Cal State’s Ethnic Studies Programs Falter in Changing Times

Carla Rivera, Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2013

In the 1960s, California college campuses were hotbeds of civil rights and free speech activity, where student protests resulted in the nation’s first ethnic studies programs at San Francisco State and UC Berkeley, among others.

Ethnic studies became a sought-after major and a safe setting in which to examine the influence of the state’s diverse population of Latinos, African Americans, whites and Asians, among others.

In recent years, however, some of those programs have been cut back, particularly in the California State University system. Today, students—and faculty—are once again protesting: this time to save ethnic studies majors.

At such campuses as San Jose, Stanislaus, Bakersfield, Long Beach and elsewhere, professors aren’t being replaced, classes are being reduced and majors could be eliminated or subsumed into other liberal arts programs. The moves have reignited old debates—and wounds—about Cal State’s commitment to social and cultural diversity.

Educators and others say that as campuses look to trim costs, ethnic studies programs are bearing the brunt and could be seen as irrelevant.

Administrators counter that many programs are not attracting enough students to fill classes.

The programs also face stiff competition as students of all ethnicities focus more on obtaining degrees with immediate job prospects.

“A discipline like ethnic studies lays itself wide open to the critiques of what the hell do you do with this, can you run a corporation or fly a plane with this?,” said Ron Scapp, president of the National Assn. for Ethnic Studies, which is conducting a national survey on the status of such programs.

But Scapp and others said that debates over immigration, the election of the country’s first black president and the aftermath of the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin by a white man show the nation is still grappling with issues of race and cultural diversity. Ethnic studies programs, he said, offer a forum to tackle these topics.


A recent move to reduce the status of the Africana Studies Department at Cal State Long Beach led the state Assembly to adopt a resolution urging that it and other such programs be maintained. Cal State Chancellor Timothy White put the changes on hold until the campus finds a permanent replacement for former President F. King Alexander.

Proposed cuts on other campuses prompted a delegation of faculty from these programs to request a meeting with White; it is scheduled next week. The group wants a moratorium on proposed changes until a study by the chancellor’s office that is underway reviews policies at all 23 Cal State campuses.


Officials at San Jose State are proposing to reduce African American studies from a department with its own administrative functions and fold it into the sociology and social sciences department. They argue that the program as it currently stands—with one full-time faculty member and about 12 student majors—can’t sustain itself. The move would provide students with a wider variety of courses and they would still be able to major or minor in African American Studies, spokeswoman Pat Lopes Harris said.


Although many ethnic studies programs have fewer students majoring in them, students in other disciplines take the classes to fulfill general education requirements. {snip}


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  • NeanderthalDNA

    Yay! The Truth slowly, inexorably, sinks in.

    The cost of diversity is in the uncountable trillions and those academicians who tout it are parasites bleeding the remnants of the nation.

    The lie cannot resist the Truth forever.

  • D.B. Cooper

    NO, No No!
    The cuts will eventually be made to the mathematics and science departments.

    • I agree: cut the science, engineering, and math departments. We just need to import more Chinese and Indian engineers and scientists which are in ready supply. Heck even the Army can’t go into combat effectively without a corps of Diversity Insurers. Thus these [ethnic studies & etc.] are really needed professions for “post-Modern America”.

      • rowingfool

        I realize that you’re speaking in jest about importing more alien scientists, but your argument is exactly that of today’s economists who advocate a world without borders and free movement of labor in response to regional demands. In their estimation, this freedom would result in benefits for everyone; consumers because competition would drive down the price of labor and hence goods produced. Labor would benefit as well since workers freed from one inefficient job could be reassigned another in which they would be employed more productively. This resulting gain in productivity would improve everyone’s standard of living. Such is the theory anyway.

        Does the world actually work that way? Their argument hinges on the notion of comparative advantage. In this scenario, nations should not try to create a self sufficient, well rounded economy. Instead, they should produce goods or services in which they gain a favorable trade relationship with other states in a complex calculus that involves sliding values which vary with costs of production.

