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Your tuition $$: Freshman “common reading” all about illegal immigrants and “racial injustice”

July 13, 2016

From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Old freshman reading favorite Plato: Take a hike and drink some hemlock


So this year the hottest common freshman reading topic is…illegal immigrants. Inside Higher Education reports:

“Freshmen at Miami University of Ohio will read Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot and the Battle for the American Dream (MacMillan) by Joshua Davis, a contributing editor at Wired magazine. The book — which inspired a film — is based on the true story of undocumented high school students who entered a national robotics competition….

“Favoring an ethnographic approach, Tufts University chose Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America (University of California Press) by Roberto G. Gonzales, an assistant professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. The book examines the results of a 12-year study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles….

“Opting for a personal narrative, California State University East Bay chose the memoir Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant (University of Illinois Press), in which the author recounts his attempts to gain an education and build a new life in America. Due to legal concerns surrounding his immigration status, the author published the memoir under the name José Ángel N.”


But on some campuses the freshman-orientation administrators have evidently decided that illegal immigration is so last year. They’ve gone with the second hottest common-reading topic: racial injustice.

“Students entering the Honors College at Arizona will read Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press) by the poet Claudia Rankine, a fusion of poetry, art and criticism that explores the intersections of race, language and the body. The first chapter relates microaggressions directed at Rankine and her friends, while the seventh chapter features a list of African-American men involved in recent police shootings that concludes with the phrase ‘because white men can’t police their imagination black men are dying.’…

“Wesleyan University picked The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press) by Michelle Alexander, associate professor of law at Ohio State University. The book seeks to challenge the idea that we live in an era of colorblindness, tracing how the war on drugs targeted black men and suggesting that mass incarceration replaced segregation as a system of social control.”

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Charlotte Allen



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