Editors’ note: At the end of the 1960s at UCLA, the Black Panthers and the US organization battled for control of the new Black Studies program. In time, Chicano Studies, Women’s Studies, and Queer Studies also gained official recognition. Through the 1970s and 1980s, the University of California system rejected academically-qualified students and accepted others based on race and ethnicity. In 1996, voters responded with the California Civil Rights Initiative, which banned racial and ethnic preferences in state education, employment and contracting.
Twenty years later, UCLA’s Vice Chancellor for Equity Diversity and Inclusion is a specialist in “implicit bias” theory but shows a distinct preference for politically correct groups of the Left. Meanwhile, professors of a certain ethnicity and conservative political profile are ostracized for championing free speech. Even their staff and student supporters come under fire.
Below is Part I of Frontpage Mag’s 4-part series by Lloyd Billingsley on this state of affairs at UCLA. (Read Part II: HERE).
January 17, 2019, marked 50 years since the Black Panthers and the US organization shot it out in room 1201 of Campbell Hall at the University of California at Los Angeles. Panthers John Huggins and Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter perished in the gun battle over control of fledgling black studies programs on the UCLA campus. Also at stake was control of the larger Black Power movement of the sixties.
US stood for “us,” black people, as opposed to “them,” the oppressive white people, but the rival Panthers called the group “United Slaves.” They were black nationalists founded by Hakim Jamal, formerly known as Allen Donaldson and a cousin of Malcolm X. Another US founder was Maulana Karenga, formerly known as Ron Karenga and Ronald McKinley Everett. Karenga is the creator of Kwanzaa and is now professor of Africana studies at Cal State Long Beach. The Black Panthers were more of a Marxist cast and made common cause with white radicals.
One of them was New Left stalwart David Horowitz, a red diaper baby born to Communist parents, as he outlined in Radical Son. Horowitz raised money for a Black Panther school in Oakland, but in late 1974 the Panthers murdered Betty Van Patter, the bookkeeper Horowitz recommended. The brutal crime showed the true nature of the Panthers, who had murdered many others, including member Alex Rackley, only 19, after making a recording of his “trial.” For David Horowitz, Van Patter’s murder signaled the need to depart from the left.
After the 1969 Panther-US gun battle, black studies became institutionalized at UCLA and many other universities. Likewise, the anti-white hatreds of the black power movement took hold across the UC system.
President Kennedy’s Executive Order 10925 required government contractors to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color or national origin.” UC bosses administrators opted to treat everyone “with regard” to race and ethnicity.
UC Davis medical school reserved slots for blacks and Hispanics, and rejected white male Allan Bakke. His academic qualifications were higher, and he had never discriminated against anyone, but UC Davis rejected him because of race and color. In 1978 Bakke sued and won, but the University of California continued to discriminate based on race and ethnicity.
According to diversity dogma, if students don’t match their percentage of the population the reason must be discrimination, and government-enforced racial and ethnic preferences are the only solution. So the UC system, particularly the prestigious Berkeley and UCLA campuses, saw “too many” Asians and whites. Jews are less than two percent of the population but UC bosses weren’t saying whether there were “too many” Jews at UCLA, or whether Armenians, less than one percent of the population, were among the “overrepresented” groups. “Too many” and “overrepresented” imply that the proportionality doctrine is enshrined in state or federal law. It is not, and California law goes against the diversity dogma.
The 1996 California Civil Rights Initiative barred racial and ethnic preferences in state education, employment and contracting. Despite furious opposition from the quota lobby, voters passed the measure and the disaster opponents predicted never occurred. As Thomas Sowell noted in his 2013 Intellectuals and Race, the number of African Americans and Hispanics graduating from the UC system increased and the number graduating in four years with a GPA of 3.5 or higher rose 55 percent. Even so, UC bosses continued to flout the law.
Under Janet Napolitano, UC president since 2013, the UC system offers in-state tuition to false-documented illegals and maintains a $25 million fund for their benefit. Under Napolitano, the UC bulked up on “diversity” bureaucrats, hiked tuition, and quashed free speech across the system, forcing cancellation of a speech by David Horowitz, among other conservatives. Students and staff called for the arrest of Napolitano but she remained at the helm. On her watch, junkthought jihadists deployed strategic weapons such as the Implicit Association Test (IAT).
As Heather Mac Donald explains in The Diversity Delusion, the supposedly scientific IAT shows “the pervasiveness of prejudice” but the actual range is narrower. “Implicit bias” is viewed as a cause of racial disparities, and plays a greater role than explicit bias in explaining black disadvantage. As in standard PC doctrine, blacks’ disadvantages are due to the moral lapses of whites, whose achievements, in turn, are due to privilege. Hillary Clinton and James Comey have touted this “science of bias” and a major promoter is Harvard law grad Jerry Kang.
Like the rest of the UC system, UCLA has always been ethnically diverse and state law forbids racial and ethnic preferences. Those realities did not prevent UCLA in 2015 from selecting Jerry Kang as its first Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
“I’ve been working on race and equity issues for two decades,” Kang explained. “I am a leading scholar on implicit bias, stereotype threat and the law. My collaboration with mind scientists gives me cutting-edge insights on how to counter the biases we all tend to have.” His work in critical race theory, Kang claims, “makes me attuned to structures, hidden assumptions, complacency, power and the need to unmask.” Kang identifies as a racial minority, a “person of color,” with “skin in the game.”
Jerry Kang earned degrees in physics and law from Harvard. On the other hand, he accuses IAT critics of holding a “tournament of merit” vision of society. Sooner or later, Kang’s vision was going to clash with theirs, and the new Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion would make UCLA a hostile environment for those people of no color.