January 23, 2006

More on Affinity and Integration

Mike Amico has an op-ed in the D this morning defending the practice of self-segregation. While the op-ed is a bit more frustrated than cogent, it raises an excellent point.

Those who clamor for integration primarily are people who expect others to do it for them. This is simply an unreasonable expectation and a fairly hypocritical one at that.

Now this is far, far different from the effort of racially integrating schools post-Brown v. Topeka; that was an issue of equal access to opportunity. Something tells me people who support this "Please, Dartmouth, integrate us!" spirit aren't likely to go home and cry about the opportunities they're losing at Tabard or Cutter Shabazz. I'm certainly not crying about the opportunities I'm missing at football team practice or ski patrol. No, this drive to weaken affinity groups is the result of a desire to fulfill an ideology, not a desire to fulfill our Dartmouth lives.

Basically, the problem is not the fact that people choose to affiliate with race, or sexual orientation, or religion, or sports team, or Greek house. The problem is that this is all they do. And the answer to that is not administratively induced tokenism, which is probably the best a top-down mandate would accomplish.

The problem is not affiliation, it is indolence. It is the lack of effort used to move beyond one's core group to other people that is the problem, not the fact that we have core groups. And this can only be solved by inspiring activity, and the best way to do this, I feel, is to inspire activity in those core groups.

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