FOLLOW-UP: ROLLING STONE SHOW, DIVERSITY IN THE UC SYSTEM
1. Following up on "The Write Stuff?": A former Rolling Stone intern breaks down what the actual reality of life there was like:
- "...the contenders on this new reality show are given the kind of opportunities normally reserved for seasoned writers: traveling the world, interviewing rock stars and working on hard-hitting exposés, all while struggling to meet deadlines.
The enhanced job description makes sense, given that it was the only way for producers to make the show at all exciting. (Bonus: It gave them an excuse to incorporate loads of celebrity cameos.)"
"I'm From Rolling Stone loses credibility as soon as it introduces the cast. Given the final prize, one would expect the producers would pick some of the most talented young writers in the country. Having received more than 2,000 applications for the six spots, they certainly had the chance.
Instead, the reality-show casting formula -- abrasive personalities and model good looks -- won out."
"As RS Executive Editor Joe Levy (the show's de facto host) tells five of the six contestants that their work is just plain bad, he looks almost embarrassed to be treating them as serious contenders for a coveted gig at his magazine."
2. Following up on "Race Reality Check, Berkeley Daze": The LA Times had a story today profiling UC Riverside. If UC Berkeley is supposed to be "Little Asia On The Hill" (I still laugh when typing that), UCR is more like, um, Little California In the Valley insofar as it is the most diverse of all the UCs, at least in its percentage of Black and Latino students.
Interestingly, the number of Asian students is still roughly as high as Berkeley's: 43%, but Latinos constitute a quarter of the school and the percentage of Black students (7.1%), is double that of UC Berkeley and the UC system, as a whole. Riverside also boasts the lowest % of White students in the entire system: 18.7% (the highest remains UC Santa Barbara which has 43%.
The high diversity at UCR, at least in this article, is seen through two different lenses. On the one hand, it's good at least one UC campus has a Black student population that comes remotely close to reflecting the actual reality of California's state-wide demographics. As one professor quoted for the story points out, "Maybe [other UCs] should be looking at what UCR is doing right in attracting minorities" and elsewhere, the story notes that even students accepted at other, more arguably prestigious UCs, are likely to choose Riverside because they feel more comfortable with the larger numbers of Black and Latino students there.
However, the other side of these demographics is put forward by a sociology professor at UCLA: "It's separate, but certainly not equal," said Darnell Hunt...director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. "It's the resegregation of the UC system." In other words, Hunt seems to argue that Black students (and presumably Latino to a lesser extent) are pushed towards Riverside thus allowing campuses like UCLA or UC Berkeley to enroll fewer "underrepresented minorities".
One wonders what UCR staff and faculty feel about such an accusation. While I understand the point Dr. Hunt is making here, it also has the effect, intended or not, of besmirching UCR's reputation as an institution of higher learning. I doubt many at UCR see their school as the university equivalent of colored bathrooms back in the Jim Crow era.
It's also important to note, as the story does that: "One advantage Riverside has in attracting underrepresented minorities is that it draws many of its applicants from the Riverside area, which has a large black and Latino population." Of course, one can also break down the economic and social forces that have factored into why the Riverside area has a higher percentage of Black and Latino residents vs, say, the areas around Berkeley or Westwood (or Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz). To that degree, the disparities/inequalities associated with UCR are likely a reflection of similar inequalities in many of California's social institutions and historical trends. That's not saying that other UCs can't do a far better job of recruitment of Black and Latino students to their campuses - as the story also notes, this has been one area where UCR has made a vigorous push, a lesson that could be well learned by some of Riverside's sister campuses.
 At no UC campus does any single ethnic group hold a majority though Asians hold a plurality at every campus save for UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz.
 Given that ALL students in the UC system are technically "minorities" given that there is no majority group, I wish we could find a few language to express that reality.