This past Sunday, Rennie Pasquinelli authored an article, featured in the Michigan Daily, in which she accused “the system” of preferentially privileging Caucasians over other ethnic groups. She listed 20 observations that she asserted supported the conclusion that our university and our country engage in systematic discrimination against minorities. The observations are probative only of the utter silliness and divisiveness of the entire article.
On the reverse side of every US coin is the Latin phrase E Pluribus Unum: “Out of many, one.” This succinct statement reminds us all that America is a nation founded from diversity. Indeed, our diversity from different cultures, different languages, different races and different religions has made America a country of wealth and prosperity in which many millions of people outside of the US aspire to live. However, every observation in Ms. Pasquinelli’s article was a criticism of our diversity.
For example, she says that white people – and she includes herself in this assessment – are privileged because “they can be pretty sure there will be someone of the same race as they are in any class they are in” and “[w]alking around campus, they do not have to actively search for somebody of the same race.” These observations, and others, reflect a fundamentally bizarre (and in my opinion, disgraceful) view of the writer that it is a privilege for her to be around other white students. In contrast, I view it as a privilege to be on a diverse campus where there are many students (and faculty) who come from backgrounds very different from my own.
Every single observation in the article was an attack on differences amongst Americans. By definition, there will always be differences in a diverse society. The only logical solution to Ms. Pasquinelli’s description of the problem is for all students to go to a university where everyone is just like them. That way, none of the observations would apply because everyone would be homogeneous. For example, White, Black, Asian, American Indian, Eskimo, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and other students should go to a university that admits students only of their kind since, as she observed in her article, “[t]hey can be reassured that the person in charge of their school is someone of their race and always has been.” Thus, the only logical solution for the “white privilege” problem is to eliminate all differences through a modern-day version of segregation. But wait, isn’t segregation by definition divisive? Of course it is, and it was outlawed many years ago.
That brings us back to Ms. Pasquinelli’s observations, each of which was divisive because it complained about the E Pluribus Unum society that has not only made America the strongest and most successful nation in the history of mankind but has also provided opportunities for immigrants and minorities that are unsurpassed anywhere else on the planet. It is time to stop the incitement of racial and other ethnic divisions and to appreciate that we are all human beings with similar needs and desires and that our similarities are more significant than our differences.