Free Speech, Anyone?
Lino Graglia, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Texas, is known for his
provocative opinions. This week he has been the target of demonstrations
and demands for his dismissal. University officials and many of his colleagues
have repudiated his views. Jesse Jackson has made a special trip to Austin to
accuse him of racist, fascist, inaccurate speech and to
recommend that he be treated as a moral and social pariah.
The university is investigating him.
Sounds serious. Just what did Professor Graglia say?
Well, he said that blacks and Hispanics are not academically competitive with whites because they belong to a culture that seems not to encourage achievement and in which failure is not looked upon with disgrace.
You dont say! Well, youd better not say. From now on the party line is that all cultures instill identical ambitions and standards into their young uns. That is, all cultures are the same.
The typical black kid would rather be a major-league athlete than a lawyer. Thats a terribly racist thing to say, of course except that its also true of the typical white kid. But the typical white kid is more likely to have a father who will eventually channel his interest to law or some other profession.
The white kid headed for law school is still an exception among whites, but not as much as a black kid in the same situation. Furthermore, the increasing illegitimacy rate among blacks that is, the absence of black fathers makes it all the harder and more unusual for young blacks to aspire to a traditionally Anglo-Saxon profession.
Anyway, Professor Graglia could have saved himself a lot of trouble by blaming the low black and Mexican enrollment on white racism. That stupid, facile, but safe explanation would excite no controversy in an institution of higher learning.
Other young academics will get the message. The mob fury
Until fairly recently, a university was a place where you could find more diversity of opinion than in the rest of society. Professors were famous for saying unconventional, radical, or risqué things that might have been taboo elsewhere. The prospect of intellectual freedom and adventure was one of the features that made college life so exciting.
Today, though, ideological conformity is becoming one of the marks of the university. You can get more real debate by turning on your car radio than by living on a campus, where Lino Graglia belongs to an endangered species: the independent thinker.
Several black students have actually filed a charge of racial harassment against
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