In December 2000, Carlos Martinez was reinstated as an
undergraduate at the University of Colorado by order of
a District Court Judge who called his expulsion "an
arbitrary and capricious exercise of authority." I
disagree. Martinez's expulsion was part of a conscious and
deliberate strategy within academia to coercively embed
political correctness within the psychology of students,
leaving them no sphere for individual value judgments.
Martinez had been suspended in December 1999 because the
tone of his voice in some phone calls had created "a
hostile atmosphere." Apparently upset over the grade
on an exam, he had phoned a female staff member at her office
to request an appointment and complained when he was refused.
No threats were uttered but -- fully five months after the
calls occurred -- the staffer filed a police report claiming
that they had made her fear for her safety. (Fortunately,
tapes of the conversations later exonerated Martinez of
wrong-doing.) In February 2000, his "punishment"
was reduced to probation, a letter of apology and attendance
at an anger management seminar. He refused and was summarily
expelled without the hearing required by University policy.
In the controversy over Martinez's expulsion, one aspect
of the unsavory incident is often ignored. Or, perhaps,
it has become so commonplace that no one remarks upon it
any more. Namely, the university sentenced Martinez to penance
through a public confession and to the re-education of his
values through psychological therapy. The purpose of the
mandatory training -- whether it is anger management, sexual
harassment awareness, diversity training, etc. -- is to
change a human being's basic values to conform with the
PC view of race or gender. Compliance can hardly be called
voluntary. For Martinez, refusal was tantamount to canceling
years of his life and crippling his career.
On university campuses today, the slightest remark can
cause a "offender" to be sentenced to public confessions
and "re-education" of their values. Consider Christopher
Monson, known as an activist for minority access to universities.
He argued that because his University -- St. Cloud State
(Minnesota) -- was publicly funded, it was legally required
to permit public access to campus grounds. Specifically,
it should allow credit-card companies to solicit. To deny
them public access, he commented, would be similar to "not
allowing blacks on campus." For his analogy, Monson
was sentenced to racial sensitivity training.
Academia's attempt to forcible impose personal values on
"offenders" is not limited to the student body.
Professors who make comments deemed sexist or racism, who
ask too few questions of female/black students, or who assign
the wrong reading assignments can be forced to apologize
and undergo sensitivity training in order to preserve their
jobs and future. Nor is the witch-hunt restricted to public
utterances or behavior. In 1995, four male students at Cornell
authored and privately circulated a joke entitled "75
reasons why women should not have freedom of speech."
They were sentenced to public apologies, sensitivity seminars
and fifty hours of community service.
Political Correctness is a term coined by the New Left
to describe their political and cultural ideology, which
blends radical traditions such as Marxism and gender feminism.
Some aspects of the ideology are well-known. For example,
the use of class analysis to ascribe collective guilt to
every individual within an "offending" group.
Thus, every man is guilty of oppressing women even if he
-- as an individual -- has never harmed the opposite sex.
Being male means that he benefits from women's subjugation.
One of the major goals of PC ideology is to enforce a mandatory
"sensitivity" through which a re-education of
values can occur. In American universities, sensitivity
is enforced through speech codes, propaganda in the classroom,
and diversity training sessions. Critics sometimes hurl
the accusation of "Hypocrisy!" at their PC opponents
who show anything but sensitivity to whites, males, conservatives,
Christians, or anyone else whose values differ. In this,
the critics are wrong. When PC pundits mandate a cruel and
one-sided sensitivity, they are being fully consistent with
their own principles and methodology.
Alan Kors and Harvey Silverglate realize this. In "The
Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's
Campuses," a book that dissects PC academe, Kors and
Silverglate write of "Marcuse's Revenge." During
the 1960s and '70s, the Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse
was heralded as "father of the New Left" in both
Europe and the United States. His book, "Repressive
Tolerance" (1965), persuaded a generation of New Leftists
that words were never neutral and that both freedom of speech
and of assembly were tools of oppression in current society.
In order to achieve genuine freedom, it was first necessary
to repress the words, ideas and deeds that subjugated the
disadvantaged. It was necessary to suppress pro-capitalist,
conservative voices. Where better to suppress ideas than
at their source -- schools and universities. As Joseph Stalin
once commented, Joseph Stalin said, "Education is a
weapon whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands
and at whom it is aimed."