        This results in an asymmetric relationship in which technologically advanced nations hold the trump cards. Why? Because if a nation does not have a steel manufacturing capability it will not develop the set of intellectual skills, the mindset necessary to function efficiently. This comment would bring a chorus of scoffs from many of today’s economists. But then, they aren’t Engineers are they? They’ve never studied machine metalworking and haven’t therefore learned that the habits of mind such as insisting on rigorous precision, understanding the chemistry of alloys and knowing their appropriate use, learning the need for precise calibration of temperature etc. do not come naturally to human beings but must be inculcated through training. Steel is integral to every aspect of manufacturing and not for nothing is it called the “sinews of the economy”.

        I’m not saying that every nation must become a steel producing giant, although it is true that every giant nation is a steel producer. I’m talking about habits of mind that can only be acquired by hands on training. Precision steel working is where Physics and Chemistry shake hands with Craft.

        So, back to the beginning. One world free traders want us to divest ourselves of our capacity to train our own “engineers and scientists” using the argument of comparative advantage. They do not take into account how vital that training is towards maintaining the critical mass of intellectual elites who are the brain of a technologically advanced economy and without which an economy is doomed to serfdom.

        • You’re correct: my comments were in jest about cutting math & science and importing more Indian scientists.

          However this raises the question in that “is the sole purpose of a country to maximize its profits even at the cost of displacing all of it’s citizens?” Or is it’s purpose to maximize benefits for its citizens including useful, but not excessive, steps to make a profit and develop future technology for the benefit of mankind.

          By defintion I think the AmRen site partially exists so as to promote a white or “Classical European/ US” society. This would mean educating some US born scientists/ engineers as they could contribute to society and act as consumers as well exert some guidance on policy for that society’s science issues. This type of Classical society exisited from the Medieval era up until perhaps 1900. A book by D. Landes: “The Wealth & Poverty of Nations” is an excellent read in this area.

          Of course what we’re having is a few very elite owners of major corporations are basically directing the replacement of that society so as to maximize profits in the short term. They then act as ultra-altruists bestowing largess upon needy, but highlighted and undeserving, special interest groups with the objective of getting their portrait on Time magazine as “Altruistic Person of the Year”.

          Ultimately what possibly (probably?) may ensue is a global wasteland, much like Zimbabwe, with a few fortresses held for these directors. A lack of resources for the masses will lead to ubiquitous resource wars over things like water, food, oil, and fresh air.

          • rowingfool

            “A lack of resources for the masses will lead to ubiquitous resource wars over things like water, food, oil, and fresh air.”

            Der Spiegel today featured an interesting article about Toyota’s unveiling their new fuel cell powered automobile. What caught my attention were the remarks made by Toyota’s spokesman who broke down the energy costs of fuel cell versus electric cars. This brought in wind, solar, coal versus gasoline. And what I took away from this was that, as Buckminster Fuller suggested, society’s allocation of effort ultimately is a choice involving calculations of caloric units of energy. In the case of manufacturing autos, there were no clear winners. Every option involved expense and risk.

            Now transfer that line of thinking to immigration. In a world in which the number of calories are limited, what sense does it make for masses of people to move from areas near the Equator where there is a surfeit of calories, to countries located farther towards the poles? The energy to create the lifestyle they see themselves as sharing must come from a diminishing lode. Their very presence makes that so. Unless one assumes unlimited energy supplies in the future–and the automakers weren’t–then how can the North generate sufficient energy to meet the future needs of a population swollen by mass migrations? Why shouldn’t border invaders stay near the Equator where the Sun provides for most of their energy needs and where they could learn to exploit that resource?

            So I believe that just on energy calculations alone a solid case could be made for Europe’s turning back all African immigrants and our pursuing the same policy with respect to Latin Americans.

          • Fuel cell technology is interesting & I did research on this topic back at Penn in the early 80’s. Note that fuel cells use hydrogen + oxygen to generate electricity which is used to turn an electric motor. I have degrees in Chemistry & Chemical Engineering.

            However, currently where must we get our hydrogen? It’s generally gotten from breaking down hydrocarbons and stripping off the H2, releasing the byproduct as, you guessed it, CO2.

            Ultimately if we has a real cheap plentiful electrical source, we could break seawater (H2O) into H2 and O2, bottle the H2, and use it in fuel cell cars. Also H2 can be burned in a turbine to generate motion. This is one reason why I’m a very strong proponent of Controlled Nuclear Fusion (google ITER) which would generate massive amounts of electricity. Enough so that a fusion plant could desalinate seawater to provide fresh water, provide domestic electricity, and provide hydrogen, all without ANY CO2 emission (other than construction costs).

