What takes First Priority?

Each year, several high-school students help me with my Adult English as a Second Language classes.

Some of my teaching assistants have turned into good friends. Over the years, I've been to their college graduations, their weddings and their children's baptisms.

The earliest crop is well established in their careers as teachers, journalists, pharmacists, engineers and computer programmers.

I like to think that I played some minor role in their success. If no other thing, I know they took to heart my most important advice: Learn to think for yourself.

Two weeks ago Linda, who may have the brightest future of all, graduated from Tokay High School. Linda, a high honors student who started work at the Adult School two years ago, is responsible, personable and intellectually curious.

In May, Linda received her acceptance letter from the University of the Pacific. Like any senior accepted by her number one choice, Linda was overjoyed. Linda will be the first from her Mexican-American family to attend college.

But Linda's guidance counselor, who I'll call Mrs. Gomez, had a different take. She summoned Linda into her office and said, "Why are you going to UOP? That's nothing but a school for rich white people."

For the benefit of those who may not understand what it means when a Mexican calls a Caucasian "white," I'll digress.

"White" has nothing to do with skin color. My skin is several shades darker than Gomez's.

Depending on the tone and context in which it is used, "white" is a slur that can approach the ugliness of "n - - - - -."

Gomez, not content to rain on Linda's parade with just one idiotic piece of "counsel" followed up by adding, "You should go to San Jose State. That school has more diversity."

So it goes in the California public school system. From the opening first grade bell until the cap and gowns are issued, diversity reigns.

Linda, to her credit, laughed off Gomez's nonsense and will enroll at UOP this fall.

But this vignette provides an inside look at how far California K-12 schools and their lackeys are willing to go to press their multicultural agenda.

The truth is that San Jose State would be a disaster for Linda. An introvert, Linda is poorly suited to attend a public university with 27,000 students. UOP, a private college with 3,000 undergraduates will provide Linda with a better academic setting. And Linda, close to her family, will be able to get home within a half an hour.

San Jose State is a tough two-hour drive from Lodi. Linda does not expect to have a car during her freshman year so she would be stuck on campus or riding the bus.

Gomez knows all this better than I do. For Gomez, however, Linda's well being is less important than diversity.

Gomez's advice, similar no doubt to that dispensed to most California high-school seniors, is not only hurtful but also preposterous.

By spending four years at Tokay High School, Linda has done diversity. Tokay High has a student enrollment that is 27% Asian, 23% Hispanic and 5% African American. Less than 50% of the students are white. (See school population numbers...)

On the north side of Tokay High's main administrative building students have painted the words, "Tokay welcomes diversity." Surrounding that phrase are greetings and salutations written in dozens of languages.

And while at one time UOP may have been an enclave for wealthy white students that is no longer the case.

Six of Linda's classmates will join her at UOP this fall: three Hispanic students, two Vietnamese and a Chinese student.

UOP is every bit as diverse as Tokay. White enrollment is 50%, about the same as Tokay's. The balance of the student body is 26% Asian/Pacific Islander, 10% Hispanic and 5% African American.

UOP has student associations for African Americans, Hmong, Vietnamese and Muslims.

A Latino student can participate in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Latin American Dance Club. Or he can attend the Cinco de Mayo annual dance.

And, naturally, MEChA has a thriving chapter at UOP.

Interestingly, San Jose State's ethnic enrollment is similar in most respects to UOP's. San Jose State's undergraduate population is 32% Asian, 10% Hispanic and 5% African American. [VDARE.COM note: Readers annoyed by all these educational ethnic statistics should watch for Steve Sailer's upcoming piece on Ward Connerly's Racial Privacy Initiative, which hopes to put a stop to this kind of beancounting.]

Perhaps what Gomez finds so much more appealing about San Jose State is that its percentage of white enrollment, 28%, is substantially lower than UOP and Tokay.

Apparently, the most important variable to high-school counselors is the ethnic make-up of the campus. Never mind that Linda's job opportunities are significantly better with a degree from a small private college than they would be with a diploma from a run of the mill state school.

Linda's saga bears out the K-12 agenda: "No matter the circumstances of your individual case, the important thing is to pursue diversity at all costs."

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.