The "repressive intolerance" within academia
is coupled with a belief that human beings are social constructs.
That is, our values, psychology, and sexuality -- the very
essence of our humanity -- is the result of society's programming.
It becomes necessary for the bad social construction to
be demolished and replaced by proper programming. This is
the goal of sensitivity or diversity training which often
involve psychologically brutalizing attendees.
This fall, universities across the United States will be
conducting freshman orientations that will almost certainly
include diversity training, for which attendance is usually
mandatory and often tax-funded. During this training, students
will watch films, join discussions, and participate in sociological
exercises designed to shake the values that have acquired
from their culture and families. Two of the most popular
diversity training films are entitled "Blue Eyed"
The 90-minute "Blue Eyed" documents an experiment
conducted by Jane Elliott, a $6,000 a day sensitivity trainer,
in which a group of forty people are divided into blue eyed
and brown eyed people. Thereafter, the former are psychologically
brutalized and the latter are psychologically empowered
as an object lesson in white racism. Elliott declares that
this is what Newt Gingrich has been doing to minorities
for years. The salvation of white people lies in their frank
admission of guilt and their efforts to eliminate hidden
racism and sexism from society. It lies in the rooting out
of subtle oppression such as the use of the name "Betty,"
which she serves to "infantilize women."
Hugh Vasquez's "Skin Deep" documents a workshop
on race that was attended by twenty-three students. One
section of the accompanying Study Guide -- the section entitled
"White Privilege" -- declares that white privilege
controls all power in society and that whites must choose
to continue hating or they must assume their guilt. In the
section entitled Political Correctness," Vasquez writes,
"The challenges to political correctness tend to come
from those who want to be able to say anything without repercussions."
According to Vasquez, those who advocate free speech promote
the sort of irresponsible use of language that led to the
death of six million Jews during the reign of Nazi Germany.
The solution to racism is for white people to become "allies"
(protectors and advocates) of blacks, for straight to become
allies of gays, etc.
Requiring attendance and sentencing offenders to sensitivity
training has caused some critics to make comparisons to
Soviet psychiatry and the re-education camps of some Communist
countries, such as Maoist China. Such camps were actually
detention centers in which selected prisoners, including
many who politically opposed the Communist regime, were
subjected to brutal political indoctrination. Re-education
replaced bad personal attitudes with correct social ones
that served the purpose of the State. The authorities responsible
generally describe the re-education as a necessary and humanitarian
means of allowing dissidents to take their place in the
In an excellent article entitled "Thought Reform 101"
(Reason, March 2000) Professor Alan Charles Kors, co-founder
of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education <http://www.thefire.org>
described the sadism with which Elliott routinely humiliates
whites who are forced to attend, reducing many to tearful
confessions of previously unknown guilt. He explicitly compares
the diversity training to Communist re-education camps.
It is a comparison worth pursuing through an exploration
of the shared assumptions and procedures of the camps, gleaned
from first-hand accounts, with the guidelines offered in
the Facilitator/Study Guides that accompany "Blue
Eyed" and "Skin
1. No individuals, only classes. After the Vietnam War,
"war criminals" were detained in re-education
camps, sometimes for several years. According to the Indochina
Newsletter (October-November 1982), the "war criminals"
sent to camps in June 1975 included "nearly 400 writers,
poets and journalists and over 2,000 religious leaders,
including 194 Buddhist, Catholic and Protestant chaplains,
and 516 Catholic priests and fathers." Although many
of the prisoners undoubtedly believed they had nothing wrong
as individuals, their class affiliation is what defined
them as criminals.