            Also a fusion engine in a space craft would open up the whole solar system to exploration & colonization.

            We currently don’t know how to do controlled fusion. These are the steps that a wise, technological civilization would make. However one focussed on redistributing all wealth, prestige, population growth, & etc.: to blacks, may not make this transition before desparation and focus on short term needs only, sets in.

          • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

            Why shouldn’t border invaders stay near the Equator where the Sun provides for most of their energy needs and where they could learn to exploit that resource?
            Or rather, we could exploit that resource for them. Current denizens of the Equator lack the brainpower to learn to do much of anything.

  • borogirl54

    I personally think that ethnic studies should not be a degree option. It should be taught in either history or sociology as an elective course. I remember my late husband told me once that when he enrolled in Chabot College in California in the 1960’s, black studies was a required course. He fought this and because he originally entered the school before this course was required, he did not have to take it.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      It was all part of the great stupid cave-in of the 60’s that ushered in the era of ever lower expectations.

      Gun toting black nationalists and their SDS worshipers pressured universities to churn out more black Phd’s and since that was impossible within the context of REAL DEGREES, they invented this idiocy.

      So now second rate intellects like Melissa Harris-Perry and other darkie pontificators with an axes to grind get the same or better reception as real scientists.

      But everybody who knows about “the deal” knows it’s a complete farce.

      • borogirl54

        My husband also told me that the black students went on strike and stopped attending classes and protested. They were angry and him and other white students who did not participate in the strike.

    • When I was an undergrad at UC Santa Cruz, a non-European studies class of some sort was added to the graduation requirements. The blacks and browns pitched a complete fit in public, saying that whites would simply pick courses about Asian civilizations.

      They were completely correct. Nobody in their right mind is going to spend real money to sit in a class to hear about how groids in Groidistan be “inbentin” stuff.

      • Saisyet

        I think a class about civilizations would be more useful and has less potential to be biased than Ethnic Studies.

  • libertarian1234

    “Can you run a corporation or fly a plane with this?”

    No, but the people taking any kind of ethnic studies courses are ones who can’t learn subjects that are above a second year high school level. And that, my friends is no exaggeration, nor is it meant to be funny.

    What is happening, however, is that ways are being pursued that will allow African Studies ding-a-lings to weasel accreditation in more difficult subjects.

    They’re already advancing the idea that tests are useless as is I.Q. in order to get those measurements eliminated.

    The Obamacare debacle contains MUCH AA requirements to force acceptance of blacks into jobs as pilots, pharmacists, doctors, medical professionals of all sorts, etc.

    While the limousine liberals like Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, and Harry Reid will have exclusive private care and instant access to the best society has to offer, they’re forcing these black AA pigs on us within the general population.

    And the community organizer and his Moochelle are just so happy they can hardly contain their glee.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      They can do one thing and do it well.

      Preach White genocide. Oh, and destroy civilization from within the halls of the very institution that arguably represents the pinnacle of civilization.

      They do this well and personally profit. Parasites.

  • D.B. Cooper

    Bachelor of Arts- African American Studies diploma. Take one.

  • Lewis33

    I’m guessing that the schools are looking towards the future and foresee some sort of giant lawsuit from disillusioned graduates. “They didn’t tell us these degree’s are useless…we want our money back.”

  • Spartacus

    “Today, students—and faculty—are once again protesting: this time to save ethnic studies majors.”


    You mean save the only thing most of them have a chance to actually graduate in .

  • IstvanIN

    the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin by a white man
    Next they’ll tell us Robert Mugabe is white!

    • sbuffalonative

      Ms. Rivera is working overtime to pin the blame on whites instead of her own people.

      • Xerxes22

        I’ll bet that Ms. Rivera avoids Blacks and Black neighborhoods like the plague.

    • JDInSanD

      I also like how they bury the noticeably non-capitalized word “Whites” in describing the “state’s diverse population of Latinos, African Americans, whites and Asians, among others” as if ethnic studies actually studies white ethnicity rather than smearing it.

      • Extropico

        Yes. I purposefully capitalize “Whites” to remedy that inequity. Very wise JD.

      • M.

