Posts Tagged diversity

What The Illegal Immigration Curse Is Doing To California

Written By : John Hawkins 

Victor Davis Hanson spent three weeks biking around California and he wrote a column about the experience. The column was particularly noteworthy because in it, Hanson reveals that many of the ills that conservatives have feared would come along as a result of illegal immigration, multiculturalism, and the Left’s attacks on America have already come to pass in California. What Hanson describes in this column is not just what’s going on in California today; it will be the future of a large swath of the southwestern United States if liberals have their way.

Early on in the piece, Hanson writes this particularly grim excerpt:
During this unscientific experiment, three times a week I rode a bike on a 20-mile trip over various rural roads in southwestern Fresno County. I also drove my car over to the coast to work, on various routes through towns like San Joaquin, Mendota, and Firebaugh. And near my home I have been driving, shopping, and touring by intent the rather segregated and impoverished areas of Caruthers, Fowler, Laton, Orange Cove, Parlier, and Selma. My own farmhouse is now in an area of abject poverty and almost no ethnic diversity; the closest elementary school (my alma mater, two miles away) is 94 percent Hispanic and 1 percent white, and well below federal testing norms in math and English.

Here are some general observations about what I saw (other than that the rural roads of California are fast turning into rubble, poorly maintained and reverting to what I remember seeing long ago in the rural South). First, remember that these areas are the ground zero, so to speak, of 20 years of illegal immigration. There has been a general depression in farming  to such an extent that the 20- to-100-acre tree and vine farmer, the erstwhile backbone of the old rural California, for all practical purposes has ceased to exist.

On the western side of the Central Valley, the effects of arbitrary cutoffs in federal irrigation water have idled tens of thousands of acres of prime agricultural land, leaving thousands unemployed. Manufacturing plants in the towns in these areas which used to make harvesters, hydraulic lifts, trailers, food-processing equipment  have largely shut down; their production has been shipped off overseas or south of the border. Agriculture itself , from almonds to raisins, has increasingly become corporatized and mechanized, cutting by half the number of farm workers needed. So unemployment runs somewhere between 15 and 20 percent.

Many of the rural trailer-house compounds I saw appear to the naked eye no different from what I have seen in the Third World. There is a Caribbean look to the junked cars, electric wires crisscrossing between various outbuildings, plastic tarps substituting for replacement shingles, lean-tos cobbled together as auxiliary housing, pit bulls unleashed, and geese, goats, and chickens roaming around the yards. The public hears about all sorts of tough California regulations that stymie business – rigid zoning laws, strict building codes, constant inspections, but apparently none of that applies out here.
Industry dying off, 15 to 20 percent unemployment, parts of America that look like the Third World — and this is with California spending so much money that it’s headed towards bankruptcy.

Welcome to the end result of liberalism!

Oh, and guess what? It gets worse,
California coastal elites may worry about the oxygen content of water available to a three-inch smelt in the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta, but they seem to have no interest in the epidemic dumping of trash, furniture, and often toxic substances throughout California’s rural hinterland. Yesterday, for example, I rode my bike by a stopped van just as the occupants tossed seven plastic bags of raw refuse onto the side of the road. I rode up near their bumper and said in my broken Spanish not to throw garbage onto the public road. But there were three of them, and one of me. So I was lucky to be sworn at only. I note in passing that I would not drive into Mexico and, as a guest, dare to pull over and throw seven bags of trash into the environment of my host.

In fact, trash piles are commonplace out here, composed of everything from half-empty paint cans and children’s plastic toys to diapers and moldy food. I have never seen a rural sheriff cite a litterer, or witnessed state EPA workers cleaning up these unauthorized wastelands. So I would suggest to Bay Area scientists that the environment is taking a much harder beating down here in central California than it is in the Delta. Perhaps before we cut off more irrigation water to the west side of the valley, we might invest some green dollars into cleaning up the unsightly and sometimes dangerous garbage that now litters the outskirts of our rural communities.

We hear about the tough small-business regulations that have driven residents out of the state, at the rate of 2,000 to 3,000 a week. But from my unscientific observations these past weeks, it seems rather easy to open a small business in California without any oversight at all, or at least what I might call a ‘counter business.’ I counted eleven mobile hot-kitchen trucks that simply park by the side of the road, spread about some plastic chairs, pull down a tarp canopy, and, presto, become mini-restaurants. There are no facilities, such as toilets or washrooms. But I do frequently see lard trails on the isolated roads I bike on, where trucks apparently have simply opened their draining tanks and sped on, leaving a slick of cooking fats and oils. Crows and ground squirrels love them; they can be seen from a distance mysteriously occupied in the middle of the road.