Elliott, creator of "Blue Eyed" maintains that
"A person who has been raised and socialized in America
has been conditioned to be a racist... We live in two countries,
one black and one white." In the facilitator/Study
Guide to "Skin Deep," diversity expert Frances
E. Kendall explains, "Privilege, particularly White
or male privilege, is hard to see because many White people
don't feel powerful or as if they have privileges that others
2. Confession of Class Guilt is Required. One of the standard
procedures encouraged by re-education camps is a confession
of guilt and public criticism of others. The IndoChina Newsletter
offered an account of a detainee, "Following the written
confessions were the public confessions in which prisoners
would confess their 'crimes' before the camp authorities
and other prisoners. Prisoners were encouraged to criticize
each other's confessions, said a former prisoner, which
was 'very effective in getting us to hate each other.' The
more 'crimes' a prisoner confessed, the more he is praised
as 'progressive' by camp authorities. In diversity training,
participants are encouraged to explore and acknowledge their
class guilt. Indeed, for those sentenced to the training,
a public confession is mandatory. This applies to professors
who participate as well. The Guide to "Skin Deep,"
in the section entitled Working with Faculty and Staff,
"Most faculty and staff are likely to have grown up
and/or currently live in monocultural environments. Attitudes,
beliefs and behaviors are often not acknowledged as reflections
of a particular racial group (white), ethnic heritage (European)
or gender orientation (male). Although faculty and staff
are not responsible for the culture-specific beliefs with
which they grew up, they are surely responsible for examining
and questioning them as adults and as educators."
(An irony of the confessions forced in re-education camps
is that authorities often use them to retroactively justify
the camps. Thus, the Hanoi government wrote to Amnesty International
in 1981, "In all cases of people being sent to re-education
camps the competent Vietnamese authorities have established
files recording the criminal acts committed by the people
concerned." Similarly, the apologies that offenders
are sentenced to provide and the confession of students
in diversity programs are used to justify the programs themselves.)
3. False Consciousness Must Be Erased. Just as oppressors
must consciously acknowledge their guilt, the oppressed
must be made aware of their subjugation.
The Leninist concept of "false consciousness,"
springs largely from his book "What is to be Done?"
False consciousness refers a class' acceptance of the myths
about itself. For example, the workers' acceptance of bourgeois
myths about society, such as the notion that people "rise
on merit" or the economic principle "of supply
and demand." It is false consciousness that prevents
workers from perceiving their true class interests toward
which they must be educated.
In "Skin Deep"'s Guide, Vasquez speaks of "internalized
oppression" which is defined as "taking on and
believing the stereotypes or lies" about "your
group." In other words, everyone in a class that has
been "targeted for mistreatment and discrimination"
has internalized their oppression to "some degree"
-- e.g. blacks and women -- and must be educated toward
a true understanding of themselves.
4. Alternate Ideologies Must be Suppressed. Re-education
camps often target religious groups, such as the followers
of the Dalai Lama in Tibet, because religion represents
a strong alternate value system. It is a supporting pillar
of false consciousness. In similar fashion, diversity training
involves systematic denegration of alternate value systems
such as conservatism. In "Blue Eyed," Elliott
tells a "white male" whom she has humiliated into
submission that "what I just did...today Newt Gingrich
is doing to you every day...and you are submitting to that,
submitting to oppression." In "Skin Deep,"
Vasquez psychoanalyzes those who support affirmative action.
For example, reverse discrimination is a myth because any
'discrimination' whites experience is a necessary re-education
that makes them aware of black oppression. As Elliott explains,
"A new reality is going to be created for these people."
5. Such Suppression Requires Thought Control. In his book
"Enfer Rouge, Mon Amour," Lucien Trong wrote of
the thought control exercised in the re-education camp where
he was confined. Prisoners were not permitted to read the
words published in magazines and books from the former regime,
to sing the words of old songs, to have 'unauthorized' political
discussions or to speak to the camp personnel with anything
but reverence. In the Study Guide to "Skin Deep,"
Vasquez writes, "Language is one of the institutions
that serve to perpetuate racism...Thus, language is a critical
element in eliminating the mistreatment of any group...Should
we be 'politically correct?' Of course we should if what
we mean by this is eliminating language that is part of
how mistreatment is perpetuated."
6. Family Ties Must Be Weakened. Another tactic of re-education
camps is to break the loyalty and affiliation that prisoners
naturally feel toward their families who often offer an
alternate system of values. A Vietnamese prisoner wrote,
"When making declarations about relatives, we had to
make mention of their guilt as well. For example, when I
stated that my grandfather had been a civil servant, I had
to add that he belonged to the feudalistic social category."
In "Skin Deep," a student named Dane admits his
family's racist guilt: "No way I can step back and
change that (great grandparents fighting in the confederacy)."
He comments, "It's tough choosing what's right and
choosing your family."
