page II: Electric Boogaloo

Clarence and I need to grab our families together and spend a day on the ketch. He is right on target.
Do African immigrants make the smartest Americans? The question may sound outlandish, but if you were judging bystatistics alone, you could find plenty of evidence to back it up.

In a side-by-side comparison of 2000 census data by sociologist John R. Logan at the Mumford Center, State University of New York at Albany, black immigrants from Africa average the highest educational attainment of any population group in the country, including whites and Asians.

For example, 43.8 percent of African immigrants had achieved a college degree, compared to 42.5 of Asian Americans, 28.9 percent for immigrants from Europe, Russia and Canada, and 23.1 percent of the U.S. population as a whole.
Walter Benn Michaels, a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, writes in his book "The Trouble With Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality," the original intent of affirmative action morphed back in the 1970s from reparations for slavery into the promotion of a broader virtue: "diversity." Since then, it no longer seems to matter how many of your college's black students had slavery in their families. It only matters that they are black.
But I also think we need to revisit the meaning of "diversity." Unlike our current system of feel-good game-playing, we need to focus on the deeper question of how education can be improved and opportunities opened up to those who were left behind by the civil rights revolution.

We tend to look too often at every aspect of diversity except economic class. Yet, the dream of upward mobility is an essential part of how we Americans like to think of ourselves.

It's also why a lot more people are trying to get into this country than trying to get out.
Yes, yes and yes. Race does, and should not, have anything to do with it. Someone needs to staple this the head of your nearest Diversity Bully.

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