Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The NEA Ignores Obama’s Advice On Race

Ex-President Obama recently gave a speech in which he said,
Democracy demands getting inside "the reality of people who are different than us."

"You can't do it if you insist that those who aren't like you because they're white, or because they're male...that somehow they lack standing to speak on certain matters."
This bit of obvious advice seems to have escaped the mandarins at the NEA, who recently published their 2018 statement of resolutions, which includes this howler:
White Supremacy Culture
The National Education Association believes that, in order to achieve racial and social justice, educators must acknowledge the existence of White supremacy culture as a primary root cause of institutional racism, structural racism, and White privilege. Additionally, the Association believes that the norms, standards, and organizational structures manifested in White supremacy culture perpetually exploit and oppress people of color and serve as detriments to racial justice. Further, the invisible racial benefits of White privilege, which are automatically conferred irrespective of wealth, gender, and other factors, severely limit opportunities for people of color and impede full achievement of racial and social justice. Therefore, the Association will actively advocate for social and educational strategies fostering the eradication of institutional racism and White privilege perpetuated by White supremacy culture.
Of course, no evidence is given for this, but none ever is; the power and ubiquity of racism is taken as axiomatic, and unstoppable. Even if Obama — or, if you have that limber an imagination, Hillary Clinton — had said something to this effect in 2016 (as some of the commenters in the thead in Cathy Young’s tweet suggested), it’s hard to imagine how those words wouldn’t be drowned out by “deplorables” and the sheer mass of the diversity-industrial complex within the Democratic Party.

Monday, July 9, 2018

An Attempt To Bridge The Feminist Rhetorical Gap

Stuart Reges' brave jeremiad opposing the modern feminist orthodoxy in STEM fields (computer science particularly) comes from someone whose work in mentoring young women in the field is, apparently, unimpeachable. Having spent his life as an academic teaching computer science, first at Stanford, and later at U. Washington, he describes himself as "a champion of using undergraduate TAs in introductory programming classes" who has "helped hundreds of women to learn to love computer science". He writes that he is a "a strong advocate of many aspects of the diversity agenda."

He digs in:
When I tried to discuss [fired Google employee James] Damore at my school, I found it almost impossible. As a thought experiment, I asked how we could make someone like Damore feel welcome in our community. The pushback was intense. My question was labeled an “inflammatory example” and my comments were described as “hurtful” to women. When I mentioned that perhaps we could invite Damore to speak at UW, a faculty member responded, “If he comes here, we’ll hurt him.” She was joking, but the sentiment was clear.

One faculty member gave a particularly cogent response. She said, “Is it our job to make someone with those opinions feel welcome? I’m not sure whether academic freedom dictates that.” She argued that because we know that women have traditionally been discriminated against, perhaps it is more important to support them because the environment will not be sufficiently inclusive if they have to deal with someone like Damore. She said it “is up to us” to decide, but that, “choosing to hold a viewpoint does not necessarily give you the right to feel comfortable.”
Which is to say, the faculty doesn't understand the whole point of academic freedom, and its relationship to tenure. Reges then covers the same ground Damore did, and with similar reactions to Damore's. The official response was, more or less, hang the science, we have a diversity agenda to promote. Luckily, being a tenured professor, he has somewhat greater protection than Damore did, and so continues to pull a paycheck.

So now Gideon Scopes peers into the abyss. Can we talk the diversity mavens off the ledge? He observes, rightly, that people like Milo Yiannopoulos inflame and degrade the standard of discourse. But is a more neutral tone enough? What of Damore's well-researched paper that got him fired? (Emboldening mine.)
[D]espite its scientific validity, the document in its present form was unlikely to persuade anyone who wasn’t already at the very least skeptical of the politically correct narrative.  Given the degree to which emotions ran high around this issue, simply presenting the factual evidence could be perceived as hostile.
This has been going on for some while. Scopes cites the appalling misrepresentation of Larry Summers' 2005 remarks on the subject:
When the story broke that that Dr. Summers had attributed the STEM gender gap to a lack of aptitude on the part of women, I was puzzled.  What was he thinking?  Wasn’t he accusing certain people of being incapable of doing something that they had been doing for decades?  It wasn’t until two years later than I finally read his speech in full and came to understand that what he had actually said was far different from what I had believed he had said.
What he said was radically different from the funhouse mirror version that made the press headlines; using Scopes' paraphrase, "he was saying that the small percentage of the population with the highest levels of aptitude in science might contain more men than women."

But will it move the opposition? I doubt it. The Upton Sinclair axiom applies: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" The commercial feminists have strong reason to downplay actual research, as much as the DEA has reason to ignore and impede drug research. They will need to be fought to ground over this, and more.