Thursday, January 27, 2011

Academy prof: Admissions easier on minorities

Graduation Day at the Naval Academy.  Has it been made easier for some than others?  
The U.S. Naval Academy was my not-so-secret dream when I was 12-years old.  At the local high school graduation ceremony that year I stood at the end of the line of the graduating Seniors in order to ask the guest speaker, Senator Frank Church, what I needed to do in order to get an appointment to the Naval Academy.  When he saw me he was most gracious and stood talking to me about the appointments process for a good 5 minutes while members of the local Democrat party fidgeted in background.  I’m certain they wanted their precious time with the Senator but he wouldn’t leave me until he had answered all my questions.  I remember my mother smiling at my chutzpah.  I don’t think she really liked the local Democrats all that much.  
With that background you can see why I was exceedingly pleased last year when my grand-nephew got a letter of interest from the U.S. Naval Academy.  He’s a fine young man and a tremendous athlete and almost a 4.0 average well into his Junior year in high school.  While I’m proud of him--and his younger brother and sisters--I’m even more proud of his mother.  She’s been divorced from his father for a long time and has struggled as a working mother, ensuring her children are clothed, fed and taught good, common sense and wholesome family values.  She also goes to college and is inching closer to having her own degree.  She sets a living example for her children to emulate and it is clear that they love and respect her.  (She’s much like her late Grandmother in that regard.)
While I was exceedingly pleased that my grand-nephew got a letter from Annapolis--and was kind of secretly hoping he’d go there even though I was Army--I was thrilled when Boise State showed interest in him along with Oregon State and the University of Oregon.  Imagine, two of the top football schools in the nation looking at my grand-nephew based on what he has accomplished through hard work, sweat, effort and study.  He’s an outstanding young man who is working towards achieving his dreams.  No one is giving him anything.  He is earning it and that’s what makes me proud.
The linked article about the Naval Academy in which Academy English Professor Bruce Fleming alleges that the Navy has set a lower standard for non-white students is both disappointing and insulting.  You see, my grand-nephew’s father, like President Obama’s, is black, and it is extremely insulting to my grand-nephew, to his mother and to his whole family that a government institution like the Naval Academy would show an interest in him because of his bi-racial heritage rather than his own actual accomplishments.  In lowering standards to become more diverse they have de-valued his efforts when they need no devaluing.  I can look anyone in the eye and say that this young man takes a back seat to no one either physically or mentally.  I admit that it saddens me, though, as I always thought that the goal of the Naval Academy was to produce Officers and Gentlemen.  Now I find out that they are a social studies school interested less in educating war time leaders than in appearing to be diverse.   It is clear that the Naval Academy as it stands today is not good enough for my grand-nephew.  It is certainly not the same institution as it was when Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach were Midshipmen.  
My niece has raised a very fine young man.  He has character and natural leadership abilities beyond that which can be taught in any military academy, much less one that is more worried about appearing politically correct than producing polished leaders.  He can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best in academics and sports and that and his character, not his skin color, are what are important.  My grand-nephew deserves the right to rise as far as he can on his own abilities so that when he is my age he can look back on his life with pride and say, “I did all that on my own” without having the nagging thought in the back of his head that he was given the chance to accomplish it only because of the color of his skin.  I am confident that he will go far on his God-given abilities–farther than any of us now imagine–and it won’t be because anyone, or anything, had to use lower standards to fit him in.  
That being said, I have a feeling that he’s going to become an Oregon Duck and I think that’s a great choice.  I just hope that the Ducks realize what an outstanding young man, both athletically and as a student scholar, they will getting if he goes there.  
Follow the title link for the story about the decline of Annapolis.  


Stephanie said...

As a parent of a current USNA Midshipman, it is my personal opinion that it is unfair to paint an entire school with the brush of one man's (Prof Fleming) words. My Midshipman is a young man who worked very hard to also be "noticed" by the Academy and is a upstanding young man who also "... has character and natural leadership abilities beyond that which can be taught in any military academy"! This is because that is the way we, his parents and extended family raised him that way! By the time a student arrives at ANY college, his values and his character is already molded ... the college he chooses should simply help to build upon the basis of his upbringing. I am not denying that USNA (like most colleges in the US) has their problems, but I do take offense at your implied slurs upon such a fine instituition as the US Naval Academy. Of course, these are just a few "thoughts from" a proud USNA Mom.

Papa Bill said...

Well said and I thank your son for his service. But what does it do for those Midshipmen, like your son, who strived to get into the Academy if it devalues their efforts by paying homage to the false gods of multiculturalism and diversity? Decades after Dr. King's speech we should be beyond looking at the color of a persons skin and looking only at the content of his or her character; but we never will be as long as there are those who use race for their own personal profit or political advancement thus promoting separation rather than integration. It would appear from the professor's statements that the USNA has fallen into the trap of political correctness and if so that denigrates the accomplishments of all the young men and women who proudly serve there.

Phil said...

No! No! No! I too am a parent of a Mid. What Stephanie stated is spot on! Prof Fleming continues to spew his headline catching venom for no other reason than this; to sell his latest tome.
Please PaPaBill, do not run so quickly to judge an institution with the rich, culturally diverse history of the USNA, based on the not-so-hidden agenda of a professor more bent on lining his pockets at the expense of being a teacher and mentor of the mids at the Academy.
Investigate this yourself, please. Be rightfully proud of your soon-to-be Midshipman. DO NOT take as gospel the rantings of a professor who merely tries to sell books.
How sad.

Papa Bill said...

It is good to see parents so rightfully proud of their children's accomplishments and so willing to take up the cudgels for the USNA. I will look further into the Professor's allegations. Promise.

The linked story indicated that the Professor is politically liberal and previously served on the admissions panel. Because liberals hold multiculturalism and diversity so close to their hearts, it is odd that he would be criticizing the use of those politically correct beliefs in the admissions process instead of embracing them unless he actually believed they were causing him to have what he believed were sub-standard students in his classroom.

The profit motive that you bring up, Phil, wasn't mentioned but it certainly can't be ruled out. We all know that controversy can sell books and the more controversy the greater the profit as people rush to buy the book to find out what all the fuss is about.

Thank you for your response. And thank your Midshipman for his service. What is sometimes lost in any discussion like this is the underlying fact that those who have willingly put on the uniform are people who deserve respect regardless of the source of their appointment. That they are willing to serve speaks to their character and that's the whole point. We have to be sure that the USNA (and the other Academies as well) continue to place an emphasis on character levels over all else. For them to do less is to dishonor the commitment of the Midshipmen, and Cadets, they are educating.

As for my grand-nephew, Phil, he's extremely excited about Oregon so I think he's lost to the USNA. And that's Oregon's gain and the USNA's loss.

Raimo said...

The Swedish government was responsible for the most iron ore the Nazis received. Kiruna-Gällivare ore fields in Northern Sweden were all important to Nazi Germany.

These massive deliveries of iron ore and military facilities from Sweden to Nazi Germany lengthened World War II. Casualties of the war have been estimated at 20 million killed in Europe. How many of them died due to Sweden's material support to Nazi Germany, is not known.

The Swedish drinking toast (skal) has a rather macabre background; it originally meant 'skull'. The word has come down from a custom practiced by the warlike and terrorist Vikings who used the dried-out skulls of their enemies as drinking mugs, with the evident advantage that the mug held a large quantity of mead and could be easily replaced.

Papa Bill said...

Uhhhh...ok, Raimo, you seem to have a problem with the Swedes. That's all well and good but what does it have to do with this issue?