The blessings of diversity II

One of the college POCs by the name of Karé Ureña has expressed the desire not to have white roommates. She took some flak for it, but was rhetorically well-equipped:

But this is not a conversation about segregation and racism. These terms are deeply rooted in historical and systemic acts of violence towards people of color that white people have simply not experienced …. We want to reframe it so that it becomes a matter of students of color simply prioritizing their need for survival in the face of historical oppression in higher education.

Let’s play a game of “guess that major”. An immediate question that occurred to me was, do they still segregate college dorms by sex? I mean, at one point they were automatically sex-segregated because there only was one sex. Then women were admitted but society was too prudish to allow university-sanctioned cohabitation. We’re way past such quaint concerns, but now I imagine thorny issues of affirmative consent as well as the mundane logistical complexities associated with mid-year breakup would still counsel the prudent administrator against co-ed roomies. Unfortunately, the idea of a male/female sex is itself a quaint relic of the past, so it’ll be, um, fun to watch this one play out.

But we got side-tracked from freedom of association racist roommate preferences. Apparently, scholars research this sort of thing. Taking a page out of Robert Putnam’s book, here is Prof. Natalie Shook:

“My work (and others’) indicates that on average individuals in same-race roommate relationships are happier, spend more time with their roommate, and report less stress with their roommate than those in cross-race roommate relationships,” Shook said via email. “However, I have data that indicate living in a cross-race roommate relationship reduces prejudice and intergroup anxiety, as well as leads to a stronger sense of belonging at university, which can have benefits for academic performance.”

She might as well have taken a page from John Derbyshire’s book:

I’ve had some mild amusement here at my desk trying to think up imaginary research papers similarly structured. One for publication in a health journal, perhaps, with three sections titled:

  • Health benefits of drinking green tea
  • Green tea causes intestinal cancer
  • Making the switch to green tea

Social science research in our universities cries out for a modern Jonathan Swift to lampoon its absurdities.


2 thoughts on “The blessings of diversity II

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