A Theory To Better Understand Diversity, And Who Really Benefits

UCLA students hold crosses, while taking part in a 2006 rally on campus to express their concerns about the lack of racial diversity in the student body. Source: Mel Melcon

Last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos appointed Candice Jackson as the acting assistant secretary of the Office for Civil Rights. Jackson will oversee a staff of hundreds charged with responding to thousands of civil rights complaints every year, including some from students who feel discriminated against based on race, color, national origin, sex, ability, and age.

ProPublica reported that while an undergraduate at Stanford University, Jackson, a white woman, wrote an article for a student newspaper complaining about a section of a calculus course designed for "minority" students. The math class was an example of "racial discrimination" against white people, she wrote. In another op-ed for the paper, Jackson dismissed the needs of women "banding together by gender to fight for their rights." Might Jackson's words from twenty years ago fuel the idea that her office may not fully enforce Title VI and IX protections for people of color and white women? Do they signal that she may instruct her staff to elevate the complaints of white students or faculty who believe they are victims of racial discrimination?

A stronger line of inquiry begins with this question: what if these diversity policies actually improved the social position of white students and

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
'Black Patriots' Were Heroes Of The Revolution — But Not The History Books
Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the executive producer of a new documentary focusing on the lives of black Americans on both sides of the Revolutionary War, whose stories aren't often told.
NPR3 min read
World Of Faith's Pattern Of Abuse 'Got Worse Over Time,' Says 'Broken Faith' Author
Pulitzer Prize winner Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr detail the alleged secret life of abuse in the World Of Faith Fellowship: "They take more and more control of your lives" over time, they say.
NPR5 min readSociety
The WHO Knows Insulin Is Too Expensive. How It Plans To Drive Down The Price
Globally, half of the estimated 100 million people who are in need of insulin do not have reliable access. The World Health Organization hopes a "prequalification" program will help.