        “White” is a race, not an ethnicity. It’s just a more common appellation of the Caucasian race. Just like we commonly call Negroes “Black”.

        • JDInSanD

          Latin is a language not a race and Spanish is just a bastardized version of Latin. Africa is a continent , not an ethnicity. Africa contains several races and. many ethnicities. I always purposely don’t capitalize hispanic and I always use black.

          • M.

            Yes, I just corrected the “Whites” and “Blacks”. They’re races.
            The rest is fine.

  • Spartacus

    “…the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin by a white man…”



    • Jefferson

      Race can be quite confusing in America. Mestizos are “White” when they rape, steal, beat, or murder someone.

      But for affirmative action purposes, Mestizos are Nonwhite.

      Mestizo is a bipolar racial category in America.

  • dd121

    If I were a hiring officer in a company, the applications by gender/race studies majors would go straight in the trash. In practice, I think many companies do that as a matter of undeclared policy. Why hire a future lawsuit?

    • borogirl54

      All a degree in ethnic studies prepares one for is for a job as a left wing activist, working for Rev. Al, Jesse or some labor union.

  • JohnEngelman

    A degree in ethnic studies is its own punishment. Don’t worry about people foolish enough to get one.

  • Saisyet

    I took an Ethnic Studies class in university and I have to say it’s one of the most biased and anti-white departments. My professor was a white liberal who married a black man so she had personal motivations for the way she taught the class. Pretty much everything is blamed on white racism and the professor tried to manipulate the class by biased presentation, manipulating statistics, and straw man arguments like a politician would. Conflicts between nonwhites were either not covered or if they were covered, ultimately blamed on white people. For example, if blacks and Koreans had conflicts it was due to Koreans being put in a middle man position by whites or stereotypes created by whites (as if stereotypes are only created by one group of people). The whole purpose of Ethnic Studies in my opinion is to unite nonwhites against whites.

    • Sick of it

      They’ve been pretty successful so far.

    • libertarian1234

      It’s pure unadulterated hate.

      How any white person would tolerate any of it is beyond me.

      We’re not respected by the rank and file nor the authorities, politicians and geeks in academia because we don’t resort to any kind of violence over it.

      We wouldn’t hear the same thing about blacks or Muslims without rioting.

      Until we begin fighting and tearing things up, we won’t be respected and the anti-white hatred will continue.

      I’ve been making a payback list for a long time now.

    • rowingfool

      My wife’s friend, a former Ethnic Studies Professor (now English Prof (I guess her college saw the light)):
      “Before White-males came along and ruined everything for everyone people lived in Matriarchies where all property was shared equally and no one starved and every one got together to build one-another’s homes in, like, this really cool communal barn raising type of event in which there were no bosses or foremen because each person knew how to do everything and if they didn’t, contributed with what skills they had so you didn’t have the division of labor by sex because if a man wanted to do woman’s work that was cool because they recognized and tolerated a special caste of people who were different like that man who rode his horse backwards in Little Big Man and all the children were taken care of by every villager like in Hillary’s book about It Takes a Village and everything so each adult would daycare for their neighbor’s kids and the village wouldn’t create any pollution because they lived in harmony with Nature and the people didn’t get sick because they weren’t stressed and anyway they had folk medicine using herbs and plants to heal themselves and they took long sweats in sweat lodges that purged them of evil Spirits that made them feel mad or hold grudges so everyone was, like, spiritually cleansed and that made them at One with the Cosmos, so they had no reason to war on each other and everything. Oh yeah, they had drumming too.”

      “All that sounds like Rousseau’s Noble Savage. That was debunked a long time ago.”

      Ms. Ethnic Studies:
      Rousseau? Isn’t he, like, some dead white male?

      “Well, yes. He is, now that you mention it.”

      Ms. E.S
      “Well, there you go. What do you expect?”


      • Rhialto

        I’ve been in similar situations, and a moderately effective technique is to show interest and ask for verification. For example, instead of attacking her ideas, I would have asked, ” Where and when did these matriarchial societies occur?”. “I read that dominant males have always run social primate societies.”, I would state mildly.

        My strategy is to ask for proof. Since the Feminists have none, they change the subject to the evils of modern White men.

      • Sick of it

        She must have ignored the archaeological evidence of many people in fact starving to death in societies all over the world. As well as the ruined bodies of people murdered in inter-tribal warfare for thousands of years.

