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Biting the Hand that Feeds at George Mason U

Michael Gryboski
By Michael Gryboski
Posted on May 30,2010
Filed Under Local Politics , Politics,

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Throughout the ages the chief purpose of the upper academic environment was to foster intellectual discourse and debate, and the entertainment of ideas once foreign to one’s worldview.

Modern universities often amend this ideal, adding to the discourse the assumption that ideas which offer intellectual substance and factual evidence are valid and that ideas lacking these concepts, mired instead by antirational and anti-intellectual underpinnings, are invalid opinions that may even be worthy of censorship.

A curious mind wonders where the following ideas fall in this collegiate mentality. Did you know that our public universities advance white supremacy? Or that white female elementary school teachers are hurting black children? How about learning that a bogey man by the name of “White-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy” is destroying the futures of racial minorities and inhibiting whites from recognizing their shameful past?

Enter the Multicultural Research and Resource Center of George Mason University.  Through their literature and school-sponsored events, the MRRC advances these and other interesting ideas under the stated mission of, according to their website, “research on intercultural and cross-cultural inclusion.”

Part of this “research on intercultural and cross-cultural inclusion” has led the MRRC to some fairly unfair and often contradictory conclusions.

For example, the MRRC believes that while stereotyping is wrong collective punishment is right. According to an article in their annual publication Mosaic, “…each of us is complicit in some form or fashion, whether it is remaining silent to patriarchy or heteronormativity, or not audibly clearing our throats when we hear racist comments.”

While claiming “white privilege” regularly appears in American society, covertly depriving minorities of rights, the MRRC does not believe “black privilege” can appear anywhere, not even in Zimbabwe where dictator Robert Mugabe expelled most of the white population.

The MRRC reserves its most deriding criticism for the educational institutes, including the very university that funds and supports its operations. They are fully convinced that public education (the same system that annually celebrates Black History Month) is in a war to destroy African-American culture.

When black feminist writer and academic bell hooks came to Mason for an MRRC-coordinated event, she declared among other things that “Black women thinkers die in the academy…Isolated, alone, in the White Context” and that in classrooms “only one type of theory is seen as valuable—that which is Eurocentric, linguistically convoluted, and rooted Western White male sexist and racially biased philosophical frameworks.”

hooks claiming this and the MRRC applauding it is all fascinating given that she got to say these things to a student population with the approval of the very University structure she claims is destroying the voice of African-American women.

Is that why Mason has an African American Studies Department, supports the presence of the “Divine Nine” (the nine historically black fraternities and sororities in the country), and observes Black Heritage events?

As for hooks’ claim about the increasing support of the Eurocentric perspective, I need only point to my experiences at Mason. For an African history class, I had as reading resources anti-colonialist scholars like Frantz Fanon and Ifi Amadiume. I learned that the Eurocentric perspective was outdated, especially regarding the Mfecane.

For my Colonial American history classes, Native American sources and interpretations were used alongside European ones. And for a Latin American history class I had, required reading included books that used Aztec, Mayan, and Incan sources, often to refute myths created by the Eurocentric perspective.

hooks concluding that Eurocentrism is increasingly popular proves she hasn’t been in a history class recently. For the MRRC to advance this false idea with tax dollars courtesy the very university they despise is at best willful ignorance.

Antipathy for public education is not just professed by hooks, but others affiliated with the MRRC. In the MRRC’s publication Mosaic, author Rachel Grant writes, “within the last century literacy and politics have worked hand in hand creating barriers for many people of color, the poor, and females.”

This even though, as reported by Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, from 1990 to 2006, the college graduation rate for black women went from 34% to 47%, and college graduation rate for black men went from 28% to 36%.

Again and again, the MRRC is advancing dubious information because of their enmity for public education, all the while being sponsored and supported by a public university.

Since the MRRC hates public colleges so much and thinks them to be so detrimental to African Americans who enter their facilities, maybe the MRRC should just leave GMU.

Better yet, maybe Mason’s administrators should stop funding and supporting the MRRC’s endeavors. It’s a win-win situation: our tax dollars stop going to an extremist entity and this extremist entity can finally prove their claims of persecution with real world evidence.

With them gone, the student body can finally get more accurate information about racial matters and cross-cultural inclusions from more objective GMU sponsored departments, events sponsored by Student Activities, and the typical conversations with friends who are different.

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