Funny, I don't think this is the "dream" MLK had in mind.
The New Segregation on Campus
UCLA’s medical school divides students by race to teach ‘antiracism.’
By The Editorial Board, WSJ
Jan. 11, 2024
If you’ve heard that the diversity, equity and inclusion agenda is going away, don’t believe it. An emerging practice at elite medical schools segregates students by race to teach them about alleged structural racism in healthcare.
The University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine requires that first year students take a class called “Structural Racism and Health Equity” as part of the standard curriculum. In one exercise for the course, students divide by racial group and retreat to different areas to discuss antiracist prompts.
This is known as racial caucusing, a teaching device that UCLA describes as an “anti-racist pedagogical tool” to “provide a reflective space for us to explore how our positionality—particularly our racial identities as perceived within clinical spaces—influence our interaction with patients, colleagues and other staff.”
It’s also illegal. According to Do No Harm, a group that describes its mission as “eliminating racial discrimination in healthcare,” the practice violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In a letter to the San Francisco Office for Civil Rights, Do No Harm wrote this week that the school’s racial caucusing groups “illegally segregate and separate its first year medical students based on their race, color and/or national origin” in violation of Title VI.
Medical students in the class are asked to choose which of three racial categories they will identify with. They can select among “white student caucus group,” “Non-Black People of Color (NBPOC) student caucus group” or “Black student caucus group.”
In case students think they have a choice of which group to join, a letter from the school makes clear they should sort themselves by how they look to others. “[R]ecognizing the imperfect and problematic nature of our socially constructed racial categories,” the school says, “we ask that you identify the group in which you feel you are most perceived as in clinical spaces.”
The exercise is necessary, UCLA’s letter continues, because “For white folks, we often feel uncomfortable talking about our own race and our own identities without Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in the room.” And “for Black folks, discussions of race/racism with non-Black folks can be burdensome and exhausting.” Caucusing is a chance to “discuss this exhaustion and share strategies for individual and collective healing and self care.”
The day the civil-rights complaint was filed, UCLA abruptly informed students that the caucusing exercise was cancelled, which suggests that administrators know the practice is legally suspect. In accepting federal funds, schools must agree to abide by Title VI, which prohibits discrimination by race. It contains no exception for discriminating in pursuit of an antiracist agenda. As a public university, UCLA is also governed by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
A UCLA medical student, who asked not to be named for fear of being ostracized, told us she “went to school to learn medicine, not to be segregated by the color of my skin.” That used to be the norm, but in higher education these days ideology often trumps learning.