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Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus Paperback – October 1, 1998

4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Neoconservative former White House policy analyst D'Souza adds a new introduction to this hard-hitting condemnation of preferential treatment for minority applicants to universities; this was a PW bestseller for three weeks.may 24-june 7 issues
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This book is sure to generate controversy. The author's thesis is that affirmative action policies in college admissions, and the higher education establishment's zealous pursuit of a curriculum that reflects the new orthodoxy of multiculturalism (which calls for increased minority admissions and privileges, more minority-based classes, more minorities on faculties) promote ignorance and racism. D'Souza, a former White House domestic policy analyst, supports his views with extensive interviews and studies conducted on six college campuses. The new victims, he feels, are the high academic achievers who are assumed to rejected for fear of overrepresentation (various Asian minorities). The debate has already begun over D'Souza's engaging and thought-provoking book. Articles featuring it appeared in Atlantic Monthly (February) and are forthcoming in Read er's Digest and Forbes in April. For most libraries.
- Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ., Jamaica, N.Y.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684863847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684863849
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
It pains me to agree with anything this conservative Reagan lackey has to say, but the fact is that when it comes to academics, something has gone well-intentioned but wrong on American campuses. As Harold Bloom has put it, people don't teach literature anymore, they teach ideologies. I don't like D'Souza's politics, but he does a good job here of skewering the opposite extreme which seems to have gotten the upper hand in turning colleges into travesties.
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It's an embarrasing prospect to consider: Universities silencing discussion and dissention. But D'Souza mounts a compelling case: Example after example, case after case of faculty bullying students with opposing views, silencing discussion in class, using campus police to keep out students that ask questions. Where? At some of the top schools in the United States.
The issue is not about using this or that term -- students pretty much absorb and abide by the vocabulary of Political Correctness. The issue is not about speaking in a polite and civilised manner. The issue is not about raising your hand and waiting for your turn to speak. The issue is about what you think and believe: Apparently, when students take positions that are opposed to the political views and agendas of some of the faculty, it's discipline time!
Why are classrooms politicised? Why do professors bring their political agendas into the classroom? Of what value is an education system that holds that some views are above discussion, considertation, challange?
The importance of Illiberal Education is in the collection of cases it presents: Victims of intolerance and indoctrination in the classroom can realise that what's happening to them is not an isolated instance but a part of a larger trend. It will also help them respond more effectively.
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Format: Paperback
D'Souza makes a strong case for the proposition that the modern American university, in the name of diversity and multiculturalism, has stifled debate and intimidated everyone into accepting new canons. These canons are race and gender based propositions that one must accept or risk being ostracized as sexist or racist. D'Souza argues that Western thought is self criticising (ie Marxism is a criticism of Western borgois culture) and that teaching method of the typical liberal curriculae was disputation, not indoctrination. The recent gender and ethnic studies programs, however, are based on indoctgrination. You do not dare to debate the ideas espoused in these courses. D'Souza also points out serious inequities in affirmative action programs such as Asian students being discriminated against at Berkley since their achievement was so high, they had a disproportionately large number of applicants qualified for admission. Therefore, white applicants and certainly minority applicants were favored over the Asians. Some claim the author is a right wing idealogue but, in fact, he makes a sound, well reasoned argument that many political liberals, who favor the traditional liberal education, could well embrace.
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Though some of D'souza info is dated like some of his info on PennState (I go there now) he does mention problems about how now colleges and universities are not moving away from traditional academic material and heading towards more contemporary notions of education. It seems a large number of colleges in the country do not require things like Western literature or Western History even though we are a Western Nation and that Western ideas have influenced things like democrarcy and egalitarianism though I admit it took generations for their ideas to be implemented.
A lot of things D'souza talks about are still going on today like a great deal of racial groups clustered toghether with full university support through like minority frats, social groups, dorms...Part of what college is about is about learning about people who are different from you and the best way to do that is through interacting with them.
Probably the best thing in Ill-Liberal education is the last few pages of the book where he talks about his three modes proposals such as non-racial affirmative action taking into account economic background, family situation and educational back ground, equality and the classics emphasizing classics that deal with equality and human differance (incorporate non-western books when necessary) and choice without separatism for university groups.
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Illiberal Education by Dinesh D'Souza presents an interesting collection of case studies of the politics of Race and Sex on Campus. The main theme of the work is that the Western tradition of liberal education is being undermined by efforts to meet the demands for group representation in curriculum, student bodies and faculty appointments. He points out that, whereas the traditional notion of the university saw it as a forum for an open exchange of ideas, the current reality is a venue in which the ultimate goal is not truth arrived at through study and exchange, but dictated by faculty radicals in accord with their own political beliefs.

To support his thesis, D'Souza provides a series of cases studies of incidents at leading universities across the U.S. He begins with an report of the admissions policy at Berkeley which, at the time of his writing, admitted students competitively within racial groups, each of which is entitled to a percentage of the student body. The result of this is different standards for admission by members of various ethnic groups. He then proceeds to review the demands for multiculturalism, which leads to the abandonment of traditional classics to make room for works of women and contributions from non-western traditions. In doing this works whose value have been tested over decades or centuries are supplanted by clearly inferior works only because they represent contributions by members of underrepresented groups.. In faculty selection, standards have been established to ensure that certain groups are represented in various numbers in the academic departments. This creates both intellectual and practical problems.
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