- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2001

College students this fall can enroll in a buffet of courses that tout "Marx, multiculturalism and malarkey," a conservative education organization says in its annual "Dirty Dozen" list of politically correct classes.

The list, culled from current course catalogs at 56 top public and private universities, should serve as a warning to parents and a heads-up to taxpayers who may have little knowledge of the scope of "eccentric and bizarre" classes that are increasingly displacing traditional courses, say officials at the Young America's Foundation in Herndon.

The catalogs are full of courses that "are biased, outrageous, obsessed with sex, race, Marxism and class warfare," said YAF program officer Rick Parsons, who added that the course quality has declined steadily in the seven years that the YAF has compiled its study.

Mr. Parsons spent most of the summer compiling research for the "Dirty Dozen," which is a part of a 90-page YAF report titled "Comedy & Tragedy: College Course Descriptions and What They Tell Us About Higher Education Today."

YAF officials review course catalogs from schools listed on U.S. News & World Report's most recent list of top colleges and universities. The findings this year "paint a dismal picture of higher education," Mr. Parsons said.

"The professors and administrators have their own ideological agenda for the students," said Mr. Parsons, who adds that free-market economics, U.S. history and classic literature often take a back seat to obscure pedagogy.

Catholic colleges and universities tend to have less-offensive course offerings than Ivy League schools, Mr. Parsons said, but the trend at many public universities has more closely followed that of the Ivies. Classes that do teach about conservatism often compare it to the Ku Klux Klan or Adolf Hitler, he said, borrowing language from an actual course on conservatism.

"It seems like most parents are not aware of the magnitude of the course offerings on campus and what is being taught by professors," he said. "If they knew, I think they'd question whether spending up to $30,000 per year on their child's education is worth these types of classes."

Among those to make this year's "Dirty Dozen" list are:

• Vassar College's "Black Marxism," which argues that "global racism works to shatter possibilities for solidarity, distort the meaning of justice, alter the context of wrong, and makes it possible for people to claim ignorance of past and present racial atrocities, discrimination, exclusion, oppression and genocide."

• Harvard University's "Multicultural Biblical Criticism," which "attacks conventional readings of the Bible," says the YAF, and claims "African, Asian, Indigenous, Latin American, Aboriginal, American Indian, Latino-Hispanic, and Australian studies, as well as ethnicity, feminist, womanish, black, queer, liberation theological, postcolonial, and Third World studies, have begun to de-center the hegemonies paradigm of biblical studies."

• DePaul University's "White Racism," which "creates and promotes racial anxiety," and describes white racism as "a set of socially organized attitudes, behaviors and beliefs about differences between blacks and other groups of color in the United States."

• Villanova University's "Eco Feminism," which explores "the role of eco feminist thought in the development of a 'postmodern' societal paradigm and in a radical reconsideration of destructive and unquestioned beliefs concerning justice, peace and community."

• The University of California-Irvine's "Sexism and Power," which teaches "feminist propaganda," says the YAF, and asserts that "males and females are objects constructed in powered language dominated and controlled by males to their positional and distributional advantage."

• The University of California-Santa Barbara's "Capitalism and Racism," which emphasizes "the political uses made of racial categories that accompanied the emergence of modern capitalism, new divisions of labor, and specific economic incentives."

• Williams College's "Practicing Feminism: A Study of Political Activism," which offers "hands-on training at feminist-friendly social service agencies and nonprofits." The course tries to answer questions like "What constraints and opportunities confront feminists as they struggle for social change?"

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