Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Multiculture Blight

The Thursday May 26th, 2005 Pioneer Press printed St. Olaf College student Wendy Kelly’s article, "Has St. Olaf really diversified its campus." (Link fugitive.)
She wrote,"This separation of multi cultural and white students doesn’t end at the door of the classroom, either. Since taking this course, (Latin American history), the segregation has become more visible to me. In the cafeteria, everyone recognizes the tables where the multi cultural population sits. Of course, there are some minority students who branch out and sit with others, but on the whole a distinct schism exists. It would be highly unorthodox for any non-minority student to sit at the multiracial table without an invitation."

The Great French Wine Blight http://www.wampumkeeper.com/wineblight.html nearly destroyed French viticulture in the late 1850's. An aphid, known as the grape phylloxera, attacked the rootstock of the European vitis vinifera, killing the plant. Yet before visible damage appeared, the aphids abandoned the shriveled roots, attacking still healthy plants. Dead and dying vines, dug up for inspection showed no aphids. Thus the cause escaped explanation until healthy vines were examined. All the dying vines had small yellow insects on the roots. Grafting European vitis scions onto American phylloxera resistant rootstock stopped the infestation, and saved the French (and European) wine industry. With few exceptions, vines today, worldwide, are planted with phylloxera resistant rootstock.
"I’ve also heard stories of harassment from the multiracial crowd toward other minority students because they were too like white students. Last year, one minority student continuously bullied a first-year Asian student who had been adopted by white parents at a young age because ‘...(she) couldn’t even speak Korean...(she’s) not really Asian. This tormented student transferred at the end of last year to escape persecution. I’ve also heard of another student who has an on-going feud with some of the multicultural students because they believe he is ‘white-washed’ and not adequately connected with his roots."
Visible signs of damage appeared only after the aphids were gone.
Where is any test of diversity’s validity, and therefore its truthfulness? Groups and peoples once excluded by skin color, ethnic background, country of origin are now, using the same qualifiers, automatically included? Qualities once presumed inferior now indicate superiority? By what measure? If it was wrong to limit opportunity, exclude people from participation in schools, voting, citizenship etc. based on mere biology, why is it not still wrong to use the same qualities as tickets of admission? What difference is there between the cafeteria at St. Olaf’s and the colored’s only water fountains? Good intention? The racists’ intention was the preservation of their bigotries; exclusion, segregation and discrimination were just the tools. Working different ground with the same tools cultivates the same bigotry. Bigotry the scion, bigotry the cultivar. Propagate skin color, gene-splice merit and national origin, cross-breed heritage with superiority, modifies virtue into a sterile hybrid.. And why stop at skin color or country? How finely to cut the slips? Eye coloration? Handedness? Second toe longer or shorter than big? These shoots from the parent plant, though smaller, more clearly display the blight. Diversity withers viability. It flails human kindness; grinds down achievement; leaves mastery, skills, and discipline unharvested, and rotting in the fields; markets pigmentation and landmass as paeans of breeding virtue. Diversity throws the fruits of human excellence and the seeds of human transcendence onto the dung heap. Diversity breeds only ugliness and sterility.
We all are flawed, all imperfect, yet capable of improvement and growth. But what improvement can be made in a particular skin pigment? Or place of birth? Or to Asian-ness? Can I become more Korean by learning to speak Korean? If I cannot, what does the student above who cannot speak Korean have that I do not, and can gain that I cannot, in learning to speak Korean? What will have improved in Asian-ness when fluency is achieved? Should I dress like a Korean, learn to cook Korean food? Do such practices increase the harvest of virtue? The conundrums are perverse and insolvable.
When virtue, excellence, arete,character, inseminates as mere biology, humanity is planted in a sort of hell. We are fixed; cropped into a very bad soil. When "racial identity" is the field of virtue, no more needs to be done; and no more is possible. Diversity is unfruitful, barren ground, sterile. It is the grape phylloxera, unseen at the root, killing its host.

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