In a special interview Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed a very special guest, Heather MacDonald to the show.
MacDonald is the author of The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture, a Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the free-market think tank, the Manhattan Institute, and contributing editor of the City Journal.
During the third hour, MacDonald went into detail about how American colleges and universities are positioning incoming students as either a victim or an oppressor by pushing white privilege and white supremacy. She characterized the victimhood mentality and push of diversity on campuses by claiming that “diversity is a parasite on the body of a college.”
Leahy: Welcome Heather.
MacDonald: Thank you for having me on Michael. I appreciate it.
Leahy: We’re delighted we were able to get you on here. By the way, I’ve read all of your books. They are fantastic! Really great. First, how can a Yale turn out to be such a logical conservative? How did that happen?
MacDonald: (Chuckles) Well, fortunately you know I got to see some part of what education should be which was free of the poison of identity politics when I was in college in the 70s. Multiculturalism, feminism, gay politics, gay studies hadn’t hit yet and I was allowed to read books without even thinking to complain that I was reading a white male. I was reading beauty.
I was encountering sublimity. And in the 80s all that turned around and students were being taught that they should read narcissistically and looking for signs of their own oppression. So you know I’ve seen what college should be and now it is turning into an engine of hatred and destruction of our culture.
Leahy: We’re contemporaries. I was at Harvard the same time you were at Yale and I was at the Stanford Business School just before you were there. So, we have a similar background. I had the same experience. You say that now universities are subject to mass hysteria.
MacDonald: Well, students actually believe this is just so extraordinary that they are the victims of lethal racism and sexism on a college campus. They believe themselves to be surrounded by discrimination. This is the most absurd delusion that they could possibly hold.
In fact, they are the most privileged individuals in human history by virtue of their unfeathered access to knowledge. And yet they are being taught to think of themselves as victims which is the most powerful position you can be in an American society today. Anti-racism has become the national religion.
The elites are beating their chests for “phantom racism.” In fact, these kids are supremely privileged and surrounded by comfort and yet when I go to college campuses, just recently about two weeks ago I was at Holy Cross in Wooster, Massachusetts, not so far away from Harvard.
Fifteen minutes into my talk when I was discussing the Renaissance humanists Francesco Petrarch and Jean Francois Revel then half the audience got up and started chanting, “my oppression is not a delusion, my oppression was not a delusion.” (Leahy laughs) And they were so proud of themselves.
And they slowly filed out of the auditorium also adding chants like, “your racism is not welcome here.Your sexism is not welcome. your homophobia is not welcome. You are not welcome.”And by which time I figured out they were so proud of themselves. (Leahy laughs) Again, at Holy Cross, they are fortunate and yet they think of themselves as the oppressed proletariat. It’s absolutely ludicrous.
Leahy: Heather in the studio with us is our co-host today, Crom Carmichael And Crom, a big fan of yours, has a question for you.
Carmichael: Heather, you went to college, I’ve seen you on TV so you went probably at least 10 years ago. And so my question to you is, it has changed obviously from the time you were there. Because as you say you were allowed to study.
To think and to form your own opinions without all this bias. But it has changed and now colleges have an institutionalized bias. I maintain that the reason for that is that so much government is now going into colleges and universities so that the customer of these colleges and universities are really big government, and not the students themselves.
How do you address or unravel the problems that you have articulated? Because I agree 100% with the problems as you identify them. How do you unravel it?
MacDonald: Well it’s very tough. I mean for one thing alumni, please stop giving money to your college unless you’ve done due diligence. They don’t deserve another cent unless you’re absolutely convinced and you’ve documented that they are teaching the classics of western civilization with love and gratitude.
That they are teaching students to be down on their knees in appreciation. That they are inheritors of this extraordinary tradition. They don’t deserve another cent. I think student loans absolutely allow for the constant jacking up of tuition which is going into this diversity bureaucracy which is a parasite on the body of a college.
I think this is more than just a financial structure. I think it is an ideology. it is an ideology that is targeted at a civilization deemed as too white and too male. And the diversity delusion is taking over this country. I mean, you can’t help but look at the Democratic presidential contenders.
They are falling over themselves to be the most woke every other sentence they say is about white supremacy. If you work in a corporation today you will have seen the insane push on managers to promote and hire as many females and underrepresented minorities as possible regardless of qualifications.
The science fields are being taken over by this. So this starts at the university but it’s going far beyond it. It is putting our ability to have meritocratic standards at risk.
Leahy: Heather, many of our listeners have children who are in secondary schools right now and are thinking about college. What advice would you have for those parents?
MacDonald: It’s tough. I really don’t know. There are a few schools out there. Saint John’s colleges that are dedicated to the Western canon. The faculty there have not abdicated their responsibility. They accept the fact that they know something and students don’t and they are going to guide those students systematically, rigorously, and lovingly through the great works that made this civilization possible.
But others have completely abdicated that responsibility. If you’re not going to send your kids to a Saint John’s school or even a Hillsdale, help your child pick a curriculum that will systematically expose them to the great works. If your colleges even offering those classes. Look at the course syllabus.
Make sure that there is a substance being taught. If your student graduates and has not taken American history, European history, American literature, European literature, then you have been completely short-changed. Frankly, I think we are really going to have to start a homeschooling movement for college or we are going to need private tutors because once your kid steps into this atmosphere of victimology, freshman orientations are going to teach your child that he’s either in a favored victim group or he’s an oppressor. They’re going to speak about white privilege, white supremacy, and heteronormativity. It’s non stop.
Leahy: Heteronormativity. What on earth is that?
MacDonald: Oh, how fortunate you’ve been protected from that. (Leahy laughs)
Carmichael: I mean it’s Christmas. You have the nativity scene so we thought we’d ask. (Laughter)
MacDonald: Believe me. If you don’t know, you don’t want to go there. (Laughter)
Leahy: We’ll take you at your word on that one. Hey, let me just recommend something in terms of colledges. I don’t know if you’ve followed the story on Thales Academy out of Roan, North Carolina. Private school, K-12. They use direct instruction in K-5. They promote the Classics. Classical education.
Very high quality and low-cost education. They are opening a college, a Thales College in Raleigh Durham, North Carolina. They are focused on getting kids out quickly and teaching the classics and also teaching some trade skills. I would be delighted to introduce you to Bob Luddy the founder there. A great guy and I’m sure he’d love to talk to you about their college.
MacDonald: Well, we need alternatives like that. It’s fantastic. I know there is a school that’s sort of been in the works a long time now, Ralston College in the south as well. And so I applaud Thales. And I think for sure too many kids are going to college.
This idea that everybody should go to college means that we don’t have any more colleges. College should be for high level thinking not everybody wants it. A trade school is a thing of noble intention and noble accomplishments.
Leahy: On that note, Heather MacDonald thank you so much for joining us and we hope you can come back. We appreciate your great book. The book is The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture. Thank you, Heather, for joining us.
MacDonald: Thank you so much, Michael. I appreciate it.
Listen to the full third hour:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Heather MacDonald” by Heather MacDonald.