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Not the Land of Opportunity?

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Welcome to the state of political correctness run amuck! In training initiated by UC president Janet Napolitano, provides new guidelines for the 200,000-student University of California system faculty. Inspirational phrases such as “America is the land of opportunity,” “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough,” “America is a melting pot,” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” are now being labeled “microaggressions” – any “brief, subtle verbal or non-verbal exchanges that send denigrating messages to the recipient because of his or her group membership (such as race, gender, age or socio-economic status).” Such “microaggressions” are to be eliminated from the faculties’ campus vocabulary.


In one seminar handout, “Tools for Identifying Implicit Bias,” faculty are told that if a particular student is particularly impressive, they’re not to express merit-driven compliments like “You’re a hard worker” or even “You speak English very well.” To suggest that a student is “raising the bar” is described as “elitist.”

Is this hard to believe? Read for yourself from the UC website about the specific terms that are not acceptable. Learn what academic elites identify as the “true meaning” behind the now forbidden phrases.

For freedom-loving Americans, this is a blow to academic freedom, freedom of speech, and to our shared American dream. Thankfully, not all faculty are buying these guidelines. Tim Groseclose, an economics professor at George Mason University, asserted, “I don’t think University of California realizes how crazy it’s become. According to that document, Martin Luther King, Jr. would be guilty of microaggressions.”

Groseclose, a former UCLA professor, said “I wonder if taxpayers realize they’re paying for this. I wish Congress would do something like suspend federal money to the University of California for a couple years – enough time for the university to regain its sanity."

Such guidelines are not only ridiculous; they sell America short. America remains the land of opportunity, and there is research to support it.


Michael Cox & Richard Alm, with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, published “By Our Own Bootstraps.” Their research refutes the very notion that America is no longer the land of opportunity: “The University of Michigan Panel Survey of Income Dynamics tracks the income of 3,725 individuals...for the 17 years from 1975 to 1991. In the Michigan study, only 5 percent of those in the bottom quintile in 1975 were still there in 1991. In contrast, over 80 percent of this original `poor’ segment made it to the middle class or better (the top 60 percent of the population). Indeed, 29 percent of them reached the top quintile. To generalize from this study, over several decades only 1 out of 20 `poor’ Americans will stay poor, while 13 will become `middle class’ and 6 will become `rich.’ Upward mobility is an ongoing process that gathers momentum with time. The message is clear: This is the land of opportunity…”

If this study sounds too old, read on. The 2007 US Treasury study, “Income Mobility in the US from 1996 to 2005,” trashed some convenient liberal myths: “Those with very high incomes in 1996—the top 1/100 or 1 percent—had their incomes halved by 2005. They were not getting ahead at the expense of others. Those in the top 20% increased 10 percent. Those originally in the bottom 20 percent saw a 91 percent increase in income (missed by statisticians because such increases move people out of the lowest 20 percent). There is no permanent overclass.” In fact, it appears to be harder to stay in the top 1% than it is to get out of the bottom 20%.


A leader’s job is to keep hope alive. UC president Janet Napolitano seems to be more interested in building and nurturing an academic climate of hopelessness. But she also seems to have no trouble having students take on college tuition debt in a country that is no longer the land of opportunity. After all, if you can’t succeed in America, why waste your money on a degree at the University of California.

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