Monday, November 30, 2020

College says "not racism" is racist

Quillette essay:
As a University of Calgary professor in the sciences, I am choosing to write this letter under a pseudonym because I know that the views expressed herein, while widely shared, would lead to professional reprisals. ...

Simply put: The University of Calgary is not systemically racist. And administrators likely know this, too, even if they are required to say the opposite. ...

I have seen efforts to hire new faculty fail because th...

The new vice-provost, who is empowered to speak on the university’s behalf, recently hosted a talk entitled “The racist violence of ‘not racism’ and the role of ‘contrarian’ academics,” in which bizarre assertions were made to the effect that we all inhabit an apparently irredeemable state of racism. e dean deemed the applicant pool insufficiently diverse. I have seen discussions quashed when faculty members questioned the affirmative-action requirements imposed by government research granting agencies. Emails asking for details regarding an across-the-board salary increase for all female faculty members fell on deaf ears. We have entrance scholarships for “Diversity Champions” to encourage women, minorities, and activists to join our programs. We have prestigious chairs in “indigenous ways of knowing” in certain sciences—which everyone involved knows to be a fundamentally unscientific endeavour, even if we all have to pretend otherwise.

Of note, we have created a position for a Vice-Provost for Equity and Diversity, an enviable position, which, I am informed, comes with a six-figure salary (well above that of your average professor). ...

The new vice-provost, who is empowered to speak on the university’s behalf, recently hosted a talk entitled “The racist violence of ‘not racism’ and the role of ‘contrarian’ academics,” in which bizarre assertions were made to the effect that we all inhabit an apparently irredeemable state of racism. ...

This moment is driven by emotion and social panic, not facts.

There is nothing unusual about his opinions, and yet this professor at a respected university has to hide behind anonymity!

He doesn't want to be ostracized like this UChicago professor. Fortunately for him, the university came to his defense, but the hassle of speaking up is not worth it.

We have gotten to the point where any White professor, who claims to be not racist, is branded a racism for not recognizing his own racism.

According to this historical analysis, one of the motivations for women's suffrage was a racist attempt to dilute Black votes. So maybe undoing racism requires denying the vote to women? Okay, no one is going to advocate that, but it is no sillier than other attempts to undo racism.

Jewish Trump-hater NY Times columnist David Brooks writes:

Many people point to the internet — the way it funnels people into information silos, the way it abets the spread of misinformation. I mostly reject this view. Why would the internet have corrupted Republicans so much more than Democrats, the global right more than the global left?
The internet has corrupted Democrats into believing all sorts of crazy things: Russian conspiracies, coronovirus hysteria, global warming crisis, systemic racism, etc.
Under Trump, the Republican identity is defined not by a set of policy beliefs but by a paranoid mind-set.
No, Democrats are the paranoid ones. They are the ones who wear masks all the time, and are afraid to travel or re-open schools.
What to do? You can’t argue people out of paranoia. If you try to point out factual errors, you only entrench false belief. The only solution is to reduce the distrust and anxiety that is the seedbed of this thinking. That can only be done first by contact, reducing the social chasm between the members of the epistemic regime and those who feel so alienated from it. And second, it can be done by policy, by making life more secure for those without a college degree.
This is so foolish that it is hard to believe Brooks is serious. I have several college degrees, and the more I read the NY Times, the more I distrust everyone having anything to do with that paper. Many people have pointed out factual errors to Brooks, but he has a policy of never correcting his errors. The NY Times also does not correct errors by columnists. He lives in a bubble, impervious to the facts. He manages to stay on the payroll because he has convinced his editors that he understands Trump voters. He does not.

I mention that Brooks is Jewish because he describes and promotes a very Jewish ideal of how knowledge is to be controlled. In this view, a bunch of rabbis are allowed to have heated arguments about what is right, but when they come to a consensus, no alternate views are allowed. Here is how he describes it, citing some gay Jewish atheist:

My analysis begins with a remarkable essay that Jonathan Rauch wrote for National Affairs in 2018 called “The Constitution of Knowledge.” Rauch pointed out that every society has an epistemic regime, a marketplace of ideas where people collectively hammer out what’s real. In democratic, nontheocratic societies, this regime is a decentralized ecosystem of academics, clergy members, teachers, journalists and others who disagree about a lot but agree on a shared system of rules for weighing evidence and building knowledge.

This ecosystem, Rauch wrote, operates as a funnel. It allows a wide volume of ideas to get floated, but only a narrow group of ideas survive collective scrutiny. “We let alt-truth talk,” Rauch said, “but we don’t let it write textbooks, receive tenure, bypass peer review, set the research agenda, dominate the front pages, give expert testimony or dictate the flow of public dollars.”

I am expecting the internet censorship to get a whole lot worse under the Biden administration.

Update: Here is an essay on how free speech has disappeared from English universities.

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