After spending 13 years as a professor and dean at a Big Ten university, I know a little of what Daniel Schmidt speaks. I witnessed similar phenomena on my campus—things like reverse racism, discrimination against (especially) white male students, the advent of “safe spaces,” and the curtailing of free speech if it was critical of the prevailing leftist narrative. Daniel Schmidt has not only experienced those issues at the University of Chicago, he has chosen to write about them. Please read on.
Welcome to the Elite
By Daniel Schmidt
I have just finished my freshman year at the University of Chicago, a school boasting an annual sticker price of $80,000 and an acceptance rate of around 5 percent.
I don’t match the typical UChicago student profile. I lived in a single-mother household in a small Tennessee town for most of my life, my mom worked two jobs, and 50 percent of my high school graduating class didn’t go to college. God, family, and country were the pressing concerns of my neighbors, not top SAT scores or being valedictorian.
So when I heard during my first month in college that I was unable to participate in a debate tournament because I was white, I realized I had just entered an entirely different world. This, I would soon learn, is the world of our highly educated and highly cultured. It’s a world inhabited by future politicians, academics, tech tycoons, and billionaires who do what they’re told to ascend into the ranks of the elite.
But who exactly are these students? Being an outsider to this world, I quickly picked up on some startling characteristics throughout my first year. What I observed was more instructive than what I learned in my classes. It painted a picture of where our country is precisely headed.
For one, these students are scarily obedient, even to the most insane and illogical demands.
A few months ago, my university’s administration finally ended the requirement that all students wear masks in class. The next day, however, one of my professors exclaimed to my entire class that he thought everyone should be wearing masks because we were still in a “pandemic.”
Without hesitation, every single student around me, who all entered class not wearing a mask, automatically grabbed a mask from their backpacks and put it on their faces. There was no hesitation from any of them. The whole scene felt incredibly robotic and genuinely creepy. I ended up being the only student in the room without a mask, earning me looks of ire from both my professor and peers alike.
I’ve seen students double-masked while sitting alone in the dining hall, riding bikes outside, and studying in a library cubicle.
These are kids who got perfect scores on the SAT, mastered multi-variable calculus in middle school, and surely have IQs way above average. And yet they quietly, and subconsciously, obey demands that any sane person would laugh at.
Why are our most intelligent young people the most obedient? What happened to the youth being rebellious?
In the 1960s, students would have been bullied for zealously wearing masks whenever a hypochondriac lecturer barked at them. Masks—and booster shots, social distancing, remote learning, and so on—would have been ridiculed from the very beginning, for that matter.
On another note, I was shocked by the complete lack of representation of middle-class white kids in the student body. To date, I haven’t met a single middle-class white student who was admitted through the standard admissions process (and not through athletics).
To be more specific, I mean middle-class students of European ancestry. I’ve met several middle-class Hispanic students who appeared white but marked Hispanic on their college applications, earning them a sizable increase in their acceptance rate thanks to affirmative action.
It has become increasingly clear to me that as a white male, your only real way to get into an elite university, barring any absolutely extraordinary circumstances, is to either be low-income or extremely wealthy. The more low-income students a university has, the more impressive its statistics look to its board of trustees and donors. And the wealthiest of the wealthiest almost certainly went to our nation’s top boarding schools, signaling to these universities that they’re already well-positioned to become the next President Barack Obama or McKinsey CEO. These schools don’t want to miss out on claiming the next president or Wall Street hotshot.
If diversity is truly a concern of these elite universities and students, why is the absence of middle-class white Americans never lamented? If anything, it seems like it’s celebrated. After all, the racist, Trump-supporting Middle Americans have no right to study in the same hallowed libraries as the children of Martha’s Vineyard’s aristocracy.
Ultimately, that’s what attending an elite university is about at the end of the day: Helping you secure a comfortable job at an esteemed institution such as Goldman Sachs or Bain Capital, removed from your less diverse, less woke fellow citizens, whom you’re trained over the years to view with contempt.
Of course, obtaining such a prestigious job isn’t an easy task. You need to learn to recite your pronouns whenever you’re asked to introduce yourself, and you need to radically change your language to make it more inclusive.
If you’re one of the unfortunate ones with less melanin, you need to participate in diversity training that makes you despise yourself for being born the wrong skin color. And don’t forget about those daily virtue-signaling posts on LinkedIn: One day, a human resources employee at JPMorgan will surely notice!
Welcome to the elite.
Daniel Schmidt is a student at the University of Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @RealDSchmidt