Sunday, January 08, 2012

how the ford foundation created multiculturalism

Frontpagemag | Editor’s Note: One of the largest and most dangerous concentrations of unchecked power in the United States is the Ford Foundation with discretionary spending power that rivals that of government. It is spending power moreover, for the political left and often the hard left. As a public service Frontpage Magazine is devoting a series of articles to the malign influence of Ford. The story posted below, which originally appeared in Heterodoxy magazine, reveals Ford’s crucial role in creating the ideological movement called “multiculturalism” in our universities. -- David Horowitz.

The Pasadena Doubletree is an unlikely site for a conspiracy. The elegant pink structure is sumptuously landscaped and fragrant breezes circulate in the spacious courtyards even on the sultry afternoons of Southern California's Indian Summer. And the dozens of scholars from campuses all over the country who met here late last month did not look like revolutionaries. But behind closed doors of the meeting rooms, the conference of "Cultural Diversity Enhancement" had the tone of one of those "by any means necessary" conventions staged by SDS in the late 60s. The subject was how to turn American higher education inside out. It was sponsored by the Ford Foundation, whose strategy for a radical transformation of the university one critic has called "the academic equivalent of an 'ethnic cleansing.'"

In an afternoon session entitled "Restructuring the University," spokespersons summarized the thinking of the workshops that had taken place earlier that morning. Robert Steele, a Professor of Psychology at Wesleyan, noted that his group was aware that coercion would be required to change the university: "People will not be quietly assimilated to multiculturalism by truth through dialogue." They will have to be bought off as well as brought along. Steele described the terms of the deal: "You get research assistants, you give mentoring." In other words, using the largesse of Ford and other philanthropic institutions, advocates of multiculturalism convince the hesitant to join up by paying for research assistants. These assistants — mentors of multiculturalism — must be women or people of color. "We will have changed the university when women and people of color can see themselves running the place," Steele concluded.

Steele was followed by Jonathan Lee, a Philosophy Professor at Colorado College, who began by reporting that the workshop he represented had wondered if "consensus was an appropriate goal." That is, should advocates of multiculturalism act as a popular front or a vanguard? One of Lee's prescriptions for success was to "divorce courses from instructors" — that is, conceive and institute courses without regard to those who would be doing the teaching. Continuing in this vein. Lee reported that his group had considered the question, "Is the multicultural approach an adaptation or a revolutionary transformation? They had come down on the side of the more radical position: "At stake in multiculturalism is a direct challenge to privatized teaching, to privatized work and to privatized life." Even science, the one area so far immune to this radical transformation, would have to change, according to Lee: "Instead of teaching science as a doctrine divorced from its social context, we could teach science from a historical, economic perspective."

The final speaker was Eve Grossman, a Princeton dean, who said that her group had worried about tenure: "If we want to restructure the university, tenure stands in the way." She said that her group was aware that promotion and tenure were predicated on "discipline-based" research. Therefore "When we talk about changing things, we're really talking about something no less radical than changing disciplines." Grossman made it clear that her group of thinkers had kept their eyes on the prize: "If we want to change the world, we have to change the students."

As the session adjourned and the participants got ready to leave for a multicultural reception at the Asia-Pacific Center across the street from the Doubletree ("an important meeting place for the cultures of East and West"), it was hard not to feel a sense of unreality. How did the biggest foundation in the world get into the business of academic revolution? Why was Ford pushing so hard for the deconstruction of American higher education?

2 comments:

Tom said...

What is multiculturalism?

CNu said...

A weak and transparent euphemism for multi-ethnic/multi-racial..., I remain deeply impressed with a comment made by Cobb before the holiday http://cobb.typepad.com/cobb/2011/12/american-meritocracy-bunny-slopes-black-diamonds.html#comment-6a00d834515ae969e201675f4cc9bd970b