In college, I steered clear of the fringe, identity-focused courses. I figured I could learn about feminism or African-American history through conscientious professors in mainstream departments.
But sadly, this isn't true. If it was true, WS and RS departments would have never formed, and wouldn't be flourishing as they are. "Mainstream" departments are absolutely effected by the issues us feminists and people of color are talking about. And you simply can't get our perspectives without seeking them out.
The demographics seemed like an admission of defeat - the world at large doesn't care, but at least we can preach to our own!
No, it's just that "our own" realize what I wrote above, and so they go, and want to learn. It's those who think they already know, and don't take seriously the critiques that WS and RS have to offer in the first place, who over look and by pass the courses.
This calls to mind some embarrassing information from my past. When looking at classes offered, I would often see the "History of Latin America" or "Race and Gender" classes and bypass them. I'd think to myself, "well, I already know people of color are kept down in this country, what else could these classes possibly tell me?" How unbelievably wrong I was.