Over a decade ago I received a phone call from a friend. “Have you ever Googled your name?” he asked. I hadn't. He suggested I give it a try. To my horror I discovered that without my knowledge—and using this web site as a reference—I was under discussion by complete strangers at an online forum for The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle is a highly respected resource for academics to search for and discuss employment.
Apparently a forum participant had searched online for “affirmative action” and was taken to my web site. A vigorous discussion ensued on the forum, often not about my ideas but about the participants' speculations regarding me. One writer, for example, tried to remote psychoanalyze me. Others had convinced themselves that one of the forum participants was me under a false name (though I have never participated in the forum).
Recently, out of curiosity, I visited The Chronicle again to find that back in 2005 I was still under discussion. One individual bizarrely pondered, “I'm having a really hard time imagining Victor Burton in a negligee.” Another inquired, “Isn't Vic Burton some anti-AA troll?” Apparently taking strong views against Diversity Mania provokes at times a welcome defense and at other times attack and mocking:
- I did so out of profound concern that some lesser mind was posting links to Vic's deep on-line thoughts without his knowledge, and thus making Vic appear like a complete idiot without a chance to defend what I am sure are well-reasoned arguments.
- You foolishly assume that just because Burton's essay has been successively cited and tropologically positioned to inflame readers—particularly white women—and force them to focus on the illegality and immorality of AA hiring procedures, that Burton himself posted the links...
- I feel SO sorry for his students. I can't believe that grossmont actually lets him teach. Do you think he threatens to spank them too?
- Is Vic Burton our AA-freak multiple-poster?
Finally, one participant, fed up with the repeated discussion of me, gushed sarcasm:
- I think Vic Burton is a combination of Andrei Sakharov, Nelson Mandela, Socrates, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Elie Wiesel, Rosa Parks, those who conspired to assassinate Hitler, Paul Revere, Harrriet Beecher Stowe, and all the ships at sea.…
I weep, I wail, I deplore his lack of sleep; I feel for him as I feel for Macbeth when he discovers he's too far steeped in blood and to go back would be as tedious as go o'er. I imagine he feels like Adam and Eve, the world lying all before him where to choose his place of rest. Of arms and the man I sing. I long to knit his ravelled sleeve of care.
I want to abandon my discipline in the humanities and take up psychology. I yearn to sit at his feet. I adore his eloquence, worship his deathless prose, and prostrate myself at his awe-inspiring devotion to the truth.
Now, can you please find another example?
As we discuss Diversity Mania, let's not expect much of America's academics. Many prefer to attack the demon they invent rather than rationally discuss the actual issue.
In this section, which I title Diversity Mania Divides Humanity, I try to systematically spell out the Diversity Agenda and how it splits our species into socially constructed categories—the same categories used by bigots to bring millenia of human suffering—turning one human against another.
American Academics love dogma. Where free thinking ought to be free-est, the Diversity Agenda and political correctness restrict language and hence thought.
I was not at all surprised, for example, when a former student shared with me a comment he heard from an instructor at another college. Seeing his professor writing at his desk in the office, he asked what he was doing. “Oh,” came the reply, “I'm working on our affirmative action papers, preparing them for the Grand Inquisitor.”
That's what it's like to live in the Dominion of the Diversifiers. The ends justify the means and you had therefore better not challenge the means. To question the precepts of Diversity Mania is so shocking to the True Believer that his immediate reaction is to brand the questioner a racist, a sexist, or worse (if you doubt this, see the Prelude above or Positive on Affirmative Action). The person possessed by Diversity Mania simply cannot imagine a good, rational person who would disagree with him or her.
What do I mean by “Diversity Mania”? By Diversity Mania I mean a frenzied, unquestioning commitment to what I call Diversity Dogma, a set of beliefs that are never to be questioned:
1. Diversity is good, always good, and really very, very good.
2. Diversity is visible to the eye. It is a mix of persons by race and gender, and at times by ethnicity and sexual orientation, that matches their proportions in the population at large (if you doubt this, see Positive on Affirmative Action). Of course race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation may not at all be “visible to the eye,” yet the Diversifier misses this point. You may recall, for example, that President Bill Clinton argued that he would create a Cabinet that “looks like America.”
3. Those who challenge diversity are racist, sexist, homophobic, fatally flawed, or all of these (see the Prelude above or Positive on Affirmative Action).
4. Diversity must be achieved by discriminating against white males. “Persons of color” and females must be favored in admissions, hiring, and promotions (again, this is argued in Positive on Affirmative Action).
5. The first step in fighting discrimination is to become proud of the very category on which the discrimination is based. Therefore racial pride, ethnic pride, gender pride, and gay pride are good (and it follows that white pride, male pride, and heterosexual pride are bad). (As I stress in this section, or beginning in Backdrop, or in my appreciation for the ideas of Martin Buber, or throughout this web site, I maintain that all category pride is a mistake.)
6. Because pride requires identity, a person must first and foremost base his or her identity on race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
7. “Communities” must be formed based on race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, and members of these communities must be proud of their “heritage”—but only for the “diverse” groups. Thus it is good to have African American, Latino, Asian, Gay, and Women's “communities.” It is bad, however, to have men's or white or heterosexual “communities.” It is good to have African American, Latino, Asian, Gay, and Women's organizations on campus; it is bad to have men's, white, or heterosexual organizations on campus.
8. America must be a salad bowl (or a stew), and never a melting pot. The idea of a “melting pot” means forcing every American to become European and Anglo. Multiculturalism, not assimilation, is the goal.
9. Inter-racial, and inter-ethnic dating, marriage, and adoption are bad because they dilute racial and ethnic pride and identity (to follow the argument on this, see The Unbridgeable Gulf). Some Diversifiers fail to recognize that this is a logical consequence of their emphasis on category identity.
10. All morality and ethics, all standards of better or worse, are relative. No cultural, ethnic, or gender values are any better or worse than others. Therefore we cannot judge the values or behaviors of another culture (if you doubt that this is part of Diversity Mania, see Infusion Skills). Yet somehow, in spite of the logical contradiction, we Americans can negatively judge American culture.
11. Because white, male, heterosexual oppression has damaged the feelings of self-worth of those who are non-white, female, and gay, self-esteem must be bolstered, at all costs.
12. If you feel uncomfortable in a group where you are outnumbered by white men, then the group must be changed. In other words, if the world makes you uncomfortable, then the world is at fault and must be changed.
Most Diversifiers don't acknowledge the implications of their beliefs (yet I am not making these up). So those indoctrinated by Diversity Dogma and possessed by Diversity Mania might be surprised to discover some of those I list above. Yet one belief leads logically, inexorably to the next.