Recently, Arizona became the first state to require that high school students must pass the same citizenship test immigrants must pass to become naturalized. Given the poor civics performance of American high school and college students, this makes sense.
It also makes sense because in our pluralistic society what binds us is our shared dedication to advancing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and future generations—regardless of our ethnic or racial backgrounds.
But such a measure to improve students’ civics literacy to the level of naturalized American citizens is symptomatic of a much larger problem, ironically exemplified at one of Arizona’s flagship universities, Arizona State University, where students can take a course on “the problem of whiteness.” As Campus Reform’s Lauren Clark reports:
At Arizona State University (ASU), students can now learn about the “problem of whiteness” in America.
The public university is offering an English class to its students this semester called “Studies in American Literature/Culture: U.S. Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness.”
According to the class description on ASU’s website, students will be reading The Possessive Investment in Whiteness, Critical Race Theory, Everyday Language of White Racism, Playing in the Dark, and The Alchemy of Race and Rights.
At time of publication, 18 students were enrolled in the course offered at ASU’s Tempe campus. Students can receive three credits for successfully completing the course.
The class syllabus is not available online. …
The course, first reported by the Pundit Press, is taught by Lee Bebout, an assistant professor of English at ASU. According to his faculty page, critical race theory is one of his research interests.
Bebout, who is white, has previously taught classes titled “Transborder Chicano Literature,” “Adv Studies Theory/Criticism,” and “American Ethnic Literature,” among others.
Keep in mind that as of fiscal year 2013, ASU (Tempe) received more than $24,000 in revenue per full-time student, according to data it reported to the U.S. Department of Education (click on “Finance”).
About half of that amount came in the form of fees and tuition, and close to half of all ASU undergraduates (48 percent) receive federal student loans subsidized with our tax dollars (click on “Student Financial Aid”).
This is the kind of thing that happens when our tax dollars are funneled through unaccountable bureaucracies that answer to special interest groups instead of taxpayers.
If we were to finance undergraduates directly instead in the form of performance grants, they’d have a specified amount of cash in hand for core courses—not the politicized agendas of their professors. If students did not successfully complete their chosen degree programs, their grants would convert into loans that they would have to repay. Meanwhile, institutions would feel powerful pressure to keep costs low and program quality high to attract students and their associated funding. Part of that process would include eliminating politicized courses and replacing them with courses student would actually be willing to pay for directly out-of-pocket.
Instead we have what one ASU student aptly describes as:
… the significant double standard of higher education institutions," James Malone, a junior economics major, told Campus Reform. "They would never allow a class talking about the problem of 'blackness.' And if they did, there would be an uproar about it. But you can certainly harass people for their apparent whiteness.
Our colleges and universities should be places of higher learning that help prepare graduates for life outside of the Ivory Tower—not taxpayer subsidized incubators of hatred and bigotry.