The U.S. Naval Academy’s PowerPoint display explains diversity by saying, “Diversity is all the different characteristics and attributes of individual sailors and civilians which enhance the mission readiness of the Navy,” adding that: “Diversity is more than equal opportunity, race, gender or religion. Diversity is the understanding of how each of us brings different skills, talents and experiences to the fight — and valuing those differences. Leveraging diversity creates an environment of excellence and continuous improvement to remove artificial achievement barriers and value the contribution of all participants.” Admiral Gary Roughead, chief of Naval Operations, says that “diversity is the No. 1 priority” at the academy.
Diversity at the Naval Academy, as at most academic institutions, is not about equal opportunity but a race and sex spoils system to achieve what the Navy brass see as a pleasing race and sex mix. They accomplish that vision by the removal of “artificial achievement barriers.” Let’s go over what the Naval Academy sees as an artificial achievement barrier. A black candidate with B and C grades, with no particular leadership qualities, and 500 on both portions of the SAT, is virtually guaranteed admittance. A white student, who’s not an athlete, with such scores is deemed not qualified.
Many black students are admitted to the Naval Academy through remedial training at the Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS) in Newport, R.I., which is a one-year post-secondary school. Finishing the year with a 2.0 GPA, a C average, almost guarantees admission to the academy. A C average for remedial work is nothing to write home about. Occasionally, when students don’t make the 2.0 GPA target, the target is renegotiated downward. Minority applicants with SAT scores down to the 300s and with Cs and Ds grades (and no particular leadership or athletics) are also admitted after a remedial year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School.
Bruce Fleming, an English professor at the academy for 22 years, teaches a remedial English class and finds that in his spring 2009 class, most of NAPS’s students earn Cs and Ds and many are on probation.
About seven years ago Professor Fleming was on the admissions board, where the standing instruction is not to write anything down because “everything is ‘FOI’able” — meaning it can be demanded under the Freedom of Information Act. Such an instruction highlights the dishonesty of race preferences. The dishonesty doesn’t stop there. The academy will go to great lengths to retain black students. When Professor Fleming charged a black student with plagiarism, he was not properly informed of the hearing and subsequently the student’s peer group found him not guilty. Honor violations by black students are usually “remediated.”
I suspected that the Naval Academy’s diversity agenda would give rise to resentments so I asked Professor Fleming about it. He said there are two levels of resentment. Some black students, who were admitted to the academy meritoriously on the same basis as white students, resent the idea of being seen as having the same academic qualities as blacks who were given preferential treatment, in other words being dumb. Another level of resentment comes from white students who see blacks as being admitted and retained at lower levels of academic performance and being treated with kid gloves. If these whites openly complained about the unequal treatment, they would run the risk of being labeled as racists. This is one of the unappreciated aspects of preferential treatment. It runs the risk of creating racist attitudes, and possibly feelings of racial superiority, among whites and others who were formerly racially neutral.
Colleges and universities with racially preferential admittance policies are doing a great disservice to blacks in another, mostly ignored, way. By admitting poorly prepared blacks, they are helping to conceal the grossly fraudulent education the blacks receive at the K through 12 grades.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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