…In two supermarkets 50 miles apart, I was the only one in line who did not pay with a social-service plastic card (gone are the days when ‘food stamps’ were embarrassing bulky coupons). But I did not see any relationship between the use of the card and poverty as we once knew it: The electrical appurtenances owned by the user and the car into which the groceries were loaded were indistinguishable from those of the upper middle class.

By that I mean that most consumers drove late-model Camrys, Accords, or Tauruses, had iPhones, Bluetooths, or BlackBerries, and bought everything in the store with public-assistance credit. This seemed a world apart from the trailers I had just ridden by the day before. I don’t editorialize here on the logic or morality of any of this, but I note only that there are vast numbers of people who apparently are not working, are on public food assistance, and enjoy the technological veneer of the middle class.
In other words, if you want to experience the Third World without leaving America, you can actually do it in parts of California — and it’s partially paid for with your tax dollars. Hanson’s not the first guy I’ve ever heard point this out, but rather than talking about the ugly reality of the situation, many people prefer to yell “racism.” That’s a lot easier than dealing with the hard truth that the direct result of our “compassionate” liberal policies is that a formerly productive part of our nation is turning into a backwards hellscape.

Here’s one last large excerpt from Hanson,
Do diversity concerns, as in lack of diversity, work both ways? Over a hundred-mile stretch, when I stopped in San Joaquin for a bottled water, or drove through Orange Cove, or got gas in Parlier, or went to a corner market in southwestern Selma, my home town, I was the only non-Hispanic – there were no Asians, no blacks, no other whites. We may speak of the richness of ‘diversity’, but those who cherish that ideal simply have no idea that there are now countless inland communities that have become near-apartheid societies, where Spanish is the first language, the schools are not at all diverse, and the federal and state governments are either the main employers or at least the chief sources of income – whether through emergency rooms, rural health clinics, public schools, or social-service offices. An observer from Mars might conclude that our elites and masses have given up on the ideal of integration and assimilation, perhaps in the wake of the arrival of 11 to 15 million illegal aliens.

Again, I do not editorialize, but I note these vast transformations over the last 20 years that are the paradoxical wages of unchecked illegal immigration from Mexico, a vast expansion of California’s entitlements and taxes, the flight of the upper middle class out of state, the deliberate effort not to tap natural resources, the downsizing in manufacturing and agriculture, and the departure of whites, blacks, and Asians from many of these small towns to more racially diverse and upscale areas of California.

Fresno’s California State University campus is embroiled in controversy over the student body president’s announcing that he is an illegal alien, with all the requisite protests in favor of the DREAM Act. I won’t comment on the legislation per se, but again only note the anomaly. I taught at CSUF for 21 years. I think it fair to say that the predominant theme of the Chicano and Latin American Studies program’s sizable curriculum was a fuzzy American culpability. By that I mean that students in those classes heard of the sins of America more often than its attractions. In my home town, Mexican flag decals on car windows are far more common than their American counterparts.

I note this because hundreds of students here illegally are now terrified of being deported to Mexico. I can understand that, given the chaos in Mexico and their own long residency in the United States. But here is what still confuses me: If one were to consider the classes that deal with Mexico at the university, or the visible displays of national chauvinism, then one might conclude that Mexico is a far more attractive and moral place than the United States.

So there is a surreal nature to these protests: something like, ‘Please do not send me back to the culture I nostalgically praise; please let me stay in the culture that I ignore or deprecate.’

…How odd that we over-regulate those who are citizens and have capital to the point of banishing them from the state, but do not regulate those who are aliens and without capital to the point of encouraging millions more to follow in their footsteps. How odd ‘ to paraphrase what Critias once said of ancient Sparta ‘ that California is at once both the nation’s most unfree and most free state, the most repressed and the wildest.
When politicians talk about the DREAM ACT, comprehensive immigration reform, sanctuary cities, and all the other forms of amnesty and open borders that they’re so in love with, they never seem to realistically address the real world consequences that Victor Davis Hanson just described. They should.

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DIVERSITY FOREVER

Heather Mac Donald
Diversity Forever
The University of California backs a tax hike to support its ever-expanding bureaucracy.
(Another reason to vote No on CA Prop. 30)
 
The University of California, San Diego has done it again. Last year, it announced the creation of a new diversity sinecure: a vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion. Campus leaders established this post even as state budget cuts resulted in the loss of star scientists to competing universities, as humanities classes and degree programs were eliminated to save money, and as tuition continued its nearly 75 percent, five-year rise. The new vice chancellorship was wildly redundant with UCSD’s already-existing diversity infrastructure. As the campus itself acknowledges: “UC San Diego currently has many active diversity programs and initiatives.” No kidding. A partial list of those “active diversity programs and initiatives” may be accessed here.

