Having been a university economics professor for forty-one years, I am sometimes asked how college students – and the university world in general – has changed over the years. One response that I give is that when I started out I noticed that the campus Marxists – who had become “academics” not because they wanted lives as an intellectuals but as political activists in tenured jobs – would capture or corral about say, five or ten percent of the incoming students and convince them to become left-wing campus rabble rousers instead of spending their time educating themselves. Uneducated, sanctimonious, loud-mouthed spouters of leftist platitudes, in other words, just like their Marxist professors. Today, I would say that a strong majority of college students would fit into that category, not just five or ten percent.
The reason for this is that cultural Marxism has infested the lower levels of education, beginning with elementary school. Today, most college freshman have already been relentlessly subjected to the constant repetition of Marxist platitudes for twelve years. I have had students who just could not comprehend the simplest, most basic concepts in economics, but could give a two-hour oration about global warming, how “diversity is our strength,” or virtually any other left-wing fad. They have been taught that to reject the platitudes of the Left makes one an enemy of society and, of course, a racist. If you’re wondering why so many college students claim that they prefer socialism to economic freedom, this is it. This, and the fact that they were never taught a single thing about socialist reality in particular and economics in general.
One positive thing I noticed over the years was that by the 1990s the interaction of black and white students had become, for the most part, perfectly normal with hardly any of them paying any attention at all to skin color. There are exceptions of course, but the societal change was very noticeable.
It was not always like that. When I was an undergraduate I was a fraternity president for two years and we were the only integrated fraternity on campus. The black students were mostly socially segregated with their own Black Student Union (although many of them attended my fraternity’s parties after paying the $1 entrance fee for non-members).
Among my best friends were Elmore Patterson, a smart-as-a-whip black guy from Sharon, Pennsylvania; Fred Taylor, a Jamaican from Montego Bay; and Ramon Martinez, a Puerto Rican from Bedford Stuyvesant (who once told me he had never seen a live cow before going to college in Western Pennsylvania). Fred, Ray and I (and Bob Brautigam) ran a house painting business in the summers. Back then, even an Italian-American like myself was considered to be a “minority” at the very Waspish college that I attended! The college president once invited all the other fraternity presidents to a dinner and left me out, even though we had the largest membership and the highest grade point average of all the fraternities during my entire four years there. (We also had the best Animal House-style parties which is probably why I was excluded).
It really was remarkable to witness, in a relative short amount of time, how race became largely irrelevant to the average college student — unlike in my day, growing up and going to school in the Deep North of northwestern Pennsylvania. America’s white parents in the post-60s generations obviously took to heart Martin Luther King, Jr.’s admonition about judging people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin and educated their children about it.
Then along came the college “cultural Marxists” who now dominate almost all of the academic world in America. This seems to have started in the mid 1980s when Jesse Jackson led a mob of Stanford University students in a protest march while chanting “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Western Civ Has Got to Go.” Being the intellectual giant that he is, Jackson championed the cause of eliminating the teaching about the history of Western Civilization at the college level. Too many high-achieving white guys. The Stanford administration dutifully complied with the wishes of the mob of ignorant, chanting Leftists led by a racial extortionist.
The defining characteristic of the so-called cultural Marxists is that they reject the traditional Marxian class struggle theory of supposed antagonism between the capitalist and working “classes.” Earlier generations of Marxists tried to gain totalitarian power for themselves with that schtick in Europe and America and it didn’t work.
So they invented a new strategy designed to recruit more than just factory workers to the cause. In the newer “cultural” Marxist theory the class struggle is between an “oppressor” class and the “oppressed” classes, especially all minorities, women, the transgendered, and all those other gender categories that they have invented. The oppressor class consists of all white heterosexual males; the oppressed classes includes everyone else. That is why today’s Marxists are so hell bent on shoving so-called “critical race theory” down society’s throat. This “theory” repudiates the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. about race and instead teaches that all white people – even newborn infants – are inherently evil and racist by virtue of their skin color. Judge people by their skin color, not the content of their character, they preach. Martin Luther King, Jr. is unceremoniously thrown under the bus. The “oppressors” of society, who are the sole causes of everyone else’s problems, are therefore easy to spot – and to demonize, cancel, and destroy.
This Marxist poison is being taught in American schools at all levels today, in the government, and in parts of the corporate world. It teaches black students, especially, that their white classmates are all to be looked at with deep suspicion because they secretly plan on doing them harm. This is why groups of parents of all races have risen up to protest and fight against this insidious form of institutionalized, Marxist-inspired hatred and segregation. How infuriating it must be for parents to raise a child for eighteen years by teaching him or her to be colorblind, and then to have some of the dumbest people in the country, employed by universities, attempting to turn them into ignorant and hateful bigots like themselves. And charging the parents $50,000/year or more for the effort.