What the "PC" in "MPC" Really Means
July 11, 2000
by David Clemens
Computers and biotechnology put humans on a collision course with our
own creations. Computers reduce people to input mechanisms; machines
approach human intellectual functioning; cloning is a reality. As
humans become more machine-like, machines become more human-like, a
convergence depicted by many 20th century artists."
Imagine a college class studying books and films about whom (and what) we may come to define as human. From Metropolis to The Matrix, students would ponder the predictions of visionary authors and directors. Actually, you don't have to imagine because I proposed that very course at MPC . . . but you can't take it. "More or Less Than Human?" was shelved by MPC's Curriculum Advisory Committee (CAC) because I wouldn't tailor it to address "race, class, and gender issues." You see, every new course at MPC must "develop a knowledge and understanding of race, class and gender issues," whether it be Particle Physics or Herb Gardens.
What are "race, class and gender issues," and why does CAC want every course to include them? Answer: Multiculturalism. The CAC chair told me, "Multiculturalism is reality. Students must be introduced to it." But multiculturalism isn't reality; it's ideology. Dr. Thomas Sowell, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, in his book Inside American Education, defines multiculturalism as: "(1) a set of ideological beliefs about society and the world, (2) a political agenda to make these beliefs the basis for the curriculum of the whole educational system . . . ." Apparently. multiculturalism (read "political correctness") has become MPC's official ideology. In the culture wars, MPC has picked a side. Why is that bad?
- Because colleges should present diverse viewpoints, not one viewpoint across the entire curriculum.
- Because multiculturalists claim to promote tolerance, equity, celebration of difference, and "honoring all voices." But they don't. As my shelved class shows, multiculturalism is more intolerant and authoritarian than the intolerance and authority it sought to replace. Even in the McCarthy era, MPC never had a political directive as part of its curriculum. But it does now.
- Because multiculturalism does not "welcome" and "include;" it sorts and categorizes. The multicultural agenda preserves and exaggerates differences despite the fact that, as author Mark Helprin says, "[Americans] . . . have fought many times for the sake of being apprehended not as classes of people but as individual souls." Student viewpoints result from knowledge and personality, not race, class and gender.
- Because multiculturalist groupings are sociological and political, not scientific. Race, class and gender are arbitrary categories invented by people, not by Nature. Why "race, class and gender?" Why not "national origin, sex, and health," or "age, income, and sexual orientation?" And what do any such categories have to do with Particle Physics or the cinematography of Blade Runner?
Basically, for the multicultural project to succeed, students must be marinated in the belief that everything is affected by their "race, class and gender" and the "race, class and gender" of everyone else. That's stereotyping, and that's wrong. My top students have included a female ESL student from Panama, another from Russia, a male ESL student from Japan, and an African-American man with mild obsessive-compulsive disorder -- all individual souls.
MPC should drop the "race, class and gender" requirement and abandon what has become an out-of-control social engineering project (my class was unanimously endorsed by the Humanities Division and by the Vice-President for Instruction).
CAC should insure that courses develop a knowledge and understanding of the subject; politics belongs in political science, "race, class and gender" in sociology.
And MPC should promote intellectual diversity instead of forcing everyone to repeat the multicultural mantra: "race, class and gender; race, class and gender; race, class and . . . ."