Now UCSD has filled the position and announced the new vice chancellor’s salary. Linda Greene, a diversity bureaucrat and law professor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will pull in $250,000 a year in regular salary, but that’s just the beginning: she’ll receive both a relocation allowance of $60,000 and 100 percent reimbursement of all moving expenses, a temporary housing allowance of $13,500, two fully paid house-hunting trips for two to the San Diego area, and reimbursement for all business visits to the campus before her start date in January 2013. (By comparison, an internationally known expert in opto-electronics in UCSD’s engineering school, whose recent work has focused on cancer nanotechnology, received a little over $150,000 in salary from UCSD in 2011, according to state databases.) The UCSD press office did not respond to a request for the amount the university paid the “women-owned executive search firm with a diverse consulting team” it used to find Greene.

Last week, the UC Regents, the university’s lay overseers, approved the new vice chancellorship and its compensation package, as first reported in the San Diego Reader. Since this summer, the regents have been shilling for Governor Jerry Brown’s $8 billion November tax initiative, arguing that the only way to save the university from financial and academic ruin is to jack up the state’s upper-bracket income and sales taxes. Their rubber-stamp approval of UCSD’s senseless new appointment, with its sky-high salary, shreds whatever remaining budgetary credibility they may have had. And of course the diversity machine is operating at fully funded throttle throughout the rest of the University of California; among the diversity initiatives that continue to cascade out of the president’s office and the individual campuses is an imminent $662,000, system-wide “campus climate survey” to track down the racism of UC’s faculty, staff, and students that is allegedly putting UC’s “most marginalized and vulnerable populations . . . at risk,” in the words of UC President Mark Yudof. If there are reasons to support the Brown tax initiative, rescuing an allegedly financially strapped UC that has made hard choices to survive is not one of them.

Greene’s salary and perks are, of course, just the start of what her tenure as San Diego’s new VC for EDI will cost taxpayers. If we are to believe UCSD’s syntactically challenged press office, this new vice chancellorship is a position of extraordinary complexity and challenge: It “will require creativity and innovation to establish the role and organizational structure to enable achievement of the campus’ strategic diversity goals.” The new VC for EDI will therefore undoubtedly also require a staff of massive proportions to support the expected “creativity and innovation.” As a benchmark, UC Berkeley’s own vice chancellor for equity and inclusion, Gibor Basri, whose princely salary of $200,000 suddenly looks piddling by comparison with Greene’s, presides over a staff of 24, up from 17 a mere year ago. Estimating conservatively, a comparably bulked-up office for San Diego’s new VC for EDI will run taxpayers close to $1 million a year, even before the VC’s salary is added in. That million-plus could easily pay for over a dozen new professors just starting their careers or for scholarships for many more promising graduate or undergraduate students.

Despite UCSD’s desperate efforts to give substance to this new appointment, there is in fact nothing for Greene and her staffers to do that isn’t already being done. Every department at UCSD faces unrelenting pressure to hire females and “underrepresented minorities,” i.e., blacks and Hispanics—Asians and Indians, of course, counting as honorary whites for the sake of the diversity crusade. If females and URMs are not proportionally represented on the UCSD faculty, especially in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, that’s because every other campus in the country, many far more well-endowed than UCSD, is chasing the same limited supply of competitively qualified, “diverse” Ph.D.s. There simply aren’t enough to go around.

The creation of a massive diversity bureaucracy to police the faculty for bias against women and URMs can be justified only if there is evidence that the faculty need such policing. No one has yet presented a single example of UC San Diego’s faculty discriminating against a highly ranked female or URM candidate because of skin color or gender. The opposite is of course the case: female and URM Ph.D.s enjoy enormous advantages in the hiring market at UCSD and everywhere else. A professor in the Geosciences Research Division of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, whose wife is a UCSD “faculty equity advisor,” sent me a self-righteous rebuke for my initial criticism of the new VC for EDI. I asked him if he knew of any instance where a UCSD hiring committee had merely overlooked a top-notch female or URM candidate because the department was not trying hard enough to “diversify.” He responded that the supply of qualified “diversity” candidates was “so low that the policing of faculty . . . is virtually irrelevant.”

Diversity advocates try to mask the vacuousness of their enterprise with two strategies. First, the diversophile pretends that a new diversity initiative is the first time that the relevant institution has ever embarked on such an endeavor. In announcing Greene’s selection, UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla noted in a campus-wide email: “As we look ahead to our next fifty years, it is imperative that we embrace and actively advance issues of diversity, equity and inclusion as core principles.” Implication: It’s long past time that UCSD finally “embrace and actively advance issues of diversity,” etc. Reality: “Diversity” has been an all-consuming and costly obsession at UCSD for years.

