Wednesday was “I-Day,” Induction Day, at the U.S. Naval Academy, the day new midshipmen are sworn in and begin their training. It was my first day at USNA too, although my experience was low key and less stressful. The word that best captures the uniqueness of incoming class of plebes is “diversity.” It’s the most racially diverse incoming class in the Academy’s 164-year history.
However, not everyone is thrilled. One English Professor has raised concerns about the “dumbing down” of the school and, by extension, Navy’s Officer Corps as a result of the new diversity push. (Read the Washington Post article here.) He wants the admissions process to be colorblind. Academy officials insist it is. While I too am concerned about fairness, I’m not sure colorblindness is always a good thing. There's a particularly dangerous and insidious form of colorblindness—not a colorblindness that regards all as having equal worth but one that refuses to see the unique challenges experienced by racial minorities and the benefits diversity brings to a liberal, well-rounded education.
Personally, I’m excited to begin teaching at time when the U.S. Naval Academy is more diverse than ever.