ethnic studies

It may be hypocritical to assert that courses dealing with ethnicity are designed to foster what is imagined by university professors to be “culture.” As the product of two generations of neo-Marxist teachers, the idea of teaching ethnicity is not very different from the “folk” cultures fostered under Stalinist bureaucracy. Ethnic Studies might be educationally useful for some white Americans of what is disingenuously termed our “mainstream culture,” since perforce they know little or nothing about the ethnic groups proliferating in their midst. Conceivably such courses could be helpful in accommodating social tensions because they afford a democratic means of political manipulation, for supporting “culture.” Notwithstanding, Ethnic Studies is quintessentially a university notion: it mistakes documents for reality. And providing an Ethnic Studies center or department is your typical administrative device for defusing the unhappiness of minorities in a pluralistic society headed always towards the Western achievement (eclectic only in dress, music, arts, and cuisine). It is also a vicious product of the ignorance and anxiety of our school bureaucrats — scientists and sociologists — for, by politicizing scholarship, it avoids critical thought about values. In essence, our Ethnic Studies centers exist to placate political demands; unfortunately, academics rush to develop and elaborate courses of study that are products of their long hours of lucubration in a library … or surfing the worldwide web’s inchoate cloaca of unfiltered documents.

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