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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Stroke of Genius: Carleton’s liberalism

< since arriving in Northfield this past fall, I have noticed an interesting trend within the student body. For some reason, members of the Carleton community believe that they are part of some radically liberal movement or culture. They argue politics, work on humanitarian efforts, and they almost entirely fall on the left side of the political spectrum. But this student conceived perception of liberalism baffles me. Carleton College is no bastion of radical liberal thought, and our school is not a diverse political community. We are all part of a homogenous culture of the status quo.

One doesn’t have to look very hard to see that Carleton lacks significant diversity. Sure, if you ask a college administrator they would tell you differently while rattling off a number of meaningless statistics, but the fact of the matter remains—Carleton College is a predominantly wealthy white Caucasian school. It may be true that there are twenty-some countries represented here, and that there are students from every state in the U.S. in attendance, but these facts mislead our own perceptions of diversity. Just because there is one foreign born student to every dozen suburban white Americans doesn’t mean the school as a whole is diverse. If we were to look at the country of Sweden, I am sure they could boast of having hundreds of ethnicities present within the population, but having .01% of the population being Finnish doesn’t make the country as a whole diverse. The same thing is true of Carleton.

Next, the majority of the students who attend school here are members of the middle class. If this weren’t true, Carleton wouldn’t cost anything near $50,000 a year, and there is no way that the college would be nationally ranked the way that it is presently.

This leads us directly into another simple fact. The students of Carleton College are the children of college graduates. While, like all of my other generalizations, this may not be entirely true, one cannot over look this statement. The importance of education has been beaten into many of us. Students will openly disclose that they see graduating from Carleton as an aide in getting them a good job, or into graduate studies. This is fine in principle, but this ideology cannot be considered liberal by any means. Going to school for professional gain seems to me to be remarkably conservative and incredibly individualistic.

While I see nothing wrong with pursuing education for self-betterment, the Carleton perception that this is a liberal school and that we are generally liberal is incredibly shallow. We may be well educated, philosophically minded students, but just because somebody votes for a Democrat doesn’t make them truly liberal. I don’t see many students willing to lower their economic status of life in the name of increasing diversity or helping to educate less fortunate people. Maybe I am just blind, but I don’t see people willing to compromise the national ranking of Carleton in the name of helping others. Pure and simple, doing these truly liberal things would negatively affect the primarily white and wealthy majority of Carleton. Our liberalism is only there until it affects our way of life.

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