I understand that the public outcry has caused the University of Delaware to shut down their “diversity program”.

Good. Students are to learn to question, not be indoctrinated.

But on reading the questions, they sound oddly familiar.

1. When were you first made aware of your race?

2. When did you discover your sexual identity?

3. Who taught you a lesson in regard to some sort of diversity awareness? What was that lesson?

4. When was a time when you confronted someone regarding an issue of diversity? What was the confrontation about? If haven’t, why not?

5. When was a time you felt oppressed? Who was oppressing you? How did you feel?

6. Can you think of a time when someone was offended by what you said? How did that make you feel? How do you think it made them feel? How did his/her behavior change toward you?

Hmmm…The slant is a bit different (racism instead of sexual repression) but the technique sounds just like the “Encounter programs” that I was forced to attend as a medical student in the 1960’s.

These were small meetings of students who were essentially ordered to bare their souls in front of the other students so that they could learn to be authentic. If it sounds familiar, it is similar to what is practiced in some “group therapy” sessions.

The aim was to “loosen” us up, so that we would accept the agenda, which back then essentially was that if everyone dropped religious rules and just had sex with anything that moved, there would be no more mental disease. I’m old enough to remember when some psychiatrists felt all schizophrenia was due to “homosexual repression” and autism was due to “frigid mothers”, and if you were crazy, it was your mother’s fault, because people made people crazy.

Of course, none of these ideas turned out to be true, but never mind. Most of these meetings were an excuse for the superior clique of students to ridicule the rest of us.
Usually I arranged for a friendly nurse to “beep me out” with a fake emergency during each meeting, and when questioned, I simply lied through my teeth.

My problem was not that I was a woman (our class had only 5% female students back then) but that I was from an inner city family, on a scholarship, and still went to church, and what was worse, could logically explain why I decided to go to church and why I believed what I believed. How gauche.

The dirty little secret about the 1960’s “rebellion” for “freedom” is that most of the rebels merely conformed to the countercultural thinking. Few actually thought for themselves, and would blithely insist Cuba was a paradise or Mao’s Great Leap forward had produced huge harvests or that drug use was not only harmless but good.
I could fend off psychological attacks and attempts to be manipulated, having a lot of experience with such things from high school (being a math and science oriented woman in the days of pre women’s lib taught one to ignore criticism).

Then one day the group circled and emotionally devastated my roommate. I was merely observing the meeting, and was aghast as the professor sat and left the psychological torture go on. Finally I intervened, corrected a few of their “facts” and told them off as immature and ignorant.

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Aside from the disturbing fact that political correctness is in favor of indoctrinating students who are supposed to be learning to think by the method of Socrates, to question everything to search for truth, the dirty little fact is that it doesn’t work unless you censor all forms of informational input.

Changing behavior via counselling is an “iffy” thing, and group therapy seems more a way to teach people to give the correct answers that allow the group to approve of you than to learn how one personally feels.

The whole point of pscyhological therapy is that you need to establish trust. Doctors know that often the real problem worrying our patient is not stated until the presenting problem and examination is cared for. On the way out, the patient turns and says….and one more thing, doctor…

Sometimes the problem won’t appear until several visits assure the patient that the doctor will understand.

Without trust, you can’t start working through problems, and coercing people by insisting they bare their deepest sins is wrong…which is why few Catholics attend confession anymore, despite the fact it is a valuable way to confront one’s sins, because in the old days before Vatican II the sacrament had degenerated into laundry lists and guilt trips. Hopefully, in another 20 years or so it will return to being what it was meant to be: a way for sinners (i.e. everyone) to admit to mistakes and start their life over with a clean slate,  with the idea that they will do better in the future.
Just like the laundry list of sins has disappeared as a way to make people better, so too a list of “sins” of racism isn’t going to do much.

Brainwashing can still occur, but American youth who are surrounded by the anarchy taught by MTV are less likely to be brainwashing material than my classmates who grew up in the conservative 1950’s… or the uniformly “hip” 1960’s….and indeed, it seems that a lot of them just refused to cooperate:

An RA who is Latina, Lorraine Makond, agreed that the program was a flop because students didn’t really want to be there.

“For the most part students put up a wall,” said the 19-year-old junior, who is president of the Latino student union. “When people hear diversity training, they put their politically correct sensors on for three hours, then go back to their regular behavior.”

Good for them.

I guess I was merely 50 years behind the times in my rebellion.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket 

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