calls for renewed seriousness in politics to solve racial problems
Holden (left), the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor of Government
and Foreign Affairs, and President John T. Casteen III walk
down the Lawn for Fall Convocation Oct. 22.
688 U.Va. students who received Intermediate Honors at Fall Convocation
Oct. 22 "become automatic candidates for this country's leadership
class ... an enormous responsibility," said keynote speaker
Matthew Holden Jr., the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor of
Government and Foreign Affairs.
who achieved a cumulative grade-point average of 3.4 or better after
their first and second years at U.Va. were recognized at the annual
ceremony after processing down the Lawn on a temperate afternoon,
with the autumn leaves standing out against the clear, blue sky.
addition to the awarding of Intermediate Honors and Holden's address,
President John T. Casteen III presented the University's highest
honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award, to former Arts & Sciences Dean
Raymond J. Nelson. See article, pg. 2.
addressed the students and their visiting families, U.Va. faculty
and administrators, in a way he meant to be challenging but not
threatening -- on "the unhappy subject" of race in America.
A distinguished political scientist who has studied the politics
of race and ethnicity, as well as public administration, Holden
said everyone must think more seriously about how to reach what
he called the aspiration in the Pledge of Allegiance -- for "an
is our peculiar condition: of being two nations, black and white,
instead of one. It is "the most important single impediment"
to a unified nation. "Thirty years ago, there was some prospect
that the private and public leadership of the United States might
have taken the problem of divisibility very seriously. ... [but]
the resources that might once have been mustered have largely been
wasted," he said.
integration will not take place unless white and African-American
transactions can display a higher level of reciprocity," Holden
political and administrative work to eliminate racial discrimination
has been replaced by "collective psychiatry" and counterattacks,
he said. When the public focuses on some event it considers racial,
a flurry of commentary gets aired. He sees this kind of dialogue
not as constructive but as "psychiatric."
helps individuals express themselves as members of a group, whether
the group is 'white' or 'black'. ... but politics that relies entirely
on collective psychiatry ... ultimately serves them ill. For in
the end, it becomes a self-defeating morality play in which none
of the more mundane but terribly real problems are managed,"
politics doesn't work exactly like physics, Holden said "to
every revolution there is a potential counter-revolution,"
and we should not be surprised that counterattacks have been mounted
against the changes resulting from the Civil Rights Movement. "The
basic core of opposition remains substantially what it was."
reminded the students honored at Convocation that they have grown
up during a time when counterattacks -- even some using the same
language and arguments from Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil
rights activists -- abound in politics and in popular culture, as
well as in the judicial arena. The state of the law regarding minority
scholarship programs is "scandalous," he said, adding
that the outcome of recent cases has made it uncertain.
called for Americans to look to politics as a serious way of closing
the racial gap. "Sooner or later, serious deliberation depends
upon reciprocity [and that] will not take place under any circumstance
where one group persistently refuses to accept the need to cooperate
with others," he said. Racial controversies need to be addressed
in order to make the political system work, in order to create an
country has ever possessed all the same elements that exist in the
U.S. and achieved a multi-racial, large-scale, constitutional democracy.
It's a great experiment. It's not easy. But it's important to try
to make it work, he said.
to host public forum with alumni about the future of the Internet
does technology go to the heart of human experience? Through the
stream of the Internet. To some, the Internet is an untrained river
of commerce and pornography. To others it is a conduit of inspiration
and democracy that unites the common experience of people across
cultures and international boundaries.
all, it is revolutionary. This technology, which is changing the
world, will be the subject of debate at U.Va. Nov. 12 and 13, when
33 Internet industry pioneers and visionaries convene for e-summit@virginia,
a free public forum about the Internet, that will be broadcast online.
This group of leading executives share one common trait: they are
all University alumni who believe in the Jeffersonian principle
of wise revolution. Full story.