Are the Racist Incidents on Campus Done by “Outliers”?

A yahoo news piece summarizes the many racist incidents in and around our “liberal” California campuses—and student reactions to them–this way:

At UC Irvine, about 250 people gathered for a “student solidarity speakout” to condemn the recent spate of racist incidents at UC San Diego that targeted black students and another incident last month at UC Davis, which targeted a Jewish student with a swastika carved on her door . . . . The protests came on the same day UC San Diego announced the discovery of a white pillowcase fashioned into a KKK-style hood — the third racist incident around the campus in as many weeks — and a day after UC Santa Cruz officials found an image of a noose scribbled on the inside of a bathroom door.

There was also a noose found on the San Diego campus, for which a student of color (not black) apologized anonymously in a letter in the campus newspaper. We have blogged on these in some detail recently. Other campuses have had their racist incidents in recent years too:

Although UCLA students said no racial incidents had occurred recently on their campus, in 2007, a fraternity held a “Tijuana Sunrise” party that mocked Mexican-Americans with stereotyped images, they said.

Sadly, the story and a scholar seem to want to view these incidents as the work of a few oddball racists and “outliers”:

The incidents are disturbing and most likely the work of “outliers” using offensive and outrageous behavior to gain notoriety, said Brian Levin, director of California State University’s Center for Study of Hate and Extremism in San Bernardino. He said surveys show young people are less prejudiced than ever, but “these things touch a nerve, and these folks know it.”

If this is a correct quote, then even experts like this fellow seem uninformed on the substantial field data showing that our white college students are not the paragons of white virtue such statements indicate. Do not they realize that in this social correctness era that many whites lie to survey researchers and pollsters? That they still operate frequently and in large numbers out of the white racial framing of Americans of color? That there are an estimated billion or so racist incidents participated in or observed just by white college students in their everyday lives each year?

The article goes on to say a few campuses are considering requiring an ethnic studies course, some mentoring, an African American Resource Center, and more funds for university diversity offices. Too little and too late, as the old cliche goes. And this very tepid and far from adequate reaction is indeed in the year 2010, some 50 years now after the civil rights revolution.


  1. Will

    Many people like Mr. Levin seem either uninformed, or some may see it as something less i.e. pranks by a small few instead of realizing the severity of the situation.

  2. marandaNJ

    It’s not about outliers. It’s about a deep-seated feeling of entitlement that white upper middle class college students feel regarding every other race in this country except white Europeans. Every culture that is not Precisely a reflection of their own is fair game in the ridicule department.God forbid another culture or race should even part their hair a different way than the WASPy frat boy.
    The whole Greek scene is infused with ‘fitting in’ and ‘conformity’. The more alike these kids are, the better they feel in their solidarity, whatever that solidarity represents. I mean, solidarity for the sake of conformity. But actually representing nothing more noble or deeper than, well, the ability to be a conforming chameleon. Thinking for oneself is taboo of course. And self examination is frowned on in these parts. It’s not about Ouliers, it’s about Inliers.


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