America’s colleges and universities are full of leftwing ideologues, not just among the faculty, but also at the very top. An example is the president of a California State University, Jane Close Conoley.

The State of California has three public higher education systems:

  1. The University of California (UC) system, with 10 campuses, a combined student body of 234,464 students, 18,896 faculty members, 189,116 staff members, and over 1.6 million living alumni. Examples: U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Santa Cruz, U.C.L.A., etc.
  2. The California State University system (Cal State or CSU), the largest 4-year public university system in the United States, composed of 23 campuses and 8 off-campus centers enrolling 437,000 students with 44,000 faculty members and staff. Examples: CSU East Bay, CSU Chico, CSU Sacramento, CSU Long Beach.
  3. California Community College system.

Jane Close Conoley is the president of Cal State University, Long Beach (CSULB) – the second largest campus of the CSU system and one of the largest universities in the state of California by enrollment, its student body numbered 36,279 for the Fall 2012 semester.

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley in 2013
CSULB President Jane Close Conoley in 2013
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In a Dec. 5, 2014 op-ed for Cal State University Long Beach titled, “Privilege at the Beach,” Conoley states that all “light-skinned” and rich people have “unearned privilege” and are accorded with “automatic trust, deference, and security.” In contrast, those with “darker skin” or are from “other cultures” don’t have that “unearned privilege” and so are treated with “micro to macro aggressions, distrust, and low expectations for behavior.”  

Her op-ed begins with her utopian vision of CSULB becoming “a zone of kindness and respect…where we automatically accord one another expectations for the best and allow each person to earn additional privilege by purposeful work, persistence, and accomplishment. A place where privilege is unaffected by skin color, national origin, who we love, religion, or disability, veteran, or social status.”

Woefully, the reality of CSULB is far from her utopian vision. Referring (but not explicitly stating) to the grand jury decisions concerning the shooting deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Conoley writes:

Recent events remind me that this is not always the case in our society.

Light skin color and high-income levels may attract significant unearned privilege. This privilege can manifest itself in numerous ways that afford automatic trust, deference, and security. Those who are less affluent with darker skin or from other cultures can be targets of micro to macro aggressions, distrust, and low expectations for behavior.

Those with privilege are often unaware of this discrepancy, as people treat them with respect—as all individuals should be treated. When they enter department stores they are greeted with smiles and offers of help. When they ask questions or request additional service, they are answered cordially. On approach, they are seen as benign.

Those without such privilege are thrown, merely by circumstances mainly out of their control, into the opposite context. They may be followed when entering a high-end department store or have their purchasing attempts viewed with suspicion. Others may view their presence or approach with suspicion and fear.

While those who have privilege can see authority figures as benevolent and trustworthy, those without such privilege may experience these same individuals as threatening and abusive. These opposite perceptions can manifest in dramatically different behaviors. For example, when an officer of the law approaches me, I expect to be treated politely and so react to the approach calmly and perhaps with curiosity. My calm curiosity may be completely unimaginable to those without privilege.

The insidious effects of low and high expectations concern me greatly. The research in behavioral psychology is pretty clear that we rise to higher expectations or become compliant and resigned to low expectations. Further, our expectations greatly affect how we make meaning out of situations. That is, if you think I’ll be cooperative and respectful, I am inspired to be just that. On the other hand, if you expect me to be defiant or scornful, I might adopt that attitude, or worse, have anything I do be perceived as such.

In other words, the president of one of the largest universities in the state of California believes that EVERY light-skinned (translation: White) American has it good, whereas EVERY dark-skinned (translation: Black) American is treated with prejudice, bigotry, and RAAAAAAACISM.

But from whom? Who’s “targeting” dark-skinned Americans with “micro to macro aggressions, distrust, and low expectations for behavior”?

Those “light-skinned” Americans with their “unearned privileges,” of course.

In other words, Jane Close Conoley, the president of one of the largest universities in the state of California, thinks white people are inherently racist.

Which of course raises several questions:

  1. Since Jane Close Conoley is a “light-skin,” surely her presidency of Cal State Long Beach is an “unearned privilege.” Therefore, she should resign and have one of those unprivileged “dark-skin” Americans take her place.
  2. If “light-skin” people are inherently racist, how did Jane Close Conoley manage to escape that evil predisposition?
  3. Lastly, and this is a question that has puzzled me for quite some time about high-earning liberal/progressive/leftwing women (the city where I live is full of them) like Jane Close Conoley who, as president of Cal State Long Beach, has the “unearned privilege” of an annual 6-figure salary:

“How is it that you, earning SIX figures a year on top of your other benefits like a free mansion, dress like a frump, with your BLACK BRA visible under your cheap-looking wrinkled white cotton top, and hair that looks like you cut it yourself? Surely you can afford to go to a hair salon and to shop for clothes in Nordstrom. I’ve found clothes better looking than your wrinkled tunic and cheap-looking scarf from Savers and Goodwill stores.”

To quote Warner Todd Huston of Liberty News:

This is the sort of childish, illogical, politically skewed (and politically motivated) garbage our tax dollars are paying for in the nation’s colleges. It is further proof that if conservatives don’t take back our system of education, we will continue to lose the culture war.

H/t Campus ReformCalifornia Political Review

See also “Obama says cops kill blacks because ‘they look different’


Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.

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