The second strategy consists of dressing up “diversity” activities with speciously technocratic rhetoric. In trying to portray diversity bean-counting as something akin to an actual skill, use of the phrase, “metrics,” is de rigueur. A diversity bureaucrat doesn’t count females and minorities, she uses “metrics,” as Chancellor Khosla explained in the same email: “Additionally, the [diversity strategic] plan will include metrics to ensure that we are employing best practices that both research and experience show have a real impact.” “Holistic” is another favored term. In arguing for regent approval of Greene’s astronomical salary and perks, the UC Office of the President in Oakland noted that the new VC for EDI would be “responsible for providing a holistic and integrated vision on all major equity, diversity and inclusion efforts at UC San Diego.”

The regents’ spinelessness on the Greene matter is their usual modus operandi, but the behavior of UC San Diego’s incoming chancellor, who began his tenure in August, is actually disappointing. There was reason to be guardedly optimistic that Khosla, the former dean of Carnegie Mellon’s engineering school, would have the insight and fortitude to bring UC San Diego back to its core academic priorities. In a May 2012 interview with the UCSD Guardian, he dared to point out that more than 55 percent of UCSD students receive financial aid, and that students would have to “accept the fact that there is some level of payment required of them.” He punted on the question of how he would “address the issue of diversity and overall campus climate,” leaving himself useful wiggle room. And he articulated a potentially powerful standard for future budget decisions: “We are looking at what a high-quality education means, what are the various components that have to be maintained and strengthened, and what are the components that are fine to have, but if they walked away, the impact would not be as much on the quality of education.” The VC for EDI easily falls into the category of components that would not be missed if they “walked away.”

Granted, it would have taken enormous political courage to cancel the VC for EDI position that outgoing Chancellor Marye Anne Fox had created in 2011. But Khosla could have argued that in a time of budgetary crisis, hard choices had to be made, and that he had full confidence that his faculty would pursue excellence in hiring and admissions without regard to race or gender. Instead, he took the easy way out, allowing this insulting appointment to proceed, even as he slipped with depressing facility into diversity-speak. To be fair, no college president in America would have behaved any differently.

Neither Khosla, nor the regents, nor the UC president can seriously believe that hiring Greene will enable UCSD to discover a trove of previously unknown female and URM stars ignored because of their gender and skin color. If they do believe it, they’re shamefully ignorant about their own institutions and the context in which those institutions exist. If they don’t, they’re deceiving the public. The evidence points to the second scenario. UC president Mark Yudof argued for regent approval of the new VC for EDI position and its pay on the ground that Khosla needed to “show his commitment to the diversity mission” and to “touch key constituent groups” during his fall-quarter “introduction to the [UCSD] community.” In other words, the new position is purely symbolic. It serves no function other than placating the campus Left (whom Khosla had already riled by praising the faculty’s “entrepreneurial nature”) and signaling that Khosla can be relied upon to keep the diversity pork flowing.

In July, the regents voted to endorse Governor Brown’s tax proposal, with only one regent standing against. “It’s a simple question: Will UC be better off if it passes than if it doesn’t? That’s not just an answer of ‘yes,’ that’s an answer of ‘hell yes,’” said regent Bonnie Reiss. After the resolution, Brown showed up for the first time to a regents meeting, where he holds an ex officio chair, to urge students, faculty, and staffers to vote for his tax-hiking Proposition 30, according to the Los Angeles Times. Brown portrayed support of his proposition as a patriotic duty: “Let’s pull together for the university and for our country.”

Brown’s exhortation was restrained compared with that of Richard Blum, who in March urged his fellow regents to back Proposition 30. Blum, who runs a private-equity firm and is married to U.S. senator Dianne Feinstein, was so impressed by his own remarks that he republished them in the Daily Californian. They epitomize the bubble in which the regents reside. According to Blum, the “root cause for rising tuition at the University of California is state disinvestment, plain and simple.” In other words, UC has no responsibility for its rising costs, driven in considerable measure by such bloated bureaucratic offices as UCSD’s new VC for EDI. The university has already cut to the bone, Blum maintained. “The truth is, we can only cut so much before we begin to erode the quality of our academic mission.” Eliminating positions like UC’s ubiquitous diversity vice chancellors and deans will not erode the quality of the academic mission; cutting such superfluities would strengthen that mission. Blum reached his peroration: Prop. 30, he said, was about “restoring one of the very core values of this country—the idea of America as a meritocracy, as a society which allows everyone the opportunity to succeed.”

Of course, the biggest enemy of meritocracy is the diversity industry. Rejecting the patent untruth of Blum’s claims may be reason enough to vote no on Prop. 30.

Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor of City Journal and the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

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