7. The Propagandists have Noble Intentions. The intentions
of those who run the re-education camps are always expressed
in noble and humanitarian terms, no matter how egregious
the violation of rights may be. In the Los Angeles Times
(January 9, 1998), journalist David Lamb reported on a "re-education
camp for women with 'social disorders'" -- that is,
for prostitutes. The camp director was quoted as saying,
"We think of this as a humanitarian program. I try
and try and try to explain why prostitution is wrong and
why these women should learn to contribute to society. And
if they don't understand today, then I try again tomorrow."
Presumably, they are not released until they understand.
The goal is not to destroy the enemy but to capture his/her
The noble motive of Elliott, Vasquez and their advocates
is to end racism, sexism, agism, ableism, heterosexism...just
about every type of nonPC 'ism' in existence. The Study
Guide describes the $6,000-a-day Elliot as a courageous
pioneer in racism awareness training who has endured great
personal pain for her stand -- though she admits to having
been "only confronted once by her colleagues. To add
urgency to her mission, Elliott paints a picture of dire
and increasing need for racism to be destroyed. For example,
increased immigration is exacerbating the racial warfare
within our culture. For spreading such historically inaccurate
and racist statements, e.g. 'whites invented racism,' she
is viewed with such benevolence that Disney is doing a movie
of her life.
Vasquez also paints a bleak and urgent picture, opening
his film with news footage of blacks being attacked, physically
and verbally. From personal contact, Kors reports that Vasquez
considers himself to be "devoted to eliminating 'blame,
ridicule, judgements, guilt, and shame'...But his effect,
whatever his intention, is frightening, atavistic, and irrational,
and his means are deeply intrusive."
8. The Effect is to Heighten Anger and Division. At <http://www.vietworld.com/Aurora/p41.html>
a re-education prisoner reported on the effect camp policy
had upon the cohesiveness and good will of inmates. "[To]
turn prisoners against each other by reading them [confessions]
aloud to the group and asking anyone who had knowledge of
anything left out or of lies in the statement to step forward."
The prisoners came to suspect, resent and hate each other,
looking at the those sitting to each side as 'the enemy.'
A program of planned confrontation -- of denunciation and
public criticism -- systematically eroded any cohesion or
co-operation among inmates.
The Guide to "Blue Eyed" describes Elliott as
"unrelenting in her ridicule and humiliation of the
blue-eyed people [whites]" while "the participants
of color watch as white people" feel their guilt for
racism. Whites are admonished to "hear people of color,
no matter what tone or phrasing they use." At the same
time, they are warned, "don't expect people of color
to bleed on the floor for white people."
The success of Vasquez's self-stated devotion to eliminating
"blame, ridicule, judgements, guilt, and shame"
may be judged by some representative comments from attendees:
Brian: (Speaking about going to college amidst diverse
groups) "I couldn't bridge both worlds if it comes
to a choice I'm going with my people..."
Khanh [Asian]: "White people...you were taught to love
Judith: "I will not be less angry. I'm not here to
tell you pretty things, that it will be all right..."
Mark: "(You) can't keep blaming me...don't categorize
all white people, or you're just doing the same thing right
The goal of such confrontations and expressions of racial
hostility within diversity seminars are also said to be
noble. In order to evolve into a society in which people
love each other without 'isms,' it is necessary to brutalize
different classes into appropriate awareness. This, too,
was the goal of re-education camps. To brutalize prisoners
into rehabilitated human beings who could re-enter Communist
society. Both are reminiscent of Marx's willingness to erect
a totalitarian state in the belief that it would someday
wither away and a happy anarchy would prevail. The only
problem was that the envisioned New Soviet Man never emerged
from the tens of millions of corpses that resulted from
this social experiment.
Speech codes and mandatory diversity training, the sentencing
of "offenders" to public confessions and psychology
retraining must be opposed. The diversity industry, in which
top experts can charge as much as $35,000 for conducting
a cultural audit or $3,000 an hours for a lecture, must
cease to be funded by tax-dollars and by companies or foundations
who wish to bolster their image of social concern. Parents
who wish to nurture the individual indentity and personal
values of their children must the coercive indoctrination
of political correctness into the souls of their offspring.
Students and professors need to follow the example of Carlos
Martinez and say "no."