        • rowingfool

          To even assume that she “ignored the archaeological evidence” is to credit her with too much integrity. That would imply that she made some sort of informed but devious choice about what to include and what to exclude.

          The whole thing’s a fantasy from start to finish without foundation in anything outside of her mentally projected cocoon. It is the soft fluff she wraps her “preciousness” in.

  • Sick of it

    We shouldn’t believe a word this man says, as he just lied and said a white guy killed Trayvon Martin.

  • Funruffian

    I wouldn’t take a course in Afro-American studies or any other ethnic study if it was for free. It’s a complete waste of time and should be learned either at home or on the internet at one’s own leisure.

    • Brian

      Or by working as a prison guard.

  • Ellis Kurtz

    How many white employers would want to hire a graduate of a Hate Whitey ethnic studies course (quite apart from the intrinsic academic uselessness of such courses)?

  • guest

    For employers, hiring someone with a degree in ethnic studies or women’s studies is called hiring a lawsuit. The only people who hire them are government employers, and these government employers are sued all the time, but they don’t care because it’s only taxpayer money.

  • Marlin B. Newburn

    Courses like African-American and Feminist studies should be reclassified under one category to save money: “Preadolescent pretend insults and resentment studies.”

    There, I fixed it.

  • Beetlejuice

    I don’t understand your comment. This Ms. Cohen is a charlatan who’s been justifiably imprisoned, but we should send him money? Why?

  • Defiant White

    Cal State’s commitment to social and cultural diversity? What about Cal State’s primary commitment to education and their second commitment to not wasting our tax dollars on garbage nobody will ever use?

  • Brian

    death of black teenager Trayvon Martin by a white man show the nation is still grappling with issues of race

    …such as correctly identifying the race of GZ.

  • The Tank

    If ever there was a college program that needed to die, these diversity courses are it.
    What benefit do whites, or asians gain from learning about african cultures which have had zero technological advancement in thousands of years?
    What benefit do whites, or asians gain from learning about a culture that could not develop the wheel, or the bow, let alone firearms, stone architecture, medicine, or farming on its own?
    For that matter, what benefit do blacks gain from being taught to take pride in a culture, that has no merits for which pride should be instilled?

  • I once received a flat “F” for my analysis of the American Revolutionary War. Francis Marion dragged the British and loyalists back and forth across very rough land. He wore them out. She told me she had given me the “F” because she didn’t believe battles and generals and wars ever solved anything. When he black boyfriend beat the holy howling heck out of her, I asked her whether she thought any different about the efficacy of violence.

    Perhaps she wanted me to write about how lesbian vegetarian communists saved everyone from white men.

    Since her jaw was wired shut, all the ex-liberal could do was give me a very sad look.

    It is 24 years later. Cheers, dear! Battles do produce results, and even with that “F”, I win and you know it. I think you knew it at the time. I could see it in your eyes.

  • Hunter Morrow

    No, but I’m sure they could pick lettuce or cotton.

    Ethnic Studies and Feminist stuff, along with undermining the country, breeding resentment and making the White straight man a bogeyman par excellence, also
    serve as gussied up covert welfare for the black and brown hordes.

    White money is siphoned on taxes and given to them with things like Stafford Loans,
    Pell Grants and the like. At the end of the day they’re still fit for the menial labor
    they were fit for, but they’ve got a Fancy Dan degree and can be a “well-qualified”
    Affirmative Action quota hire or local, state or federal government flunky.

    Barring that, they can “organize communities” of dusky, sexually deviant
    untermenschen and wreck the country one political office at a time.

    “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout,I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos.The Marxist Professors and the structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night,in the dorms,we discussed neocolonialism, [the socialist, anti-colonialist revolutionary] Franz Fanon,Eurocentrism,and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting bourgeois society’s stifling constraints. We weren’t indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated.”-Barack Hussein Obama

  • DaCoachK

    Some Asian guy by the name of, I believe, “Hu,” once asked, “Would you fly with an airlines whose motto is ‘We put diversity first?'” Much like these insane degrees in resentment studies. Of course, Racism, Inc. is always on the lookout for Rent-a-Mob types to protest against and shakedown companies.

  • ms_anthro

    When we decide to stop paying.