We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Would the Yale admissions office look favorably on the student who answered, “I have found ‘diversity’ to be a cudgel by which self-appointed elites attempt to enforce their preferences over others. Diversity to me has been the experience of having my individuality denied, suppressed, and demeaned. It is a word that summarizes a smarmy form of oppression that congratulates itself on its high-mindedness even as it enforces narrow-minded conformity."
No, any student really seeking admission to Yale wouldn’t say such a thing. But chances are very good that a great many students harbor insights very much like that. They know their ethnic or racial categorization, their socio-economic status, and other such characteristics matter far more to admissions offices than their actual thoughts about who they are.
Applicants, of course, are savvy enough to feed the admissions office whatever sort of PC BS they want to hear.
Well, here's my answer to the application diversity question:
"As a middle-class, hard workin', gun-totin', Scripture-readin', horse-ridin', golf hackin', military-respectin', cigar-smokin', freedom-lovin', Scotch-drinkin', heterosexual-and-married-for-life, cranky, preppy, WASP American country club Conservative who likes to make money, I think I would add remarkable diversity to any academic program or workplace. Indeed, I think people would be quite interested in, and would benefit from, my peculiar old-timey Yankee views and my exotic life style. I believe I am an 'underrepresented minority,' and thus deserving of your most serious and special consideration despite my unfortunately-pasty skin tone."
I have been looking for a good book that provides a logical compelling explanation for the benefits of diversity. I haven't found one. I do know of one study of diversity in the workplace and it concluded that diversity did not improve the bottom line. Ford Motors went in for diversity in a big way a decade ago and it was a disaster. They used it as a reason to get rid of their older, most experienced and expensive employees and replace them with diversity employees. The new employees were hired because of their race or sex instead of their ability.
Gringo--I haven't read the book you cite, either, but I remember at the time reading that it was pretty much an apology for affirmative action in admissions. But more importantly, it was written by former presidents of Harvard and Princeton, both of whom had a stake in defending a practice that they had each played a large role in implementing during their tenures as presidents of each institution throughout the 70s and 80s.
I just finished proofing my nephews essay. His nature is to be much like you, B, but he wrote the most heart-rending, sensitive, world-aware, empathetic, soul-searching, wishy-washy piece. I'm so proud of him - it might just give him a leg up on the diversity candidates, and actually get him into a decent college (if there is such as place anymore).
I wonder what the long-term consequences of teaching bright young Americans to feign beliefs they do not hold will be.
Don't get me wrong, there is certainly a reasonable argument to be made for "whatever key turns the lock, jack." And it is an important social skill not to display all one's thought in all circumstances or invite unnecessary conflict. Still, it doesn't seem very...Yankee.
Assistant Village Idiot
Precisely. The Yankee may have been taciturn, but he was also plain-spoken. You may not have known what he was thinking, but you could be pretty sure what he was thinking didn't contradict what he said.
When I think of the NE heritage, I look on "Puritan" as "no bullshit."
There's another abomination of the elite college application process that this doesn't address, which is the "community service" component of the application, also known as the "how I saved the world" requirement. Many prep schools, including the one I went to, now emphasize putting together elaborate "community service projects" to enhance the chances of getting into the top schools.
The abuses are amazing--for my own prep school, to which my classmates are now sending their about-to-go-to-college children (both my kids managed to get kicked out, thank you), I've seen parents hire professional consultants to help their kids with doing things like organizing food drives, or setting up a non-profit that repairs wheelchairs for kids without legs in Cambodia. The consultants also make sure you get proper p. r. exposure, like glowing articles in the local newspaper talking about how your kid is saving the world, that your little angel then can attach to his/her college apps.
One that still sticks in my mind is the newspaper article about the kid who supposedly came up with some elaborate website for making charitable donations for various charities. Sounds great, until you focus on the fact that the kid's father is an IP lawyer with a bunch of hi-tech clients in Silicon Valley, and he obviously called in a bunch of markers to help out his kid. Anyway, that kid is now going to Yale, just like his Dad did.
It's just obscene. You would like to think the colleges could see through this, but I've seen a number of these kids successfully get admitted and go off to schools like Harvard, Princeton and Stanford.